Love leads us to tell despite society’s apathy

The theme of the 2008 Empower Evangelism Conference, “When Time Is No More,” points us toward eternity. The Bible plainly tells us there is an eternity future. Recently, a Southern Baptist Convention agency released a study that indicated that people are not as concerned about where they are going when they die. Obviously, people don’t think about the sweet by and by much. Are we out of step when we talk about Heaven and Hell?

I vividly remember the night that God the Holy Spirit convicted me of lostness. Without question, I knew I was going to Hell without Jesus. He saved me and gave me the assurance of Heaven. I have been on the sweet journey to Heaven for almost 38 years. Praise the Lord!

My first pastorate was an incredible experience. As a 21-year-old I got to baptize over 100 people. In every pastorate, I did everything I could to help my church reach people for Christ. When I preached revival meetings and evangelistic services, my appeal was always to the lost. As a director of missions, my desire was to assist the churches reach the local area by saturation evangelism and church planting. When I came to the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, the churches embraced a vision of “Reaching Texas and Touching the World.”

There are all types of evangelistic tools. Servant evangelism opens doors to developing relationships. Block parties work in neighborhoods and communities. Friendship evangelism is a very effective method. Technology makes it possible to witness through a website like freegiftforlife.com. Affinity evangelism appeals to specific cultural segments. All of these are good. I believe we should put as many hooks in the water as possible to catch people for Jesus.

I guess what concerns me is that with all the approaches, some may leave out the hard realities of Heaven and Hell. We have all heard how the message never changes but the methods do. I fear some methods have changed the message.

When we talk about how Jesus can make your life better but never tell them he will take you to Heaven, we change the message. When we encourage people to “let Jesus help you with life’s difficulties” and fail to point out there is a place of eternal separation called Hell, we have changed the message. When we talk about the “un-churched” and never mention the “lost,” we have changed the message.

In our politically correct culture it has become bad form to mention Heaven and Hell. Why talk about it anyway? The pollsters tell us people aren’t interested. I submit to you that as followers of Jesus Christ it is incumbent upon us to speak to people about where they will spend eternity whether they are concerned about it or not. Let’s rely upon God the Holy Spirit to convict them and convert them just like he did me so many years ago.

May God bless you as you faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ!

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