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Chuck McKnight, AiG–U.S., closes our series of devotionals on Acts by providing the proper perspective on evangelism.
Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
Today’s big question: what if we don’t see any results?
When we share the good news of Christ Jesus, we enjoy seeing the impact of that message. There is little more gratifying than watching people dedicate their lives to follow Jesus. But let’s be realistic; that’s not always the response we get. Many people to whom we witness will seem totally unresponsive, and some may even become hostile.
In fact, Jesus mentioned four different responses when the Word is proclaimed. There will be some who accept the message and bear fruit (Mark 4:20). Some will receive it at first, then stumble due to tribulation or persecution (Mark 4:16–17). There are also those who will hear the message, but it will be choked out by worldly desires (Mark 4:18–19). And others will even be deceived by satanic influence (Mark 4:15).
We could easily allow an unbeliever’s response to become discouraging. Our pragmatic society emphasizes visible, tangible results, and this mindset has unfortunately taken root in the church. There is a strong tendency to gauge ministries by the number of reported conversions. So when people scoff or walk away, it’s easy to think that we have failed at our task. But this is not at all what the Bible shows.
In 1 Corinthians 3:6–7, Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” This is a vital truth to remember—God gives the increase, not us. As servants of Christ, we are simply to proclaim God’s Word. It is our job to convey, not convert.
There is no such thing as a wasted conversation about Jesus. God promises, “My word … shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). As the word of God (Luke 8:11), the seed we plant when spreading the gospel is guaranteed to accomplish God’s purpose.
We may not see the results right away. In fact, we may never see the results. But God’s Word will prosper in the thing for which He sent it. It will either convict the sinner to bring him to repentance, or it will be used to condemn him on the day of judgment (Acts 13:46). We must continue to boldly proclaim the good news without compromise and let God give the increase.
Today’s big idea: we are to plant the seed; God will give the increase.
What to pray: ask God to give you boldness and endurance in proclaiming Christ Jesus.