I appreciate your reading these words, as your time is precious. I also appreciate your heart for the things of God, as he wants us, His children, to engage our great commission mandate to make disciples. Part of that great commission responsibility is to share the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus with others.
By God’s grace, he saved me in 1987 and gave me a strong desire to tell others about His salvation. Part of that desire has been to encourage and equip other believers in their witness to others. You see, on my journey to faith the Lord providentially brought people into my life, people just like you, to share the gospel with a lost person, just like me.
In God’s providence, there was a friend, Greg, who planted gospel seed while I was a student at the University of Florida (UF). Then, my senior year at UF, there was Herb, a TV sales associate at an ABC affiliate in Gainesville, who shared the gospel with me while I was interning in the summer of 1986. Finally, Steve, whom I met on an airplane in September of 1987, who challenged me to ask the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob if Jesus was the Messiah. I did, and three months later in December of 1987, I prayed with him to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
In the last month, I’ve had two instances of God’s providential hand moving, allowing me the opportunity to sow gospel seed and profess Christ.
What is providence? I like this definition by the late J. Vernon McGee, who stated, “Providence is the means by which God directs all things — both animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, good and evil — toward a worthy purpose, which means His will must finally prevail.”
Additionally, the psalmist said, “His kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). And in Ephesians 1:11 Paul tells us that God “works all things after the counsel of his own will.”
The first instance of God’s providential hand providing an opportunity to profess Christ occurred about a month ago when I received a personal ‘evangelistic’ note and Watchtower Society tract from a Jehovah’s Witness, who lives in my hometown. During my 33 years as a believer, I had never before received a personal handwritten note from a Jehovah’s Witness.
After sitting on the letter for a few days and pondering how I might answer, I then penned this letter and mailed it. As of this writing I have not received any kind of response to my letter. Keep praying for the salvation of this man *Charlie.
The second recent instance of God’s providence providing opportunity for profession occurred the weekend of November 19-21. I was in Las Vegas sharing a presentation from my new book, “Jewish Roots of Christianity: A Biblical Survey of Redemptive History from Genesis to Revelation” at the “Is it too late?” Bible Conference.
Just prior to my leaving for the airport on Sunday morning at the local church hosting the event, I was hanging around the literature table where my books were being displayed. I struck up a conversation with a young woman named Rachel, who was leafing through the book. After asking her if she was interested in the book, she bluntly stated, “I’m Jewish.” Excitedly, I said, “So am I. That’s awesome.”
I then inquired what she thought about Jesus’ claims to be our Messiah. She said she wasn’t a Christian. I then asked her if she believed in God. She replied in the affirmative. As we conversed, it turns out we had much in common from a Jewish perspective, as we both grew up in reform Jewish homes, a liberal expression of Judaism.
After sharing a bit of my testimony, I offered to give her my new book, as it would help her connect the dots between Jewishness and Jesus. She happily received the book and thanked me. It turns out she and her Christian husband had been visiting the church for a few months.
I encouraged her to ask the God of Israel, as I had so long ago, to reveal the truth about Jesus, quoting Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you don’t know.” I also invited her to contact me with any questions she may have as she reads the book. Please pray for Rachel’s salvation.
What principles can we draw from these stories of God’s providential hand providing opportunities to profess Jesus and the wonders of the gospel?
Simply, we need to be available to God and watchful, seeking to be aware of evangelistic opportunities. We also need to be prayerful, asking the Lord to help us be ready to give a “word aptly spoken” as He orchestrates divine appointments by His providence.
Have you had any recent divine appointments involving an evangelistic component, where you witnessed the providence of God at work? If so, let me know how the Lord orchestrated it and how you participated in it. It would a great encouragement – as “iron sharpens iron” for “such a time as this.” May we be sensitive during this Christmas season to the providential hand of God providing us opportunities to profess Jesus and the glorious gospel. By His grace through the power of His Spirit, may we take advantage of those opportunities to sow gospel seed.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10