How To Reach The Lost

Many struggle with the idea of evangelism. I know that there are many ideas being spread around to help people evangelize the world around us. But how do we find out what works for us? For new believers and even experienced believers reaching out to a world in need seems to be left up to the pros. So few Christians actually make an effort to reach out to others in their community.

If you are one of those who just don’t know where to start I know what you feel like; you feel hopeless or helpless and in many cases it does bother you that you have not been faithful to reach out~to evangelize for Jesus.

Let me recommend starting with Jesus and what he taught in the parables of the kingdom of heaven.

Why Be Concerned [Why not leave it to the pros]

In the parable of the fishing net in Matthew 13:42-50 Jesus share another illustration of what the kingdom of heaven on earth will be like. He shares these to his disciples at first – they represent the true believers, or if you prefer, “followers” of Jesus. They represent the visible church.

Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away.” (Matthew 13:47-48 NLT)

Then once back on shore they had to drag the net in and sort through all the fish. Some were the good kind that they were allowed to eat according to the law. And the rest were the bad kind who were thrown away, perhaps used for fertilizer for the farmers. It was strenuous work for sure.

Now the disciples could relate to this illustration, they were very familiar with fishing with a net. Several of them understood this well because Jesus just described their occupation. As they listened they probably rubbed their hands, feeling the calluses, that came from rowing out from shore dragging a 100ft net out into the water, making a huge arch and then rowing back towards shore straining at the oars while the net full of fish followed them.

OK – What is so bad about this picture?

Nothing until you read the next part of the parable where Jesus says, “That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:49-50 NLT)

Oh that is bad news! No matter whether you believe in a literal hell fire or that it is only a picture of the end that awaits those who are unbelievers Jesus is teaching that an end will come and in the end the unbeliever (the wicked) will face God’s judgement. I would hate to be on that list, sounds much worse than Santa’s naughty list!

And you know something else? I would hate to get to heaven and find out that someone I could have shared the good news went to hell because no one talked to them. No one took the time or cared about them!

God may have sent a multitude of Christians in their path but they all took the easy way out and rejected them for whatever reason. They didn’t even bother to try. Sad.

This Parable Illustrates Our Primary Method of Evangelism

This parable was not just about the end that will come to those who are lost or unbelievers it is an illustration of what our primary method of evangelism should look like. Like fishing with a net!

“The kingdom of heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind.” (Matthew 13:47 NLT)

Our method of evangelism should be just like fishing with a net – whatever we do, however we speak to others about our hope in God it should be done indiscriminately!

Fishing nets don’t discriminate – they catch whatever is in the water. The dragnet that Jesus described cannot be selective neither should we! It is a great picture of the church (the kingdom of Heaven) in the world. It will be made up of all kinds of people. Where people of every kind can be found.

Rich people and poor people, men and women, black and white and every color in between. There will be old and young, educated and uneducated. Happy people, hurting people. The healthy and the sick, the singles and the couples. When we share the good news we should share it with anyone and everyone.

Don’t eliminate anyone because you think they wouldn’t be interested or that they already believe. Share your story, share your love as God loves you so also love others.

The primary work of the church [that is you and me] is to share the good news indiscriminately!

We are blessed to be blessings to others. Our nature as believers should be such that we are like windows in a dark world where anyone might get a glimpse of another world – the kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven – A Mixed Up, Imperfect kingdom

We are not to worry about those among us who don’t seem to fit in our preconceived idea of a perfect church or group.

Remember in this parable that Jesus teaches, the disciples or believers are those who reach out indescriminately The gospel is more like a dragnet and it will catch every kind. Every one who responds will be caught up. Some will respond because they believe the message. Some will respond just to be part of somethin bigger than themselves. Some will respond because the gospel offers a hope beyond their current situation.

Obviously there are going to be a mixture of good and bad. It should surprise us when a leader fails, or when a board member acts inappropriately the church will contain both true believers and fake believers.

Our job is not to straighten every one out it is to trust God to lead us as we work together with others doing whatever we are called to do. God will straighten out the church in the end. The kingdom of God will be perfected when Christ returns and judgement day comes.

Until That Time Practice Patience

I remember more than 50 years ago when I first became a believer. I was a church goer, sometimes. Our ship was at a liberty port overseas. I went into town to blow off steam after being at sea for a while. On the way into town there was a little mission that offered coffee and donuts and of course a sermon. I became a believer in 1968.

Boy was I a messed up believer. I didn’t know anything and if you met me that day or any day for many years I would look just like any other sailor. It took a long time for God to work in my heart but He did it. I am not that person I was back then.

I am so glad that other believers didn’t cross me off or throw me out. Many that I met just treated me like a brother; sharing God’s love. Thank God for patient believers.

Be patient with others God can work miracles in a life if we just let him.

Cast The Gospel Net Wide

Talk to all kinds of people. Share your story when you are able. Share how thankful you are to God for helping you through whatever. Share your joy indiscriminately. Be happy, remember how much God has blessed you. And when someone asks share your faith. Love everyone.

Across the street, at work, and everywhere around the world we are called to cast the net of the gospel talking to everyone and anyone. We are to be fishers of men and women.

Never forget that the final destiny of the lost is a place called hell where there will be eternal separation from God; from all that is good. Don’t worry if they look like they won’t care, just show them you care.

You might be surprised who you will meet in Heaven

I can only imagine stepping across that threshold in life and into heaven. I believe I will be surprised at who I meet there, as there will be many whom I thought were definitely candidates for hell.

I hope something I have written will help you build understanding more about evangelism. I encourage you to read more and of course study your Bible regularly. God’s word is a light that will help us grow and mature as believers, we just have to put in the effort to learn.

Please comment if you would like, would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Thank you too for sharing this on social media if you desire.

Raymond – Author,

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