During a three-year-long renovation of our 120-year-old house, my wife and I had been privileged to tell many workers about Jesus.
We dedicated the project in prayer from the beginning. As work on the house progressed the restoration itself became an extended witnessing opportunity. The old house’s foundation had to be rebuilt. Entire walls were removed as rotted wood was replaced. In addition to the many workers who came onto the premises, sometimes passing motorists would stop just to get a closer look at the project we were doing.
Word spread that the “preacher man” would employ workers nobody else would hire.
Many times men would show up on the job site and explain that they had served time in jail or had a past police record. A lot of these men have lived very checkered and rough lives and seemed incredibly grateful when I would give them a chance to use their skills. We helped several of them get good permanent jobs with construction crews I happen to know.
It was inspiring to watch an old house be brought back from the brink of getting condemned— and at the same time lives were being restored as we led people to Christ on the job site. Many of the workers we hired eagerly responded to the Gospel. Some even returned tools they had, “borrowed,” and the men’s changed lives were often vividly seen.
James, however, was different.
Explaining the Gospel to this man was not easy. He always had an excuse or would quickly object when we would steer the conversation toward Jesus. Earlier in his life, he had been involved in a type of cult, so that when we did talk about Christ, James would often have a twisted perspective about God or salvation.
My wife and I eventually began to build the friendship not only out of a desire to share the Gospel but also because showing love to this person was just the right thing to do. One day James came by to tell us about a doctor appointment he had and news about a potentially life-threatening illness. My desire to see James come to know Christ became more urgent.
Evangelism must be a priority to all Christians
Over four years, I talked with James about spiritual matters dozens of times. Often, it seemed like I was wasting my time, but that little voice inside of me— the Holy Spirit— seemed to say, “Alex, invest in this person. James is important to me, so he should be important to you.”
But I have found that when we pray, stay prepared, and when we are attuned to the Spirit’s guidance, God will place before us ideal situations in which to plant seeds of Gospel truth. How I thank God for the day last fall when James stopped by, looked me in the eye, and said, “I’m ready.” In the same room where we had seemingly endless conversations, James bowed his head to accept Christ.
It has been said that “The church is one organization that exists primarily for the benefit of its non-members.” John Wesley (founder of the Methodist Church, and one of history’s greatest Christian leaders) said, “You have nothing to do but to save souls.”
In discussing salvation people will often have questions or even set forth objections. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because respectful conversation provides ample opportunity to restate and clarify the wonderful news of God’s love through Jesus.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) was a leader who urged the church not to let one lost person die, “unwarned and unprayed for.” We, too, must never forget that evangelism is the assignment Christ handed to all believers in every era (c.f. Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20).
Four things that must be understood when sharing the Gospel
Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade) said, “Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative, sharing Christ in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit, and leaving the results up to God.” This refreshing observation takes some of the pressure off of the believer who is trying to win someone to the Lord. It is all up to God, not us.
But to be saved, people must grasp several truths:
The belief that God exists is not enough. James 2:19 reminds us that even Satan and the demons believe that God is real. But this does not constitute a relationship with Christ.
Confidence in the wrong thing cannot save you. Sincerity— no matter how strong— will not change your life if the object of your faith is something other than Jesus.
A positive response once we understand the Gospel is required (Luke 13:3; John 8:24). Simply going to church or being “spiritual” is not the same thing as surrendering your life to Christ the Lord.
Romans 10:13 says that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus promised that whoever comes to Him, He will not reject (John 6:37). People need to know that if they will turn from sin to faith in Christ (that’s repentance and belief), they will be saved.
(This blog was posted first on the Engage Magazine website HERE)