Obedience in Proclaiming the Gospel
by Bobby Bruno 4/22/2014 / Christian Apologetics
"What is your response to how many times the 'average' non-believer must hear the Gospel before they are able to receive it? Particularly consider implications that this statistic has on evangelism and discipleship."
I think that most of us forget that it is not our responsibility to get people to accept Jesus into their lives. We are only to plant the seed that can then be watered by others (or us, if that is our part) as the seeker goes along the path to righteousness. I am not surprised that it takes 7.6 hearings of the Gospel for a seeker to finally come to Christ for forgiveness and salvation. I have always heard it said that it takes seven times to memorize a verse of Scripture, or anything else we want to remember that is important to us. I know that all of us who witness to others wants to be the ones who are actually there when the seeker receives Jesus in their lives, but, according to the statistics, 7.6 times is the ruling factor. Is it any surprise that it takes 7.6 times? For God, seven is the number of completion when He does something, but we mere humans need .6 more times to finally get the message of the Gospel due to our imperfect ears trying to assimilate a perfect message. What this means for those of us who truly want to evangelize the world is that we must remember that any part we play in the leading of others to Christ is golden in God's eyes. He is not asking us to save anyone, which is His job; all He asks is that we make the attempt to tell others about His Son and leave the decision up to the seeker. Our responsibility is to water the harvest, not to drown it; God's responsibility is to grow what He has allowed us to plant in the minds of others and to bring the harvest in.
Comment: "The implications of this statistic if it were true just means that in the mission field for example, one might have to stay a little longer to get the message across."
Author Response: The one person I could see that would need more than 7.6 times to hear the Gospel would be an atheist. If their heart is truly set on not believing in God then it will be a difficult time convincing them that God does exist, even if the evidence is right in front of them. Look at Josh McDowell, his book "Evidence That Demands A Verdict Volumes 1 & 2" contains over 600 pages, double-columned, that chronicles all the evidence he put together to convince himself that God does not exist. We all know that what he truly found in all of this evidence is the exact opposite of what he once believed. Josh is now a born again Christian who now helps our youth to be all they can be in Christ. It took him years to compile his evidence. The same goes for Lee Strobel, the "Case for Christ" series author. He, like Josh McDowell, spent years trying to refute the Gospel, only to find out that it was all true and now he is a Christian author who has set out to convince others that the Gospel is true and that Jesus is real. Here are two men who took years to find the truth. But when they did, they have set out to change the world with their witness and zeal for the Lord.
Comment: "We have to be encouraged and know that there are some that will plant, and some that will water, but it is God who does the increase. If we are faithful in sharing the Gospel, God will do the rest."
Author Response: It's great that God doesn't leave it all entirely up to use to do every phase of evangelizing. Can you imagine how many seekers we would frustrate if we did all the talking about Jesus over a long period of time? They would get tired of hearing our voices and tune us out for good. It's good that God does the "buddy" system with evangelism. I mention the name of Jesus to a seeker; you tell them why they need Jesus; the next person takes them into the Bible for clarity of the scripture's reasoning of why they need Jesus; the next person helps them fully understand everything they've been told so far; and the last person in the chain is the one who actually leads them into praying the receive Jesus into their lives. God just loves to spread His blessings around doesn't He?
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.