Live the Gospel Without Using Words

“Preach the gospel every day. When necessary, use words.”

Perhaps you’ve heard the popular phrase. And perhaps, like me, you’ve cringed.

For to preach the gospel, one must use words.

. . . then the following scenarios may surprise you.

Can you name three instances in which the Christian’s initial responsibility is to do good so that unbelievers may see and respond to the gospel?

live the gospel without using words

Scenario #1

You want to reach your unbelieving family, friends, and coworkers. You would share the gospel with them, but they won’t have it. You would bring them to church, but they have better things to do.

They would rather you hang out with them. And become one of them. Participate in their lifestyle and join their world. 

{Instead, you do good.}

You lead an honorable life even when they don’t. You reject what they enjoy, because it feels rather foreign. In areas where they may cut corners or downright rebel, you uphold righteousness.

Then, when they attempt to make fun or shift blame, they have nothing to say. You display a blameless life, proving the truth you’ve long wanted to speak. 

And in the end, these, your unbelieving friends, glorify God because of what they saw in you.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution . . . For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

1 Peter 2:11-15

Scenario #2

Of all the lost souls you encounter, you most want to reach your unbelieving husband with the truth of the gospel. If it were up to you, you’d speak of it endlessly and plaster it on the walls.

{Instead, you do good.}

You submit to your husband as you would Christ, with the greatest respect. Your nagging disappears. Your preaching fades. It’s an attitude change that replaces your words with a meek and quiet spirit.

And the next thing you know, your husband is asking about the truth because he has now seen it in its beauty.

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

1 Peter 3:1

Scenario #3

And now the scene changes.

Someone actually hears the truth of the gospel from your own lips. 

Speaking to an unbeliever isn’t easy. Especially this one. 

He actually started the conversation, but now he’s challenging you in every way. Raising every difficult question. Laughing in your face.

You want to fight back. Make it clear that he’s wrong. Show him all the fallacies and see if that does it. Or just give up in frustration.

{Instead, you do good.}

You respond quietly and kindly. You take the time to understand the questions of his soul. And, when an opportunity is given, you respectfully share the Reason why you live how you live.

Any mocking or belittling only turns to shame. How can he point the finger at one who displays such mercy and grace?

In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

1 Peter 3:15

And so, in three separate instances, Peter surprisingly calls the Christian to reach out to unbelievers using outward action. To live honorably. To exemplify rather than to speak. And, when speaking, to speak with grace.

Because through these good deeds, God rejoices to work.

But please realize two things these scenarios are not:

Not a guarantee. Peter gives a command, but he doesn’t guarantee the person’s response. They may see your good deeds and glorify God. They may be won without a word. They may be put to shame. Our responsibility is nothing but obedience in these matters. Then when our conscience is clear, we can finally intercede boldly for God to do the rest.

Not comprehensive. Note I said, “The Christian’s initial responsibility is to do good.” Peter expects good conduct, and good behavior, and good deeds. But read the rest of your Bible. There’s more to it than that.

Good deeds come far short of saving. And even the most beautiful display of good behavior fails if the Word is never spoken.

But if you’d lived the Gospel every day, maybe some have been watching. Maybe they’ll be ready to listen, and maybe they’ll even ask. And then you’ll have a welcome opportunity to preach the Gospel using words.

 [image credit:]

17 thoughts on “Live the Gospel Without Using Words

  1. “Peter surprisingly calls the Christian to reach out to unbelievers using outward action. To live honorably. To exemplify rather than to speak. And, when speaking, to speak with grace.” Amen. Actions do speak louder than words. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful! Sometimes, we are the only Jesus someone may ever meet and, surely, we should want to look as much like Him as possible.
    Thank you for encouraging my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have always heard “Preach with your life, not your words”. People are turned off to Christianity when they are preached at. Loved this and the examples! Thank you for the encouragement to do good!

    BTW, I am popping over from Titus 2 Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. this is so rich!! Thank you. It comes at a good time when I’m facing a toxic person..and when my teenage son is questioning Christianity now that he is in a public school filled with kids that do not believe in God. I will read this again, the gems of the Bible you bring forth help remind me of the truth of living the Gospel, being witnesses for Christ’s way.
    Beautiful..from next door at #IntentionalTuesdays.


  5. Yes, there are times when words are not enough, and doing good speaks louder than words. Then there are times you have done good, and are asked, “why are you doing this.” Then it is time to briefly say a few words. (Not a sermon) but perhaps, “I am showing God’s love by helping you.” or similar. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Our actions speak louder than words, and people want us to show them we care not just tell them. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going around and doing good even when we don’t always see the results. Found you at Waiting on Wednesday link up.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have personally always loved that saying. It is one of my favorites. I am glad you took the time to break it down into real life scenarios. As you said, the example you set can help to set the foundation up for “words” when the time is right. Or another thought is we all do our part according to His prompting… Perhaps one is setting that example while the other does the speaking at a riper time later on in life… “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” ~1 Corinthians 3:6

    Thank you for sharing your thought provoking posts on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth. Have a lovely weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. love this post and so agree. i want to be ready with my grace-filled words, like He says – but always, always prepping the soil with love and goodnesses and banana bread with chocolate chips.

    Liked by 1 person

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