One of the most challenging yet rewarding tasks that believers can undertake is sharing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is challenging in that not many would readily and quickly receive the message. It is especially frustrating when they come with all kinds of excuses and criticism to boot. This criticism is often an offshoot of believers not living up to the standards of the faith. It is for this reason that the apostle James, in his epistle, warned, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1), Unbelievers want to see proof of the power of the gospel in the lives of believers before they accept it. How we wish that everyone who hears the gospel will receive it hook line and sinker, but that is not always the case.
But while it is challenging, it is most rewarding and encouraging when people receive the gospel. This was the joy of the apostle Paul when he uttered, “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (1 Thes. 2:13). The believers in Thessalonica had received the gospel preached to them and went above and beyond what was expected of them. The apostle Paul commended them earlier saying, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 1:3). The ultimate joy of those who share the gospel is when they see that the Word of God is alive in the life of the hearer as they live it out.
The effectiveness of the gospel is not in the manner it is preached. The apostle Paul had to emphasize that the gospel should not be preached based on human wisdom or ability. In the manner that he preached, he said, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:4-5). It is a fact that there are many eloquent preachers but their ministries seem to be not as advancing as they should. The truth of the matter is that it is Word of God that touches the hearts of people so that they are transformed.
The Book of Hebrews presented clearly the power of the Word when it says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). No matter how many times we read the Bible, it is always fresh and so alive. It ministers to us in our current situation in life and we cannot hide anything from it. In fact, it convicts us of things that we have done and prompts us to repent when we have sinned. No wonder even the prophet Jeremiah said, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty” (Jer. 15:16). To him, the Word is like the food that he delighted in. He craved for it and enjoyed every bit of it because it served as nourishment of his spirit.
When we hold on to the Word of God, we shall not be put to shame. The Lord will surely do what he promised to do because he is not like us that do not fulfil what we promised. God himself assured us of the certainty of his word when, through the prophet Isaiah, he said, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:10-11). Every Word that we receive from the Lord has a purpose. We only need to cooperate with the Lord for his good purpose to be accomplished in our lives. Otherwise, the punishment that he threatened to do for disobedience will happen.
While the Lord uses ordinary people like us to share the Word, it is the Lord that will touch the heart of the hearer. It is because the Word that we share is not ours but the Lord’s. We are just messengers trying to be faithful in delivering the message and careful not to mishandle it. It is always a joy seeing those who have received the message and fully believed it as if it was delivered by God himself. It encourages us to continue on sharing our faith and in praying for more fertile hearts to receive the Word with gladness. May the Lord’s name be praised for the great harvest that we will reap as a result of our diligence in the sharing the Word. Hallelujah!