This week’s post is the second page from my track on evangelism, “Sowing in Hard Ground.” We spent the first three posts of this blog series looking at every Christian’s call to evangelize. If you are a follower of Christ, you have been called to play a role in the Great Commission.
That being said, not enough Christians go about evangelizing in a way that attracts non-Christians. There aren’t many people interested in a message of repent or go to hell and now I know why: Jesus and the Apostles never preached the Good news that way. I have spent years learning this that hard way. My 50 years of experience as an anti-Christian have taught me a lot about sharing the Gospel message with those who previously weren’t interested.
We got started with the first page of my track with last week’s post. I discussed how the most important thing you can do as an evangelist is be a great listener. Today I want to begin discussing how you are to go about responding. Let’s get started!
Recall from the introduction that Jesus rarely spoke of the afterlife. Indeed, there is a heaven waiting for us when we die (those of us in Christ), and God wants all to be saved and spend eternity with Him.
However, getting us to heaven is not God’s primary purpose when He offers a relationship to us. Instead, God wants a people for His own possession, zealous for good works. He has work for you and me. He wants us to participate with Him in this lifetime.
Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:13-14
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10a
He sent His only Son, Jesus, to open a new pathway to restore people to a relationship with Himself. He wants all His children to be beneficial to Him, glorify Him and zealously do the good works He assigns to them.
So, while God invites all, Jesus said few find the narrow gate; and that can be uncomfortable for some Christians. I encourage you to try to get comfortable with this truth. If finding the narrow gate were as easy as going to church or feeling convicted of your sins, the Bible would make little sense. Hopefully, you do not see your objective as getting them to attend church—your church doors are not the narrow gate. Surely, you want them to find freedom in a new spirit, to be born of the Spirit.
I am not forsaking the assembly; I am simply reminding you of your objective. We aren’t just looking for another casual churchgoer; we are properly leading them to fall in love with Christ, to become reborn in Christ. We should invite them to church. Attending church is desirable and a significant step in the right direction, but that isn’t our objective. We want to lead them into a love relationship with Jesus, the Word become flesh.
Jesus tells us, though, that few will. Why? Try to think like the unsaved when you read the following reasons why few find the narrow gate.
We are proud and don’t want to bow down to anyone, including God.
Some people don’t want to change; they are happy in their sins. However, in my experience, this is fewer than you might think; most know deep down that their sin traps them.
The ones who feel trapped by their sin are convinced they can’t get out of prison. They don’t believe that God can provide the power to break free.
Some are willing to try going to church or even attend a Bible study. That is, they are eager to try on some new clothes or learn some new things, but they are reluctant to commit to a deep relationship with God. Sitting in church and occasionally reading scripture may not be drawing close enough to God. He responds to the persistent knocker, not a half-hearted willingness to try doing or learning something new. Half-heartedness is better than no-heartedness because it can lead to more-heartedness. But if God is still waiting for more commitment, and they feel they have tried hard enough, they may give up too soon.
Therefore, for all these reasons and more, most don’t find the narrow gate, the re-birth into new life.
The parable of the sower has four soil types, and you don’t know what soil is in front of you. Indeed, even if it seems they want to find the narrow gate, your seed may fall on their rocky, hard or thorny soil. You can’t change their soil, nor can you force, trick, or guilt them to change their soil.
Your job is to tell them the good news that Jesus is the revelation from God for which humankind was waiting. He has come to provide a way to restore their relationship with God. And that is great news because God has tremendous blessings of joy for those who decide to draw close to Him.