How many sermons have you heard that really have no point? How many Bible studies have you heard that have no purpose? How many Sabbath School classes have you been to that merely seek to run out the time? All that we do in our discipleship training should be for Christ. And as it is His great directive (see lesson 1) to “throw us out” into the world to seek souls, we are to bring people (at the right time) to a decision.
The Bible repeatedly emphasizes that the laborers of the harvest are few, though the harvest is ready and the fruit visible. Why is harvesting so difficult and even awkward? Perhaps while studying this week, you have been feeling like this lesson isn’t for you. The reluctance to call people to a decision may result from the following scenarios:
1. No Know-How: “Many would be willing to work if they were taught how to begin” (Christian Service, 59). This is the simplest and most common answer. Many have never learned how to make an appeal. As we share truth, we must ask the following questions. “What is it that I am asking the hearers to do?” “Why was this subject presented?” “What should the listener do with it?” “What is God’s will concerning the message and the hearer?” Second, the response should be carefully thought through. “With what or how will people indicate their response?” Will show of hands, standing, walking, cards, verbal assent be used? Third, clarity should be communicated on when, how, and where the response to the appeal should be made. Fear may lead one to make an ambiguous appeal that could compromise the decision. Remember, however, that mechanics are not as important as being honest and sincere in the personal plea you are making.
2. Too Self-Reliant: Some scenarios are awkward and uncomfortable because the disciple is focusing too much on self. When the emphasis is on public opinion, popularity, the avoidance of shame, and other selfish interests, the experience indeed becomes void of God’s approval. Instead, making an appeal should strengthen our reliance on the Holy Spirit and His will for the individual. “The secret of our success and power . . . will be found in making direct, personal appeals to those who are interested, having unwavering reliance upon the Most High” (The Review and Herald, August 30, 1892).
Do you want an intense experience that will drive you to complete reliance upon Christ? Why not get involved in public evangelism or in a Bible study decision scenario that harvests another generation of disciples for Jesus?