6. If you discovered the cure to cancer, you would tell others. That's what Evangelism is...telling others.
Late in December 1996, a large family in Los Angeles gathered for a joyous Christmas. There were so many gathered that night, five of the children slept in the converted garage, kept warm during the night by an electric heater placed near the door.
During the early hours of the morning, the heater suddenly burst into flames, blocking the doorway. In seconds the room became a blazing inferno. The frantic 911 call revealed the unspeakable terror as one of the children could be heard screaming, “I’m on fire!” The distraught father rushed into the flames to try to save his beloved children, receiving burns to 50 percent of his body. Tragically, all five children burned to death. They died because steel bars on the windows thwarted their escape. There was only one door, and it was blocked by the flames.
Imagine you are back in time, just minutes before the heater burst into flames. You peer through the darkness at the peaceful sight of five sleeping youngsters, knowing that at any moment the room will erupt into an inferno and burn the flesh of horrified children. Can you in good conscience walk away? No! You must awaken them and warn them to run from that death trap!
The world sleeps peacefully in the darkness of ignorance. There is only one Door by which they may escape death. The steel bars of sin prevent their salvation, and at the same time call for the flames of Eternal Justice. What a fearful thing Judgment Day will be! The fires of the wrath of Almighty God will burn for eternity. The Church has been entrusted with the task of awakening them before it’s too late. We cannot turn our backs and walk away in complacency. Think of how the father ran into the flames. His love knew no bounds. Our devotion to the sober task God has given us will be in direct proportion to our love for the lost. There are few who run headlong into the flames to warn them to flee (Luke 10:2). Please be one of them. We really have no choice. The apostle Paul said, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
Two centuries ago, the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon, said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” A Christian cannot be apathetic about the salvation of the world. The love of God in him will motivate him to seek and save that which is lost.
There is nothing more important to you than the salvation of your unsaved friends and family, and you probably have a limited amount of time after your conversion to impact them with the gospel. After their initial shock, they will put you in a neat little ribbon-tied box and keep you at arm’s length. So it’s important that you take advantage of the short time you have while you still have their ears. Put yourself in their position. You know that you have found everlasting life—death has lost its sting! Your joy is unspeakable. But as far as they are concerned, you have been brainwashed and become part of a weird sect. So your loving actions will speak more loudly than ten thousand eloquent sermons. Fervently pray for them, thanking God for their salvation. Let them see your faith. Let them feel your kindness, your genuine love, and your gentleness. Buy gifts for no reason. Do chores when you are not asked to. Go the extra mile.
Although it would be nice to have a loved one say, “Tell me about your faith in Jesus Christ,” that may not happen. You will have to gently and lovingly make an opportunity to speak to them. You may have only one shot, so pray for wisdom and sensitivity to God’s timing.
When sharing the gospel with your loved ones, make sure you use the Law to gently address the conscience and bring the knowledge of sin inoffensively. An effective way to soften the message without compromise is to speak in the “first person” or in testimonial form. Say something like, “I didn’t realize the Bible warns that for every idle word I have spoken, I will have to give an account on Judgment Day. I thought that as long as I believed in God and tried to live a good life, I would go to Heaven when I died. I was so wrong. Jesus said that if I as much as looked with lust, I had committed adultery in my heart, and that there was nothing I could do to wash away my sins. I knew that if God judged me by the Ten Commandments on Judgment Day, I would be guilty, and end up in Hell. It was when I acknowledged my sins that I began to understand why Jesus died. It was to take the punishment for my sins, and the sins of the world.”
Then, depending on the person’s openness, you may ask, “How do you think you will do on Judgment Day, if God judges you by the Ten Commandments?” Keep your cool, or you may end up with a lifetime of regret—believe me. Then share Christ in all of His amazing grace, explaining that if they will repent and believe, God will forgive them. Continue to persevere in prayer for them, that God would open their eyes to the truth.
In the meantime, it is important to realize that we should share our faith with others whenever we can, “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Perhaps another Christian has prayed earnestly that God would use a faithful witness to speak to his beloved mom or dad, and you are that answer to prayer. You are the true and faithful witness God wants to use.
Keep the fate of the ungodly always before your eyes. Remember that each and every person who dies in his sins has an appointment with the Judge of the Universe. Hell opens wide its terrible jaws. There is no more sobering task than to be entrusted with the gospel of salvation, working with God for the eternal well-being of dying humanity. Have the same attitude as the apostle Paul, who pleaded for prayer for his own personal witness. He asked “that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,…that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19,20).