ACTIVITIES THAT BRING CONVERSIONS
As a result of Adam’s sin (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22), “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19), because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), leading to “the wages of sin…death.” (Romans 6:23). Man, therefore is lost and in need of salvation. “The Son of man is come to seek and save that which is lost.” (Luke 19:10). Following His resurrection and prior to His ascension Jesus told His apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) in “all nations.” (Matthew 28:19). Timothy was told, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also…” (2 Timothy 2:2). Verse 24 says, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,….” The apostles did not have to be concerned about what they would say; they were told, “it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” (Matthew 10:18-20). They were inspired of God. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21). Paul told Timothy to “study….” (2 Timothy 2:15). We must also study. Compare 1 Peter 3:15. Each Christian, not just preachers, elders, deacons, Bible class teachers, and a few others, have the responsibility of teaching the lost, evangelizing, sowing the seed of the kingdom, which is the word of God. (Luke 8:11). Christians sing of the need to teach the lost. For example, “You Never Mentioned Him to Me”, “Seeking the Lost”, and other songs. Are these songs understood? Are they being done?
Briefly, children of God need to understand that the task of soul-saving is growing increasingly more difficult. Paul was inspired to tell Timothy, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13). The present world is not as bad as the world of Genesis 6:5, but is rapidly heading that way. Consider the lack of respect many have for God’s will. Many today are like those of Romans 1, especially verses 21-32. Jesus declared that most would be lost, while few would be saved. (Matthew 7:13, 14). Consider Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 21:8. What do you see today? You are fighting an increasing and losing battle for the minds of men, women, boys and girls. Many churches (New Testament and denominations) are decreasing in number, even closing. This is depressing and almost makes one give up.
HOWEVER, even though all just said is true, Jesus encouraged His followers to be faithful. (Mark 13:13; Revelation 2:10). Though most will be lost, Jesus said, “few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14). It is up to God’s children to find that man or woman, boy or girl who will hear and receive the word of God. (Luke 8:4-15). Sow the seed, dear child of God, and God will give the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6). Who might be that next Saul of Tarsus? (Acts 7:58-28:31; Romans-Hebrews). Who might be converted as the immoral Corinthians? (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). The late beloved W. A. Bradfield used to tell students not to decide whom you think may obey God, but teach all, letting them make the decision. Borrowing Jesus’ words, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27, 1). Think of the rejections Jesus and His followers had, and continue pressing on.
There are so many tools available to Christians to convert alien sinners, and to restore erring brethren. Study them. Use them. Find what works most effectively for you. Master one or more, and use them. Following are a few examples of tools proven to be effective over the years.
First, “be thou and example of the believers.” (1 Timothy 4:12). Your teaching will be only as effective as your example. Why would one desire to follow one who talks the talk, but does not walk the walk? Cf. Romans 2:21-24. Attend all services. (Hebrews 10:25). Work zealously. (1 Corinthians 15: 58). Live properly. (Titus 2:11, 12). Have you ever bought a defective and undesirable item?
Second, “Preach the word.” (2 Timothy 4:2). Colossians 1:5 calls this “the word of the truth of the gospel”, which Paul declared “is the power of God unto salvation.” (Romans 1:16). “Another gospel” which is a perverted gospel will not save, but will bring condemnation. (Galatians 1:6-9). Christians must be faithful to teach “the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21-25). Do not try to build the church on physical things. Others can always outdo and outspend you.
Third, there are a number of open Bible studies you may use to teach the lost. Fishers of Men is an excellent one. John M. Hurt has been proven good. Alan Webster has courses.
Fourth, debates were great converting tools used effectively by our brethren in the past. Sadly, many today view these as negative. They are rarely used. Some in the church are afraid of offending someone. Some out of the church have little convictions. A number may fear losing members when they hear the truth.
Fifth, the Jule Miller filmstrips, now DVD’s, have proven to be effective over the years, with many being taught the truth through them. Many brethren were strengthened or edified as well.
Sixth, The Tisdel charts, whether copied on paper or printed on small cotton sheets, were great tools to be used in home Bible studies.
Seventh, a number of churches have used Bible correspondence courses to lead people to the Lord. Some called to be baptized upon finishing the courses, while others needed a little more teaching. Some enthusiastically studied until they got to doctrinal teaching, and, sadly, ceased to take them.
Eighth, House to House Heart to Heart, edited by Alan Webster is the third leading paper in the nation. It is mailed to people in and around buildings where brethren worship. It is a great tool to introduce the church to the community. Many have been converted as a result of this paper. Even those who have not left error, have a new and better attitude toward the church. It offers tracts, BCC’s, etc. The Magnolia Messenger, edited by A. L. and Paul Franks, goes out to over 35,000 several times yearly. It has Bible teaching and uplifting and encouraging events among churches of Christ.
Ninth, good religious papers have converted the lost. An older Christian lady where this writer lived told him of her neighbor giving her a publication after she had read it. This lady read the paper, and she was led to become a New Testament Christian. Pass good literature to someone.
Tenth, tracts are a great way of spreading the truth. There are many on almost any subject you may consider. This writer has over fifty titles, with more to come, the Lord willing. He has received letters from other countries. Brethren have used them to advertise gospel meetings. One church used 10,000 at a fair. Some brethren put them in letters, bills, place them in businesses where permitted, etc. Why should we not do so? Denominations do.
Eleventh, Canvassing is another means of finding prospects. The late and esteemed Jerry Jenkins was most effective in this area. He taught and converted people whom others might have overlooked.
Twelfth, Radio, TV, and the social media are great tools. Use CD’s, DVD’s, Facebook, the internet, Web pages, and any other means at your disposal to sow the word of God. A bedfast brother in Tennessee, years ago, would get the preacher’s sermon on cassette tape weekly. He would call people unknown to him and ask them to visit him. After a few minutes he invited them to listen to the sermon. At last report he had converted over 150 people from his bed by sharing a message on a tape.
Thirteenth, good visitation programs lead to conversions and restorations. One of the best seen and used is Sh-h-h-h-h A Visitation Program That Works! and works! and works!, by Maurice Howell. (Christian Bible Teacher, June 1965, p. 208).
Fourteenth, Bob Bryson, deceased, had one of the best closing studies this scribe has seen. It challenges the sufficiently taught to obey God NOW.
Fifteenth, the penman wrote a tract entitled, Withdrawing From The Disorderly, at the suggestion of the late Gus Nichols. People have been restored where this law of God was properly practiced.
Beloved, arise, sow the seed, and reap the harvest. You may convert someone whom no one else may reach. Do not go to the judgment empty handed. Feel free to pull up the writer’s web page (pilgrimbiblestudy.com), and print and use any materials thereon FREE.