“Repent and Be Saved! I Said, REPENT AND BE SAVED!”
Vol: 77 Issue: 27 Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I believe that the Bible calls us to be witnesses of Christ, and that there is no more perfect expression of God’s will in the life of a Christian than when he works to lead others to Christ,
That said, what does one do, as one of our readers related recently in one of our forums, when somebody is clearly not interested in hearing the Gospel?
The forum comment describes an experience we’ve all shared in some variation. You strike up a conversation, and somehow, Jesus comes up in the discussion.
Your conversation suddenly stalls, and when you try to revive it, you meet a wall of stony silence.
Eventually, you come to recognize the signals and past experience tells you its time to say something cheery and take your leave.
But then it bothers you all the way home. . . “why didn’t I press the issue? Am I a coward for Christ? Jesus endured the collective hatred of the human race. Am I so weak I can’t bear a little rejection?”
You are convinced you failed Him. You had a chance to share the Gospel, and you blew it.
Maybe if you had tried a little harder, they might have listened. But no, you were too chicken!
It isn’t like you don’t know what is at stake — especially if you have been an OL member for any length of time at all.
You know that every person you meet is destined to spend eternity somewhere. You already know that they will either spend eternity in the joyful presence of Christ.
Or they will spend a Christ less eternity alone, tormented by the punishments of hell and their memory of rejecting their chance to escape it.
You know it because I remind you of it every chance that I get to do so. The redemption of a single sinner is worth the whole world, the Scriptures say. When one sinner repents, the angels rejoice.
Nothing in our walk though this world is of greater eternal value than leading a lost sinner to Christ.
But instead of pressing the issue, you walked away.
Knowing all that you know, you gave up without a fight. What kind of soldier are you?
If that is your story, or you have one like it, then the answer is, a smart one. A smart soldier would not press a battle against the odds — just so he could say he was in the fight.
Once you’ve use up all your resources in an unwise and ill-prepared assault, then those resources are no longer available to be deployed elsewhere where they can be of greater tactical value.
You offered Jesus, the offer was rejected. But in making the offer, you planted a seed. What you do next will affect the probability that your seed will take root.
You can continue to pour water on it until it drowns. Or you can plant it, give it as much water as conditions demand, give it a chance to germinate, and let nature take its course.
Planting the Gospel is sometimes like that. You plant it by sharing the Gospel, but sometimes, like planting in saturated ground, you can overwater and drown the seed.
Sometimes, just planting the seed is all that is necessary, and then its time to let the Holy Spirit take care of the nurturing.
Instead of drowning the seed in your eagerness to get it to take root, sometimes its better to let it germinate, even if it means somebody else will get to reap the harvest.
If your concern is for the health of the seed rather than your profit from the harvest, then it is not such a big deal if somebody else gets to harvest it.
Should you have pressed that person who clearly didn’t want to be pressed?
Ask yourself how you react when a salesman keeps pestering you after you tell him you’ll think about it.
Not only won’t you buy from that salesman, odds are that you won’t buy that brand, either, even though the salesman had nothing to do with the quality of the product.
Jesus knows whether or not you’ve done the job He sent you to do. How does He tell us to handle rejection? Does He tell us to press the issue until it comes to blows?
No. He says: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)
“And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” (Luke 9:5)
“He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.” (Luke 10:16)
When Paul and Barnabas attempted to preach the Gospel, “the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.”
Paul and Barnabas did their best. They preached the Word, the offered the salvation of Christ, and the Word was rejected. What did they do next?
“[T]hey shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.” (Acts 13:50-51)
“And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”
Notice that Paul and Timothy were moved by the Holy Spirit to witness to the Macedonians. Notice also what happened when the Macedonians didn’t want to hear it.
“And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:6)
This was the Apostle Paul, and the Bible says it was the Holy Spirit moved him to preach. But the Macedonians were free to choose.
Paul and Timothy didn’t browbeat them, but rather, Paul said, “I’ve done what the Lord sent me to do. From here on out, it is up to you.”
Paul was not a bad Christian. He wasn’t weak, he wasn’t wishy-washy, he wasn’t uncaring. Paul was God’s chosen evangelist to the Gentiles.
But Paul understood that the seeds he planted would grow unto the Lord, or they would NOT grow unto the Lord.
There is an old saying to the effect that “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”
And if you try, you’ll probably drown the horse.
It wasn’t up to Paul to do more than the task that God put before him. Neither is it up to you.
It is our duty and our solemn responsibility to make sure everyone we meet has a chance to choose whom they will serve in this life and where they will spend eternity.
But it is not up to them to make the choice for them. Or to feel responsible when they choose badly. It’s not we that we failed Him.
The seed we plant may not germinate for decades, but that’s up to God, not us. That’s where the ‘trust’ part takes over.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
Don’t beat yourself up. Your job is to take the stand as a witness. It’s up to the Holy Spirit to obtain a conviction.
“Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it.” (1st Thessalonians 5:24)
There are times when its our job to plant the seeds, then get out of the way and let Him take it from there.