If you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, then you have probably been called upon at various times to stand up for the restoration of the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and various other beliefs of our church. Such conversations most likely occurred with people who are associated with other Christian faiths.
Have you ever had a conversation about Jesus Christ with someone who doesn’t already believe in Him? If you wanted to try to convince someone that Jesus is the Savior of the world, what approach would you take?
Sharing experiences is always valuable, but someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus may well attribute our answered prayers or miracles to the same “God” they believe in who has nothing to do with Jesus. Describing our church or our ordinances will not make much of an impression on someone like this. Nor will quoting New Testament scriptures. What to do?
The prophet Abinadi is faced with this challenge as he stands before King Noah and his priests in Mosiah 14. With just a small window of opportunity to present Jesus to this hostile group, Abinadi chooses to quote some of the many Old Testament prophecies (specifically, the ones recorded in Isaiah 53) regarding the Messiah who was to come. In just this short chapter, it is prophesied that the savior would be:
- Not a man of great beauty
- Despised and rejected of men
- Wounded for our transgressions
- Brought as a lamb to the slaughter, opening not his mouth
- Killed with the wicked
- Buried with the rich
As we know from the New Testament accounts, Jesus fulfilled all of the above prophecies and many more. When you consider how many of these we’re talking about, the odds are actually quite astronomical that any one person could fulfil all of the Messianic prophecies — but Jesus did so. On that basis alone, anyone who believes in the Old Testament should have no problem concluding that Jesus Christ is exactly who He said he was, the only begotten Son of God, the Savior of the world.
Now, if you’re an Old Testament scholar — or can at least become expert on the prophecies referenced above — then you can make a very effective argument regarding Jesus Christ. Being armed with facts and a solid analysis, and pairing that with your personal testimony, will give you a leg up in any discussion on this subject.
However, what if you’re not the type of person to make this type of argument? Is there another way to share Jesus with others?
There is! Jesus lives within each of us, so our lives are evidence for Jesus Christ. However, if we want people to understand that Jesus lives within us, we need to be willing to specifically say so.
For example, if somebody recognizes that you’re living a good or changed life, how do you respond? Do you say, “It’s because I go to church” or “It’s because I’m a follower of Jesus Christ”? Which response is more likely to provide evidence of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world?
When unbelievers are present in our church meetings, let’s make sure to praise Jesus (by name) for our salvation and for changing our lives. Although there’s, of course, nothing wrong with saying “Praise God,” it’s only we who believe in Jesus who understand that He is included in that. To someone who doesn’t believe in Him, that phrase probably means something totally different. If people don’t come to know Jesus in our church meetings, then where else should they go to get to know Him?
We are blessed to be part of The Church of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel (actually, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ). Let’s not be bashful about using His name.
Regardless of how we do it, our calling is to stand up for Jesus Christ in today’s world. When Abinadi did it, only one man was converted, but it was a man named Alma who went on to start the equivalent of The Church of Jesus Christ in his day. Who knows what can happen if we stand up for Jesus today?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.