February 2008 Newsletter
Andy Stanley Says We Must Earn
What a great time it is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ! It just continues
to amaze me that when we go out with a mind and heart open to reaching the lost,
God places people right in front of us with open hearts of their own. I always
get excited as I pray for opportunities to share my faith, and how God provides
those opportunities. Why does He do that? He is faithful.
I was reading an article from the USA Today newspaper
I noticed a quote that intrigued me. Andy Stanley, a pastor here in Atlanta, said,
“If we were able to rewrite the script for the reputation of Christianity,
I think we would put the emphasis on developing relationships with non-believers,
serving them, loving them, and making them feel accepted, only then would we earn
the right to share the gospel.”
One thing I do now when I hear quotes from Christian people is to see if the quote
can be backed up with Scripture. One pastor told me one of the mistakes we regularly
make with Christians is that when we listen to them we put our guard down instead of
putting our guard up. We implicitly trust people, but with so much false teaching
going on, we really shouldn’t trust anyone. We must make sure what they say is backed
up by the Bible.
Andy states above that only after doing certain things for lost people do we earn the
right to share the gospel with them. I have been hearing this a lot more lately that
we must earn the right to witness to people. The only problem is that I cannot find
that teaching in the Scriptures and that is where we must go to find truth.
Jesus speaking in Mark 16:15 states,
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach
the gospel to every creature.”
Where in this verse, or anywhere else in the Bible, does it tell us that we must earn
the right to share our faith? Once you are a Christian, you have the right. We are
compelled to share the gospel with the lost. We know hell is real, and it is our
responsibility to try and stop all people from going there.
When Jesus tells us to follow Him and He will make us fishers of men, He means it.
When Jesus says He came to seek and save those who are lost, then it is also our
responsibility to do the same.
When Jesus witnessed to the woman at the well, did He get her water first before He
earned the right to share the gospel with her?
When Jesus was talking with the rich young ruler, did he help him with his stock
portfolio before He shared eternal truth with him?
And what nice things was Stephen going to do for the people that were stoning him,
because he was telling them about seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of the
Father? Should he have asked them if he could wash off their rocks first, before
they threw them at him?
When the Jews were having Paul arrested in Acts 21 and Paul got a chance to preach
to the crowd, should he have handed out skittles, given away free concert tickets,
or washed their cars before he shared the truth of Jesus Christ with them?
Hogwash and balderdash is all I can think of. One more time we are being duped by
what people say instead of listening to what God tells us. As one guy said, if you
were at the World Trade Center on September 10th, and you knew all those people would
die the next day, what would you say to them? It doesn’t seem like to me that you
would have had a lot of time to get them to like you, or to do a bunch of nice things
for them. If you really want lost people to love you, then give up Christianity and
go and find another faith to believe in. 2 Timothy 3:12 says,
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Persecution goes with the territory when a life is committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some lost people like you and some don’t. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Are you
pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ with your life because He is the only One you need to
please in your existence down here.
On my plane flight tomorrow, how am I supposed to earn the right to witness to that
person? Am I supposed to pour his drinks for him? I have the right commanded to me
by Almighty God to witness to him or her and you can be assured I will pray for that
opportunity and I will take advantage of that opportunity.
Paul states in Ephesians 6:18,19:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching
thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance
may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the
Paul is not praying for boldness to go and do nice things for someone today. He is praying
that he will have the boldness to tell someone the truth about the whole counsel of God,
eternity, sin, heaven, hell, repentance, and the judgment of God.
Click on the link below. It is a short video called A Letter From Hell:
You may not have time to do nice things for people just so you can try and earn the right
to share the gospel with them. You have already been commanded to witness to people (Mark
16:15,16 and Matthew 28:18–20). Make sure there are no letters from hell postmarked
with your name on them.
And by the way, how can you keep the most important thing in your life away from someone
that you know? That would be the definition of selfish. Please be selfless in the coming
days as you reach the lost, and not selfish.
Until the nets are full,
P.S. A friend of mine sent me a video link to his son speaking:
You have got to watch it. No, not the part where he mentions me in the beginning, but
listen to his voice. Watch his eyes. Look at his countenance. That is a twelve year
old boy so passionate about reaching the lost and serving the Lord Jesus Christ with his
life. Looks to me like there is some great parenting going on there! Come on adults out
there, don’t let 12 year olds lead the way! But let’s do make sure we have a bunch of
young people ready to fill our shoes if we die and go home some day soon.