Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friends for Eternity

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20

The religious leaders protested: “This teacher eats and drinks with sinners! (Mark 2:16)” How could Jesus preach truth on one hand and fraternize with the ungodly on the other? Christ’s behavior ran roughshod against the Pharisee’s way of living. They habitually stayed clear of people that promised to soil their reputation.

But Jesus befriended those lost in sin. He extended mercy to those that didn’t have it all together. We have been commissioned by Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. This is our mission – to win the world for Jesus, and evangelism starts within our own sphere of influence.

I believe the Lord would challenge each of us to befriend one or two people who do not know Him for the purpose of eventually introducing them to the Savior. Why not make this a matter of prayer? Ask the Lord to show you someone who you can foster a God-honoring relationship with. The Lord will help you begin a friendship with an unbeliever without compromising your Christian values. (For this type of evangelism I strongly suggest looking for people of your own gender.)

Once you have found someone, with the Holy Spirit’s help, slowly establish a close rapport with the individual. Don’t hide the fact that you are a Christian, but let your lifestyle preach the message. Spend time with him or her. You may find he or she shares a common interest with you, such as playing racquetball. See this as an opportunity to develop the friendship.

Love the person with God’s love and be careful not to be judgmental towards this person – remember this individual does not have the Holy Spirit within him, and he does not know the Lord like you do. As you pray for this individual, ask the Lord to touch him and give you an opportunity to share the gospel with him. It may take time before the person is ready to receive Christ. If he does not embrace the gospel, continue to extend kindness towards him and continue to pray for him. He may still accept Christ in the future.

If your friend receives the Lord, rejoice with him and help this person find a good church where he can be baptized and learn more about the faith. Remember that we are called to make disciples not converts. Above all, continue to cultivate the relationship. By God’s grace, you will have won a friend for eternity.

Dear Lord,

Show me who I can befriend for the gospel's sake. Help me to love this person unconditionally. Reveal to me ways in which I can show this person your kindness. Help me to develop a friendship with this individual and enable me to eventually bring him or her your message of hope and healing. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Toya. All rights reserved.

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