Adding to His family?

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One of the great joys of my life are those holy moments when I am privileged to lead people to know the love of God, to receive the gift of His grace. For some it is a dramatic moment of high emotion, with tears, and then a flood of happiness. For others it is a dawning realization, a settling of the truth about the love of their Father shown them through Jesus, that takes root in their lives.  The Spirit moves, the heart surrenders, and there is new birth into the family of God.  This moment is so significant that Jesus said that there is “rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)

We know that He told us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, but do we do this work? Or do we think that leading others to know Jesus is the specialized work of missionaries and evangelists?

I see evangelizing poorly done and it makes me cringe. While I admire the courage of that person who asks a perfect stranger if they know Jesus, I also wonder if the question only produces embarrassment about 99.9% of the time. I have seen clumsy attempts made to press Gospel leaflets into the hands of reluctant persons and know how irritating that is to me. I would not buy an appliance from someone who knocked on my front door, so why would I discuss how I feel about my relationship with God with a stranger? You can introduce people to Christ without embarrassing them, without resorting to threats of eternal damnation.

How?

Be prayerfully aware of spiritual need!
Jesus took His disciples through Samaria, among people almost all Jews of the time thought were beyond God’s reach, and He told them “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”  (John 4:35)  Among our friends and in our extended families there are those who are struggling with guilt, looking for meaning, wondering about God. If we are sensitive we will see their need, which is the first step.

Pray before you speak!
Conversion is more than convincing someone to agree with you about some things you read in the Bible. No one can be saved apart from God’s work in the heart. We pray, consistently, expectantly, faithfully for the Spirit to shed light and bring revelation of the Truth.

Let your life speak more loudly than your words!
Prior to most every decision about buying something or engaging a contractor, we read reviews and/or get recommendations from friends. We don’t live in small communities anymore where everyone knows the kind of work that someone does or if she is reliable, so we look for a ‘witness’ who tells us about their experience.  Most people who come to Christ through your efforts will do so because they see an undeniable quality of life and love in you. “I want what you have,” is the underlying fact.

Know how to use the Scripture well!
You can take a person to the story of a lost son who came home to a loving Father (Luke 15) and let it speak to your friend.  You can point to the promise of new birth that Jesus shared with a Nicodemus in John 3. You can lead them through key points that Romans makes about the separation sin creates and the forgiveness that God offers –  (“All have sinned … Wages of sin is death, Gift of God is eternal life.”)  3:23; 6:23

Sharing Jesus does not come in a formula or with a “one-size fits all” speech.  We converse, weaving our witness with God’s truth, and the Spirit brings new life.

The most joyful Christians I know are those who are sharing their love of Jesus with others – teaching, loving, inviting, integrating faith into everyday life.  It’s not easy work. It’s a little like having children. Ask a parent. Children are costly, steal sleep when they are babies and teenagers, make impossible demands of us, sometimes disappoint, can be ungrateful – and – they love us, enrich us, fill us with warmth – all at the same time.  Praying with someone to accept Jesus and seeing them born again is just the beginning. After that comes the investment of making disciples.

The word from the Word is an invitation for us to join the ongoing work of making Christ and His rule known in all the world.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NLT) “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NLT)

The world is waiting, starting at your front door. Let’s go!

__________

No Longer Slaves

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

 I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

 From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

 You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser © 2014 Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

 

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