1 Corinthians 12:31b (NAS)

And I show you a still more excellent way.
1Corinthians 12:31b (NAS)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No man can come.....except

You've heard the expression, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."  This principle applies to sharing your faith with someone who may or may not receive it.  In fact, our best arguments may fall on deaf ears, and our heart-felt plea may be scorned or laughed at.  Why is that, we might ask?

I am not the 'pushy' type; I do not force my opinions on others, but there have been times in my past when I felt impressed to share my Christian faith with a friend with whom I had established a friendship.  For example, I shared my personal testimony of faith in Christ with my college roommate.  I have had theological discussions with colleagues at work and I talked about what Christ  means to me with a neighbor who was a stay-at-home mom, like me.  Come to think of it, there have been numerous occasions when I have had the privilege of sharing with friends, the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But, aside from my children, I have never lead anyone to Christ.  Most of the time, my beliefs were accepted and the individual with whom I shared expressed genuine interest.  Looking back, I feel confident that God used these discussions to help the person to grow spiritually, to confirm what they believed, or to guide them in making good decisions.  

But, I have not always received affirmation when I shared my beliefs with others.  I remember one particular friend who had a daughter the same age as Hannah and even though we came from completely different backgrounds we were instant friends and spent hours talking about everything from our families to what we wanted out of life.  I grew to love her and and her family.  But, we could never see eye to eye when it came to talking about Jesus.  I talked about being born-again and having a new heart.  She talked about religious rituals and traditions and said my faith did not make sense.  She looked at things from a logical, scientific point of view and my experience did not pass the test of reason.  She has since moved to another state and we no longer have our long talks anymore, but I still think of her often.  

In John 6:22-71 Jesus talks with the multitude and his disciples about a difficult saying: he refers to himself as the Bread of Life and the necessity of eating his flesh and drinking his blood if one is to follow him.  Naturally, they do not understand.
  • Jesus tells them in verse 29 that God's will is that they would believe in the one he has sent and in verse 40 that the Father's will is that those who see and believe will have eternal life.  So, it is clearly God's will that we would believe in Jesus, his son.  But, evidently, not everyone will believe. 

  • In verse 36-37, Jesus tells them the trouble is, you haven't believed even though you have seen me, but some will come to me - those the Father has given me. 

  • In verse 44-45, he continues his discourse, declaring that no man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him.  And then he quotes from the prophets about being taught of the Lord which is a reference to the new covenant.  (See Hebrews 8:10-13) 

  • Verse 63 helps us understand the new covenant and that it is the Holy Spirit that gives us eternal life.  He repeats in verse 65 why it is that some would not believe, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it is given unto him of my Father.   

So, is it a waste of time for me to share my faith since the outcome is dependent on God?  Of course not, for who am I to say who will be saved and who will not.  My responsibility is to proclaim Jesus every time I have the opportunity.  And besides, I cannot save anyone, but I can pray.  I can pray that God would draw my friend to Jesus and I can pray that the Holy Spirit would quicken their heart to believe in him.    And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him.  1John 5:14-15

No comments:

Post a Comment