A failure to obey is not necessarily due to a failure to explain

If you are anything like me, when it comes to personal or public work, you have probably put hours upon hours into studying and thinking about a biblical topic in order to find a way to explain it in such a simple, understandable and honest way that someone who holds a contrary position would agree with the avenue of evidence and change his or her position on the subject.

Throughout my years of living life as a Christian I have felt the urge to convince others of what I know to be an uncontradictory position of truth numerous times; even to the extent that it caused me great grief and anxiety. Experience and a greater understanding of responsibility has led to a much less burdened heart. By this I do not mean I have quit studying, attempting to create bridges of better communication, or trying to help others better understand that biblical truth does exist (2 Timothy 4:2). I’m saying I now understand that a failure of proper obedience is not necessarily due to a failure of proper explanation.

For example, Jesus told his disciples that in their lifetime they would experience great times of turmoil and personal cost and direct challenges to their faith from religious and political leaders (Luke 21:10-12), and he also said:

“But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to mediate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.” (Luke 21:13-16 NKJV)

Did you hear that? In the face of direct opposition to their faith in Jesus, these disciples would “have their talking done for them” because the evidence provided during their trial would come straight from Heaven, and with a masterful use of the master’s life, death and resurrection in light of the scriptures they would prove the truth and validate their trust in Jesus being the Christ of God … but the prosecutors would still fail to be persuaded! The “failure” to convince others would not be sinful or damaging to a single hair of their relationship with God (Luke 21:17-19) because it would not be the fault of the speaker – it would be the hearer.

So continue to do personal evangelism! Continue to find new illustrations that explain old truth! Continue to hone your skills in correctly handling God’s word! You can even strive to be an “Apollos-like speaker” (Acts 18:24), but do not become discouraged by forgetting there will be times when a lack of conversion has nothing to do with the lack of a loving, honestly emphatic and persuasive effort (1 Corinthians 1:18-21; 2:1-5; 3:5-8).

“Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing to both small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come – that the Christ would suffer, that he would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles. Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, much learning is driving you mad!” But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe. Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”” (Acts 26:22-28 NKJV)