SEEKING THE LOST
Last Sunday, we saw how seeking the lost is essential to following Jesus. I hope that you’ve been challenged and encouraged to take seriously your ongoing responsibility to tell others about Jesus. To help you apply this to your life, I’d like to offer some practical steps you can take.
The first thing you should do is pray. Who’s in your life right now who needs Jesus? Someone for whom no one else may be praying? Take a moment to actually identify someone. As you earnestly pray for that family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor to come to Christ, be prepared that God may use you to help answer that prayer. In addition, pray for compassion for the lost all around you — that God would open your eyes. Pray for the will to obey, pray that your love and gratitude for the Lord would grow, and pray for boldness in presenting the gospel.
The next step is to make sure you know the gospel. And I have a very simple suggestion for you: to learn the gospel, read the Gospels. To learn how to proclaim the gospel, read the book of Acts, especially the sermons. The Great Commission calls for disciple-making, not simply decision-making, and that includes teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded.
Finally, sooner than later, you need to actually share the good news. One of the biggest obstacles is finding a way to move a conversation toward the gospel. The simplest and most practical advice I’ve seen for this is to get the name of Jesus into the conversation. Once you do that, there’s no going back. You can talk about spirituality, religion, and even God without ever getting to the gospel. But once you say the name Jesus, you can get to the good news.
At that point, you share the gospel as fully and clearly as you can — without compromise. You must present Jesus as Savior and Lord. You must present the cross of Calvary, and the cross they’re to take up daily as they follow Him. Offer to answer any questions they may have. If you don’t know the answer, then tell them you’ll try to find it.
Ask them if they’re ready to repent and believe: to change their mind and agree they’re a sinner and to put their trust in Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. Then allow them to pray, and trust the Holy Spirit to bring about salvation. Remember, it’s not your words or getting them to recite a special prayer that saves them. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit. For all who repent and believe, encourage them to get connected to a local church (like ours), be baptized, and be discipled by another believer (like you).
You don’t have to move to another continent to be a missionary. Much like a foreign missionary, every day you encounter people who need to know Jesus. You can adopt a missionary mindset wherever God has you right now. But this will call for you to step outside of your comfort zone — motivated by love for the lost and for the Lord and empowered by the Holy Spirit — and walk across the lunchroom or across the street or even reach across the dinner table to seek out the lost and bring salvation to the dying.
— Josh Hall