Share the Gospel, Expect Fruit
Last week I wrote that we should expect to receive opposition when we share our faith. It is also true that we should expect fruit.
When we take the risk of presenting the gospel, good things happen!
The reason that we can expect fruit when we share the gospel is found in the Great Commission. To his disciples, who were told to go and make disciples of all nations, Jesus said: “
Surely, I will be with you always to the very end of the age”
We experience his presence in the greatest way when we have the greatest need for Him, i.e., when we know that we are in over our heads and cannot rely solely on our own resources. Here are some examples of God bearing fruit through my gospel interactions with people:
At the Eugene transit station a Teen Challenge student I was training felt impressed to approach a particular group. A young man (about 20) began talking with us. He was angry at God. A friend of his had been shot in a gang-related shooting in Los Angeles. Another friend had died in his arms of a heroine overdose. He wondered why God would allow so many bad things to happen and why God did not answer his prayer for his dying friend. The Teen Challenge student interjected that he had been a heroine user and had, himself, overdosed. He was able to share what the Lord had done for him. I saw this young man soften as we talked with him. It was evident that the Lord had gone before us in this situation matching up the right people.
My friend and I were sharing at Willamalane Park in Springfield. A young man followed us as we shared with various groups of kids. His heart was tender, and eventually we sat with him on a picnic bench and lead him to the Lord. I believe God had been drawing Him even before our encounter.
At Ralston Park in Lebanon I talked to a middle-aged man about the Ten Commandments. As we parted he said that our conversation convinced him to forsake his plan to murder a person who was involved with his lover!
Once I talked with a boy who had had no exposure to the Gospel. He was not literate and came from a very poor home with no internet. He was astonished when I told him God sent his Son to die. He did not think that a loving Father would do such a thing. I explained to him that God did it because He loved him so much. I told him, “God loves you more than you love yourself.” Astounded, he exclaimed, “I love myself a lot!” That young man was beginning to comprehend the depth of God’s love for the first time.
When I lack motivation to share I think about how many people are being exposed to the Gospel through my efforts.
I came across a boy who was reluctant to take my Gospel comic because he thought it was too much to read. He was with a girl that I had witnessed to the day before. To encourage the boy to read it, I said to the girl: “It’s real good, isn’t it?” She replied, “Yeah, my friends read it to me seven or eight times yesterday.” I was thrilled that they were reading the basics of the gospel over and over.
Hundreds of times, as I’m handing out tracts at a mall or school, I look back and people are reading a gospel presentation. How cool is that!
Not only does God prepare the hearts of those we will share with, Jesus also goes with us directing our steps. One day I was preparing a message on God’s guidance when I decided to go to Lebanon High School where I have ministered many times. As I drove toward the school I wondered what part of the campus I should head for so I asked the Lord to lead me. I was still several blocks from away when I noticed two college-age guys and a girl standing at the edge of a field. I took this as the answer to my prayer for guidance. I approached them with my survey on spiritual beliefs. The girl immediately stated her qualifications as a good person: “I have spiritual beliefs. I am a Christian. I know where I’m going when I die. I believe in God and follow the Ten Commandments. That’s what God asks of us.” As we continued to talk it became clear she believed, as many do, that she could earn her way to heaven. I explained to her that, like all people, her wrongdoing disqualified her from heaven. I explained that Jesus paid the price and that her hope needed to be in what
did for her on the cross. When she realized that she could never be good enough to earn heaven she was amazed and delighted. She had never heard this aspect of the gospel before. Then one of the guys shared that though he was a Christian he did not know where he was going when he died. I was able to share with him about the book of 1 John, which was written to
who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life
” (1 John 5:13). He, like his friend, welcomed this “good news”. At the end of our conversation, I went away stunned at how God had directed me to that place at that time to minister to the people God had in mind. I never did arrive at my original destination but I made it to the appointment that God had for me that day.
I encourage you to pray for, watch for and seize opportunities to share spiritual truth with lost people. It will amaze you what God can do!
Next week: “What People Believe”
Copyright Ed Skipper 2013