More than 70,000 people die in this world without ever having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are 4.5 billion people on the earth today that do not know Jesus.
That means that they are dying and going to Hell.
Does that concern you? Does it cause you to want to do something to bring people to Jesus?
In the Christian church world today, we have lost the urgency of sharing the Gospel with the world. We have fallen asleep with doctrine that says that we need to be a silent light to world; we need to make our church services comfortable for people that are unsaved, so they will want to come to our churches.
Keith Green once said “I’d rather have people hate me with the knowledge that I tried to save them.”
If you were a fireman and saw a person screaming out a window of a burning house “HELP!, HELP!” Would you just stand by and watch them burn and say well I pray they find their way out of that burning house! I don’t want to offend them so I’m not going to go show them the way out. NO you would do anything possible to help them. Yet we as the body of Christ stand by without any sense of urgency and people all around us sink into the depths of Hell.
Leonard Ravenhill put it this way “Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die. Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you DAMNED?”
Has the church world become so focused on growing our churches or ministries that we have forgotten what we are in ministry for in the first place. Jesus said in the Great commission to “go into all the world and make Disciples,” to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” However, we have changed it to “make our churches so warm and inviting that people will want to come and are not offended.”
Healthy things naturally grow. If our churches are not growing, we have to ask ourselves, “Are they really healthy?”
Thomas C. Oden said, “The church that becomes focused upon maintaining itself instead of the gospel becomes a dead branch of the living vine.” Over my 24 year in ministry, I have seen many churches that do not lead people to Jesus during their services. I have seen many Children’s Pastors that do not pray with children to be born again. That is reserved for kid’s camp or special services that happen only a few times per year. Ideally evangelism is not to take place in the church building, but out in the world during our everyday life. But what if we knew that one of the people in our services this week was going to die after the service on the way home would it change our approach? We do not know what the future for ourself holds much less everyone in our weekly services.
I have been to Christian concerts where the artist presented the gospel but, never gave a chance for people to receive salvation. Many times it’s because of a teaching that has circulated the body of Christ that it is our job to just present the good news. If people believe it they will go get it. One preacher presented the gospel and said go home and think about this and if you really want it, come back tomorrow and be born again. The reason for this is because ministers do not want people to respond out of emotion or in the heat of the moment. They want to make sure that the people responding are serious and truly want to make Jesus Lord of their lives. Not just responding to an artist or preacher that is influencing them. This is understandable! I have the same concerns ministering to children. I could manipulate the service in such a way that my altars would be packed every service. For this reason I purposely stay away from these practices. However, I hardly ever end a service without giving the lost an opportunity to be born again. If the Gospel is properly presented and people are not manipulated we can rule out most of the people that really do not understand or are being moved by emotion.
On the night of October 8, 1871, D.L. Moody finished a message with some words he regretted for the rest of his life. So great was his remorse that he committed himself to never making the same mistake again. The title of Moody’s sermon was “What Shall I Do with Jesus?” At the end, he announced, “Now I want you to take the question with you and think it over, and next Sunday I want you to come back and tell me what you’re going to do with Him.” But, next Sunday never came. As Moody dismissed his audience, the nearby courthouse fire bell sounded. At the time, no one had any idea how serious the blaze would become. As it turned out, the hall in which Moody spoke, the church he established, and his home were all destroyed in the inferno that became the Great Chicago Fire, along with more than 18,000 other buildings. But Moody hardly gave a second thought to his gutted home and church. They could easily be replaced – but not the lost souls. It was the memory of the audience he never saw again that was seared in his mind for the rest of his life.
The Bible says in 2 cor. 6:2 “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” and I will add to this, for tomorrow may be too late!
Where is our urgency to save people from hell?
There is a new trend that teaches that it is the parent’s job to lead the children into the new birth. I do not disagree with this. Ultimately, it should be the parent that prays with their children to be born again. I prayed with my son to be born again while driving in a car when he was just a child. But to be honest about this, a lot of parents do not have a firm grip on what being born again is themselves, or are not comfortable discussing it with their children. I pray that this changes. If we always put it in the parents ballpark and they drop the ball, or maybe they are not even born again themselves, or they do not go to church themselves, do we let these children creep through the cracks of our system? There must be a time where children have a chance to be born again while they are attending our services. It must be high on our priority list for children coming up through our churches.
If we let people leave our services unsaved because we believe that evangelism should only take place outside our church building, have we allowed people to slip through the cracks of our pet doctrine?
I am in no way saying that we should be preaching hellfire and brimstone every week to pack out our altars with people, however ask yourself this question. “How long has it been since I gave people an opportunity to receive salvation and be born again in my service?” Do you even remember? There is a disturbing trend that a lot of churches today just do not give that opportunity for people to be born again at church. Some churches I know personally have gone months even years and have not led anyone to Jesus.
Ultimately evangelism should be taking place outside the church and the church should be a place to bring the newly saved to be disciple however, let us not ignore the opportunity to lead someone to Jesus that could have came with a hunger in their heart to get right with God or give their live to God and we have just provided a religious experience for them or allowed them to have a religious awakening but they walk away without a true conversion, without being introduced to Jesus, without being born again because of a pet doctrine we have created because of abuse or manipulation that we have seen in the past. Where is our Urgency? Have we fallen asleep? Have we learned to ignore the fact that without Jesus, without being born again that people will die and spend an eternity in Hell?
John Wesley said “You have nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore spend and be spent in this work. And go not only to those that need you, but to those that need you most…It is not your business to preach so many times, and to take care of this or that society; but to save as many souls as you can; to bring as many sinners as you possibly can to repentance.”
Oswald J. Smith said “Oh, to realize that souls, precious, never dying souls, are perishing all around us, going out into the blackness of darkness and despair, eternally lost, and yet to feel no anguish, shed no tears, know no travail! How little we know of the compassion of Jesus!”
William Booth the founder of the Salvation Army said ‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to it’s pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world.’
It in not my motivation for this article to come across condemning or that you feel guilty enough that you do something. It is simply a wake up call! For I fear that the church world as a whole has fallen asleep!
Willie George said “reaching the lost is the lifeblood of a church. If you aren’t winning souls, be so disturbed about it that you change!”