“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35
Have you ever been told that if you failed to share the Word of God with a non-believer, his or her eternal fate rests on your shoulders? It’s a harsh bit of advice and it certainly leads many believers to share their faith out of guilt or fear rather than from a place of grace and love.
This is why, over the next few weeks, we’re going to bust some very big myths in the Christian Faith that can do more harm than good.
Why do myths happen? Well, it’s very easy to take any scripture out of context and change its meaning.
In this case, people often refer to Ezekiel 3:18-19, “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”
Out of context, this seems like a warning and an admonition to all believers. You must preach the word to anyone and everyone you come in contact with and point out all of their sins in the meantime. Evangelism from that point of view is a hard pill to swallow… for everyone involved! I don’t remember it going very well the last time someone ticked off all my sins! I can tell you that I wasn’t really open to listening to the rest of their monologue.
When put into context, the Lord is talking to Ezekiel about his job as a watchman, which was to warn people, both righteous and evil, of impending danger. The nation was doomed, and only through heeding their watchman could they survive. Chapters 4-24 speaks of Ezekiel’s cry of alarm, which gave those outside the walls opportunity to seek protection. It also gave the people time to secure the gates and man the defenses. The death spoken of in Ezekiel 3:18-19 is physical, not spiritual. The context is the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem that Ezekiel predicted.
This isn’t to say that evangelism isn’t important… I dare say it’s one of the most important tools God has given us. I also believe there are many ways to spread God’s word. You can do it like I do through a channel like He’s the Solution or you can do it simply through your actions. The core values you conduct your life by makes a huge difference in how people see Christianity as a whole. Remember, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” So, let your light shine… and let others know why you live the life you live by the way you live it.
vRegardless of how you speak your beliefs to people, remember that bringing people to God is a “God-sized job.” We can bring Christ to the lost; but only God can bring the lost to Christ. John 6:44 reminds us, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” I can tell you it’s an amazing thing to see when it does actually happen!