“to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” – Isaiah 53:1
On the judgment day, God would be justified if he adds the words “by you” before the ‘?’ I once heard a preacher rightly say that the Church is notorious for being slow. There are probably tens of thousands of humans dying every day and about 80-90% of them are being consigned to hell because they have died as sinners. Even if no one ever preached the Gospel to them, they are accountable before God (as per Romans 1:20), because if they were really sincere about seeking God and wanting to know Him – their Creator – they could have called out to Him in the privacy of their bedroom or slum or forest/cave and God would have definitely revealed Himself to them.
But that notwithstanding, we believers in Jesus have been commissioned by God by default, to preach the Gospel…to evangelize. ‘By default’ here means that since we have believed in Jesus as the Saviour and repented of our sins, we are automatically supposed to fulfill the Great Commision (or G.C., if you will!), even though the G.C. was given 2,000 years ago.
I work in an NGO where we are developing a surgical simulator to train ophthalmologists to perform cataract surgeries using a low cost technique. Someone in my office once said:
“There are 3 major reasons for slow progress: skepticism, lack of communication, and the burden of proof. These factors have contributed to the delayed acceptance of medical simulation.”
I thought about it. The same applies to Christianity. The message of salvation as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ, has not been proclaimed as well and as speedily as it should have been, due to skepticism, and communication issues. Let’s look at each of the 3 points mentioned by my colleague:
The Gospel is not being received universally because there are many skeptics. Skeptics owe it to at least themselves and God, to conduct an objective, unbiased research and find out the Truth. Anyway, Romans 1:20 applies to them: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” We can overcome their skepticism by overcoming our…
2. Communication Problems
I once heard a preacher or apologist say, that a survey revealed that about 80% of Christians never win even one soul to Christ. Sounds like Jesus gave the Great Commission only to 20% of us! If you start getting comfortable in your church seat, maybe it’s time to get un-comfortable! If you shared the Gospel but the hearer did not believe, then it’s fine. At least you tried. But before preaching, do pray that they receive the Gospel message or tract willingly and that they pray the sinner’s prayer with a true repentant heart. Every Gospel tract should have a salvation call, with a model sinner’s prayer, in case the person wants to articulate their receiving Jesus. The conversion of heart might already have taken place between the time they hear the Gospel and pray the salvation prayer. But to be certain, it helps to have the prayer included in the tract or as a part of your sharing the message.
Another way of evangelism is to pray for those who are sick. You can tell them that Jesus has paid the price for their healing. Lay hands on them and pray (command healing to manifest in Jesus’ name). Once you have done this, you can say, “Just as Jesus paid the price for your healing, he also bore the penalty for your sins and paid the price for your forgiveness.” Then go ahead and share with them the good news of salvation through Jesus. In case you do not believe that bodily healing is in the atonement, then right now read the blog post titled Is Healing in the Atonement?
3. Burden of Proof
The Bible says that God is watching over His Word to perform it. “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6) God has given us plenty of resources to prove to people that He is who the Bible claims He is – a blesser…always good…His mercy endures forever. Check out site like AllAboutGod.com, AnswersinGenesis.org, etc. If we go out and preach the Gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons, God will back up His word with an amazing work. He has promised in Exodus 34:10 even to Old Testament saints:
“And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.”
God has already proven His Word. Now it’s up to the skeptics to dig out the truth – and up to us believers to help them in this endeavour.
(Excuse my grammar – it should actually have read: How to Not Fulfill…!)