Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sola Scriptura in Evangelism: Sowing Seeds with the Simplicity of the Gospel

This was originally written in 2003, and posted at the old blog in 2004. It's been only slightly edited for grammatical purposes - since I used to be the Queen of Commas. I decided to repost it when someone asked me last night, if I had anything here on sowing seeds. I hope this blesses someone.)

For every Christian, sharing the gospel of Jesus is what we long to do. We desire to see our loved ones saved and we desire to see complete strangers as well, come to know the love of Christ. We walk in a forgiven status, and this very fact humbles our hearts and compels us to share the truth of His grace with everyone else.

In our efforts to share this beautiful news, every one of us comes across people who will flat out simply not receive it. Some seem to listen, but its clear that the words we've shared with them had no affect on their heart. Some, we've shared Jesus with so many times it might feel like yet another conversation about the grace of God might be a waste of time. It can be very frustrating to pour your heart out to someone; longing with such great desire that God will open their eyes to the truth, and then see them turn and go right back to a life of sin. A big part of the reason it can be so frustrating, is because of this desire we have that others experience the same grace, the same newness of life we have.

Many years ago, when I began to plan my very first garden, I decided it would be wise to start compost as well for the benefits of the soil it produces. Each day after dinner and throughout the day, our family would scrape all of our 'food garbage' into the compost bucket and it would be dumped on the pile. As the weeks went by, I watered, weeded, and tended to my first garden, and the compost pile grew higher and higher as each bucket full of food scraps were dumped in there every day.

I began to notice soon after, weeds and grasses were growing out of the compost pile. I just ignored them, and figured I'd let 'nature' take it's course there. What I first thought were weeds and grasses turned out to be potatoes, tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, onions, corn, and sunflowers, all growing together out of the same compost pile. I never watered or weeded that pile like I did my carefully tended-to garden, but the fruits and vegetables that came out of the compost were bigger and tastier than the ones I'd been toiling over!

A very similar process takes place as we share the good news of Christ with the lost. We put 'seeds' in places and never know if they'll take root. Sometimes they might take root, and bloom in ways we never imagined, and we may never even know it! While the seeds in my compost did what they did according to their nature, God takes the seeds of the gospel we give out, and does with them according to His will. In all our efforts to see the converted souls of the lost, it is truly God’s word alone that can change the heart of man. While the seeds in my compost pile never received a drop of water from me, they did soak up the raindrops that they needed to grow. God's word works in the same way! We might share the gospel with someone, and then someone else comes along and 'waters' that seed. (1 Corinthians 3:6)

Countless times over the years I have heard this very same testimony from new believers. Someone might say he first heard the gospel from his grandmother, as a young boy. Then later in life he met a Christian at school that spoke the same truth he heard as a child. Yet still later, he heard it again, maybe from a man at work, or a street evangelist handing out tracts, confirming again and again, the same foundational truth of the Scriptures. The Bible tells us we are laborers together, with God. (1Cor.3:9) Testimonies of converted men and women bear this out, daily.

Take heart, Jesus says that of all that the Father has given to Him, He shall lose nothing. (John 6:39) He says that every man that has learned who He is, by God's power, will come to Him. (John 6:45) God's words as spoken by the prophet Isaiah, tell us that His word will not return to Him void, but that it will accomplish what He pleases, and that it will prosper (succeed) where He sends it. (Isaiah 55:11)

We do not know who will hear the Word we share, but we do know that many will hear. The word of God is the final authority, it is complete, it is perfection, it is life giving, it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes and it is all-sufficient. Many people might adopt all sorts of methods of evangelism to reach the lost, but ultimately it all comes down to the power of the gospel; the very written word of God.

The next time we come into a situation where it seems the person we're sharing the gospel with isn't hearing us, remember these very words from our precious Lord:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. (John 10:27-30)
Be encouraged and remember, His will be done. It is a reality that many we have shared the gospel with in our lifetimes, we will never see again on this earth. We will never know if the testimony of Christ we gave them had any impact on their life at all. However, one thing we can know for sure is the surety of the power of that word, to change lives, impact families, and convert souls for His glory.

Scripture tells us the word of God regenerates souls, lives, and abides, forever! (1Peter 1:23). Indeed Sola Scriptura, Scripture alone, is all sufficient in our evangelism. So take heart, and continue to share the gospel of grace in every opportunity He affords you.