2 Peter 3:9 "The
Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He
is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come
to repentance." NIV
Our God does not want anyone to perish. This is why He is so patient with us. He loves us and will do anything to see us saved. However is the whole world saved? No. Why not?
2 Cor 4:3-4 "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." NIV
The Bible tells us that those who are not saved are being blinded by the devil himself. If they are blinded, what should be our first purpose when witnessing to them?
Acts 26:17-18 "I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' NIV
Our purpose should be to open their eyes. Why are their eyes closed? Because they are blinded by the devil. Is it possible also that their eyes are closed because they don't like what they see? If we approach them them with the "turn or burn" attitude, it's no wonder they want to keep their eyes closed!
Now how does Jesus us recommend to approach people?
Luke 10:5 "When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' NIV
Our first responsibility is to speak peace "shalom" to the ones we are approaching. In other words we are empowering them to succeed. We are encouraging them to succeed. No "turn or burn" approach is encouraged by Jesus. Compassion and love should be our motives.
Luke 10:6-9 "If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. "When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you." NIV
Our second responsibility is to have fellowship with that person. Get to know him/her and show interest in what he or she is doing.
Luke 10:9 "Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' NIV
Thirdly healing the sick is encouraged. This is only possible if you rely on God's Spirit for direction.
Fourth you preach the gospel message to him/her.
The fastest way to have someone shut their door to the gospel message is by showing no interest or having no fellowship with them, and by preaching "turn or burn". No divine love is shown in this approach. This is not Jesus' way!
Peace is a crucial part of our message. God is referred as the "God of peace".
Rom 16:20 "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." NIV
The gospel is referred as the Eph 6:15 "gospel of peace" NIV
When you begin to walk in peace, you change the spiritual climate around you. Look at Jesus how he transformed His surroundings with His peaceful attitude. Peace was constantly among His chosen words. Look for example when the woman who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years was miraculously healed by touching Jesus' tunic, His words to her were: Luke 8:48 "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." NIV
How can you release God's peace? Simply by pronouncing the word of peace towards your neighbour.
If someone has spoken badly about you, do something nice to them. Release peace (blessings) to them. Before you know it they will experience peace and will be your friends. Eventually you will be able to share with them what is so precious to you: Jesus Christ.
Which approach are you taking? The "turn or burn" approach? Are you satisfied with it? Or are you feeling quite unsuccessful with this approach? Why don't you try the Jesus' approach. Pronounce peace to those you encounter. Have fellowship with them. Do something special for them. Pronounce a word of healing towards them or their loved ones, then when the Lord leads you through His Spirit share the Lord's gospel with them. You will be amazed by the results.
In His love,
Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org