Nothing is more throbbing for a new believer of Christ who has unbelieving parents than to tell them the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that the gospel itself is an offense to unbelieving hearts. To open one’s mouth and speak the reality that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone and not of works, invites people who love their sins to respond in hostility towards the proclaimer of the gospel. He knows in his heart that he needs to respect his parents and that the LORD commanded him to obey them (Eph. 6:1). However, the situation gets heavier if his parents are devout Catholic, Iglesia ni Cristo or Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is more difficult than to be reprimanded by his parents whenever he disobeys them.
But he can’t keep his mouth shut. He needs to tell the truth for Christ’s sake and for the salvation of their souls from the wrath of God. He is like Jeremiah when he says that “there is in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in and I cannot” (Jer. 20:9). He is constrained by the marching order of his Lord and Savior to preach the gospel (Mt 28:19-20).
How can we go about this? This is a no easy task. This is really a heart-breaking task to do. The young convert asks himself, ‘what if they response in anger because I changed my religion?’, ‘what if they ask me to participate in their idolatrous beliefs?’, and ‘what if they don’t believe?’
Are these also your questions? Are you a new convert and you are struggling how to tell the Story to your parents? Have you been professing Christ for so long and yet you can’t still open your mouth and tell them the truth?
Before you sink in despair, let me also tell you that for a new believer this task is also one of the most exhilarating thing to do. While it is true that evangelism is a difficult task, it is a precious privilege given to the children of God. It is like finding a goldmine and you can’t help but tell the world that they may also enjoy the riches of that which you just found. To tell anyone that in Christ there is forgiveness of sins, in Christ there is peace, in Christ there is an overflowing grace and mercy, is more than enough to make one’s heart glad.
Therefore, instead of asking doubtful questions stated above, it is better to ask the following: “How can I bring the good news of Jesus Christ to them?”, “In what ways can the LORD use me that His name may be glorified whenever I am with my parents?”, and “How can they also taste and see that the LORD is good?”
In light of this, let me suggest three things that we must do in desiring to evangelize our parents that they may also be partakers of the divine nature through the work of the Spirit, that they may also drink from the fountain of Christ’s extravagant grace, that they may also experience the unconditional love of the heavenly Father, who alone bestows the blessings of the new covenant of grace. We should pray, prepare and persevere.
Evangelism is simply taking steps to conquer Satan’s territory and to march against the gates of hell (Mt. 16:18). This biblical mandate for every believer must be done prayerfully. We need the working of the Holy Spirit in order for the unbelieving minds to submit to the call of the gospel. And there is nothing more important than to call to God for this work in prayer. We should pour our hearts, minds and souls to God that He may have mercy on them that their hearts may be opened when we speak to their souls the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
J.I Packer in his book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God confidently speaks about the power of prayer when he says:
Prayer, as we said at the beginning, is a confessing of impotence and need, an acknowledging of helplessness and dependence, and an invoking of the mighty power of God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. In evangelism… we are impotent; we depend wholly on God to make our witness effective; only because he is able to give men new hearts can we hope that through our preaching of the gospel, sinners will be born again. These facts ought to drive us to prayer.J.I Packer
After all, the gracious lips of our Lord invites us to ask that it may be given us (Mt. 7:7). If we are commanded to ask for our daily needs that we may have food on the table, how much more is it necessary to go to the throne of God’s mercy that our parents may be saved? Pray before, during and after you preach the gospel to them. If our all-consuming passion is to herald the gospel, prayer must first fill our minds.
Before you go and tell the gospel to your parents, make sure that your knees are bleeding before the LORD.
There may be times that it is unnecessary to go and tell straight to your parents that unless they repent they will perish. More often than not, as we pray for every opportunity to preach the gospel to them, evangelism begins with a small talk about things that they value the most. As we pray for their souls to be a fertile soils for the seed of the gospel, we must pray for a humble and gentle heart. Sometimes, what goes in the way of others’ salvation is our lack of preparation.
The first task before we open our mouths and share the hope that is in us is to sanctify the Lord in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15). That is, our minds should be overwhelmed with the reality of God’s saving purposes in Christ Jesus, being filled with the preeminence of Christ (Col. 1:18). Along with prayer, we should consecrate our entire being to the LORD. That none should be esteemed but the Savior Himself. This is the thought that should consume our minds before, during, and after we preach the gospel to anyone.
Not only that we need to be equipped but also we need to be prepared for the heartbreak. Know that the LORD once said that “father will be against son… mother against daughter…” (Luke 12:51). This is true and this is the cost of following Jesus. That whatever the response of our subjects may be, the LORD is to be feared above all else. We hope and pray that our parents will be saved, but if they persist in rebellion and unbelief, will you stay in the LORD’s side?
What if they become angry and tell you that you need to leave your new found faith? What if they do not listen? Should you stop and never talk to them about the gospel again?
To carry on after a heartbreak is impossible if we are not filled with the truth of God’s Word. The LORD in His high priestly prayer ask the Father to sanctify His people in the truth, and what is the means of their sanctification? His WORD (John 17:17). The bulk of our preparation before we share the gospel to our parents is having our eyes and ears fixed upon Christ and His Word. Before we despair in our anticipation of their rejection, know that the Word of the LORD will not return to Him empty and void, and it will accomplish what He desires (Isaiah 55:11). Keeping the Word in our hearts is not only vital in faithfully proclaiming the content of the gospel but also central in setting our minds at rest in the sovereignty of God in bringing sinners to Himself.
It is our responsibility to herald the good news, but it is not ours to change their hearts that they may respond to the call of the gospel in faith and repentance. It’s only through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). This reality can only be stamped in our souls when we spend precious time digging the truths of the scriptures. Take heart in sharing the gospel, and take the truth of the gospel—Jesus’ blood and righteousness—into your heart whenever you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up (De. 6:7).
Before you go and tell the gospel to your parents, make sure that the word of Christ dwells in you richly.
In evangelism, we need to be like the persistent widow who because of her persistence was given justice when she cried to the judge day and night (Luke 18:1-8).
If we look at the history of the church, theologians of old were prayed and cried for that God may save them. Take for example Augustine of Hippo during the fourth century, known as the forerunner of the doctrines of grace. Behind Saint Augustine, stood her mother, Monica. Her soul was restless and deeply grieved knowing that his son stood condemned before God because of his adamant resistance to the gospel. Nevertheless, this did not prevent her to knock the heaven with so much tears and prayers. A Christian friend encouraged her to persevere in prayer, saying, “Go your way; as you live, it cannot be that the son of these tears should perish” (Augustine, Confessions, cp. 12).
And I would say that it is impossible that parents of anyone who beseeches the LORD day and night in prayer should perish. The LORD sees the heart of His people. He answers our prayer for Christ’s sake.
God listens to the prayer of His people (Ps. 4:3). This should call us to persevere all the more, to labor in prayer, and prepare ourselves bathe in God’s word that we may endure in presenting the gospel with gentleness and faithfulness before the presence of the One who has been faithful to us.
Love them, be merciful to them as Christ has been merciful to you. Let your light shine before your parents, and take every opportunity to show them the love of Christ until the love of God captivates their hearts, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Mt. 5:16).
We must proclaim the message in spite of the discomfort it caused, effort it demanded, and pain it incurred. We exist on earth that we may bring people to worship the Lord. True worship can only flow from a heart transformed by the grace of God. Transformed heart is only possible through the work of the Spirit working in and by the word heard. Men can only hear the Word of we persevere in this great task of evangelism.
After telling the gospel to your parents, whether they reject or accept it, love them all the more.
Lastly, be courageous and impress to your heart the words of Apostle Paul that blends our staggering duty and the unparalleled ground of this task,
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:20–21).
Pray, prepare and persevere! Press on until the LORD comes ye saint.
SOLI DEO GLORIA
9 thoughts on “Reaching Our Lost Parents”
Thanks for the great insight about the importance of evangelism. We all need to proclaim the good news of Jesus.
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Timely, indeed. The content struck me personally. Soli Deo Gloria!
Praise be unto God! I’ve been reflecting on this recently.
Thank you for this. I was moved to pray for my parents salvation.
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Praise God! Same here pastor. Most of the time I fail in this great task.
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God bless you, we need HIs grace
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