Those of you who regularly follow this blog may know that I am in the midst of a two week break. I am utilizing this time to work on my thesis at Toronto Baptist Seminary (due very soon!!!). You may also remember that I had two weddings which I am honoured to attend during this time. I attended the first wedding this past Friday (the other is this upcoming Saturday). These are the only occasions that I will likely meet non-Christians during my time off.
Praying and Going
Praying for an opportunity to share the Gospel, I went to the reception. I wasn’t overly zealous to share the Gospel. My mind had been consumed in thesis research during the afternoon and when I first arrived at the reception I felt a little overwhelmed by the social atmosphere that was so contrary to my private study. Nevertheless, I wanted to share the Gospel and I was hoping that somehow an opportunity would arise. In due time I felt relaxed and at ease.
Talking with Christians and non-Christians
Even though there were many Christians, there were also many non-Christians. As far as I know, most of the people at my table were Christians. The man I sat beside at dinner was a professing Christian. I had a good talk with him, learning his testimony and about what God has been teaching him lately.
I had great fellowship with many of the saints there. I was also delighted to see many non-Christians who I had met (really briefly) at a previous engagement party and/or or other weddings (through my fiance). I was happy to see many of them again. Though I did not share the Gospel with any of them, I was glad to see them and I look forward to seeing them again.
I Didn’t Spread the Gospel
I met one young man and talked to him for a while about various things (he went to the same high school as my fiance). After we had talked for a while I began to wonder whether the Lord was opening a door for me to preach the Gospel. I was thinking about whether I should somehow attempt to preach Christ, but as I contemplated . . . before long . . . he decided to go. Possibly the Lord opened the door but I simply did not go through. I am not sure, but I do not want to beat myself up. This is never beneficial and tends to reveal a high view of self (as if I am someone fully capable and should have . . .)
That was it. I did not feel guilty for not preaching the Gospel to him. Nor did I feel great . . . just sober and even headed. I am not sure if it was the right time or not. But I wonder: to what degree did I really mean it when I prayed to the Lord to open doors for the Gospel. I prayed this way because I knew I should. But I am not sure if my prayers were really lifted with even a mustard seed of faith. May the Lord increase my faith. Now, I am aware that the Lord may have been slowly opening doors at the relational level. And though this is great, the Lord knows that was NOT what I meant when I prayed for open doors.
So, why do I write this post? Who wants to hear that I went to a wedding, praying for open doors, but not really being zealous to evangelize – and then, though taking an interest in people and enjoying them, not sharing the Gospel with them? Well . . . I do not know who wants to here this, but my judgement says that many people can relate to situations like these.
What do I do when I do not preach the Gospel to others? I preach it to myself.
So how do I deal with them? Well, at the end of the reception I preached the Gospel to myself. I reminded myself that my own performance is NOT the most important thing – what is most important is Christ’s performance. IF I am guilty of lack of faithfulness to the Lord, lack of faith in the power of God, and lack of love for the lost, what shall I do? Well, I obviously need to repent, BUT the place to do this is at the CROSS.
On the one hand, if I am guilty of sin, God forgives me because of Christ’s work. Jesus paid for my sins (even the sin I committed that very night). Do I really believe this? I must, for God commands me so. God is not holding these sins against me. I am NOT condemned (though my heart may try to condemn me!). What a relief! On the other hand, what ultimately counts for me is the righteous performance of Christ – HE was always faithful, HE never lacked faith, but HE always trusted his Father perfectly, and HE always had perfect love for the lost – this is the righteousness that counts for ME!!! This is the Gospel!!! Not just for the lost, but also for me (a Christian)!!! May we keep believing the Gospel every day – and may we do this in a fresh, ongoing and active manner! And let us go about preaching this Gospel, which we shall daily savour under our tongues and gaze upon right before our eyes!
Now, you may have noticed the “IF” above (IF we are guilty of sin). Here is another thing we ought to do: really contemplate and pray about whether or not we actually sinned. If we did not sin, we ought not ask God to forgive us. What kind of person asks another for forgiveness if he or she is not truly convinced that he (or she) has sinned? This is foolishness (something I struggle with!). However, if we have sinned, we must not only believe in the forgiveness of the Gospel, but we must also seek God for the grace to obey his command to spread the Gospel.
May the Lord grant such grace at wedding #2 – stay tuned. And may the Lord grant such grace to you too. We must remember that He has NOT given us a spirit of FEAR, but of a Spirit of LOVE, POWER, and SELF-CONTROL (2 Tim 1:7). In light of this truth, may we heed the four fold call to “always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5). May the Lord help us. May we pray to him with faith.