Evangelist Jonny Gaston
The Soverignty of God in Evangelism
/// The Sovereignty of God is the Christian teaching that God is the supreme authority and all things are under His control. ... Sovereignty is an Attribute of God based upon the premise that God as the creator of heaven and earth has absolute right and full authority to do or allow whatever He desires. ///
Summer was in full swing in South Alabama and it felt like 100 degrees outside. It just about rains every day here in August. I saw the grey clouds rolling in as I made my way routinely on Thursdays to our local Alabama rest area, to witness one on one to individuals who are coming off of the interstate to use the facilities.
I found that it is a great place to strike up conversations, pass out gospel tracts and offer prayer. On hot summer days I brought a cooler filled with ice cold bottles of water to hand out for free to be able to witness and share my story. It was an act of kindness they gave me the opportunity to share. I did this every Thursday on my lunch break.
From the looks of the weather I did not have long before the rain will be coming down. As I was coming up the sidewalk to prepare for conversations I saw a biker sitting on a bench under one of the gazebos. I approached him with a friendly smile and greeting. He was looking down at his phone. He looked up at me and simply said “I’m not interested in what you are selling.”
He looked right back down at his phone. I replied “Sir I just wanted to say hello and see how you were doing?” At that point most likely feeling bad about how he responded he said “I am doing just fine“ I reached out my hand to hand him a million dollar bill gospel tract. I said “ sir I just wanted to give you a message of hope.” He took it from my hand and said thank you, but I am not interested.” He went right back down his phone obviously wanting me to go away. But I was very thankful that he took the gospel message from me, I saw him put it in his pocket.
At this point I could have grew very discouraged that I was not able to really have a good conversation with him and share the gospel. He basically close the door on the conversation. But I have learned to trust in the sovereignty of God. I have no power to convict or convert anyone to Christ. Furthermore, I do not have the ability to change someone’s heart.
All I am responsible to do is to be a faithful witness to distribute the message of the gospel by all means.“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 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.” 1 Corinthians 3
This is one situation where the gospel tract really comes in handy. When someone shuts off the conversation, that gospel tract later on, will be taken out of that person‘s pocket where God can deal with their heart. After I encountered biker guy spent time passing out cold waters and having great fruitful conversations with many individuals from Tennessee, Atlanta, New Orleans and Texas. I turned around and realized that my biker friend had already left.
I felt raindrops on my face and knew that I did not have much longer before the bottom would fall out! I’ll begin to pass out the rest of the gospel tracts I had on me, and began to make my way to my vehicle and get back to work. It started raining so hard that my windshield wipers could not even keep up with the rain. I thought about that biker and how He must have made it to another exit and got off. I began to pray for him as I made my way onto the interstate and back to my exit.
I came to the first overpass, and wouldn’t you know it... there was the biker guy underneath the overpass taking shelter from the rain. As I passed by him he was sitting on his motorcycle reading the gospel tract I gave him. I began to pray for him immediately that God would deal with his heart. I was so thankful that God stopped him in his tracks and got his attention.
Sovereignty of God – What is it? The sovereignty of God represents the ability to exercise His holy will or supremacy. The Most High, Lord of Heaven and earth, has unlimited power to do what He has resolved. Being absolutely independent, God does as He pleases. None can deter Him, none can hinder Him. In His Word, God declares: “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me...I say: 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please'” (Isaiah 46:9-10). Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, created architectural works that were classified among the Seven Wonders of the World. Yet he praised the Most High’s sovereignty. “His [God’s] dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation...He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand...” (Daniel 4:34-35).
“No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day.” John 6:44
When it comes to evangelism people tend to get discouraged if they don’t see someone immediately come to Christ. Many times in evangelism you are simply scattering seeds or watering seeds that have already been planted.
Really you are not doing the heavy lifting here, God is.
People have asked me from time to time how many people I have seen come to Christ through our ministry? They are surprised at my response. “ I’m not sure, but we are faithful to distribute the gospel on a continuous basis all over the city.” Really to be honest with you, I have never led anyone to Christ, God does that part.
Some believers have felt a great responsibility to get someone to pray a prayer with them, so they can sense that they have accomplished something. Some believers have even been pressed for numbers, and have exaggerated the outcome of a outreach endeavor. Even pressure people into saying some type of prayer to ask Jesus in their heart.
There have been a multitude of false conversions all over because of this.
It is such a relief to me when I think about how little of a part I play in someone’s conversion. God has orchestrated the entire thing. Once I understood God’s sovereignty evangelism became so much easier to me, I did not have to pressure anyone into making a decision, but just simply articulate well the gospel message.
Many people reading this article may have thought I was going to dive into Calvinism Vs. Arminianism. Sorry to burst your bubble!
The purpose of this article is to point to the one who saves man. The drawing, the convicting, the new heart, new birth .. The one who deserves all the glory. God.
Evangelist Jonny Gaston - President of Reach My City