CLARKSBURG – A brother and sister from a local church joined us this evening.  Not only was it a joy to see them, but they brought homemade oatmeal raisin cookies for our setup.  I was able to minister to Sarah again (whom I met last week).

Pending Death Up Close and Personal

A group of men happened by which we enticed over with cookies.  One young man named Matthew was very quiet and already looked broken. He stated he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was not seeking treatment. He couldn’t say for sure if he knew Christ. I spent a very sobering time of walking him through the Gospel as he was staring death in the face. He weeped and we prayed afterwards.  Granted, his natural mind was focused on the here and now of his fatal diagnosis, but the most loving thing I could do was to refocus him on eternity.  Pray for Matthew.

If our concern for the unbeliever is focused on their worldly grief, we will simply lead them to hell.

Staying Gospel-Focused

For many years, when I was participating in some sort of outreach and a sick individual would approach, the focus was always on their physical condition.  Many I ministered with were quick with the “God can heal you” and “we’re going to believe God will heal you” mantras.  Yet, they never seemed to transition to what mattered, the Gospel.

While it is not necessarily wrong to pray and hope for someone to be healed, that should not be the focus.  Whether it’s health, finances, family life, jobs, or whatever, it loses focus on the Gospel.  In fact, that sort of focus (on the physical, worldly need) leads to death.  Let’s consider Paul’s words:

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. – 2 Corinthians 7:10

Do you see how this trap is so easily to fall into? If our concern for the unbeliever is focused on their worldly grief, we will simply lead them to hell.  As Paul says, it is “godly grief” (brokenness over sin) that “produces repentance” (a turning from their sin towards God) “that leads to salvation” (a saving relationship with Christ).  And that kind of grief is only brought on by the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ.  Only the Gospel can pull back the blinders of the unbeliever  that the “god of this world” has placed on them (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Soli Deo Gloria!