August 16, 2017

Witnessing to the Closed Minded (1)

George Stiekes

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 11:15; 13:9; 13:43

The “hearing” goes beyond the sense of hearing physically and implies an inner spiritual reception of truth. It is interesting that in Matthew 13, the word “hear” is used nineteen times. This is so very important because Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). In Mark 4:24, Jesus said: Take heed WHAT you hear and in Luke 8:18, Jesus said, Take heed therefore HOW ye hear…

Now, in John 6, Those who followed and heard Jesus clearly understood that He demanded more confidence in Himself than what they were ready to supply. Many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this said, This is an hard saying; who can HEAR it (John 6:60). The word “HEAR,” in this verse is translated in some versions as “LISTEN,” and it means to listen or hear sympathetically and with faith. They had heard all that they cared to receive. And don’t miss this: It was not what they did not understand that bothered them but what they did understand that they found offensive.

Jesus then explains to them the culmination of the events that will be initiated because of His crucifixion.

  • In in verse 63 it is the Spirit Who gives life. Jesus was saying that it is His words that are spirit and life, which means that by the work of the Holy Spirit in an individual, Jesus’ words provide spiritual life. Without the Holy Spirit, man is totally unable to understand Christ’s person or Word or work.
  • John 16:7-9 expands on this noting that it is the Holy Spirit of God that convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. The verb “convict,” means TO BRING TO LIGHT BY USE OF PROOF.

Understanding conviction is important here.

  1. The Holy Spirit is the source of conviction (John 16:8).
  2. The Word of God is the means of conviction (II Timothy 3:16).
  3. Man – the human messenger (that’s you and I), shares the Word of God. Man then becomes the agent of conviction (II Timothy 4:2).

We are not responsible for how the Word will be received, but we are responsible to share it. When we do so, there are two sides that function.

  1. The Divine Side – Jesus said: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:44). God the Father draws people through the Holy Spirit.
  2. The Human Side – This is when man decides to either believe or not believe.

Jesus said in John 6:37: All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me (Divine Side): and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out (Human side).

Yes, it is our responsibility to share our faith with the unsaved, but we must first bathe our personal witness in prayer. How great is your desire to win lost neighbors, friends and loved ones? Paul said that his heart’s desire was to see Israel saved. It was his constant intense prayer. Is your prayer for the lost anything like that? He was even willing to give his life to see his own people saved.

The necessity of prayer cannot be underestimated. Jesus said: “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). Believing prayer and intense prayer are absolutely essential. Then we must choose never to give up, regardless of how closed to the gospel some people seem to be. We must pray that God would open their minds to the truths of His Word.

More on this in my next devotion, but remember this in closing: The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man still avails much (James 5:16). How fervent are you in praying for the lost?

George Muller prayed for a dear friend of his for 60 years. This friend trusted Christ as His Lord and Savior at Muller’s funeral. Never give up praying and never give up sharing your faith recognizing that God’s timing is different from yours.


George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

Comments

  1. Nick O'Dell says:

    Well said


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