Thursday, August 9, 2012
The Continuing Mystery of the Gospel
Mark 4:26-29 (NIV)
26 He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
I wonder what Jesus' disciples really thought of the above parable. Mark is the only one who records it. i wonder if the others fully understood it. I don't know that I fully understand but through experience I can certainly relate to it.
I have shared the gospel with thousands of people throughout the years. I have shared it in many different countries. I have been told that no one would respond to an offering of the gospel and watched people give their hearts to Christ. I have preached must better sermons and had no one come to know Christ. While I do believe in preparation and study, I have determined that there is something I can't understand which makes the gospel grow in people that I can't force.
This is my own experience. I heard the gospel many times before I actually "heard" the gospel. I don't really know why it passed by me so many times before. One day I knew it required my full commitment when I had only seen it as a practice of religion before. One day I gave my life to Christ. I really don't know what was different. No one was around. It certainly had nothing to do with great preaching, apologetics or even a desperate attempt to find release from some tragedy. My life was meaningless but practically stress free. I could have been like everyone else but I trusted in Christ instead of everyone else, what they were doing or what I thought would be fun.
I simply told Jesus that I needed Him. There was no prescribed sinners' prayer. There was no one to lead me in prayer or what I should read. I didn't know the sinners' prayer. I didn't know what I should read. I just did what I did.
So, since I don't know how (the motivating force) I came to Christ, I really can't say I know how others do either. I know that people hear the gospel at different times. Some allow the Spirit to work and others do not notice the Spirit. Some become convicted and others are bored by the presentation. Some must do something right away and others have no compulsion to do anything ever.
I do know that fruit is the evidence of the growth of the word in me. I do know there is a day of gathering the fruit. I do know that I will be among those gathered.
The new birth of a Christian is fascinating. I marvel each time I see someone "come to know" Christ. A life is changed forever for eternity.
And, no, there is no complete standard answer as to why. Some people come to know Christ, some reject Him and some act as if they have never heard a thing that was said.
It remains a mystery to me.