I am cheating a little this week. I went to Together for the Gospel this last week. The theme was evangelism. I strongly encourage everyone to go listen to the messages. In order I would suggest: DeYoung, Platt, Piper, Chandler, Duncan, MacArthur, Thabiti, Dever, and Mohler. I also encourage you to watch the evangelism stories they used. I loved them.
Following an entire conference on evangelism we dove into Romans 9:1-3 this morning. Both at the conference and this morning God was quite gracious to me. Though sometimes we don’t think of “conviction” as grace we most certainly should.
When I first became Christian, God radically changed me and I was known for evangelism. I talked about Jesus a lot. I prayed consistently for God open doors for me to share the gospel. This has changed significantly. Do I still share the gospel? Yes. Though not nearly at the rate, with the urgency, or the joy that I once did.
I remember going to New Orleans for two mission trips as a teenager. I was the arrogant (bold?) kid that wanted to share the gospel with the person no one else would. The leaders told us to stay away from the Tarot Card readers, mystics, and other Wiccan type of people in the French Quarter area. Yes, I went straight for the that crowd and was in about 10 minutes with of conversation before a leader saw me and pulled me away.
There was also a couple sitting on a bench that was fully decked out in the goth look. I thought, “Yeah, I will take my preppy teenage self over there to tell them about Jesus.” I remember somewhat trembling as I walked over there while simultaneously feeling a rush of joy. This conversation was actually very effective and has quite the story, but that is for another time.
The point is, I used to have deep urgency to share the gospel. I had just been freed from sin and raised from death to life and I was “dead set” on seeing this happen in other people. It is very fair to say that I had a “great sorrow” for those separated from Christ.
Somewhere along the way… Actually, I know exactly where I lost this: Bible College. I went from being light in a dark place to being around Bible college students that wanted to be pastors all the time. I totally lost the rhythm and relationships of lost people in my life. Now I am a pastor and also spend all of my time with church people. Don’t misunderstand me though, there is a lot of gospel sharing that takes place with “church people.” Church people doesn’t always mean “saved people.”
Since Bible College the frequency and urgency in which I share the gospel with neighbors, friends, etc. has simply decreased beyond what any Christian should be comfortable with. The Holy Spirit convicted me greatly at the conference and pressed it in today.
I pray that my work as an evangelist picks up greatly, even surpassing when I was in High School. It always starts with conviction. It is easy to get too comfortable and complacent. The Holy Spirit has to shake us out of our stupor. He is doing this in me in regards to evangelism and it is a great grace.