Friday, December 5, 2008

DEAD MEN WALKING

"And you were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience---among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
Ephesians 2:1-3

"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Ephesians 5:14b

As you read I hope you notice the reason for the title of this post. How many of us who are of Christ realize we are walking amongst the dead? And that we were once a walking dead man also. Everyone who is not of Christ is condemned already. They are dead to the things of God. So when we are evangelizing we need to take into account that we are talking to people who are dead in their trespasses and sins. There needs to be a distinction of how we approach people with the gospel. Some may be broken and are coming alive to God and need grace. Others may still be hardened and need the law. We need to use discernment when approaching people.
We must realize that it is God who must awaken the people to hear the words. Or else we are just trying to convince someone to hear. Remember our job is not to bring conviction. It is the Holy Spirit who brings conviction. We are only called to proclaim the gospel. We could be the one spreading the seed, or watering. God gives the increase. So when you do talk or see the broken person that may mean someone already has sown a seed and now they need water. Or when you go out and meet that person who is giving you a hard time just plant and walk away. Someone else will come along and water.
It became so much easier for me to realize that when I talk or proclaim to people the gospel and they give me a hard time, it is not me they are rejecting. No, it is God and He can handle that. Because at least a seed was scattered. The burden of conversion is not ours to bear. We can't raise a dead man from the grave only God.
So when I go out on the streets to proclaim the gospel I know that I am just a planter of the word. I don't yell or provoke, I proclaim knowing that God will do the rest. I don't use gimmicks or sign boards. Except one on my carrying case with one word: REPENT. When I go out I use my bullhorn only to propel my voice and not to yell. It is what we are called to do go out and tell people about Jesus. I love what I do as it is a fulfillment of the great commission.
I've been yelled at, cussed at and a lot of horns honking. Some of the horn honking was in agreement. I have learned to tell the difference. Plus as I was out at times I had people come up and say thank you I needed to hear what you said. How many will not ever touch a door threshold and yet they will walk by in the streets. You see we can't depend on people coming to us we must go to them.
Have you ever seen anyone rising out of the grave in the graveyard? I hope not if so you may want to run. So as you probably won't see that happen chances are you won't see the dead coming to a fellowship meeting. So go out!

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ...."
Ephesians 2:4-5

3 comments:

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Very challenging Steve, thanks... Seems like lately, every church planter or breakout pastor I hear is spouting stuff like "we need to be outward focused, not inward focused", to which of course, almost everyone would agree with. Unfortunately, what most people interpret that to mean is going and establishing a new church building, or gathering, in a particular area, with the idea that this equates to "going to" the lost people. It seems a very hard mindset to rid ourselves of, even though I truly believe that most people saying such things are sincere in their desire to reach the lost. Going to the lost does not mean reducing the length of the commute to our services, it means going to them.....

I'm still wrestling with this myself.

Steven Owen said...

You know people do seem to have a sincere desire. But isn't there a difference between sincerity and Godly conviction? Maybe that is where many go wrong. I had a desire to go out and messed it up. Then the Lord put it on my heart with a true conviction and now I feel compelled to go out. It should be a burden either. It should be a grace issue.

Steven Owen said...

Correction, I meant to say it shouldn't be a burden. Fleshly speaking.