After the second service last Sunday morning a young woman introduced me to her friend whom she said had a question. He was perplexed about “predestination” and didn’t know quite how to ask his question. I admired his courage to try.
I only had a moment between services and tried to explain as positively as I could that God is God and that he should get all the glory for our salvation, and that we are by nature hard and rebellious sinners. We would be utterly lost if God did not sovereignly overcome our resistance. So our conversion and God’s glory depend on God’s free and sovereign grace.
Actually I didn’t say quite that much because there wasn’t time. But a man was standing behind him who said, when I was done: “I’m his dad and I’m just as little a Christian as he is. But we’re considering it.” He smiled. As they walked away, I said, “I’d love to meet and talk about it any time.”
This was a great encouragement to me. There are non-Christians in our services every week. And many of them are “considering it.” How we would love to see them saved! What a privilege! What a great responsibility!
But not just for me. For you, too! Would you begin with me to think of our services more and more as a place where unbelievers will come and “consider Christ”? We don’t have to water down the biblical exposition to meet their needs. They want to hear what Christians believe. They want to see what it is like. They want to watch how we worship and how we treat each other.
Would you start to pray more pointedly for conversions in our Sunday services? This is a team effort in “worship evangelism.” You are a crucial part—by prayer, for Dean and me as we plan, and for the pray-ers and singers and ushers, and for the congregation and the atmosphere of earnest reverence.
You are also a crucial part in the way you listen and sing and pray—visitors know if those around them are really focused on God. You are crucial also in your friendliness after the services. Talk to those around you. God may even give you the gift of spotting people in spiritual distress! Remember the motto: Come on the lookout for God, leave on the lookout for people!
But what I really want to stress is the idea that worship services are a great place to bring unbelievers to expose them to Christ. Sometimes personal witnessing gets only so far and a specific invitation to church can be a helpful next step. Don’t be put off because our services are not “evangelistic.” 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 says, “If all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.”
That can happen at Bethlehem. Let’s pray for it more and more. Let’s reach out to those who come. Let’s invite our unbelieving friends and pray them into accepting. And may God help us all to show such a great salvation that when unbelievers “consider it” they will be overcome by its attractiveness.
Sowing with you and praying for harvest,