Have Faith in God’s Power

During a recent visit to Thailand, we were hosted by Pastor Tovo from Madagascar, who is serving as a missionary in the Nan province. As we pulled up to a roadside restaurant owned by a friend of Pastor Tovo, my colleague Erin asked him if the restaurant owner was a Christian. Tovo profoundly replied, ‘Not yet’.

Just those two words – ‘not yet’ – reveal faith in the power of God’s word and his desire for all people to be saved.

How would you respond if someone asked whether one of your unbelieving friends was a Christian?

Too often we find ourselves second-guessing whether people would be interested in the faith and judging whether they would be receptive to the message. The guilt associated with such an attitude can bind us in a vicious circle where we feel incapable of sharing the faith.

But I want to tell you wonderful news. Your sins of keeping silent, of prejudging others, of denying them the chance to hear the gospel, your sins of ‘wussing out’ and making excuses – all of these have been paid for on the cross of Christ and you are forgiven in Jesus’ name.

You are now a new creation, precious and holy in God’s sight and free to share this gift that is yours by faith.

So let’s look at 1 Peter 3:15 and Romans 1:16.

Does God put limits on who might be receptive to the message of the gospel?

Where does the power to change hearts and create faith lie – in your polished proclamation or in the word of God?

Pastor Tovo has incredible confidence in God’s word to do its work and change people’s lives. He believes it’s just a matter of when they come to faith, not whether they will.

Read Isaiah 55:10–11

What gets in your way of having this radical confidence in God’s word?

I remember observing the Roman Catholic Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – the equivalent of an inquirers class. I was fascinated by how relaxed the leaders were. They were not worried about whether participants became members of the church because they figured that, eventually, they would all come to realise the treasure the church offers. Those who didn’t embrace the instruction were also in the category of ‘not yet’.

Is this the way you experience life in our LCA/NZ? Or is there more of a sense of desperation when a potential new member joins our ranks? If so, why do you think this is?

We have inherited the wonderful proclamation that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, so this confidence should be second nature to us. Perhaps we have lost sight of the treasure that Jesus has won for us.

So first let God’s word do its work in you.

Read Romans 5:8.

Be refreshed in the precious news that ‘while we were still sinners Christ died for us’. The Holy Spirit will remind you of the wonderful treasure that is yours to share and give you confidence that he will call, gather and enlighten those who receive this treasure.