Some weeks ago on a Monday night, I was teaching/preaching at the county jail where I serve (as a volunteer; not as an inmate :-) ) on a regular basis. A gentlemen who I had seen at numerous such meetings that I had conducted over there was again in attendance. This man has been incarcerated in the jail since May of this year. He had attended many of my sessions since then. He has always pleasant, engaged and attentive; a model student, if you will. :-)
On the particular evening in question, as usual, I was incorporating the Gospel message into the material I was presenting. Again, he had attended numerous sessions with me of this sort, each with a very deliberate incorporation/presentation of the Gospel message. He put his fist on the table, smiled, and exclaimed “I get it!” as his eyes verged on tearing up. He repeated this phrase many times throughout the rest of the meeting.
Several things are of importance here. First, this man is incarcerated for gang related activity. Contrary to popular opinion, people involved in gangs and other such things are not lost causes, at least not to Jesus; thus they should not be to any of us. Please remember the very rebellious gang that Paul was very high up in; a very destructive gang that Jesus had very harsh words for. God obviously saved him.
Secondly, this was not the first time that this man had been to church or heard the Gospel. Just because someone has been to church (any church), perhaps thousands of times throughout their life, does not mean that they are saved, nor does it mean that they even understand the Gospel. I have known many pastors, elders of supposedly Bible believing/evangelical churches, other “pillars” in said churches, etc., in my life who I believe, had no understanding of the true Gospel, whatsoever. Please be neither shy nor presumptive about someone’s understanding of the Gospel, no matter who they are or what title or degree they may hold. Those said pastors, elders and “pillars” are just as ultimately damned to the Lake of Fire as anyone else is who goes to their death having never truly trusted Christ as savior. They need the true Gospel just as much the vilest and most uncooperative inmate confined to administrative segregation in a prison. Freely and openly talk about the Gospel in “religious” settings and otherwise, for what it truly is, for what it truly means; integrate it into conversations when you can; pray for opportunities to do so. It is much better to risk “offending” someone than to have them die in their sins and suffer the eternal consequences thereof. Chances are that the person who already truly does understand and believe the Gospel will be anything but offended by you, and those who may subsequently be offended may indeed not yet understand or believe it. These are of course the people that most need to hear it.
Thirdly, like it says on a bottle of shampoo, “repeat as necessary.” The thing is, we may not know how many times are necessary. As with the man who I have been discussing in this post, I thought that he understood the Gospel. He had indeed heard it presented many times and alluded that he understood it; I was dead wrong. Fortunately, as always, God knew better. Thanks be to Him that He placed me in that room, that night, with that man, laid on my heart what needed to be said and how to say it, and then gave me the grace to be obedient and say it. All glory be to Him. Remember, there is one Gospel, but there are many ways to present and teach it. Be familiar with as many of them as you can, and use them in practice. Remember that not all people learn the same way and that often times people (such as myself) may need to see and hear things from different angles and hear different aspects of whatever a given concept may be, before truly understanding it. The free short e-book that can be accessed in numerous places on this website entitled “Angles and Aspects of Salvation” may be able to help better equip you in this respect.
Fourthly, and I believe most importantly, if you truly feel God calling you to a ministry, a group situation or gathering, just to go visit someone, speak up about Him in a conversation, or whatever, pray and just do it. He may have appointed you as His messenger to bring the good news; the Gospel to someone, whoever that may be. There is no greater honor, calling, or satisfaction as a believer, than to be used as God’s vessel to bring someone to eternal saving faith in Christ. He may be offering you the privilege and gift to serve in bringing the “I get it!” moment of believing the Gospel and receiving the free and irrevocable of eternal life to to someone; perhaps to the lost “upstanding and religious” person, or to the most “unlikely” recipient, each truly being a miracle in their own right, and each equally loved and died for by Jesus.
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