9.12.2005

In My Lifetime

My dear brothers and sisters, I want to share something with you that so touched my heart that it has actually changed the way I feel about sharing the Gospel. Last Thursday, a speaker came to Southern Seminary's chapel service and preached about sharing the Gospel in a way I had never heard before. Russ and Jenna, y'all can vouch for this -- I sat and choked back tears (ineffectively) as I heard what he said about the impact that we could have for Christ if we would only be obedient!

We have two of the letters that Paul wrote to Timothy, preserved by the Holy Spirit in God's Word. Paul encouraged Timothy, and God encourages us today by saying:

"Before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, I solemnly charge you: proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, keep a clear head about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

Here are some really surprising statistics I learned:
According to recent polls 11% of the people in the world are Christians. This means there are 5.4 billion people on Earth who don't know Christ.
2 billion people on Earth have little or no access to the Gospel.
138, 000 more lost people are alive today than yesterday.
196, 000 people will die today. 174, 000 of them will die and go to Hell.
345, 000 babies will be born today. 307, 000 of those babies will grow up, and live, and die without Christ.

But what about Churches? Don't they make an impact? Sure:
Let's say that your denomination baptizes 400, 000 new believers a year. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? But at that rate, it would take 650 years to win America, and an incredible 10,000 years to reach the entire world for Christ.

That sounds pretty depressing. Ten thousand years? It sounds like an unreachable goal, doesn't it?

But what if you were to say to God, "Father, use me to win just ONE person to Christ this year." Then, when you lead that one person to Christ, you disciple him and teach him how to share the Gospel. Then the next year, the two of you go out and each win someone to Christ, disciple them and teach them how to share the Gospel, and continue to do that at the rate of just ONE person per year, here is what would happen. Brace yourself, because this is huge.


All of America would know Christ in just 28 years.

The entire world would know Christ in just 33 years.

In my lifetime! The whole world -- every man, woman, boy, and girl of every tribe, language, and nation -- would know Christ... IN MY LIFETIME!


So, the question now stands, are you going to be that person? Are you going to realize that it's not an unreachable goal, and that you don't have to lead thousands to Christ to have an impact? Will you let God put a fire in your heart to reach your friends? How do you develop that passion?

Passion for sharing your faith is lit up through personal commitment. It's not just something you like or are good at, it's something you choose to do. It is intentional. Paul tells Timothy to keep a clear head, to endure hardship, and to do the WORK, to accomplish the task, of an evangelist. He doesn't say "be an evangelist," and he's not telling you to be Billy Graham! He is telling you to do the WORK of an evangelist, to actually share the Gospel!

Passion for sharing your faith is intensified through personal conviction. This demands a right understanding of the Bible. Look at what Paul says! Jesus is coming to weed out those who don't confess Him as their Savior from those who do! Don't be fooled -- Hell is a real place of evil and torment and total separation from God. This personal conviction also demands accountability. I'm not going to pull punches here, guys. YOU will one day stand before God and explain to Him everything you ever did. One day, you'll have to explain why you decided not to tell your dying friends and neighbors that God made a way for them to live with Him forever!

Passion for evangelism is set afire through personal concern. Paul says to be patient as we share the Gospel with the lost folks that we love. And you do love them, right? You love them enough to tell them how to be saved, right? You love them enough to do whatever you can to keep them from Hell, right? Even when you don't love what they do, you love them, right?

In the ten minutes or so it took you to read through this short article, 817 people died. 725 of them died and went to Hell. What are YOU going to do about that? Will you let God put a fire in your heart to tell others about Him? Pray that He will.

10 comments:

Pastor John <> said...

Whew! Thumbscrews and all.

But, we get the point! Or . . .

. . . do we?

Laura said...

Hey, all... if you want to listen to the actual message, go here:
http://www.sbts.edu/resources/audio/Fall2005.php
Then find Dr. William D. Henard III, and click on either "Play MP3" or "Download."

And I hope you DO get the point. That's the... well, the POINT!

In case you haven't noticed, I put up word verification. Please be so kind as to type in the word you see below your comment in the box underneath it. This should eliminate that wretched blog spam.

Thanks!

Russ said...

Laura,

Those statistics speak much louder than words. It is mind-boggling. Easy to get overwhelmed.

However, the fact that if we pray for God to give us one person a year, we can make an enormous impact. Dawson Troutman, the founder of the Navigators, was known to ask the men he discipled the following question:

Where is your man?

Allison said...

WOW!..... thats seriously.... wow..... ive been impacted by that.. thats for sure..... good good insight.

ckhnat said...

is it too much to ask?!! so many of us fear the initial step of sharing the Gospel. However, knowing that it is not us as the proclaimer of the Gospel that saves ... but Christ is HUGE! Praise God that He has chosen to use us as His messengers! God could have easily determined to save whoever however He wanted. But instead He chose us so that the world may hear. "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Romans 10:14. That God has foreordained to involve us in His plan of redemption ... Wow! we are the body of Christ carrying out His work! What an honor and privelege that He wants to use our mouths and bodies to call out to a lost and dying world!

Laura's Dad<> said...

YAYAY for you, Christine.

I put it this way:
It's not a "got to." It's a "get to."

Tschüßchen!

Laura's Dad said...

Laura,

I have put up a blog to put my weekly article in. Could you and some of your friends link my blog?

Here's the URL:

http://onceaweekforgod.blogspot.com/

Andrea Waitley said...

Laura, what I love about sharing the gospel is I don't have to convince anyone of the truth of the gospel. The Holy Spirit is the only One who can do that, so why not give Him plenty of opportunities to do what He does best! Love, Andrea Waitley
P.S. Can't wait to see you Thanksgiving!

Laura said...

Yeah! Andrea! So exciting to hear from you! Listen, you'll fit right in with this seminary crowd... their favorite flower is a tulip, too! ;)

But really, thank God that people's salvation doesn't depend on how articulate or confident WE are -- that He speaks to their hearts and convicts them of sin and draws them to Himself. How blessed we are that He lets us share in the process!

Anonymous said...

Greetings:

I don't know you, but I was surfing the web and came across your blog - you certainly have an interesting way of looking at the world. I am not a 'Christian' - so I was wondering if you would enlighten me.

Laura wrote:
" In the ten minutes or so it took you to read through this short article, 817 people died. 725 of them died and went to Hell. What are YOU going to do about that? Will you let God put a fire in your heart to tell others about Him? Pray that He will. "

Where are you getting these statistics from? How accurate are they? On what basis does God send someone to hell? Do you believe that you are going to heaven or hell? If you believe that you are going to heaven, then why do you deserve to go to heaven? Finally, what is the nature of hell?

Peace,
Little Timmy