It may well be that the besetting sin of modern day discipleship is its failure to procreate itself. Speed has been so aggrandized in our society that it has become necessary that whatever we do we must do in a hurry. We seem to be possessed with a determination to succeed more than to be spiritually inclined and equip ourselves for eternity, so we tend to put off thing that don’t pertain to our quests. One of those things is reaching out and touching someone.
I have a theory. It may not be right, or it may be a bit simplistic, but it’s worth considering anyway. I don’t think anybody will go to heaven by himself: he will go with someone or take someone with him.
Discipleship does not depend on some kind of human machinery for its procreation. It depends on the disciples themselves. “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Tim. 2:2). That process is so simple. But where is it being used? How sad, because it works. If every person in the congregation here decided to convert just one soul to Christ in the coming year, and if there are 300 in our congregation, the church would be 600 in twelve month’s time. Will that not work? The problem is not that the plan won’t work; the problem is we won’t work the plan.
What is necessary to get at the business of making known the gospel to those who come under your influence? I suggest just four.
Concern. When Jesus saw the multitudes, “he was moved with compassion” (Matt. 9:36). We emphasize his feeling of “compassion,” but fail to consider that the compassion moved Him. It took Him from unconcern to concern, from indifference to distress. It is that movement of compassion that caused Him to die for the sins of the world. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son” is a statement of His concern for the lost souls of men. The gospel is the power to save (Rom. 1:16) and that power is retarded only to the extent that it is not used. How about you? Are you actually concerned for the lost souls around you? Are you actually moved by what you see? If you are not, why not? I hardly see how one can call himself a Christian and not be moved by the number of lost souls he sees every day.
Boldness. One of the Devil’s most effective tools in retarding efforts to convert people is diffidence, a lack of confidence. It takes courage to try and teach someone. You run a kind of risk. You are apt to fail a lot of the time, and knowing that makes it more difficult to make the effort. But make the effort we must. Jesus failed. In fact, he failed most of the time. But some will come, some will be interested, and even if you just snatch one soul from the fires of Hell you have done well. “Be not weary in your well doing,” said Paul (Gal. 6:10), “for in due season ye shall reap if ye faint not.” If we would just keep that in mind our mission would be an easier one, our work more diligent, our successes more often.
A willingness to be inconvenienced. We are wedded to convenience in this society. We don’t want anyone or anything to invade our comfort zone. That proclivity to be comfortable has thwarted many an effort at converting someone to Christ. We make flimsy excuses, give faulty “reasons” why we can’t make arrangements to teach someone. It gets in the way of our plans. What that says, most of the time, is that our plans are out of order, our priorities ill arranged. You have to want to convert someone before you will do it.
Faith. We don’t have enough confidence in the gospel. Is it or is it not power of God to salvation? If it is, then why don’t we treat it as such? If you suddenly came across the cure for cancer, would you let anybody know about it? Would you treat it nonchalantly? Certainly not! You would want everybody to be delivered from the malady. You hold in your hand the power to save men from a malady much greater and more dangerous than cancer. You have in the gospel; it can save men from their sin. How can you put much confidence in it to save your own soul if you don’t have confidence enough in it to recommend it for the salvation of the souls of others?
It’s time we got busy about evangelism. It’s time we got to the business of making the gospel work in the places where we live and work every day. How long has it been since you talked with someone about his soul? Well, that’s too long.