“Humble Yourself in the Sight of the Lord”

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, when they hear the words of Your mouth. Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar. —Psalm 138:4-6

As we seek to humble ourselves before the Lord, blessing Him and bringing Him honor, we need to ask ourselves a few important questions. Of course our hearts yearn to draw others to Christ, and it’s great to invite them to come to church with us. But at some point, we need to realize that what happens while they’re there is a matter between them and the Lord. Are we bringing them, hoping that they’ll have a good time? That they’ll feel comfortable? Or are we bringing them, knowing that the Lord will be working on their hearts while they’re there, and it might not be very comfortable at all! We bring them, praying that they will hear the Word of God, authored by the Holy Spirit, and be convicted of their sin, which definitely won’t be a comfortable time, but it may prove to be the very best day of their entire life! Of course, we want them to feel welcomed and loved, but we should also pray that God will be touching their heart in a way that it has never been touched before.

The problem with making sinners feel “comfortable” in church means that the Holy Spirit is stifled, and the Word spoken from the pulpit may well go right over their head. We should pray that salvation would be preached from the pulpit, and if it isn’t, we must be prepared to fill in the gaps, perhaps after the service is over. Some may come and leave unchanged. Others may be stirred and be filled with questions and a desire to know more. Still others will have their hearts broken as they are convicted of their sins and their need of a Savior. You must be ready to hold their hand and encourage them further, as the Holy Spirit leads. It goes deep. This is the most important decision that one can make in life, and we want to be ready for the Lord to fill us and use us in ministering to these new baby Christians, or perhaps friends who have now become true seekers.

Remember that it is the truth that sets us free. Nothing else will do it. Pray that the Lord will fill your mouth with the right words, boldly yet humbly speaking of what it means to receive salvation and letting them know that their lives will never be the same again, because now they have the Lord himself to walk beside and guide them for the rest of their lives! The follow-up isn’t in your hands alone. There are many Christians whom the Lord will touch who will come alongside these new babes.

Are you ready to be there to help them along the way? If they have been broken at the recognition of what they are apart from Christ, you must be ready to encourage, comfort, and even lead them for a little bit as they begin taking those baby steps. Paul wrote to Timothy: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure down doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

Paul warns that the time will come when people won’t put up with sound doctrine. What do we do then? Preach the Word to them anyway! Fulfill your ministry even when others are forsaking theirs and turning from the truth to “feel-good” fables. Remember, our job isn’t to attract people to the church but to attract them to the Lord himself. In fact, when tactics meant to draw crowds replace the clear teaching of the truth, no one can be made free.

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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