Making the Gospel Relevant to Those Who Don’t Care
It is not an easy situation. To say it is would be denying reality.
I am referring to those times you share the gospel with someone who seemingly has no concern about where they are spiritually or where they are going. What you are saying appears to fall on “I couldn’t care less” ears.
Several suggestions may be encouraging and helpful. One caution: Making the gospel relevant to this kind of person has as much to do with our attitude and demeanor as it does with what we say.
Don’t limit what God can do or how quickly He can do it.
I have seen God change people overnight – literally! I often tell people that if God decides to move, get in on the action or get out of the way. I have never forgotten the person who once said to me, “I know what I told you yesterday, but in the last 24 hours, God convinced me He is for real and I want to trust Christ.” Keep in mind that you are serving an Almighty God.
Don’t confuse your job with God’s job.
Remember God is not asking you to bring them to Christ. He is only asking you to bring Christ to them. John 6:44 reminds us, “No one comes to Me unless the Father who sent me draws Him…” Your job is to converse. Only God can convince. God has given the one you are talking to a mind and a memory. Something you say today God may bring to their mind as they are driving down the highway next week – next month, or even next year. Your calm spirit – even if they appear troubled by what you are sharing – can make a huge impact.
Show them unconditional love.
God is not asking you to love them the way they love you or even if they love you. God is asking you to love them the way God loves them. That means their response (apathetic or otherwise) is not the basis for your love. That has to be conveyed through words and demeanor. They need to know that regardless of their response, you will not reject them as a person. Keep 1 John 4:19 foremost in mind, “We love Him because He first loved us.”
Use helpful analogies.
It has been said that “People think with stories in their head.” Jesus often used illustrations to convey spiritual truth.
As you share your own story, share examples of how God clearly had you on His mind even when you did not have Him on yours. It might be the way He met a particular need or the way He protected you from making a wrong decision. It is not important that they agree with you or respond in an emotional way. Your story is your story and you are free to share it. Who knows what may happen in their life next week that causes them to reflect on the happenings in your life?
Use substitutionary illustrations.
Remember something very important in evangelism. People (especially in America) often think they understand the gospel. What they have missed when told “Christ died for you” is that His death was a substitutionary death. He did not simply die as a moral example of how to put others first. He died in our place. Because He died where we should have and rose on the third day, God can forgive us of our sins because the price for sin has already been paid.
Use illustrations of one person dying for another to help them understand His death for us. Had He not died, we would have to pay for our own sin, which we are unable to do, and therefore be forever separated from God.
Concentrate on listening not talking.
It has often been said that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Particularly if it is your first time to bring up spiritual things, they may have all kinds of frustrations they want to share. In that first spiritual conversation, you may unleash emotions that basically convey a “this does not interest me” mindset. Your receptivity to what they have to share (even if it is illogical and twisted) may open them up to a discussion upon your next visit. When they see you care, they are more likely to begin caring as well.
Pray the most fervently you have ever prayed.
Regardless of what happens (or doesn’t happen) in your initial visits, you now have one advantage. You know better how to pray for them. And this is critical.
Be encouraged by James 5:16b, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” God has ways to penetrate their mind with what you shared. It may be another witness He brings across their path, a happening in their life, or a sudden need that arises. Praying for them daily is one of the greatest ways you can serve them.
Through these seven ideas we can practice patience – and today, this is what a non-Christian who sees no need for God and has no interest in spiritual things needs from us. Ask God to help you put these ideas into practice in an atmosphere of patience.
Remember as you do – God is more concerned about their lost condition than you are. He can move in unexpected ways to bring them to Himself.
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