“Our greatest enemy is lostness. Lostness is the terrible enemy that Jesus commissioned His followers to vanquish with the battle strategy that He spelled out for them in Matthew 28:18–20. He was addressing this same enemy when He plainly clarified His purpose in coming: “I have come to seek and to save those who are lost.”― Nik Ripken, The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected.
How often in the middle of a conversation with someone do you pose a simple question? How can I best communicate Jesus to this person? The reality is we never share Jesus in a vacuum: there’s always an audience, conversation, context, messy circumstances, and complicated people. These conversations are usually far different from the ideal evangelistic encounters we imagine in our heads.
We quickly discover that we are not “mega-Christians.” Fortunately, God is not looking for superstars, He is looking for faithfulness. He is looking for believers who will open up their lives and have a “gospel conversation,” sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the lost and searching and trusting the Holy Spirit with the results. The Lord is looking for people who are willing to take a risk.
God chooses to work through people. He could have made other choices, and sometimes He does make other choices. However, His normal plan is to invite His children to go and invite those who do not know the name of Jesus to accept His gift of salvation.
There’s an incredible story Nick Ripkin tells in the book Insanity of God about a Muslim man in the Middle East. A Christian ministry opened a health clinic in this man’s community, and each day he would curse and insult the staff as they passed by his shop on their way to work. He did just about everything he could to undermine the clinic until, one day, he was diagnosed with cancer. Slowly his friends began to abandon him until the only people who cared for him were the clinic’s staff. They reached out to the same man who had cursed them, taking care of him and offering him medical care. Towards the end of his life, this man gave his life to Christ – all because of the radical love he encountered in Christ Jesus.
But the story doesn’t end there. This man’s family was so impacted by how the staff ministered and cared for him that his wife became a bold, outspoken follower of Jesus. In fact, she was so outspoken that she was put in prison. Undeterred, she continued to share about Jesus with the other prisoners until she was moved to solitary confinement. Even when isolated from every other person, she was heard singing praises to God. Finally, the police chief released her and asked her to explain what made her so fearless.
These are not easy decisions or discussions. However, they are necessary and honoring to God and to the peoples of the world who have not yet had a chance to hear about Jesus. Decisions to embrace risk involve loving others more than we love ourselves.
- God goes to great effort to seek lost sinners and He greatly rejoices when they come to repentance. What does that mean for each one of us?
- God pursues sinners until He finds them. What does that mean for us?
- Determine one concrete step you can take this week to develop more empathy and passion for the lost.