Hard Ministry and Secret Weapon

Vol. 8-31 – 07-30-2023 – Hard Ministry and Secret Weapon

Hard Ministry

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. –John 1:40-42a

Not long after receiving Christ as my Savior, my heart ached for my brother and his wife. He had been part of an evangelical church for numbers of years. She was a member of the Roman church. Neither was saved. They both were part of the high church and were also connected with a cult.

Christ gives an expectation to His own. Be ready at all times: In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. –1 Peter 3:15

When I shared the Gospel with both of them, I included my personal experience. I told them of my experiences growing up, and that I was not a Christ-follower in my younger years. Then I told them what I found out, and how I responded. Then I related how all that had made a difference in my life, and the ways that it did. I concluded that my deepest desire was for them to have the same experience.

I was disappointed that they were not interested. Some time went by, and I was still burdened for my brother. Not unlike when you are burdened by relatives or some of your own wayward children/grandchildren.

So, being concerned with my brother’s destiny (his wife had died by this time), I expressed to him my concern—gently and respectfully (2 Peter 3:15). His response was, again, the same. Imagine the ache brought to my heart when he told me not to speak to him ever again. My brother. He is still my brother, and I love him regardless. I continue to pray for him and ask God to send someone into his life that he will listen to.

Ministry is hard—especially for those you really love and care about.

How do you approach people that you love in order to move them toward Jesus so that they might understand and want Him? Why is it that we have been able to share the gospel with individuals that were ready to hear? Individuals having marital problems. Individuals in abusive situations. Individuals grieving a loss. Individuals incarcerated or recently released. And more.

But are not welcomed by some members of our family?

We do need to rely on the Word of God, the sacrifice of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet there are other expectations in the Scriptures:

  1. We do need to not stop praying for them
  2. We need to be careful to show how much we love them
  3. We need to approach them with humility and grace
  4. We need to be watchful for natural opportunities to share our faith
  5. We need to have a heart of gentleness and respect

At times we get weary. However, weariness is easily set aside when we see what God does in a life. There is value in being faithful for as long as it takes—because eternity is a long time to be separated from the Lord.

Secret Weapon

One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. –Acts 16:14-15

There are some additional thoughts regarding drawing those we love to Christ. None of these, including the list in the previous section, are guaranteed. However, there is plenty of scriptural evidence that we should make these kinds of efforts regardless.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17f, we are instructed that because we have a new life, being a new creature, the expectation is that we make good in our ministry of reconciliation. That ministry comes with our position in Christ. It comes for every born-again believer. Further, because we have the ministry of reconciliation, we are then ambassadors for Christ. Ambassadors say the same thing as the one sending them says.

We do know that no one comes to Christ unless the Father draws them (John 6:65). So, who does He not draw? His Word indicates an answer to this question. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. –2 Peter 3:9

There is no willingness in God that wishes people to perish. So, He chases them with His love, grace, and mercy. So, how might we approach the need for the unsaved that makes our hearts ache?

  1. Ask God to coordinate circumstances and events in the life of the one you love to help them recognize their need for Christ
  2. Pray for discernment. That God would give you the ability to see how He is working in the life of your loved one. And to give you the wisdom to come alongside.
  3. Ask God to soften their heart. You want them to hear the Word of God. It will take a softening of your loved one’s heart to hear.
  4. What matters is that they will hear and listen to the truth of the Gospel. It is not who gets to invite them to receive Christ, it is that it occurs.

When we pray for our lost loved ones, we acknowledge that the work is one that only the Holy Spirit can do. His power is essential. When standing on this truth, our practice of sharing the gospel it is much easier; easier to trust the Holy Spirit with what He is quite capable of doing.

Life Application

A receptive ear requires our faithfulness. We cannot make choices for those we love. However, we can love them regardless of their response. We can also demonstrate our love toward them. Just to remind us, it is exactly what Jesus did regarding ourselves. He demonstrated His love toward us. Demonstrating our love includes sharing the Gospel.

It is difficult for anyone to argue with us regarding our own personal experiences. So, give that personal experience, stating the difference it has made. If the opportunity surfaces, ask if they would like to have the same experience. They may say yes. The choice is theirs.

Unless God opens a person’s heart, the message of the Gospel falls on deaf ears. Once you read this blog, think about who you would like most to open their heart to believe in God. Do not neglect to pray regularly for them. Ask God to give you an opportunity to speak to that one who is in your heart. Or, to bring another believer to befriend them.

It is not about you or me, it is about Christ and His desire. You can be the one who sows or reaps. Or prays. Life comes from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They have a vested interest because God has created that loved one.

Remember how you came to Christ.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

July 30, 2023

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