Tips for Proposing the Gospel

Daily Devotional: Day 155

“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.  And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved” (Acts 28:23-24, NKJV).

IActs 25:10, Paul appealed to Caesar Augustus. Consequently, per Roman law, Paul was sent to Rome to have his case heard by the Emperor himself. This is the background to today’s Bible passage. Shortly after arriving in Rome, Paul sent for as many Jews as he could invite, welcomed them to his own rented house and shared the Gospel with them. Based on today’s Scripture passage, we will identify four tips for sharing the Gospel.

Tip 1.  When we share the Gospel with people, we should be ready to adequately explain it, testify about it and persuade people about it. While speaking to the Jews about Messiah, Paul did some explaining, some testifying, and some persuading. This approach is based on sound reasoning from the Scriptures which allows the light of the Gospel to be revealed.

Tip 2Being familiar with the Law and the Prophets will come in handy when we minster to people about Christ. Paul persuaded the Jews from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. This tells us that Jesus is in the Law and the Prophets. In other words, He is in the Old Testament scriptures. To be effective witnesses for the Gospel, we need to study, not just the New Testament, but the Old as well. 

Tip 3If we have to spend hours or days or weeks to explain the message of salvation to people, it is worth it Paul shared the message from morning till evening. He had a sense of urgency, but he was in no rush to get people ‘saved.’ The message of salvation is the most important message Jesus entrusted to us. We need not rush through it as it unfortunately happens today with the ‘sinner’s prayer’ or ‘salvation prayer’ and ‘altar call’ Christians have invented.

People deserve to understand the details and the implications of what they are being invited to accept, and we should make time for it. If we can spend weeks preparing for summer picnic, we certainly can make time to explain the Gospel message to those we are inviting to believe in Jesus. Let’s offer people time to reflect on the message we deliver, pray about it, process it, be convicted by it, verify what we’ve said, ask questions, and give feedback. This is the approach we see in the New Testament. 

Tip 4The Gospel is proposed, not imposedSome people believed Paul, others did not. You should not ‘push’ people to believe anything. You should not employ any form of manipulation (emotional, psychological or spiritual) to make people sign up for your message. Don’t do anything to interfere with people’s free will and intelligence. Those who accept the message, have them baptized, and help them to mature. Those who don’t accept, let them go. It’s their right. 

May the Lord equip you with wisdom for proclaiming His message! Amen.

For further study: John 6:28-69

God Does Not Save People Against Their Will

Daily Devotional: Day 132

“[God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, KJV).

Grace to you! Today, I’d like us to build upon yesterday’s message; seeing that many of us will be sharing the Gospel with people at some point in our life. The main point of yesterday’s message was that some people do not want to be saved.

Look at today’s Bible text. It says that God wants all men to be saved. That is true. But the question is: “Do all men want to be saved?” The answer is, “No.” God will not save people against their will. Throughout the Bible, you’ll see examples of this. You’ll also observe that God does not pursue people forever. Knowing this helps us to be more discerning and effective when presenting the Gospel to people. Let’s look at two examples from the life of Jesus.

In John chapter 5, Jesus healed a sick man who had sat by the pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight years. Following the healing, a heated conversation ensued between Jesus and the Jews, because Jesus had healed the man on the Sabbath. At one point, Jesus told the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40, NKJV; emphasis added). Did you catch that? Jesus says they were not willing to come to Him that they may have life. Jesus was willing to save them, but they weren’t. Therefore, He left them to live with the consequences of their choice. Jesus didn’t push, manipulate or coerce them into believing in Him for salvation. We all need to learn a lesson from this when we present the Gospel to people.

The next example is from Luke 13:34, where Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (bold emphasis added). Again, you see evidence of people not willing to be saved. Did Jesus insist that Jerusalem accept Him? No. He grieved over the city, but He respected their choice and He moved on.

God does not pursue people indefinitely, as some suppose. If they reject His love and truth, at some point He will turn away. When people’s hearts are hardened, there’s very little anyone can do. After a while, God lets them do as they please, handing them over to a reprobate mind (cf. Romans 1:27-28). At this point, it becomes nearly impossible for them to be saved. I pray the Lord will give you discernment and understanding regarding these matters as you share the Gospel with people. When presenting the Gospel, respect people’s free will at all times, no matter how strongly you feel about your views. 

The peace of Jesus Christ reign in your heart today! Amen.

For further study: Matthew 13:10-15

Some People Do Not Want to Be Saved

Daily Devotional: Day 131

“Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46, NKJV).

Paul and Barnabas spent time in Antioch of Pisidia teaching people about Jesus, the Messiah. On two consecutive sabbaths, they spoke the Word of God. On the second occasion, however, certain Jews in Antioch fiercely opposed Paul and Barnabas, contradicted their message and stirred up persecution against them. On the bright side, though, a considerable number of people believed the Word of God. Today’s Scripture reading focuses on part of Paul and Barnabas’ response to the Jewish opposition. Let’s proceed to examine the reading and see what we can learn from it.

When Jesus came into the world, He understood that His mission was to focus primarily on the Jewish people, not Samaritans or Gentiles. For example, He once stated, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24; emphasis added). The Apostles also understood this. Thus, at the beginning of their apostolic ministry, their priority was to preach to Jews first. Against this background, we can understand what Paul and Barnabas said to the Jews in Antioch: “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first.”

But notice that right after affirming the necessity of preaching to the Jews first, the Apostles turned quickly to the Gentiles. Their charge against those Jews was that they had rejected the word of God and had judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life. These are serious words. Notice also that Paul and Barnabas did not push; they didn’t employ any tactics to get those Jews to believe. They understood when to stop, leave them alone and move on to someone else. That is the proper way of ministering the Gospel to people.

We can learn many important lessons from today’s story. But as usual, there’s only so much we can discuss in a Devotional; so, let’s focus on one important point, and that is: Some people do not want to be saved.

If you are not aware of this, you will waste your time and resources on them, while those who are truly hungry for truth and salvation are left without help. People who do not want to be saved are usually people who are not lovers of the truth. Even God leaves such people alone, and He gives them what they deserve by sending them a strong delusion (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). People who love truth don’t need much convincing, for they recognize truth when they see it and they will follow it wholeheartedly, even if the truth is a hard pill to swallow.

Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, prayer and study of the Bible, learn to recognize those who do not want to be saved. Share the Word of God with them, but do not waste time on them. If they are interested, you will know. If they are not interested, your job is done. Don’t push; don’t insist. Respect their choice and move on to someone else.

May the Lord let His face shine on you today! Amen.

For further study: Romans 1:18-22