So Peter opened his mouth and said, "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality..." in Acts 12:34 we see the first time that the story of Christ is told to a person outside the Jewish community. But my point is not the "what" but the "how". I was thinking of a very prevalent pattern in many mainstream church's these days, the pattern is one of lifestyle evangelism that performs very well in good deeds and betterment but light on the reason and motivation behind them. Let me put it this way; if this story were written today, it may go something like this: "So Peter, upon receiving a clear mandate from God, went to this person and said nothing but tried to develop a relationship with them in order that, perhaps, someday they may understand that his deeds were Christian in nature and then they might start asking questions about his faith". </p>
Hold on there, Johnny!! You say: "I'm not Peter and I ain't Jesus, so who are you to tell me I have to actually speak my faith to someone so they might feel uncomfortable around me and erode my friendship with them?" I'm just saying that we should both live an speak the gospel and not leave it to chance that a person might stumble into faith accidentally, but that we become intentional in our actions and verbalize our reliance on Christ to complement our deeds. We are called to take the guesswork out of our lives. If we are not intentional in our gospel presentation than we are wrong in our understanding of our gospel call.
As uncomfortable as discussion
So let me offer some suggestions as to why it's easier to live a silent gospel life:
1) We would rather "fraternize" than "eternalize". What the hey does that mean?? I mean that we would be much more flamboyant about our faith if we knew how good our ending is. A proper internalizing of eternity is what would drive us to want all those in relationship with us to join us in forever with Jesus. If we care enough to build relationships here, why wouldn't we want to offer that relationship a lasting hope in the presence of God. As Paul Tripp rightfully teaches we should live with eternity in view. And...
2) We would rather play the odds than say the words. The Easy part is appearing good in our relationships. We play against the odds that they will just assume we are better than most, thus fulfilling our spiritual obligations as a good soldier. Odds are people will figure out your a Christian by a Bible comment here and a church comment there but that's about the extent of it. This is not the gospel call to make disciples. You can't make followers without sharing whom they should follow, but odds are your actions won't distinguish you apart from all the other good deed doers in the world. Odds are in your favor that you won't have to be overt in your faith. And...
3) We would rather call ourselves hypocrites than show how we repent. It's easier to be a good person than to be a real person who struggles and repents. We often think that after a long time of showing visible good works and hopefully building a relationship that then we could show them the chunks in the Armor. If we show them too early we will just be labeled a hypocrites and written off. I dare say that a Christian who first shows them self as as good repenters first could establish a deeper friendship from the get go. To hide our faults in order to win an opportunity to build a relationship would be called manipulation.
Regardless of why, I know I must become less content with mediocre attempts at relationships and be determined to verbalize my acts, both good and bad, in light of the grace of the gospel.