Breaking Hard Hearts
It is easier to teach a Christian how to be a witness than it is to get them to admit that they are supposed to be a witness.
You cannot teach someone how to do something that they have already purposed in their heart not do.
Nine out of ten Christians today have never led a lost soul to Jesus, never share their faith, and have no plans on changing.
HARDNESS OF HEART is stopping God's people from learning how to be effective witnesses for Jesus.
You can spend hours, weeks, months, even years trying to teach someone how to be a witness, but it will not be fruitful until you break that Hardness of Heart.
Mark 6:52 For they considered not the miracle of loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Hardness of Heart will prevent understanding!
I call this selective Hardness of Heart. It's done by choice. We choose to receive God's word into our hearts in one area but not another area. When we hear God's word and refuse it or rebel against it, we Harden our Hearts.
Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, bretheren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Sin will Harden our Hearts.
Hebrews 3:16-19 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief?
Doubt and unbelief kept the Hebrews out of the promised land. That same doubt and unbelief is hardening the hearts of God's people and stopping them from being his witnesses today.
TODAY! Right now, we need to break through those hard hearts in the area of witnessing with the preaching of God's word, starting with this scripture:
Hebrews 4:15 While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
We need to tell God's people that they have had hardness of heart in the area of witnessing and they must repent and change.
I remember the first congregation I shared this message with on Hardness of Heart in the area of being a witness.
One person received the message, allowing the conviction of the Holy Spirit to bring heartfelt repentance. That person repented, determined to changed, and purposed to allow God to use them to be a witness for Jesus.
When you teach this person the how-to's of being a witness, they will catch it and run with it.
A second person heard the word and rebelled against it. That person stormed out of the church in a rage, saying, "I don't have to listen to this. I'm not going to have someone tell me that I have been wrong, and I'm not going to change." They were so mad that they got in their car and drove over the church lawn.
You can teach teach this person the how-to's of being a witness, and they will never catch it. HARD SOIL = HARD HEARTS.
The second person was fighting with God!
Several years ago, I was in a public building, waiting for the elevator to come down. When it came down, I saw a man on a stretcher with several paramedics around him. As they wheeled him past me, several more paramedics came in. As this was happening, the Spirit of God told me to go and lay my hands on him and pray. Immediately I heard a second voice. That voice talked me out of doing what God said. The next morning as I looked at the newspaper, I was shocked to see the man God had told me to pray for on the front page.
Yes! He died. I do not know if he knew Jesus. I do not know if the people around him knew Jesus. I don't know what would have happened if I would have obeyed God and prayed for the man. But this I do know. When I disobeyed the Spirit of God, I was in rebellion.
And rebellion is SIN.
When God leads us by His Spirit to pray for our witness to someone and we disobey, we are in sin. We, all Christians, are responsible to share the truth that we know.
I had to do as David would have. I had to repent for my disobedience and ask for forgiveness and purpose to do it right the next time.
Ezekiel 3:17-18 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
This man's blood was on my hands.
Imagine what the conversation would be like if it was possible for a person to come back from hell and confront the person God had assigned to witness to them.
Christian: What is this? What is on my hands?
Soul from Hell: It's Blood! It's Blood! It's my blood!
Christian: Blood? Why? What is this about? I don't understand.
Soul from Hell: You never told me. You never told me.
Christian: Told you what?
Soul: You never told me about Hell. You never told me of the fires of Hell.
Christian: Who are you ? Do I know you?
Soul: Don't you remember me? I was your friend.
Christian: Who are you?
Soul: We worked together. We went to school together. We had the same friends. We grew up together. We shared everything. But you never told me.
Christian: I wanted to tell you, but I was afraid.
Soul: Afraid, afraid of what? Nothing could be more frightening than the fires of Hell. The fear of God and the reality of the fires of Hell should have been enough for you to overcome your fear and tell me. You knew the truth and never told me. You never gave me a chance. My blood is on your hands.
Then out of the dark came several demons.
Soul: I don't want to go back. Help me. Help me. Help me!
Christian: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Oh Jesus.
Soul: Help me. Help me. I don't want to go back. If only you would have told me.
If this could happen, how many souls from Hell would have the right to confront you? How much blood is on your hands?
The truth is that 9 out of 10 Christians have blood on their hands and have Hardened their Heart to the part of the Gospel that tells them to be a witness, that tells them to be a minister of reconciliation, that tells them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.
Okay, let's go back to the question:
HOW DO I STIR UP MY PEOPLE?
How do I get them to move? How do I get them to do something? How do I teach them to be effective witnesses for Jesus?
Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast; tell my people of their sins! --Isaiah 58:1 LB
To reach your people, you must first convince them through the preaching of God's word that they are in sin.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
As they heard the word, their hearts were opened to receive.
John 16:8 And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement.
As we share God's word, the Holy Spirit will bring conviction of sin.
Pull out your sword (the word), and swing it HARD and OFTEN in LOVE.
If you want your people to change, you must bring conviction by preaching the truth about the commission God has given us to be his witnesses.
If you want a soul winning church, you are going to have to preach soul winning messages.
If you want your people to be witnesses, you are going to have to preach about witnessing.
You may be thinking, well we do this in our Tuesday night witnessing class. Do all your Sunday morning people come to the Tuesday night witnessing class? Let me answer this one. NO!
If you want your people to be witnesses for Jesus, you will have to hit them hard, often, and in love on SUNDAY MORNING.
I challenge you to start preaching and teaching on it until the hard hearts break and your people become effective witnesses.
Look, you have probably tried Saturday visitations, Friday night soul winning classes, special Evangelism classes, and weekend revival services. Have they worked? If not, it's time to make CHANGES.
The main focus of our ministry is to teach Christians how to lead the lost to Jesus as part of their everyday lifestyle. To reach the 9 out of 10 Christians that never witness.
That 9 out of 10 Christians that never witness WILL NOT come out on a Friday night for a special Evangelism class. The only chance to reach them is on SUNDAY morning.
I have seen many churches make room for a 10-minute tithing message during every Sunday morning service but never a 10-minute witnessing message.
Is tithing more important than witnessing?
College students spend the largest amount of their time on their major, their main subject, main purpose. They also have other classes. These are minor classes. They do not get as much time as the major class.
START MAJORING IN SAVING SOULS.
JESUS MAJORS IN SAVING SOULS.
The church needs to major in souls by giving most of its time (Sunday mornings) to raising up effective witnesses.
Towards the end of last year, God gave me an idea of how to be more effective at raising up witnesses.
At first I thought, "This is crazy. No one will go along with this. It is totally different than what churches do today. It's too drastic. People don't like change. No one will go along with this."
Well, those were my thoughts, and I'm glad His (God's) thoughts are greater and more effective than mine.
I shared the idea that God gave me, and almost everyone I shared with said yes. "Let's do it; we need change."
The idea God gave me was to reach people on Sunday by having a Sunday Celebration Workshop.
The following are two examples of the type of Schedules we use on Sunday Celebration Workshops.
SUNDAY CELEBRATION WORKSHOP (A)
SUNDAY CELEBRATION WORKSHOP (B)
In the Year 2001, we scheduled over 14 Sunday Celebration Workshops. In the Year 2002, we are turning our focus to primarily schedule only the Sunday Celebration Workshops.
We are seeing hard hearts broken and bold witnesses for Jesus rising up as a result of these Sunday Celebration Workshops.
This is a God idea, and now is the appointed time.
If you want to change, you are going to have to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!
"BREAKING HARD HEARTS" IS TAPE NUMBER ONE IN THE "WITNESSING MADE EASY" SERIES. TO ORDER "WITNESSING MADE EASY" CLICK HERE.