Last night in our small group meeting, we talked a bit about the signs and wonders of God. During that discussion, some shared that the biggest sign/wonder/miracle in their life was salvation. This led to a time of sharing conversion testimonies. One began his own powerful story by saying "Never stop praying [for unsaved people in your life]." It was one of those Holy Spirit moments, when you can feel His presence, literally. I know I wasn't alone in being at once convicted of my own prayerlessness and discouragement in this area, and encouraged...even excited...to commend my people to prayer to God.
Then, this morning, I came across this:
"I have much people in this city."—Acts 18:10.
HIS should be a great encouragement to try to do good, since God has among the vilest of the vile, the most reprobate, the most debauched and drunken, an elect people who must be saved. When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it, for so the decree of predestination runs. They are as much redeemed by blood as the saints before the eternal throne. They are Christ's property, and yet perhaps they are lovers of the ale-house, and haters of holiness; but if Jesus Christ purchased them He will have them. God is not unfaithful to forget the price which His Son has paid. He will not suffer His substitution to be in any case an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be; and this is our comfort when we go forth to them with the quickening Word of God.
Nay, more, these ungodly ones are prayed for by Christ before the throne. "Neither pray I for these alone," saith the great Intercessor, "but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word." Poor, ignorant souls, they know nothing about prayer for themselves, but Jesus prays for them. Their names are on His breastplate, and ere long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace. "The time of figs is not yet." The predestinated moment has not struck; but, when it comes, they shall obey, for God will have His own; they must, for the Spirit is not to be withstood when He cometh forth with fulness of power—they must become the willing servants of the living God. "My people shall be willing in the day of my power." "He shall justify many." "He shall see of the travail of His soul." "I will divide him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong."
...and then I had another Holy Spirit moment. :)
I've been a believer since 1994. My family is still unsaved. Since Katrina, the Lord has allowed me to cultivate some very neat friendships at work. Not one of my new friends has even come to church yet. It is so easy to get a bit myopic and see nothing really happening. This has led to discouragement and prayerlessness. But this view isn't complete, and isn't even reality. I see resistance, failure even...but God. God says "I have many people in this City." God says, "They are Christ's property." God says, "[I] shall justify many." He also says that He intercedes for them. It is His heart that all men will know Him..before that great day. As such, He pursues them. He shows up on the map of their life and reveals Himself to them, though they may be resistant, stubborn, bent on refusing Him. And, if they are among the chosen He WILL win them. Just like He won me.
Father, thank you for testimonies. Thank you for irresistable grace. Thank you for men who faithfully recount your truth and promises to encourage us in due season.