Many Christians don’t feel equipped to “minister to the lost.” Most people find it difficult to talk about their faith at all, let alone to strangers. This is especially true if those strangers happen to be people they don’t particularly like. We hear all the time that we need to tell others about Christ. From the pulpit, they tell us to “evangelize” and to “make disciples,” but do we really even know what that means? What do we tell them? When do we tell them? How should we tell them? And is it really even that big of a deal? Out of all the people in the world, do we really have to be the ones to tell them about God? I mean, isn’t that what preachers get paid to do?
Let’s take a look at a story from Ezekiel chapters 2-3. Ezekiel is told to be a prophet to Israel. At this point in time, Israel was a rebellious nation who had turned from the Lord. That meant that this task might be dangerous for Ezekiel. So, Ezekiel has to go risk his well-being, in order to preach to a stubborn nation, that may not even listen him! I have to wonder what Ezekiel is thinking about this assignment. It doesn’t exactly sound like an easy task.
What happens next is pretty bizarre. Ezekiel sees a hand holding a scroll stretched out to him. Verse 2:10 describes the scroll by saying, “On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.” The story carries over into Ezekiel chapter 3 and only gets stranger! Verse 3:3 says, “…eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” Then Ezekiel is told to go address the Israelites. Ezekiel 3:14 says he “went in bitterness and in the anger of [his] spirit.” That basically tells me he wasn’t thrilled about going, but feared the Lord even more than he feared the Israelites. The Lord tells Ezekiel to relay the following message to the people: Ezekiel 3:18-19 says,
“When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.”
Whoa! That is quite a bit of responsibility. Either he tells them the message that God has for them or they will die, and it will be his fault. Notice that God didn’t say to Ezekiel “Go tell the priest to speak to the people” or “Go invite the Israelites to go to the temple with you to hear the message I have for them.” Instead, He says, “Go now to your people in exile and speak to them.” (v11).
What it comes down to is: we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). Everyone needs the message God is sending to the Israelites. As Christians, we have a responsibility to tell people that they’ll die for their sins. If we do not tell them, we will be held accountable for their fate. If we don’t tell our family about Christ’s love and they die without knowing Him, it is our fault. If we don’t tell our friends about Christ’s grace and they die without following Him, it is our fault. If we don’t tell our coworkers about Christ’s sacrifice and they die without accepting his forgiveness, it is our fault. I know that sounds harsh but it is true. You are obligated to share Christ’s love with others, and when you don’t, the results are horrific.
So, what evil things are these people doing that will cause them to die? Sinning. What sins, specifically, would cause them to die? All of them! Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” It doesn’t say “some sins equal death”, or “certain sins equal death”. All sin kills. Ultimately, what our sin is causing is an eternal death, forever separated from God. That is what a person faces if they do not commit their lives to Christ and follow Him. There is good news though! The end of verse 23 gives hope! It goes on to say, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Sin kills, but Jesus saves. We don’t have to die for our sins because Jesus already did it for us! Jesus is offering us a way out of our sentence. That is the message that is so important for us to spread!
Even once we have realized the importance of telling others about Christ, we still have some reservations. What if the person has questions? What if they disagree or get defensive? There are a few things we learn from Ezekiel that can better prepare us for taking God’s message of hope to the people around us.
Don’t be afraid to fail. One thing to remember is that you are not responsible for saving the souls of the people you come into contact with. Only Jesus can save. However, you are responsible for telling them about Christ. Who else is going to tell them? If not you, then who? This isn’t a commandment for only a select group of people. It isn’t a message for pastors, or missionaries, or those “called to evangelize.” We are all called. If you are a Christian and you are breathing, you are called to tell others about Jesus. What if they turn you down? So what? You did what was asked of you. The rest is between them and God. Just do what God has commanded of you. If we are truly a people who love Jesus and follow Him with our lives, our hearts should be breaking for those who do not know Him. Our hearts should be breaking at the thought of a life without Christ. And our hearts should be breaking knowing that our loved ones are dying in their sin.
Category: DevotionsTags: accountable, blood, Christian, death, devotion, devotional, discipleship, dying, evangelism, evangelists, evangelize, Ezekiel, Israel, missionaries, pastors, responsibility, sin, witness