Jesus said, “No-one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44 NIV). We need to pray that the Father would draw people to Jesus. – If we try to convert people in our own strength we will fail.
A man I know, Andy, recently took me to see a friend of his who was dying. Andy desperately wanted to see his friend accept Jesus and he pleaded with his friend to see me. The man agreed because of his friendship with Andy.
“Ian, come and tell him the gospel,” Andy said to me! Well, I went along, with Andy in tow, and I did what I was asked… but it was extremely hard going. Why? Well, because this was Andy at work, desperately wanting to see his friend saved… but we saw no evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in his friend’s life. Don’t get me wrong: Andy’s desire was truly commendable, and time was running out… but people need to be open to the gospel and have ears to hear!
I read from my Bible, spoke about forgiveness, salvation, eternal life, and Andy’s friend was very polite and listened to me – because of his relationship with Andy – but as far as we know he didn’t hear. The lights were on but there was no one home!
Now I might be an evangelist but if you take the word Christ out of Christian you are left with Ian and Ian can’t save anybody! Ian stands for I Am Nothing… and if we are Christian that’s really what it should mean: I am nothing, Christ is everything.
All I do – what we all need to do – is to look for where the God the Holy Spirit is at work and go and join Him in the work of evangelism. So how do we know if a person is receptive or if the timing is right or how far along their spiritual journey they are? We just have to be obedient to God’s leading us, bold in our asking spiritual questions, and then keep on keeping on.
R. Ian Seymour