|Master Sergeant Justus Belfield, Veteran's Day 2014|
One of the workers wished him a happy Veteran’s Day and thanked him for his service, to which he gave a determined salute. Master Sergeant Justus Belfield passed away only one day later (www.dailygazette.com).
In an interview one year prior to his passing, Justus told a story about his days spent recruiting for the Army. He was quick, recruiting 100 soldiers so fast that one might wonder what his “trick” was. The trick was simple: be honest with potential recruits. Tell them the good, tell them the bad. Help them understand what they are getting into.
Perhaps we Christians could learn a thing or two from this Veteran. Often the question is asked in a Bible class or in an office visit, “What is the best way to evangelize?” The answer is simple: be honest. Do not sugarcoat the gospel; do not pull a bait-n-switch with the Scriptures. Everyone likes to hear the good that God has in store for them and how He desires to bless them, but all too often we neglect to inform the lost about the expectations of Christian life. Remember the words of Paul in Acts 20:26-27:
"Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God."When we reach out to the lost, it is tempting to leave out parts of the gospel, especially if we see difficult changes that need to be made in another person. If we truly care about them, and if we desire to accomplish the work God has given us, we must be honest, sharing even the difficult parts of the gospel.
We need to talk with the lost about sexual promiscuity, lust, drug and alcohol abuse, marriage, divorce, remarriage, worship attendance (especially the first day of the week), wholesome speech, etc., as well as baptism into Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the blessings which follow. Everyone deserves to know what they are signing up for when they decide to obey the gospel, and we are responsible for making that truth known to them.
There is no trick to evangelism, no trick to winning the lost. As Jesus taught in the parable of the sower, a few will listen, obey, and bear fruit, while many others will refuse the message in one way or another (Matt. 13:18ff). Jesus explained to all very clearly that the gate to life is narrow and difficult to enter, and many will refuse it for an easier path (Matt. 7:13-14). We do not set the size of the gate nor the type of seed, but we can show others the way, honestly and clearly. Make sure you give the lost the chance to make the choice, and that you are pointing them to the right gate.