It’s a Team Sport

In this day and age, almost no one comes to the Lord in one step. It’s a process that has many steps along the way, including pastoral sermons, messages heard on TV and radio, articles read, and listening to Christians sharing their faith or being observed from a distance. Seeds are constantly being sown and some take longer than others to germinate. Some fall on hard ground and never germinate.

It’s interesting that a seed has its own energy source and remains dormant until it’s in the right environment. In like form, spiritual seeds sown into the lives of unbelievers often remain dormant until the right environment is achieved…the most common being a life challenge that God is using to get their attention.

The average person hears the Gospel message seven or more times before making their Eternal Decision. That’s why lots of seeds need to be sown into the lives of unbelievers. And it’s why God’s Purpose for Your Life is to move everyone, every day, closer to Jesus. It’s a rare occasion when you get to be the one to actually lead them across the finish line.

Ultimately, their decision will be largely influenced by their positive or negative perception of the Christians in their lives…including you. Whether you like it or not, you’re viewed by the world as an expert witness, either for the defense or the prosecution of the Gospel. You can’t escape it. Either way you’re a witness!

You’ll rarely know where unbelievers are in their spiritual journey. What you do know is that they’re on a journey, the Holy Spirit is dealing with them and you’re one of many people God’s appointed to lead them to Him. Here’s a good tip: Every time you finish leading someone closer to God, pray for their increased sensitivity to God and ask the Holy Spirit to hasten their next spiritual encounter. On rare occasions, you will have the privilege to be there at the right time to actually help someone make that ultimate decision. Whenever that happens, praise God for all of those who played their own role in that person’s Salvation. Indeed, it’s a Team Sport!

Salvation Is Not Your Responsibility

Most of us are results oriented. Being stopped at the one-yard line is not our idea of success. If we don’t score the touchdown, we’re a loser. Life is about competition, winning and celebrating victories. That’s our mindset and it’s a good one, except when we’re sharing our faith — then that’s a difficult pill for most of us to swallow. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than the hardened heart of someone you’ve shared your faith with, staying resolute in their rejection of God’s Gift of Eternal Life.

But we can’t save anyone. That’s beyond our pay grade. We didn’t send our only begotten Son to die on the cross or pay the ultimate price that Jesus paid as a sacrifice for our sins. Only God can forgive sins and give the Gift of Eternal Life. Our calling, our purpose in life, is to be His Witnesses. Here’s the bottom line, whether we like it or not, every Christian is viewed by the world as an expert witness either for the defense or the prosecution of God’s relationship with mankind. Everything you say and do is either moving people toward God or away from God — and there are serious consequences for not being on the right side of that equation.

God’s appointed us as “Watchmen on the Wall.” We’re told in Ezekiel 33 if we warn those under our influence that the enemy is coming and they refuse to heed our warning, they’ll die in their sin. But if we don’t warn them, they’ll die in their sin but their blood will be on our hands. God holds us responsible for how we use the influence He’s given us.

Rejection Is a Blessing

The fear of rejection is a serious impediment to most faith sharers. At the very least, fear leads to timidity and often stops Christians from sharing their faith altogether. The old adages of “you shouldn’t talk about politics and religion,” “to each his own,” “different strokes for different folks,” and “you have no right to impose your thoughts on other people” are inherent in our culture but contrary to scripture. People are lost, but how are they going to know unless someone tells them? Unless you tell them?

The image of the bearded man with a sign saying “The End is Near” or “Jesus Saves” comes to mind real fast. Indeed, it’s possible to have a heart for the lost and yet, with the best of intentions, push people away from God. While the message of the Gospel is sacred and we dare not change it, our methods for reaching the lost may vary widely depending on those we’re trying to reach. This is where the leading of the Holy Spirit becomes extremely intimate.

God’s already working with everyone with whom we come in contact. And every time we have a spiritual conversation, we’re entering into a sacred relationship, already in process, as a third-party endorser. That adds an entirely new dimension to every faith sharing experience.

Jesus told us in John 13:35 that they’ll know you’re His disciples by your love. As a church, we’ve become quite proficient at telling people they’re going to Hell while failing miserably at telling people how much God loves them. That message stops most people in their tracks. Most people feel they’re separated from God’s love or that God couldn’t love them after all the things they’ve done.

It’s often fun to watch the response after telling someone God loves them, followed by saying God loves them as much as He’s ever loved anyone, followed by saying God loves them as much as He loves His Own Son, Jesus Christ. Most people are not offended by the message of God’s love and His desire for them to spend Eternity with Him in Heaven.

Nevertheless, rejection and ridicule are always a possibility for those actively sharing their faith. It boils down to whether you fear God or fear man. Are you more afraid of offending God or offending man? Putting it in that perspective, there’s no contest. Matthew 10:33 tells us whoever denies Me before man, I will also deny before My Father in Heaven. Moving everyone, every day, closer to Jesus is your guarantee that God will never deny you before His Father.

There is, however, an additional silver lining. There’s a special blessing for those who suffer rejection. During His Sermon on the Mount, captured in Mathew 5, Jesus said that blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My Sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in Heaven…