Delighting in the Salvation of the Lost in Evangelism
I've noticed myself becoming discouraged lately with the hard ground of our Canadian context in relation to my evangelistic efforts. I've had the opportunity to share the gospel with many people over the years here in Calgary, and yet, I've found myself growing accustomed to the indifference and even hostility that many people respond with upon hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. Perhaps this is something you can relate to.
This reality has had me thinking lately about what it's going to take to persevere in evangelism even when I don't see results in a way that I would like to. What is it going to take for us at Calvary Grace to persist in evangelism- personal and corporate- even when we are not seeing the Lord save many people?
At our recent “Delighting in God” conference with Pastor Paul Martin I spoke at a break- out session titled “Delighting in the salvation of the lost in missions.” In my talk I suggested that delighting in the salvation of the lost in missions is synonymous with delighting in seeing the lost come to delight in God. This statement is applicable to evangelism as well and I believe it encapsulates a crucial truth which will cause us as Christians to persevere in evangelism- even when we don't see results right away.
Think for a moment about what you naturally do after you've experienced something you really enjoyed- a good movie, a great restaurant, a beautiful vacation spot. You usually don't have to try very hard to tell others about those things right? In the same way, when we ourselves are delighting in God, we will naturally be telling others about Jesus because we want them to come to delight in him as well and we will persist in doing so even when rejected because we are convinced that their eternal joy is at stake.
The Psalmist of Psalm 67 displays this reality when he says:
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon the earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! (v. 1-5)
Those are clearly the words of someone who is himself delighting in God. The very reason why the Psalmist is pleading with God that he would make his saving power known among the nations is because he himself has come to delight in God. The natural result of this is that he now wants others to delight in God as well, even all the nations of the earth.
Over the next few weeks I want to unpack this concept by looking at different aspects of the lostness of man who does not naturally delight in God, and then, by way of contrast, unpack what takes place when God saves someone. In doing so, I hope to offer some Biblical encouragement for us to be persevering in our evangelistic efforts- even when we aren't seeing results right away.