Many modern attempts of evangelism seem to place their dependance upon music, lighting, eloquence of speech and personal charisma. We ‘convince’ converts through gimmicks, crafty persuasion or emotional manipulations. We make them part of the ‘club’ with alluring benefits of gyms, golf tournaments, concerts and other devised and enticing opportunities if they join up. And, sad to say, our converts reveal the results of these carnal attempts by being no different from the world we are supposed to rescue them from. Usually, instead of genuine believers, we create unregenerated religiousites (my word) who now are under the delusion of being saved. We produce “strange children” because we use our fleshly attempts instead of the simplicity of God’s Word and reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
The Lord promised something much greater. He said,
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” (Acts 2:17-18, emphasis added)
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which began on the Day of Pentecost after our Lord’s resurrection, is the catalyst which should be the power and clarity of our life and message. Salvation is of the Lord. Conviction is of the Lord. The message of the gospel is of the Lord. We need to make sure the methods we use are of the Lord.
It is easy to underestimate the results and present work of the Holy Spirit when we share the simple gospel message. Below is a letter I recently received from a former idol worshipper who heard a simple message of salvation I preached via telephone to an outreach meeting in India. Read and celebrate with me how the Holy Spirit had already prepared her heart through a dream. (The English is rough as it had to be translated from Telugu.)
“My name is K_____. I was so depressed because I have many problems with my husband. I worshipped many gods and goddesses for the change in my husband’s life. He never changed. I was planning to die. I can’t go through this suffering my whole life, so I want to die. While I was planning to die, a Sister R___ came to my home and welcomed me to outreach meeting. I told to her that I will come… When we came, people are singing. I know Pastor J___ very well, he is wonderful man. I was also looking at the banner. There is man just like my brother, I am feeling in my heart that I have seen him in my dream 4 months back. He is same brother. As I waited I heard the wonderful message of Jesus love and His forgiveness. I was very strong idol worshiper. as I come to know Jesus loves me and will forgive my sins and died for me, I can’t wait. I began to cry for such wonderful love of Jesus. I welcomed Jesus into my heart. When Pastor J___ called me to come forward, I came. There is great peace in my heart. As I was repeating the prayer, Lord is asking me to forgive my husband. I took baptism on that day. I don’t want to die any more. I want to live for Jesus. One more good news, Lord changed my husband, he is not same… Brother Terry, we can’t wait to see you. Please pray for me and for my husband.”
On the banner was my photo. I did not want it there, but Brother J___ insisted that it was important for the native Indians to see who was speaking to them. As we discussed this, the Lord spoke to my heart saying, “He understands his culture, let him do what he knows is best.” Therefore, I told Brother J___ that I trusted him and to do what he thought was best. The Lord certainly confirmed this through K____’s testimony and used the photo on the banner to arrest her heart from the very beginning. The Holy Spirit had prepared her heart through a dream four months prior to coming to this outreach. Let us trust the Lord’s ways and be faithful to His Word.
Let us never underestimate the power and work of the Holy Spirit to prepare a person’s heart for the message. Equally so, let us never overestimate our importance. We are simple messengers called to proclaim a clear, simple and applicable message to the hearers. Salvation is the Lord’s work. The photo at the top of this article shows Brother J___ and K____ as she is about to receive the ordinance of baptism and make a public proclamation of her surrender to Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.
Do it again, Lord! Do it again…