“There is a price you have to pay, so count the cost.” These are the words I have used several times when witnessing to the lost, and in some instances, they have been the last words I have said to them, by their choice, save for the following days and weeks of “Morning,” “Have a good weekend,” or short comments about the weather. It can take a very long time, at least in my mind, before I say these words to one who has been listening to what God has to say to them in His Word, what He has led me to speak to them in an attempt to show His mercy, love and grace to them, and most definitely they are not a good opening statement, to say the least. One could easily use the phrase “If you don’t accept Jesus Christ as Savior, you will spend an eternity in hopelessness in the lake of fire.” Though it is the truth and it should be one of the driving forces behind our desire to speak to the lost, I think that you can see that it is not really a very good way to start up a conversation with anyone.
Because of Christ great love for us we should always be seeking for every opportunity to reach the lost, for we want them to know His love also, but most generally in a short talk with someone we have just met, the point of eternal separation from Him, Hell, is not brought up, this topic along with the opening statement of this letter generally infers a person that you see on a regular basis, someone who has recognized over months, perhaps even years that something is different about you. By your examples and your words, the person they thought was just different, then religious, then maybe not so bad, they now want to know more about.
“How is it that you can go through all the things that you have been through and still react and behave like everything is alright?” Here is the opportunity to tell them of your hope (1st Peter 3:15) A rare thing has just happened, a very rare thing indeed, the Lord our God has sent to you a great privilege, a moment in time that will be recorded forever, an occasion has arisen to tell another person that more than likely knows absolutely nothing about the truth, love, mercy and grace of a Loving God for them. If you have been a wise and obedient servant, studied the Scriptures diligently and hid His word in your heart, these are the moments you pray for, these are the moments you have asked to be a part of. Now is the time to walk them through the ‘Romans Road,’ the road to salvation, (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; and 10:9) and if you do not have that road memorized, begin to do so today. I have printed them out, two verses on each side, of a business card sized piece of thick paper and then a local printing shop laminates them for me for just such an occasion. It is a joy to be able to explain each of these verses and the others that the Holy Spirit will place into your heart at that time to these people.
If the person you have been speaking with has been brought by the Holy Spirit to this point in their lives, He will also provide all the time with no interruptions of any kind so that they will hear everything He wants to say to them through you. I have been blessed to be there and it is an incredible miracle to witness, for it is almost as if you are the only two people on the planet at these moments. They will not come to Christ because of the fear of eternal damnation, but because they now realize that they have hurt the heart of the one that they now know loves them the most, who always has, and has been waiting patiently for them. But they must also know this, a great and incredible price has been paid for them, a price that they could not pay and that He did not owe, a debt that they can never repay, they must count the cost.
You should never lead someone to Christ and allow them to think that all they have to do is repeat some words after you and then they can go back to the life that they were living before, they need to understand that over time that life that they have been living up to that point is going to fade away and die, that once they begin the walk on this path there is no turning back, that “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) There is a very good chance that they will lose the relationships they once knew with their family and friends, (Mark 10:29-30) they will be ostracized from those they have known their whole lives, even the community they live in, (Luke 4:24) they will be mocked and ridiculed, (2nd Chron. 36:15-16) they may even lose their life, (Rev. 12:11) but they will gladly lose all for Christ’s sake and Glory.
If you have been walking with the Lord for any length of time, if you are an obedient servant of Christ, then you will be able to explain exactly what all of these statements mean, and more than likely tears will begin to well up in your eyes, for you have been there, you have counted the cost, and found the price more than worth paying, in fact, you have found it an honor and privilege to pay it. And exactly what is that price? It is everything, all the time, when he calls, you answer, and the answer is always, “Yes, Lord,” no matter the cost.
For me personally, when the conversation reaches this point, when the cost is explained, when everything I can think to say to them has been said, when all that I have been led to speak is spoken and they still not have made a decision, I become frustrated inside, for here is another who has been led to the Cross of Christ and will not fall to their knees in repentance, asking for forgiveness from Him. More than once I have said to these, go home, and ask God to do something that is completely impossible, something that you are sure could not happen, not something ridiculous like winning the lottery or making the sky green, but something that is deeply personal to you, that only you know about, and don’t tell me what it is.
The next time I meet these individuals, some of them will look at me as if I were a ghost, or a powerful magic man, or even like I have the plague, and will avoid me at all cost, but I can see in their eyes and by their demeaner that their request was answered , that He has shown them that He exists and is real, and that they have denied Him. I feel so sad for these individuals, for “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2nd Cor. 6:2)
For others though, their entire life has begun to be changed overnight, they have this great need to tell me everything that has happened, how there is no way that it could have happened in a million years, and yet it did. The expression of joy and wonder on their face is indescribable, for they have met Jesus Christ, and now they want to know Him better. For these, we find a quite place apart from others, a place where we are alone, right then and there, for they are prepared now to begin their walk from this world to the next, to start their journey on the path that only He can lead us on. They are prepared to leave all for Him who has called and chosen them, they have heard Him say “Follow me,” and their only reply with no thought to the consequences that they may suffer is “Yes, Lord.” It is a blessed and Holy moment, (Luke 15:10) and one I pray you may be able to experience many times in your life.
Lead them there, my friends, lead them to the Cross and let Christ do the rest.