Matthew 28:19 (NIV), “Therefore go…“
This is a true story:
I drove up to Fort Wayne, Indiana to visit my best friend who was attending a Bible College there. It was a beautiful Saturday so we decided to drive to a small town not too far away and do some street evangelism. We had a pocket full of Bible tracts. We prayed for opportunities to tell others about Jesus, got in his Chevy Vega, and drove.
When we arrived, the streets were nearly empty. It was basically a one-street town with a bar, a pool hall, and a couple of antique shops. We wondered what God could do here?
We got out of his car and slowly walked down Main street, from end to end. I think we passed out maybe one or two tracts, but no one would talk to us. We walked back down the street to his car. We stopped and prayed, “Lord, if we’ve missed your intent, please forgive us. We will walk this street one more time. If You don’t give us some people to share Your good news with then we’ll get in the car and drive back.
We walked to the end of Main street, and not a soul did we meet. Crestfallen, we started back. Just as we were walking past the pool hall, a group of young guys came out. We stopped, engaged them in conversation and then asked if any of them were Christians.
We expected ridicule and to be rebuffed, but no, they listened and let us give them some tracts. No one was saved, that I remember, but we did some seed planting. As we started walking back to our car more and more, people started walking toward us, and nearly every person allowed us to give them a tract. When we got to the car, there was another group of young people standing by a nearby car. We couldn’t pass this up.
We started talking with this group of young people, and they were very receptive to the good news of Jesus. We explained God’s plan of salvation, and they all listened, intently. They let us pray for them. No one made a commitment to Christ at that time, but we were sure the Holy Spirit had begun His work in a few of them.
Afterward, we prayed, asking Jesus if there was more we need to do in that town. “No,” was His answer, so we drove back to the college, rejoicing all the way; it was a wonderful day. There were other times when we did have the privilege to lead people to Jesus and pray the sinner’s prayer with people, right on a business sidewalk in some cases.
I shared this memory with you to encourage you. Some plant, some water, and others harvest, but all are doing our Lord’s work. From my experience, when witnessing, be respectful, be kind, be transparent, be humble, be patient, leave your pride at home, if feasible bring a Christian friend as a pair is best, trust the Holy Spirit to lead and then go where He leads and say what He wants you to say. The harvest belongs to Jesus, not you or me. We don’t “get people saved.” We’re just acting on Christ’s Great Commision for us.
BTW – In the mid-1960s, Bill Bright — then president of the Campus Crusade for Christ — formulated the Four Spiritual Laws. They have since become the standard model for conversion for the branches of Christianity that maintain that Jesus Christ “stands at the door and knocks,” but the individual must open the door and invite him into his or her life.
- God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life (John 3:16; 10:10).
- Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).
- Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3 – 6; John 14:6).
- We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives (John 1:12; 3:1 – 8; Eph. 2:8 – 9; Rev. 3:20).
You can read more about the Four Spiritual Laws here: http://www.4laws.com/laws/englishkgp/default.htm