God’s Pursuing Love!
Over the first month of this new year, our congregation has been examining the issue of evangelism. We know that God commands us to “...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (Matt. 28:19 NET). However, some ‘thing’ always seems to hold us back from fulfilling this great commission.
It has been my experience that the biggest ‘thing’ that holds us back is often fear. We are afraid that our witness won’t be good enough. We are afraid that our presentation of the Gospel won’t be sophisticated enough. We are afraid that no one will respond to our presentation.
I learned an important, and Biblical, lesson about evangelism many years ago. Evangelism is less about us, and all about God!
While pastoring a church in Ohio, a couple in my congregation made a prayer request for a lady with whom they used to attend church. She was scheduled to go to Ft. Wayne, IN for a heart Cath in just a few days. Normally, I would not have driven so far to see someone who was not part of our congregation. However, I felt a strong leading from the Holy Spirit that I needed to go visit this lady and have prayer with her.
A lay leader in our congregation made the 2 hour drive up to Ft. Wayne with me. We barely arrived in time. The lady was already being prepped for surgery. The couple from our congregation was there with her, so I introduced myself and asked her if she would like to pray. She said, ‘Yes’.
Following our prayer, I went out into the hall and waited for the couple to come out. When they did, they were grinning ear to ear. It turns out, this friend of theirs had never accepted Jesus as her Savior. She told her friends that she was so touched that a pastor she did not even know would come and pray with her that she wanted to accept Jesus as her Savior. So, my friends prayed with and she received the gift of salvation.
Notice that I have very little to do with this conversion story! I had responded to the Spirit’s leading to come and pray, but I had mistakenly assumed that she was already a Christian. We celebrated her acceptance of salvation and went to the waiting room to sit through her heart cath.
A short while later, her doctor came in and informed us that her heart was entirely calcified and that she had died! God knew that this was her last chance to accept Him! So, working through her friends, myself, and a lay member of our congregation, He made sure that this lady had one more chance to accept Him! Praise the Lord!
For a Biblical parallel to this experience, read Acts 8:26-39 where God sends Phillip to a complete stranger in the middle of nowhere! Evangelism is not about how clever, or persuasive, or articulate we can be in sharing the Gospel. It is all about how God can use our obedience to reach the lost for whom He died!
Pastor Tim Moran