When I was in High School, I had a youth worker who took me to the local mall every Friday night. No … not to shop … we handed out tracts and shared our faith with whoever would listen. I can remember vividly wondering why everyone we shared with did not trust Christ. The Gospel makes so much sense to me that when people would refuse, I was left truly confused. When you understand that you are a sinner … and that your sin separates you from God … and that God sent the answer, the sacrifice to pay the sin debt you owed in His Son Jesus Christ … and that you must simply accept by faith the gift God offers … Why would anyone refuse that? I could not understand it then, and I cannot understand it now.
Jesus told the story of a rich man and a beggar in the Gospel of Luke. The beggar’s name was Lazarus; the rich man is just called the rich man. When Lazarus died, he was taken into paradise. When the rich man died, he woke up in Hell. The rich man cried out to Lazarus and Abraham and asked first for a drop of water. When Abraham explained that it was impossible to cross from paradise to Hell, the rich man asked him to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers. As Jesus described this story, He made an interesting statement in response to the request for a Gospel witness to the rich man’s brothers. “And he [Abraham] said unto him [the rich man in Hell], ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead’” (Luke 16:31).
This is a sad, but very true verse. As I read this verse today, I thought about the many who I have shared the Gospel with who have refused, even though Christ has risen from the dead! It is important for us to understand this reality, but also to realize that some will believe it! Lazarus, a beggar during his life here on the earth, had trusted the Savior Who would come to provide redemption for his sin-debt. He was in paradise, awaiting Jesus’ entry into Heaven to follow Him there. Even though my youth leader and I did not see many people respond to the Gospel during my High School days, I did learn the importance of sharing my faith. I learned that many may refuse, but some will accept. I learned the importance of sharing the message regardless of who refuses, or who accepts. You see, God is the saving Agent, not us. Our responsibility is to tell the Good News … it is His responsibility to save those who believe. Some have never heard!
“Would that God would make Hell so real to us that we cannot rest; Heaven so real that we must have men there.” – J. Hudson Taylor