Witnessing Tools (ATP)
This week’s question is actually a combination of several similar questions that came from various people: How can I pray for people that are backslidden and/or people that don’t seem to want the faith or for people that might “know” the Word but have no revelation of it. What about people that seem not to even listen to the Word but instead twist scripture and make up doctrine. How is the best way to witness to these people? How do I prove Him to someone who won’t accept the Word as credible? I’ve asked friends/ strangers to come to church with me. I’ve shared my testimony with people and still get the, “church just isn’t my thing” response. What more can I do to get more people in church?
It’s interesting that so many questions have come in regarding the same thing. It shows how many Christians want to do what the Word says and participate in the Great Commission. But it’s also clear that there’s much discouragement in this arena. We live in a fallen world. Most people you encounter on a daily basis at your job, at your school, in your general dealings with people will be unsaved. I’m immediately brought to Matthew 7:13-14, which says, “…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Sadly, in the grand scheme of things, according to scripture, most of the people we will meet are not going to choose Jesus.
Should we quit now?? Am I saying not to even bother trying to win the lost? Not at all. One important thing is for us not to get frustrated and annoyed with people who don’t want Jesus. Jesus isn’t a stalker and He doesn’t force anyone to love Him. We can’t either. Free will is the freedom to choose whether or not we accept even heaven or hell, salvation or damnation. It really is up to each individual.
I’m reminded of Matthew 13:55-58, “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.’ Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” There were people that even Jesus Himself couldn’t reach because they refused to believe in the power and the truth. Likewise, there are many people in our own lives we will not reach because of our past, because of our natural relationships with them, because of their unwillingness to believe, and for other such reasons. We have to try not to become discouraged by this as we press in with God and purpose to live a life of winning others to the kingdom.
Our best tool with our family and close friends is prayer. As humans, we often think the best solution and our best ability is in the natural, tangible realm. We think if we just say enough or do enough it’ll work, but salvation isn’t natural. It’s supernatural and it requires supernatural power. Remember Ephesians 1:17-18, pray “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you (whoever it is you’re praying for) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Our prayers change things that our physical effort may not.
Now, we should not use this as an excuse never to speak to people about Jesus. “I’m praying for you, so forget anything else.” We should continue to invite people to church. This is good. Too many times Christians stop because they’ve heard “no” too many times. It doesn’t hurt to ask again. But, it’s more than that. 1 John 3:18-19 says, “…let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.” Our actions speak to people. Romans 2:4 tells us that the “goodness of God leads men to repentance.” Keep sharing your testimony. As we do this, we bring glory to God. But there are many things that we must consider. If we don’t look changed or sound changed our testimony isn’t a testimony to those we are witnessing to. Our witness will be destroyed by our lack of vigor. Our witness will be destroyed by our negativity. Our witness will be destroyed by our unwillingness to be generous. It will be destroyed by our unwillingness to be friendly. It will be destroyed by our unwillingness to love the unloveable. Our witness will be destroyed by our distraction and our own selfishness.
To win the lost, the broken, those with twisted doctrine, those who aren’t interested, we must love them the same way Jesus does. Matthew 9:36-37, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Jesus had compassion on people. He wasn’t frustrated with them. He wasn’t badmouthing them. He loved them so much that His heart was for laborers. If you continue reading in verse 38 you’ll see that Jesus said to pray for laborers.
In some regards though, we can even tend to get selfish when it comes to those we want to see in Heaven. No, it’s not wrong for us to desire our family members to be saved. Of course not! But we should have the same compassion on others as we do our own family. This is a novel concept isn’t it? We need to be willing to be the laborers for someone else’s loved ones. Love the unloveable. Maybe no one else will. That unloveable person might be someone else’s brother that they are praying for. Give to people you don’t know just like you would to people you do know. Truly demonstrate generosity with no hope of someone returning the favor. Stop for the broken down vehicle. Talk to the person crying in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Sit by the awkward, unpopular kid at lunch or on the bus. Pay for the persons meal in the drive thru behind you. Be the church, Christians.
Let’s focus on loving like Jesus loved. He stopped when there was a need or a pull. He became aware when someone had the slightest bit of belief and faith and He ran with it. He was willing to alter His schedule whenever warranted. He spent time praying. He encouraged His disciples to keep going. Jesus is our example. Focus on how He loved, what He said and what He did. This is how the great commission is fulfilled. This is how we reach the world.