The Lord’s Heart And Power To Save
By Rich Carmicheal
The Herald staff hopes this particular issue of the Herald provides you with much encouragement in praying for the lost and sharing the Gospel with them. With that in mind, I call your attention to the following biblical truths concerning evangelism:
The Lord Wants All People to Be Saved
One of the most important truths concerning evangelism is that the Lord desires for everyone to receive salvation. As the Apostle Paul states, “…God our Savior…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4). Likewise, the Apostle Peter writes that the Lord “…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). During His three-year ministry, Jesus made it very clear through His teachings and actions that He wanted to share salvation with as many people as possible. He came in order to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). He was eager to travel from town to town in order to share the Good News (Mark 1:38). He spent time with “sinners” in order to share God’s love and forgiveness with them. He spoke of the great rejoicing that takes place in heaven when a sinner repents (Luke 15:7, 10). And, at the close of His ministry, He commissioned the disciples to go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20).
The message is clear: the Lord desires salvation for all people. He wants every member of your family to be saved, every friend, every neighbor, every co-worker, everyone in your city, everyone in your country, and everyone in the world. He does not want anyone to perish.
The Lord Can Do the Impossible
After His encounter with the rich young ruler, Jesus told His disciples how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The disciples were concerned and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus responded, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:25-26). A second important truth in evangelism is the fact that God can do the impossible in matters of salvation.
You may know someone with whom repentance and salvation seem impossible. Perhaps you are about to give up hope. Keep in mind that God can do the impossible. Consider just a few of those mentioned in the Bible who received salvation: a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a dishonest taxcollector named Zacchaeus, a persecutor of the church named Saul, an immoral woman from Samaria, a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea, a business woman named Lydia, a thief in the process of being executed, people who had worshiped idols (1 Thes. 1:9), people who had practiced sorcery (Acts 19:19), and a very desperate Philippian jailer (Acts 16:27-34).
Because of God’s great ability to save, we can be hopeful as we seek to lead others to Him. Like the Apostle Paul in his encounter with King Agrippa, we can hope even against all odds. When Agrippa asked him if he thought he could persuade Agrippa to become a Christian in such a short time, Paul replied, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become…such as I am…” (Acts 26:28-29).
Prayer Is Essential
Another truth is that prayer is vital to evangelistic work. For example, Jesus encouraged His disciples to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:38). The Apostle Paul asked the Thessalonians to “pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you” (2 Thes. 3:1). He asked the Colossians to pray “that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, …that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Col. 4:3-4). He urged, “…First of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men…. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved…” (1 Tim. 2:1-4).
Only the Lord is able to open a person’s heart and, therefore, we must continually ask Him to be at work in the lives of those we are trying to reach with the Gospel. As Jesus told His disciples, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” (John 6:44). We need to pray that God’s Spirit will work powerfully and deeply upon the lost.
As we pray for the salvation of others, we can do so with great confidence and expectation for at least two reasons. First of all, we know that such prayers are in accordance with the Lord’s will that all people be saved. Secondly, we know that with God all things are possible. Although He will not force salvation upon anyone, we can confidently expect His Spirit to work deeply upon those for whom we earnestly pray.
The Lord Works Through Our Lives
The Scriptures also make it clear that the Lord works through us to lead others to Him. For example, our godly behavior can “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:9-10). A non-believing husband can be won to the Lord by the godly character and behavior of his wife (1 Pet. 3:1-2).
And since “faith comes by hearing” (Rom. 10:17), the Lord also uses our words as we share the gospel message with non-Christians. Our speech is to always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that we may know how we ought to answer each one (Col. 4:6). We are to always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks us a reason for the hope that is in us, with meekness and reverence (1 Pet. 3:15). The Lord will work through us as we share His message with grace, sincerity, compassion, wisdom, gentleness and godliness.
Working with the Lord
“...Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). The Lord is eager to work through your life and your prayers to help bring salvation to others. With His help, all things are possible. Who can you help lead to Him?