Monday, April 11, 2011
Clean Hands? Pure Heart?
As a Pastor's wife, I have the awesome privilege to lead a group of women in a weekly Bible Study. We have ladies of different backgrounds socially and culturally, diverse in age-chronologically and spiritually. So our conversations are always good, and I am grateful that I am not the only one to be able to field some of these honest inquiries.
There is a particular woman who has asked this question...
"If we do not witness to people about Jesus, is their blood on our hands when they die without believing the Gospel and go to Hell?"
Well, I think the very best way to answer any such question is to ask oneself,
"What does The Word of God say about this?"
And thinking about it further, I am presented with the thoughts....
"Why do we think we are supposed to tell others about the good news of the Gospel at all? Who says it is our responsibility anyway?"
Here are a couple of things in the scriptures that would indicate clearly that we are responsible to share the good news of the death,burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the lost world.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Mark 16:15-16 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Sometimes we hear it called "The Great Commission"...is that just for missionaries? Only pastors?
I say no, it is for every believer.
As I read it, it is not only to pastors and missionaries...but to all who have been redeemed, which btw...the word redeemed means "bought back". We do know that we were bought with a price, right?
1 Corinthians 6:20 tells us...
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
WE ARE GOD'S!
So I would say it is fair to say by these examples from God's Word it is our job, or our charge to share with the lost world that they need and can receive saving forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.
OK, I bet we are all in agreement on that.
But so what if we don't?
What if we are uncomfortable talking about our faith?
What if we are shy, or don't want to push our views or beliefs on others?
What if we just live out our faith, and let people "see our faith"?
Well Paul lived his faith out loud for sure, and that is undoubtedly why he had credibility with so many...but he didn't stop there he didn't leave people guessing and wondering if he was a Christian, and do they need to be a Christian too.
He told them, he told all of them that he was supposed to tell...how do I know this is true?
When we read about Paul in Acts 18:6-8;
"And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles."
And again in Acts 20:26
"Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."
So if Paul states that he, because of his faithful preaching of the gospel to all men,is pure from the blood of all men, and when they that did hear rejected, their blood was on their own heads...what does this lead us to believe in regards to our dear ladies question?
"Is their blood on our hands if we neglect to tell them?"
Please bear with me as I illustrate...
There once was another man named "Paul" he lived in a little house with his bedridden wife, taking care of her. Paul did not know Jesus, he was loosely connected to a religious system that did not preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One day his new neighbors moved in next door. They were so friendly, always smiling and chatting over the fence about roses, fishing, sports... One day they put up a sign in the front yard with Bible verses on them. Aha the young couple were those born-again Christians.
The truth is they had prayed for God to give them this house and they told Him that they would share the Gospel with all their neighbors, that they were sure God was putting them there so that the neighborhood would hear the good news! One year passed, then two, and Paul lost his wife, it was so hard for him, he turned all the more to drinking...the couple next door noticed that he was not himself, that he was so sad since his wife died. They kept promising themselves to have him for dinner, then they would share that "glorious gospel". Dinner never happened.
Then one morning the ambulance was taking Paul's lifeless body out of his little house. He died in his sleep. They never told him that there was hope, that even though he was a sinner, that Jesus died to pay the price for his sin, that if he only would believe on the name of Jesus that he could be saved. And that without Jesus he would spend an eternity in Hell. As far as anyone can tell, Paul died in his sin, and is now spending eternity in Hell.
So, is Paul's blood on their hands? You may not want to say it, you might not even want to think it...but I know that it is so...Paul's blood is on my hands, he was my next door neighbor. I knew that God placed us in his life for the sole purpose of bringing him the good news of the Glorious Gospel. But it was uncomfortable, there never seemed a smooth segue to witness to him, there would always be tomorrow...
The Apostle Paul said "I am pure from the blood of all men" Can that be said of you? It can't me. But sweet friend who is reading this...God's mercies are new every morning!
"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
Let's change the pattern, if we are believers, if we have been born again, then lets be faithful in telling others that they too can be saved from sin and death!
Ask God to forgive you for being afraid and not obeying Him in this command. Ask Him to empower you with His strength and His might! And when you fail, just try again!
Maybe you read this and you are a new believer, you haven't fought with yourself yet the battle of to share or not to share...You have an awesome opportunity to start off right! Be bold with you faith, There is power in the Gospel, all you have to do is be obedient to share it, the Holy Spirit will do the rest.
There may be someone reading this who is like my sweet neighbor, Paul. He was a very nice man, he had some knowledge of God, I'm sure. But maybe you too do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You can. You see you were born to have a relationship with Him, but you are a sinner, and your sin seperates you from God. So he gave his perfect sinless son to take the penalty of YOUR sin. Even though he never sinned he died a sinners death on the cross for you and for me. Then when he rose from the dead he proved who he was...God himself! All you have to do is give your life to Him, by admitting that you are a sinner, that you believe what Jesus says about himself in the Bible, that he suffered, died and was buried to raise from the dead on the 3rd day. Ask him to forgive you and save you. He will do it as soon as you sincerely ask.
We are told in Romans chapter 10, verse 10 this...
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Trust me, it will be worth it all, when we see Christ!