Acts 19-20, Psalm 128
When my son graduated college around 6 years ago, he lost his bearings and fell into a sinful lifestyle. He started promoting at clubs and like many his age fell into womanizing and alcohol. For over a year I confronted the situation like most parents do, by pointing out the mistakes he was making and the life he was throwing away. This fell on deaf ears. Through prayer I approached him one night differently and he agreed to Bible study with me. Living in NYC this was done over the phone 4-5x/week, around 15-30 minutes a day. This was intense Bible study. After 1 year, the Word of God convicted Him and he slowly but surely eliminated one sin from his life after another. In the early 1900's, Robert Murray McCheyne initiated the Welsh revival. The nation was filled with pubs and taverns and alcoholism was a serious problem. He did not direct his talks against the taverns or against alcoholism, but as people were convicted by the Word of God and were filled with the Holy Spirit, the people lost interest in drinking and the taverns and pubs went broke.
We read in Acts 19 of the concern spreading in Ephesus due to the Word of God. In Acts 19:24-27, "For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsman". He said, "Moreover you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed,...". Paul says in Romans 7:7, "...I would not have know sin except through the law...". We don't need to be experts in confronting sin, just point people to God's Word. Paul, in Acts 20:28-29, instructs the Ephesian leaders, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock."
We may not be pastors or elders, but those of us in Christ are overseers of those that God put in our sphere of influence, from our spouses, our children, our family, our friends, etc. This is not a responsibility that we can just shrug off and ignore. So, when our loved ones walk away from faith do we complain about it or continually try to reach them for Christ. Do we continually give them the laundry list of all the things they are doing wrong in their life or do we lead them to the Word of God and let the Holy Spirit do the work. Jesus says in John 8:31-32, "If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." We are all surrounded by prodigals and unbelievers. Rather than pointing out their faults, like Robert Murray McCheyne let's point them to Jesus and His Word and let Him bring them into a relationship with Him. And may we never forget, no one is too far gone or lost until they breathe their last breath on this earth.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: