Thom Rainer published an article last week entitled, “Fifteen Reasons Our Churches Are Less Evangelistic Today“. He polled Christians and Church leaders on Twitter to see what people in his general circle had to say as to why we are less evangelical, and he came up with the top fifteen most common answers. The number one answer was that Christians have no sense of urgency to reach lost people, the second most common answer was that Christians do not befriend non Christians, and the third answer was the Christians do not care (are “apathetic and lazy”).
Do you really believe it? Do you know in your heart, soul and mind that you are a sinful person, that God is holy and righteous and ready to judge you because of your sin by sending you to Hell eternally, but yet He has made a way for your sins to be forgiven through the life, death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ? Have you placed your hope, trust and faith in Him? Do you find your joy in Him?
If you are walking through a door at a restaurant, and a person is following behind you on his cell phone and you start to drop the door but realize it will hit him, do you not grab and hold the door for him? If you were walking down the street and someone starts to trip to fall into the street directly in front of oncoming traffic, would you not react by nature to grab him by the arm, or step out to help? Those of us who have a basic moral compass do such things. There are people in the world who do not. There are those who take pleasure in the plight and pain of others. But as Christians, who know that God commands us to be humble, to be servants, to love like the Good Samaritan, we generally consider it a good thing to feed the poor, to help out in the wake of a natural disaster, and to step in – even for a stranger on the street – if crisis is coming.
God has given us, as the Church, a specific and clear role: To preach the Gospel.
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
– 2 Tim 4.1-2
In season and out of season. When people are receptive and when they do not listen. All the time.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
– Rom 10.17
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
– Rom 10.14
Scripture gives us commands to share the Gospel. It reasons with us logically to help us build conviction to share the Gospel. It give us examples and stories of people hearing and believing, and it gives us examples of people hearing and not believing. It tells us stories of people who lose everything and those who die for the sake of the Gospel to show us the value of sharing.
God puts in us a new heart. The more we become like Him, the more we are concerned about the things that concern Him. But if the commands, the persuasions, the logic and the examples do not lead us to obedience and conviction to share the Gospel, He also give us consequence:
“Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.”
– Ez 3.17-21
God desires to use us to preach the Gospel. He alone causes the growth:
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
– 1 Cor 3.7
It is not our responsibility to change anyone. It is our responsibility alone to share. And God assures us that if we do not share, regardless the would-be-listener’s response, his blood is on our hands. Does that terrify you? Does that break your heart? When we stand before God on judgment day, all of our works will be sifted and the chaff will be burned up. And we will stand there, before our God and Savior, with the blood of our friends, our family members, our neighbors dripping off of our hands because we were afraid of what they would think of us, or we just did not care. Perhaps we assumed they had heard it before. Whatever the case, if you are prompted by the Spirit to share the Gospel and you chose not to, that person’s blood is on your hands. Not because you could affect their salvation but because you chose to disobey God.
There are few things that shake me more than that promise. And I hope that this promise wakes you up today. God does not need us.
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things…”
– Acts 17.24-25
God is not served by human hands. He will accomplish His plan with or without us. Our neighbor’s salvation is not contingent upon us or our sharing with him. We will, however, be held accountable and guilty for not sharing with him when judgment day rolls around. Are we OK with that?