... From morning till evening he (Paul) expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. Acts 28:23b-24
It was well over a century ago that Dwight Moody shared the Savior's story of salvation in East London.
An unbeliever, a fellow by the name of Bradlaugh, heard of the crusade. Wishing to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings he encouraged all his atheist and agnostic friends to attend the first meeting. It was their plan to disrupt things by being vocal in their scoffings.
The unbelievers came in droves. I have to confess things started out well enough for them. When they were asked to sing a hymn, they laughed. They thought their success would continue during and past the sermon. Their amusement began to change when Moody told them of their sin, Christ's salvation, and the forgiveness the Savior offers.
After the sermon, Moody asked all who believed in Christ to say, "I do."
One man, Bradlaugh, the leader of the atheists, quickly shouted, "I don't."
Moody responded: "Men you have your champion. Now I ask those who need and believe in Jesus to say 'I do.'" By the Holy Spirit's leading, 500 men, having realized their previous beliefs had been wrong, terribly wrong, sprang to their feet, shouting, "I do! I do!"
Now I share this story not to encourage emotional altar calls in our congregations.
It is shared so we all may once again be reminded of the power of the Holy Spirit when it is applied through the Word. Now if you're thinking, well, I know that.
I can only reply I'm sure you do. Even so, there are times when we hold back in our witnessing. The reasons for that are numerous:
* We may think we don't have the right words.
* We may believe what we say is going to be rejected.
* We may believe we will cause some kind of offense and upset to our listeners.
Now, I have to confess, it is quite possible those undesirable things may happen. It certainly happened to the apostles of Acts as they made their proclamation.
But it is also possible the Holy Spirit may touch hearts and save souls through your sharing of His Word. And if you're wondering how -- or if -- you can determine how what you are going to say will be received, all I can say is this: Paul couldn't; Peter couldn't; nobody can.
All any of us can do is trust the power of God's Word and humankind's need for the Savior, who rescues us from sin, death, devil -- and ourselves.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I believe. Help me in my sharing with others who do not know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. May my witnesses, long or short, brilliant or simple, be Your tool to touch sinners and support those who already acknowledge the Christ. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries