|Volume 23 Number 9 September 2021
The church’s first priority is evangelism. In practical terms, that means saving the lost and keeping the saved. Everything else connected with the church is secondary. People are more important than programs. Nothing the church could ever undertake (from the construction of a new building to the organization of the work categories) ranks near the supreme goal of saving souls and keeping them saved. In fact, that’s what the church is all about. If we lose our evangelistic zeal, we have lost our right to exist.
The following questions about soul-winning have helped me realize my responsibility. Perhaps they will help you, too.
As you apply these questions to yourself, remember that with every good work, the devil provides an objection, and with every sin he provides an excuse. “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16 NKJV).
Why Can’t I Convert My Neighbor?
Morris D. Norman
Quite often, we wonder why we can’t be more effective in interesting our friends and neighbors in the Gospel of Christ. We hear sermons impressing us with our duty, and we go forth and make what we think is an honest effort to convert the lost. Yet, why are we no more successful than we are?
The fault may be with the one we are trying to reach. Man is a product of his environment, and by his environment he will determine his religious attitudes. This background may have caused him to become indifferent toward religion in general because of the hypocrisy he has seen in those who claim to be religious. Or, he may be so deeply set in error that he has become prejudiced against truth. We must learn ways to break down these barriers so we can teach him the truth.
However, the fault may also be in us. We are often our own worst enemy in the most important work on earth. Let’s examine some of these faults and, if guilty, cast the beam out of our own eye before we begin with the mote that is in our neighbor’s eye.
It may be that I can’t convert my neighbor because I am not truly converted to Christ myself. When my neighbor sees that less important things take precedent over my loyalty to Christ, how can I expect to have any influence on him? He sees that I give only lip service, and he concludes that it’s just not that important after all.
It may be that I can’t convert my neighbor because I find no real joy in serving Christ. If my neighbor hears me continually complaining about any little sacrifice I am called on to make for Jesus’ cause, he will be reluctant to think that there would be any joy to him in being converted.
It may be that I can’t convert my neighbor because I am not sold on the product – the Gospel. If my neighbor sees that I do not think enough of the Gospel to apply it to every facet of my life, it will be futile to try to convince him that the Gospel will solve the problems of his life.
It may be that I can’t convert my neighbor because I am not as good of a moral man in Christ as my neighbor is out of Christ. As a Christian, I ought to be the finest kind of mate, parent, citizen, worker or neighbor. If applied Christianity has not made me better than my neighbor, I won’t likely be able to have a great deal of influence on him.
It may be that I can’t convert my neighbor because I don’t really believe in hell. If I did really believe that there was an eternal hell where my neighbor will go because he is out of Christ, and I loved his soul as I claim I do, I would busy myself in finding a way to save him. I would not want him to spend eternity in hell.
It may be that I can’t convert my neighbor because I don’t really care if he’s converted or not. If I really cared about him and his soul, I would prepare myself to teach him and then be on the lookout for opportunities to teach him the good news of Christ.
I would not be discouraged by his apparent indifference. I would look for ways to break down his prejudice. I would live the very best life possible before him and show him the joys of being a follower of Christ, that Christ and His Word will solve every problem that this world offers and that I have the peace that passeth all understanding.
Perhaps, then, it is not that I can’t convert my neighbor but rather that I haven’t converted myself.