Expectations can cause a prospective evangelist to either soar with hope or be deflated with doubt. Too often, when improper expectations are left unchallenged, a believer with good intentions can bridle their tongue rather than proclaim His name.
Proper expectations that have a biblical perspective are influenced by one important factor. Without this understanding, most Christians will struggle at the prospect of witnessing.
The spiritual condition and mindset of an unbeliever is what causes many to respond to the verbal proclamation of the gospel with polite indifference, solemn disinterest, or sometimes, an angry rejection.
This condition is a direct result of original sin. This important factor will cause unbelievers to respond negatively to the message of the gospel – and evangelists need to understand and expect that.
The Bible teaches that all people have inherited sin from Adam and Eve and are born spiritually dead. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can raise a lost soul from spiritual death to life. Therefore, a Christian cannot expect to receive an encouraging or a positive response from an unbeliever who has not received the Holy Spirit. Faith is a miracle that can only happen through the power of God’s Word.
Evangelists are like tools that God uses to proclaim His Word. In the same way a hammer cannot pound a nail by itself or a saw cannot cut wood on its own, believers must rely on a power source outside of their own to work. All believers are tools that are empowered and used by God’s hand to sow and reap.
Evangelists are message-senders, not miracle workers. They are representatives of the King who bring a message of pure foolishness to hearts that are fully attached to the comfort and securities of the world. They are like an ambassador from a small country approaching a powerful nation and delivering them terms of surrender. They are laughed at, mocked, and not taken seriously until it’s too late.
When Christians understand the state of the unbeliever, they can rest their expectations solely on the role God has given them.
Here are five reasons why evangelists can expect negative responses from unbelievers:
By nature, unbelievers are blind to things spiritual. They cannot be convinced by their own reason to trust in God’s promises.
By nature, unbelievers are enemies of God and everything that stands for God. They cannot comprehend the depth of God’s wrath and grace.
By nature, unbelievers are dead spiritually. We cannot shake a person awake from spiritual slumber or splash them away with an icy cold bucket of Truth.
By nature, unbelievers consider God’s message foolishness. The gospel is too good to be true, they are not worthy of God’s love, or they cannot fathom the consequences of their sins.
By nature, unbelievers are helpless and unwilling to change their condition. They stubbornly resist God’s help and have purposefully set out to be righteous on their own.
An evangelist will expect negative responses from unbelievers the majority of the time. This knowledge makes a difference in how to confront rejection, frustration, or discouragement from sharing the gospel.
Evangelists with a biblical perspective are able to detach themselves and concentrate solely on carrying out their job of being a messenger. Expectations are not based on how people respond to them, but on how they respond to the opportunities God gives to proclaim the message.
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