Calling the Lost to Trust in Jesus
This is what making disciples of Jesus all boils down to. In fact, there is a real sense in which this is the only absolutely necessary step in the process to making disciples. Everything about this process hinges on whether or not our lost friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors, by God's sovereign grace place their trust in Jesus and Jesus alone for their personal salvation. This is the step that we've been building towards all along. And from the beginning of the process this is what we must be prayerfully aiming for.
Now this by no means undermines the process. We've seen how each step in the process of making disciples is preceded by biblical examples and admonitions. To be fruitful in disciple-making we must make initial and intentional contact with the lost, have winsome and meaningful and conversations with them, welcome them into our homes and lives in the context of sharing meals with them, patiently and intentionally teach them about the gospel, and warmly invite them into the wonderful family life of our church community. But we must do all of this in the hope, and with the goal, that they become a devoted disciple of Jesus.
You see, we are in a very dire situation. We are sinners. We are idolators. Each one of us has offended God in our rebellion against Him and are awaiting trial before Him for our offenses (Rom. 3:9-19). We are on spiritual death row. No one is exempt. The reality is that we can warmly and winsomely reach out to the lost, lovingly and intentionally befriend the lost, and even welcome them into our homes and into our lives, and yet watch them walk down the proverbial green mile of this life on the road to eternal death and punishment from God.
But we have good news for the lost. Paul says in Romans 3:23-25a: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith." Wow... I'd be hard pressed to find greater words than this! Soak that in...we as believers are forgiven by the sovereign, undeserved grace of God through faith in Jesus' sacrificial death for us on the cross. We have been granted the gift of faith that sees and embraces this profoundly life-changing truth, and we have been given the awesome privilege of calling the world to embrace it with us.
These awesome truths should compel us to call our lost friends to repent and receive this unspeakably wonderful gift as well (see 2 Cor. 5:11-15). Please take a moment and read Romans 10:13-17. In this passage, Paul makes it clear that the only way anyone can be saved is through faith in Jesus, and the only way people will hear about this salvation is when you and I call them to trust in him. There is simply no other way that the lost will be saved. So there comes a point when we must love our lost friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or even our enemy enough to call them to repent of their sin, and place their trust in Jesus to save them from the wrath to come.
Please take some time to think about this. Pray about it. Talk about it with other believers. Consider it long and hard. And put faces to it...consider that apart from saving faith in Jesus your mom...or your dad...your brother...your sister...the person you sit next to every day at work...your friendly (or not so friendly) neighbor...or even that guy who you JUST can't stand will justly suffer eternal torment because of their sin if they do not hear the gospel call and surrender to Jesus.