If you were to ask the average Christian (whatever that means) how many people they have led to Jesus Christ, the number would be alarmingly small. The majority ofChristians know they have a spiritual obligation to share the Gospel, but how to do it is an entirely different question.
I remember early in my ministry I promoted “soul winning” programs that would help the bashful saint present the GOOD NEWS. I tried everything from James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion to producing our church’s own tracts (pamphlets). Bumper stickers plastered the cars with spiritual gems with the hope that the simple message would draw the unsaved to the nearest salvation station. In one city where I pastored, I had the youth of our church meet every Thursday to hit the streets to present our salvation tracts. For over two months, they distributed the pamphlets to over 1,000 homes with the hope that the recipients would respond to the written invitations. Instead of jubilation at the responses, discouragement laced their minds. There were a number who made the decision, and for that we were thankful, but the toll it took on our youth weighed heavily on the leadership of our church. It was not only in our body of Believers, but many other evangelistic churches also experienced the same disappointments.
Within the next few years, the “soul winning movement” moved from the streets into the houses of worship. Altar invitations became the way of bringing the lost to Jesus. People were released from “one on one” evangelism. Their calling was to bring people to the church. It was there that the pastor would take over the “soul winning” duties. What happened was the salvation message took center stage, and soon the saved begin to starve for meat that would help them grow and become effective Christians. People failed to realize that pastors don’t reproduce sheep, the sheep do!
- Today, it seems the evangelical church is slowly coming out of its citadels of worship to once again bring the Gospel message to the lost. I am thankful for those who understand their Biblical calling and are willing to share the wonderful message of God’s love. We must be careful though, not to adopt man made techniques to present the Gospel. The Church tried that before and it did not work.
Much of the discouragement that faces Believers today is based on not knowing what is expected of them. Instead of attending seminars and course instruction on “soul winning,” Christians need to simply share their story. Every day there will be opportunities to present the Truth that has been instilled in us. When we see people going through similar life-altering experiences, we must be ready to present our story. Simply share how the Lord helped you through your crisis or situation. People will not challenge your presentation, because you are the living proof of that victory. Share how you came to know Jesus Christ. Maybe that individual will not respond to your sharing, but you planted the seed. That planting will pave the way for another Believer to water that seed with his story and, through the Holy Spirit, that person may experience the miracle of rebirth. (I Corinthians 3:6-9)
How many people have you led to Jesus Christ? Maybe we don’t have a definitive number, but if the Lord would reveal to us how many came into the Kingdom by way of our seed planting or watering, we would be amazed! Maybe your joy was the sunshine that helped the seed to grow.
Share your story! Be a Planter! Be a Waterer! Let your SON shine! It is a team effort! God gives the increase.
God’s intent, based solely on Biblical context, was to restore His chosen people to a place of prominence in the world. But due to their rebellion, the way to kingdom reality was blocked by the hardening of their hearts. The Jews wanted a status position where they become the conquerors instead of the conquered. As one studies the Scripture, one can readily see the intent of Kingdom building in God’s plan, but due to the sinfulness of His people, God had to first deal with their rebellious heart. Zachariah’s prophesy was a basic continuation of Old Testament prophesies that Israel would be delivered from their physical enemies. When that was accomplished, the Jews would be able to serve Him without fear. They would be before God in “…holiness and righteousness,” all the days of their life. (Luke 1:67-75) That was God’s plan, but due to the sinfulness of His people, their physical deliverance would not be achieved until their hearts were changed. To bring about that change, Jesus would come as a Savior, not a physical deliverer. For the Jewish people to understand what the ministry of the Messiah would be, a forerunner would come to change the people’s concept of why the Messiah was coming. Instead of looking for a physical deliverance, they needed to see the importance of a changed heart. John the Baptizer would present Jesus as the “lamb of God” who would take away their sins. (John 1:29) John was stressing the importance of changing their preconceived notions by way of repentance.
The Apostle Paul, understanding the foundation of the Christian faith, made a proclamation that the only thing that really mattered was, “… Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2). Whenever the Church loses sight of the Cross, its foundation will be in jeopardy. Whenever the Church manipulates Scripture to promote an excitement transfusion, it has lost its power. Whenever the Church proclaims financial prosperity while ignoring fiscal responsibility, it has misdirected the use of God’s money. Whenever the Church stresses physical healing over spiritual healing, it has lost its vision. Whenever the Church seeks signs and wonders instead of displaying Holiness, it has become a broken vessel.
The majority of agnostics and non-believers are witnessing the displays of the “people’s church”, rather than God’s Church. The alarming thing is the actions of the people’s church are getting all the attention, while God’s Church experiences collateral damage. One of the problems that face the Church today is how it responds to the “rebellious church.” If it fails to address false doctrines by not promoting Biblical truths, it will negatively answer Jesus question, “…nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) The true Church will be defined by how it responds to its identity crisis.
The conduct of the people’s church invites ridicule. It hurts to see God’s Church the recipient of ridicule because of unbiblical actions by those who claim to be Believers. The media, from the news conglomerates to the entertainment industry, are exposing the people’s church for what it is, but the tragedy is they think that it is God’s Church that they are exposing. Believers are anticipating an external challenge to the Church, when we need to look within the Christian circle. Satan realizes that the best way to derail the true Church is to build new tracks on which the people’s church will travel farther and farther away from God’s intent.
There have always been itching ears and searching eyes that scan the spiritual horizon waiting for some sign that God will manifest Himself in a new and exciting way. Every few years there is a resurgence of distorted Biblical truths that seem to bring a ray of hope to the floundering church. I am reminded of the Biblical Jews that were waiting for the Messiah who would set them free from the bondage of oppression. This would be done by setting up an earthly kingdom that was ruled by God Himself. When the Jewish people saw their physical dilemmas, they reverted to the hope that someone would come who would lead them back to a place of prominence in their world. To help the process along, the Pharisees begin promoting their own interpretation of the Law and Prophets. Regulations and extra Biblical teachings were promoted to evidence that God was still in charge. The problem was the Jewish people exchanged hope for a continuing mountain-valley experience. Every new or expanded “truth” was met with excitement. But soon it turned into disappointment and a searching for yet another movement that would excite them into hopeful expectations.
When the Messiah did come, they did not recognize Him. They thought Jesus was a prophet or great teacher that would reintroduce the Jewish Kingdom. As quickly as they were exposed to the Truth, the Truth was adjusted and altered to promote a physical manifestation rather than a spiritual deliverance. The people craved miracles that would help them grasp the reality of God. Jesus knew that the heart of man was desperately wicked and the only hope for God’s chosen people was circumcision of the heart. (Romans 2:29) Jesus realized that His greatest mission would be the “religious” community. The Jews responded to Jesus as a supplier of their physical needs, rather than the “lamb of God” which would restore them to a right standing with God. Jesus’ ministry in the Synagogues was short lived, for His message conflicted with their traditions. For three years, Jesus reached out with the Love of God to a people who were indifferent to the real Truth. Wherever He went, the religious authorities followed with contradictory teachings that confused the people. Finally, the “religionists” crucified Him! It wasn’t until after Jesus’ ascension that the real truth of God’s love was revealed. In that “upper room” the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples, the unfiltered truth flooded their spirits, and the Church was born!
There is such a similarity today to the earthly ministry of Jesus. Our religious institutions have developed communities of diversity. The ability to recognize Biblical Truth has become a difficult task. Doctrines of devils have disguised their way into the Church. Laughing spirits have become a mockery unto the Lord. Spiritual “drunkenness” has elevated the flesh into mocking displays of tainted truth. The Church is eager to acknowledge sin in our country, but remains silent when it comes to sin in the Church. When are we going to realize that as the Church goes, so goes our country! When the Church fails to represent God, our country will represent Satan! Believers must stop cultivating “Christian cults” and start planting and harvesting from the true seed of God’s Word.
There is a talk of a great revival coming, but it cannot become a reality while the counterfeit church is in session. God wants to visit His Church, but not until we turn the Church back to Him.