We can not assume that a few nonbelievers are ready to receive Christ just because a Christian knocks on their door, presents them with a gospel tract or video, and challenge them to a salvation decision or public call for decision at the alter!!.
The body of Christ must be based on believers who are empowered by the Holy Spirit – effective witnessing especially with people we know well, requires faithful prayer, patience, and genuine love while gently sharing the gospel starting with
- Who Jesus is?
- Why He gave His life?
- Who Jesus is not?
For many, it can mean years of witnessing and discipling before they come to faith. Following Christ is a journey, and it begins (before the decision) takes place.
The Holy Spirit prepares a person’s heart for the gospel message; persuading nonbelievers to make immature Faith or Salvation decision is a big mistake. Only God can and will do God’s works, our commission is to share and proclaim the gospel relying on the Holy Spirit empowerment to do the rest!
We have to meet them where they are at in life and share with them Who Jesus is? Why He gave His life? Who Jesus is not? Without judging or condemning rather genuinely Love them. In most cases addiction is the real mask of deep years of hurts, frustrations and sufferings; this is why we gently should be seeking the change of hearts first (healing the poisoned roots) before attempting to seek the change of behaviors, and together live and walk hands in hands the solution from the beginning and every step of the way.
The Father commands us not to get overwhelmed or disappointed if we don’t get followed “it is not all about us”, rather rely on the Holy Spirit to do His work which may take years to come to revalation. Remember, we should be seeking change of hearts first then change of behaviors and change of lifestyle will follow.
Love this testimony from Pastor Steve Dodson (AG):
Many apples were left behind. Some had fallen out of the bucket when the harvesters came through. Others were discarded, because they were damaged and had (scars or bruises). Steve gave some of these (Neglected Apples) to some of the women in the church. They peeled and canned the apples. Later, they made beautiful pies.
Through this experience, God revealed to Steve that many people in the community were like those apples, waiting to be gathered. (Neglected people) are passed over by Christians who look on the outside and conclude that the people are unreachable. Steve shared his experience with his congregation. It energized the church. Believers began gathering neglected people, and a variety of newcomers visited the church. Some were neglected as children. Some were addicts and alcoholics. They were scarred and bruised by sin and suffering. God made something beautiful of them. They began to take part in the life of the church. Some are now deacons in the church.
The decision to follow Christ is not the finish line, but an open door to a life devoted to following Jesus. The goal of evangelism is not just a salvation decision but also a life of discipleship; making new disciples..of every tribe, every tongue, every race and every nation at every corner of this broken, hopeless and corrupt world.
May His Holy Spirit guide us, inspire us, be our strength and our shield while doing His works. Amen!