Summary: One dominant reason underlying the increasing reluctance of Christians to share their faith with non-Christians pertains to the faith sharing experience itself. In asking Christians about their witnessing activities, we have found that nine out of ten ind
Power for Evangelism
Church researcher George Barna tells us from much research why most Christians do not evangelize:
One dominant reason underlying the increasing reluctance of Christians to share their faith with non-Christians pertains to the faith sharing experience itself. In asking Christians about their witnessing activities, we have found that nine out of ten individuals who attempt to explain their beliefs and theology to other people come away from those experiences feeling as if they have failed . . . The reality of human behavior is that most people avoid those activities in which they perceive themselves to be failures. As creatures seeking pleasure and comfort, we emphasize those dimensions and activities in which we are most capable and secure. Thus, despite the divine command to spread the Word, many Christians redirect their energies into areas of spiritual activity that are more satisfying and in which they are more likely to achieve success.
People do not spread God’s Word because they are afraid of being failures. Isaiah chapter 55 contains a message to those of us who are afraid of being failures. It contains a two-part message. The first part of Isaiah chapter 55, which is verses 1-7, speaks to us a message of preparation that is required prior to evangelism. The second part, verses 8-13, gives us assurance that we will not fail, because what results from our efforts is not up to us, but God.
Part 1: Preparation of One’s Heart
Everyone who thirsts, come (vv. 1-2)
When Isaiah made this statement, the time was around 721 B.C. Part of God’s church, Judah, had gone astray and had become allies with an evil nation. Isaiah was preaching to the captives of Assyria. They had no money and not much food. God was speaking to the captives through Isaiah, and he was asking them a spiritual question: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” He then told them, “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters!”
Isaiah knew well the history of Israel. He was aware that the people would look back upon the words of David, and recall that David knew a special truth about God. David said in Psalm 42:1-2a: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” He also said in Psalm 63:1, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”
What is this water that David was referring to? In John 4:13-14 Jesus spoke with a Samaritan woman, and revealed to her something of spiritual significance. Jesus said, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” Isaiah was trying to bring the people to an awareness that true life is found in God. It is found through the living water of God’s Word, and God’s law.
Now, let’s say that our church has gone astray from God by becoming an ally with Satan. We have left the truths of God’s Word behind to follow a lie. Maybe we don’t uphold a Christian example when we are around non-Christians. Do we join non-Christians in their actions, profanity, etc.? If this is the way we act, God is going to call for us to return to him. He’s going to offer us life, which comes through the knowledge of eternal life, as found in his Word.
The sure mercies of the Messiah (vv. 3-4).
What we have here is a reference to the one to come, the Messiah. The Messiah who was predicted would be a ruler and Savior with qualities of a great ruler like David. We just saw from verses 1-2 that Isaiah knew that the people would look back upon David, and remember his example and his sayings about Water. Well, the Messiah would be able to provide the Water they needed.
Verse 4 says that David was given as a witness to the people. The Messiah to come would be a witness to the people also. He would set the ultimate example of God’s love for us, but he was to offer us “living water,” something to satisfy our spiritual thirst.
Isaiah was pleading to the captives to seek the water from God, and to look to the Messiah for deliverance so that their “souls shall live.” God is calling us to return to him from where we have gone astray. If we return to God, and dedicate our lives to him, then he has a promise for us. This promise is in the verse to follow.