Two events occurred this past week that encouraged me, challenged me, humbled me and reminded me of the importance of talking to others about Jesus. The first was a phone call from a sister who just turned ninety years of age. She was requesting assistance in finding a preacher in another state to visit her niece. She has been involved in a Bible study with her niece in recent weeks. She believes that if the right person contacts her niece and if her niece finds the right church she will give her life to the Lord.
The second event was a hospital visit. This time I was visiting a sister who recently turned one hundred years of age who has a blood clot in her leg.
When I walked into the room she said, “I’m so glad you came to see me, I have something I want to talk to you about.” (There are times that a statement like that puts fear in the heart of a preacher, but not this time!) This dear sister continued by asking me if I would be willing to assist her in a Bible study that she has set up with her rehab nurse. She has been talking with her about the Bible and the young woman has agreed, along with her boyfriend, to study the Bible. I told her it would be an honor to be a part of that study. She said, “I thought that’s what you would say.”
One sister is ninety years young, the other 100 years of age, and they are involved in teaching people about Jesus! Which brings me to the title of this article, “TELL ME AGAIN WHY WE CAN’T TALK TO OTHERS ABOUT JESUS?” For those of us who are Christians, we have no excuses. If we have been saved we should be telling someone the Good News. We sometimes say we are too busy, we don’t feel well enough, we don’t know enough, we can’t find the people, or we attempt to dismiss what one friend of mine calls our “evangelistic laryngitis,” with some other reason.
Sometimes we forget that we have been saved to help others find salvation; we have been redeemed to tell others about redemption; we have been introduced to the Lord so that we might introduce others to Him. Christianity really is, one beggar helping another beggar find bread. My two dear senior Christian sisters make me want to do better. Is there someone in your world that you can reach out to this week?
In an assembly of preachers, a man who preaches for a large congregation was asked to share what the large church was doing to promote such growth. Each preacher got his pen ready to take notes of each fantastic program and idea that made the large congregation tick.
However, a very unexpected answer was to be given. The speaker said, “We have no organized programs, no promotions, no drives, no advertising programs, and no buses.”
In stunned amazement someone suggested that the preacher must surely do a lot of personal evangelism. Again, they were surprised when the preacher said that he did not do an excessive amount of visiting. He indicated that most of his time was spent in studying for his classes and sermons. Of the last 50 people who had been baptized, the preacher had only worked personally with two of them.
The secret of their success was very simple and in keeping with biblical examples. They believed in the priesthood of all believers and this leaves them free to develop their own work and ministry. They work on the principle that each one has a gift from God and that he ought to develop a work around that gift involving those of like interest. Of course, considerable encouragement is given for each member to develop his talents and use them in the work of the Lord.
Indeed, this large congregation did have a lot of work going on, but it was developed in a spontaneous way by the members themselves. Most of the growth has come through Bible studies when the church members invite a few members and several non-members into their home to study the Word of God. They selected a book of the Bible or a topic and then studied through it. Many such groups are in progress.
This concept gets back behind a strong tradition of how “church work” is to be done. It gets back to biblical model and, most important, it works practically.
No one has to wait around for someone to start a project and put a deacon, or elder, or preacher in charge. Each member allows the Lord to use his/her talent and the congregation grows for God gives the increase. I believe this system has great merit and should demand our immediate attention. If not, why not?
A few years ago, I was talking to a Christian about his commitment to God. He said he didn’t go to worship much because God had “touched him.” He stated that he took his granddaughter, but he hadn’t been to worship in three weeks. Church just wasn’t what he expected. So, I asked him, “just what did he expect?”
What Do YOU Expect of God?
Some expect God to put a stamp of approval on their lifestyle and to accept them without any change on their part. These folks might reason that since God is just and kind, He would accept them as they are. Jesus, however preached, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He also stated, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) We have to change for God to accept us.
Some may think very little of God's perspective and only think about their own. Remember, God doesn’t think like man does. (Isa. 55:8, 9) Man lives in a physical world. Often what man expects in the physical, he also expects in the spiritual. When excitement, entertainment, and pleasure are the way of the physical, some expect that in the spiritual as well. Any church that doesn’t provide those is not what they expect.
Sometimes man may think God’s ways are unfair. Some said so in the past. (Ezek. 18:25) Those living in a sinful relationship might believe it is unfair that God wants them to separate. Someone else in a dead-end marriage can’t believe that God wants them to stay together “till death do you part.” Those who are living a sinful lifestyle might consider it unfair that they must leave that lifestyle in order to get to heaven. (Gal. 5:19-21) Yet, who is it that sets the standard of fairness? Who decides right or wrong? God does.
Some may expect God to do what man is supposed to do. God cannot save a person who does not want to be saved. God cannot save someone who has not met His requirements. (Matt. 7:21) When the rich man was in torment as recorded in Luke chapter 16, he wanted someone to go to his brothers on earth to warn them. The answer was, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” (Luke 16:29) Those who want to be saved must follow God's laws. Anything else is not acceptable.
We cannot expect God to strike us with a burst of Bible knowledge. It takes study on the part of man to understand the will of God. The Bereans searched the scriptures to see if the preaching they heard was accurate. (Acts 17:11) We must study God’s Word and handle it correctly. (2 Tim. 2:15) Let us pray that we always strive to do what God expects so that we have a good conscience toward Him. (Acts 24:16; 1 Pet. 3:21) God loves us so much that He puts guidelines, rules, and ways in place to help us get through this life and be in heaven one day with Him. If we follow Him, we will achieve that goal.