Encouraging Others to Become Christians: New Testament Lessons

Every generation has to come to grips with a very real need/problem: there are people in the world who need to obey the gospel of Christ, and that responsibility fails on the Christian to provide the instruction (rightly divided) that is from God, found in the scriptures. One of the questions is: how do we do that? (Is there a guide or example of how to convert our sin-filled generation to Christ? Of course there is: in the New Testament itself. The New Testament gives us many examples of people being taught the good news of salvation, and we can utilize those for the benefit of those we study with today.    

Since there are so many examples in the Bible and I am selecting just a few, no doubt there are others that you might think of as well - and that could be just as useful - but here we are highlighting these because they are familiar and easily remembered. One might want to begin with Stephen in Acts (6,7), or the first recorded gospel sermon by Peter on the Pentecost after the Resurrection (Acts 2); however, we might also look at those instances where quite a bit was at stake for the messenger of the good news (that may not have been such good news to the hearer at the time).    

Paul showed great courage when he was preaching before various officials, as he could only have created a more dangerous environment for himself. Look at the conversation he had with Felix in Acts (Acts 24:24). Here was a man married to someone who could not lawfully be his wife, and Paul did not back down or hesitate to bring the necessary truth to him. The Bible says he spoke of righteousness, temperance, and the judgment to come. Imagine how such a message must have sounded to Felix - it caused him to tremble with fear. He was given an opportunity to change his life (repent) and to walk a path of righteousness, but he seemingly refused to do so. He told Paul the same thing that many have told us over the years - they need a more convenient season. He was not willing to change, but Paul spoke to him on that sore subject anyway.    

This is an example for us: to preach the word, whether those in the world want to hear it or not. It is no shame for us to preach the truth of God, even if no one wants to hear it. We might also remember the study we just concluded on Wednesday night from Matthew 14. Though the focus was on Jesus and the feeding of the multitudes, we glanced back toward the beginning of that chapter and noticed the courage of John. He had been imprisoned and then killed because of his stand for truth. He had spoke to the authorities on matter relating to morality. "For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her." (Matthew 14:3,4)    

Is that the type of courage we have in standing up for the gospel? It is that degree of selflessness that we should embody in our defense of the scriptures, which are our guides to eternal salvation. Would we really be willing to put our lives on the line for the Lord, or would we run and seek shelter from others (as Peter did when the arrested our Lord). Shall we deny him before men, or confess Him. Our salvation is dependent on that choice.    

Johnny Oxendine