A Better Way

How much more rewarding it is to be led by the Spirit to receptive people than to randomly or systematically approach people who are unreceptive because we guiltily think they won’t be evangelized otherwise. Don’t forget—every person you encounter is being relentlessly evangelized by God. We would do better to ask people how their conscience is treating them to determine first if they are receptive to God or not, because everyone is dealing with guilt by some means.

Another example of this same principle is the conversion of the household of Cornelius under the ministry of Peter, who was supernaturally led to preach the gospel to this very receptive group of Gentiles. Cornelius was certainly a man who was listening to his conscience and seeking God, as illustrated by his alms-giving and prayer life (see Acts 10:2). God connected him with Peter, and he listened to Peter’s message with an open heart and was gloriously saved.

How much wiser we would be to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to those whose hearts are open rather than formulating extensive and time-wasting plans to divide our cities into quadrants and organize witnessing teams to visit every home and apartment. If Peter had been attending a meeting on missionary strategies in Jerusalem or if Philip had continued preaching in Samaria, the household of Cornelius and the Ethiopian eunuch would have remained unreached.

Evangelists and apostles, of course, will be led to proclaim the gospel before mixed crowds of receptive and unreceptive people. But even they should seek the Lord regarding where He wants them to preach. Again, the record found in the book of Acts is one of Spirit-led and Spirit-anointed people cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He built the kingdom of God. How different were the methods of the early church compared to the modern church. How different are the results! Why not imitate what was so successful?