In Acts chapter 8, we can read about a great persecution that came against the church in Jerusalem and the Lord used that persecution to accomplish His plan. It says that every Christian there was scattered abroad—except for the Apostles, whom we can call the “ordained clergy,” and the people went everywhere preaching the Word. The Church of Jesus Christ was spread over all the earth because the “people in the pews” went everywhere sharing their faith in Christ.
You see, that’s the reality. The ordained clergy will never win the world to Christ. Nor will it be just those guys on TV, or the preacher on the radio . . . if you are counting on someone else to do your preaching for you, some people will never be reached. Think about that person you work with? He is going to respond to people who care for him, love him, and are interested in his eternal destiny. He will only respond to people just like you. He will respond to you if you really care enough to share the Life of Jesus with him. Don’t pass out tracts, or stand on a soap-box at work, or “thump” your Bible at him. You have been sent to share your life with him. Jesus said, “Go into all the world . . .” He meant for the Church, not the preachers behind pulpits. Their job is train you for the work of the ministry—and the work of the ministry is living your life in front of everyone else—a life devoted to Jesus. How beautiful are your feet as you go here and there to carry the gospel of salvation.
Receiving grace is a process. I like what Ray Stedman had to say about it.
I have often thought it is like turning on a light switch. You flick the switch on the wall and the lights go on. It seems like such a simple thing. Yet behind it is a very complicated process. There are the transmission towers, the substations, the dam that was built to hold back the water, the poles on which the wires are strung—a tremendous complexity lies behind the simple act of turning on a light switch. Every time you do it, power surges forth—and it comes only because that complicated process has been gone through.
Every time an individual comes to the place where in quietness he calls out to the Lord, a tremendous process is behind it. There is the darkness and anguish of the mystery of the Cross, the birth at Bethlehem, the wonder and miracle of the Resurrection, the sending forth of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost—all this is the process behind a single individual when he calls on the name of the Lord. God is behind it, he has started it. The apostle wants us to understand this activity of the sovereign character of God.
All kinds of things have been happening to bring us to the point of surrender to the Lord and our Father has been orchestrating the whole thing!
However, not everybody is ready for this, ready to see, hear, and act. Isaiah asked what all of us ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is before you can trust you have to listen. Unless Christ’s Word is preached, there is nothing to listen to.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome