Reaching Out to the Lost

I heard someone say recently that they used to teach that if you don’t baptize at least one other person, you “can’t go to heaven.”  I was appalled at the statement, and thankfully the one who made it had come to recognize his error.  We need to be careful about making pronouncements that the Lord Himself never made.  We need to be careful about binding things on people that the Lord never bound.  We can create feelings of unnecessary guilt in people about evangelistic outreach.  Some will think, “I am not a teacher,” or “I don’t know what to say or how to say it,” or “I am not good with words,” and therefore they feel guilty and inadequate.  The truth is we are not all teachers!  We are not all evangelists!  God gave some as evangelists and teachers (see Ephesians 4:11).  If you’re not sure exactly what to say to lead someone to Christ, that is okay!  You can still have a profound impact for the gospel.

Paul writes to the church at Colossae about reaching out to the lost and says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word…that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.  Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:2-6 NAS95) This is how we can all have a hand in reaching the lost.  Be devoted to prayer.  Pray for God to open up opportunities for the word.  Live a life of wisdom around those who are outside of Christ.  Look for opportunities to speak with grace to others.  These things have a powerful impact on leading people to Christ.

Of course, if anyone is going to be saved, the gospel of Jesus Christ must be taught and understood.  The gospel is the power of God for salvation, and it must be proclaimed.  We all have different, essential functions in the body of Christ, and God has given some the ability to teach and proclaim the gospel message.  If you know of someone who might be open to hearing, but you’re uncomfortable leading a study, reach out to another member of the body.  God can accomplish much in us if we will work together as a unit.  May we all continue to look for opportunities to reach people with the saving message about Jesus.

—Scott Colvin

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