28/8/11 Ezejuek 1-2; Revelation 2
S: Ezekiel 3:16-21 After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.
“If righteous people turn away from their righteous behaviour and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”
O: When we share the Gospel, some people will receive it and be saved, and some people will not receive it and will not be saved.
Our responsibility is to share God's message -- it is not our responsibility to make people follow Christ. In fact, it is not possible to force people to follow Christ. God looks for true heart change, not for outward compliance.
We have heard the accusation against Christians in India that we "force" people to become "rice Christians" by our charitable works, hence the "need" for anti-conversion laws. Now in the wake of the pro-democracy unity between Muslims and Christians in Malaysia, the government-controlled press is trying to make this accusation here.
But it its totally unchristian and pointless from a spiritual standpoint to try to force a person to become a Christian outwardly without a change of heart. If a person just goes through the motions of Christianity in order to benefit from Christian charity without the heart change, the person is not a Christian. So Christian relief and charitable organisations are totally against this practice.
There was a time in my university life where a pretty non-Christian girl and I had a lot of mutual attraction, and she started coming to all sorts of Christian events with me. But at one point, I had to cut it off because she would not be a true Christian if she converted only for the sake of the romance. I struggled with how to share this with her without motivating her to make a profession of faith without that true change of heart. (We managed to part as friends, thank God.)
A: We need to always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks for the reason for the hope that is in us. We must share the Gospel in season and out of season. But we must leave it to the person whether to receive Christ or not -- we cannot make them.
P: Father, help me to be a good and winsome witness for Your way of salvation. Keep me encouraged and motivated even when I do not see the fruit with my own eyes. In Jesus' name, amen.