Impulse buying can be dangerous! But sometimes you come across a deal that is just too good to pass up! The opportunity is limited… the product is clearly superior and marked by quality… You’ve heard about the seller and his reputation is unsullied and honorable. People are snatching the item up – there are a limited number left… Today is the day of opportunity… What do you do?
I read an account in the Bible this morning that left me in awe! I know in today’s evangelistic climate there is the recognition that most of those who decide to put their faith in Christ for salvation and begin to follow Jesus go through a “journey to faith.” I’ve heard statistics that tell us most people have a gospel presentation 5 or 6 times before fully committing themselves to Christ. More and more people are “checking out Christianity” – they are “seekers” – they investigate the “claims of Christ” AND the congruency of Christians, then they begin the “faith journey.”
I understand that reality – I don’t have a problem with it – I believe that in many cases that kind of thing happens. But I also believe if we’re not careful we’ll miss the urgency of the gospel message! I believe we can marginalize the mighty “convincing power” of the Holy Spirit! I believe we can turn evangelism (i.e. sharing the gospel) into just another buyers decision, governed by good market research.
OK, here’s the passage I read this morning that blew me away! First of all a little background: We’re talking about men with established, lucrative businesses. They have homes, some may have had families to support, they are used to the give and take of the marketplace. They know about con artists and religious charlatans…
“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. IMMEDIATELY they left their nets and followed him! And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. IMMEDIATELY they left the boat and their father and followed him.” (from Matthew 4:18–22 ESV)
I know that Jesus urged followers to “count the cost” before entering a life of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33)! But I also know there is an urgency associated with the gospel message… we don’t know the future; we don’t know how much time we have; and we can’t bank on tomorrow! And we also know “the gospel” is a powerful thing when it is shared in the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Holy Spirit has more visceral and intellectual authenticating power than any other force on earth (just ask Apostle Paul)! So I acknowledge the “journey” aspect of “coming to faith in Christ” – the “process” people often go through before “signing on” – but I also believe we should expect more “immediatelys” than we do when the gospel is shared!
Listen, it was that “Peter” guy who IMMEDIATELY left his nets and followed Jesus who later confessed “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! And we HAVE BELIEVED and have COME TO KNOW, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:69). Sometimes the investigation and discovery comes AFTER the decision to follow! Just say’n.