"Jesus answered and said unto him, art thou a master of Israel, and knoweth not these things?
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? John 3:9-12
Jesus was talking with Nicodemus (a leading Pharisee, ruler of the Jews and member of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin is the highest Jewish tribunal.) Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he must be born again and Nicodemus was responding stupified.
There is a point here that must not be missed. It is obvious that being educated, being a part of the religious leadership of a religious order and even being a leader in religious philosophy does not qualify a person to understand spiritual matters. What qualifies a person to understand spiritual things that will transform them from lost to found, from darkness to light, from religious to truly spiritual, is an open mind and a receptive heart. Even Jesus Himself, when in the presence of others, could not reach everyone, because of their religious background or their own personal defiance of God. How much harder for us who are left with the commission to bring the gospel to the lost.
Jesus made a great point to Nicodemus, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things." Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about His ministry and the things he had been doing, about the people, their response to Him, the healings, the miracles and about the greatest miracle of all, salvation. He was speaking straight; no gimmicks, nothing to sell, nothing to gain, simply what He had seen and done, all first hand personal experience. Nicodemus was having a hard time believing what Jesus was saying. And so Nicodemus would have an even harder time believing what Jesus was saying about heavenly things, things about the future, things about God, things about the spiritual realm.
It is the same for you and me. If you spill your heart out about what you have seen with your own eyes and what you have heard with your own ears and what you have experienced first hand in your own life and someone does not believe you, how can you go on and tell them about heavenly things and expect some kind of positive response?
What can we do?
Keep it simple.
Tell people about what God has done for you. Be specific. Be clear. Don't explain to them all your theological history. Tell them about your personal relationship with Jesus. If they show interest, then you can go on to tell them more about Jesus.
Keep it simple.
Don't explain Jesus away by telling them about how they have to operate in the gifts of the spirit, be baptised four different ways, be saved over and over again, become a member of something, give up smoking, drinking or a plethora of other vices. Let the Holy Spirit continue to be the Holy Spirit. Simply tell them about how they can ask forgiveness for their sins and to ask for Jesus to come in and make His home with them.
Church people have turned away a many a person who really were ripe for the picking by offering them a lot more than they could digest. That's not evangelism. That's a real shame. If you tell them about your denomination and everything they believe, it is real likely that you will have offered them more than what Jesus would do. Why take a risk with something so important and so simple?
Happy fall! ;-)
2 days ago