Seek the Lost

The confident witness takes the initiative.

The Confident Witness (5)

…it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ… 2 Corinthians 10.14

Take the initiative
Neither Jesus nor Paul waited to be asked when it came to reaching out to others with the Good News of the Kingdom.

Paul was extremely aggressive, everywhere he went in his Personal Mission Field. He wasn’t pushy, though. We see him sitting in the synagogue, politely listening and ready to speak when asked. We observe him in the marketplaces, striking up conversations with people, asking questions, sharing his testimony, and inviting people to consider the teaching of Scripture. We even see him entertaining people in his rented home, discussing the things of Christ with great boldness and persuasive power.

He wasn’t pushy, but he wasn’t reticent, either. 

Jesus said that He had come to seek the lost (Lk. 19.10), and Paul determined he would seek them as well. He knew that lost people are captive to the Lie and looking for happiness everywhere but in God. They’re not likely to take the initiative with us in trying to find God. Paul followed the teaching of the Psalms in believing that no lost people are actually seeking the Lord (cf. Rom. 3.10, 11). We can be nice and friendly all we want, and we should be. But if we think this alone is going to provoke people to seek the Lord, we’ve got another thing coming. We need to seek the lost in order to proclaim the Lord to them, and when we do, we’ll find more joy and power – more confidence and consistency – in being witnesses for the Lord.

Seeking the lost
So what does this involve, this seeking the lost?

Seeking the lost begins in earnest and consistent prayer. Keep your Personal Mission Field in mind, first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Get in the habit of praying for the people to whom the Lord is sending you. Pray that they will be struck with the goodness and blessings of God; that the Spirit of God will strive with and woo them by all the various means at His disposal (Gen. 6.3); that they’ll come to see the emptiness of their lives and begin to desire something more. Pray for opportunities to come alongside them, and even open doors to begin a conversation about the Lord. 

The more we seek the Lord on behalf of the lost people in our Personal Mission Fields, the more confidence we’ll have in seeking them.

Next, take the time in your Personal Mission Field to get to know people, and to take a real interest in them. Learn their names. See what you can find out about their families, backgrounds, interests, work, and the like. Offer to pray for them. Practice good listening skills and try to affirm whatever you can about their lives. People are hungry for someone to treat them like they really matter. This is what Jesus and Paul did, and it’s what we should be doing as well.

Don’t be reluctant to ask people questions about their spiritual lives. Do they go to church? What is their view of God? Do they think religion can make a difference in people’s lives? Do they ever wonder about spiritual things, and what awaits us after we die? These are not offensive questions; in fact, you’ll be surprised, as you ask them, to find that many people are quite open to responding.

Be ready
Next, make sure you are ready to explain the hope that is within you (1 Pet. 3.15). If you are consistent in reaching out to people, taking sincere interest in and praying for them, caring for, helping, and encouraging them as you can, and initiating conversations about all kinds of things, sooner or later some of the people in your Personal Mission Field are going to wonder why you’re so different from everyone else in their lives. They might even ask, “Why do you care, when no one else seems to?”

Such a question is just a version of what Peter said we should expect as people begin to experience the hope we have in Jesus Christ. So we need to be ready. Make sure you know the Gospel and can explain it to others, and that your own experience of the Gospel is sufficiently real to allow you to share from own life about the difference believing in Jesus Christ can make.

It can help us to be ready and confident witnesses if we will talk about the Lord with fellow Christians, sharing our experiences with Him, talking about what we’re learning, and helping one another to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. We all have believers in our Personal Mission Fields, and they need to hear the Gospel and be encouraged in it as well, just as we do. If we can work on being more consistent with our believing friends, we might find that we’re more prepared to bear witness to the lost people to whom the Lord sends us.

Seek out Christian friends to help strengthen you as a witness for Christ; seek the Lord on behalf of the people in your Personal Mission Field; then go confidently into your assigned area of influence to seek the lost with the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom.

For reflection or discussion
1. Do you agree that believers should be seeking the lost in their Personal Mission Fields? Why or why not?

2. How do the examples of Jesus and Paul encourage you about this matter of seeking the lost?

3. What is your strategy for beginning to seek the lost in your Personal Mission Field? Should you have such a strategy (cf. Ps. 90.12, 16, 17)?

Next steps – Preparation: Suppose someone actually asked you for a reason for the hope that is within you. What would you say? Talk with a Christian in your Personal Mission Field about this question.

T. M. Moore

“The Confident Witness” is one of six studies that make up the core of our online course, Mission Partners. Preview this course at The Ailbe Seminary by clicking hereMission Partners is one of the courses in our Certificate for Kingdom Leadership curriculum, which will open for registration on January 1, 2019. For an introduction and overview of that curriculum, click here.

How confident are you in your ability to share the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom? Our book, 
The Gospel of the Kingdom, can help you get your witness and testimony in proper working order, so that you can be a confident witness in your own Personal Mission Field. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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