“If only…” these are truly sad words we have all uttered at some point in our lives. Typically they are uttered about ourselves, “If only I had made that choice”, or “If only I had passed that choice by.” They are words of regret. Sometimes they are uttered about our loved ones. And for many of us believers, we find ourselves uttering these words about our loved ones who do not have faith in Christ. “If only they would believe, they would be saved.” No imagine an unbeliever, who dies and finds himself in Hades, being tormented.
Jesus tells a story of just such a man. A rich man who thought he had everything in life, until life was over. It was too late for him but he wanted his family to be warned. “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him [Lazarus] to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”” (Luke 16:27-31)
Jesus’ point is that enough has already been given to all to believe. Having a supernatural visit from the other side may work in movies or a Charles Dickens’ book, but Jesus is pointing out that it just wont work in real life. There is already enough proof that Jesus the man physically existed and was crucified by the Romans. There is already enough extra-biblical evidence that dozens of people died gruesome deaths holding to their statement that Jesus was the Messiah. If people’s heart is hardened to the point of ignoring all that is brought to them from this life, they are not going to bend if the message came from beyond the grave.
This message could easily be misunderstood to say that we should not bother spreading the gospel because we can’t change anyone’s mind whose heart is already hardened. That could not be further from the truth. It is not for us to know how or when God will soften someone’s heart to finally receive the gospel message. So my point is that we should not judge our own success by how many people ‘see the light’, but rather by how many people we have at least shared the gospel with.
It’s not our job to save them, only the Spirit can do that. But it is our job to present the gospel, and no only with words. “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.” (Phil 1:27-28)
Preach the gospel always, and if necessary… use words.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.