Evangelism Myth #9: Because God is in charge of salvation, we don’t need to go overboard with urgency.
Have you ever known somebody who meant well, but couldn’t quite connect the dots? Someone who was sincere, naïve and, well, not all that bright? In my world, that someone was Art. For example, Art wasn’t very good with girls. He would ask out girls who were a little, well, out of his league. He’d ask out the captain of the cheerleaders and she’d say no, and he’d keep asking, and she’d keep saying no. Art just didn’t connect the dots.
But to be honest, sometimes not connecting the dots can actually be a good thing.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the case with the underlying theological issues surrounding e-myth #9. When we try to connect the dots in terms of God’s sovereignty and the urgency of evangelism, it fries our brains. And here’s why.
I believe there are three dots—three theological truths—that hover out there when it comes to evangelism. And each of these dots is crucial for us to embrace as we seek to make evangelism a passionate priority in our ministry. But the reality is that they don’t connect well. See if you agree…
Dot #1: It’s God’s responsibility to save.
Jonah 2:9 makes it clear that, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” In other words, it takes an act of God to save us. We are so sinful that, in and of ourselves, we would never choose God. When Isaiah 64:6 says that our “righteous deeds are like filthy rags,” it reinforces this truth that salvation has to come from the Lord. It’s like there is a light switch in our souls that is turned off and God, through His Holy Spirit, has to reach into our hearts and flip the switch.
This is why we pray to God to save those we know and love. We beg Him to flip the switch in their hearts and enable them to believe in Jesus. Because it’s God’s responsibility to save!
Dot #2: It’s our responsibility to share.
Romans 10:14 lays out our responsibility to share the gospel. Paul writes, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
This verse is tucked right in the middle of the broader context of Romans 9-11, which is Paul’s grand treatise on God’s responsibility to save. But smack dab in the middle of this teaching, Paul makes it clear that, sure God is large and in charge when it comes to salvation, but He chooses to use us as the vehicles of sharing His redemptive message.
Dot #3: It’s their responsibility to believe.
Romans 1:19-20 reminds us that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
During the GOSPEL Journey Adventure Reality Series filming, “Andy the Atheist” told me that I had no proof for God. I reminded him that God, through the beauty and wonder of creation, was proving his existence. Off camera one night, I told him that if he were honest with himself, he would admit there is a God and that if he listened, he could hear the distant footsteps of the Lord coming closer and closer. Boom. Boom. Boom. He told me to shut up because I was freaking him out. You see, Andy knew.
Down deep inside, everyone knows that there’s a God and that it’s their responsibility to believe in Him. Nobody is going to be able to rightfully say to God, “My unbelief is not my fault…”
Do Not Connect the Dots
Now you may be thinking these three dots do not connect! If it’s God’s responsibility to save, then how can it be my responsibility to share and how can it be their responsibility to believe? The dots don’t connect…in our puny minds. But they connect in the mind of God.
So it’s in the tension between these three dots that we must help our students embrace God’s sovereignty, while bringing urgency to their evangelism efforts. The apostle Paul, who preached about the doctrine of election more than anyone else in the New Testament, was the most passionate about the urgency of evangelism. He had learned to live in the tension. And we should too.
So, here’s the application question. Are you equipping your students to step up to Dot #2? Are you modeling for them how to beg God for the souls of their friends, family and classmates? Are they motivated and mobilized to share the gospel? For help with this, come out to one of our Dare 2 Share training events or check out the tons of free evangelism training resources on our website.
Let’s pray like it all depends on God and share like it all depends on us! Beg God to save and then work your hardest to be used by God to answer that prayer!
Don’t worry about connecting the dots…help your students urgently embrace their dot and trust that God will take care of His.
Do you agree that these three dots are hard to connect? Why or why not? If so, has this disconnect affected the urgency with which you share your faith?