Welcome to our church today
It’s great to share with you at church today. Please make yourself known to our staff if you are visiting.
Do you pray for people to be converted?
I do and it will seem strange to many of you for me even to ask the question. “Of course”, you reply, “don’t all Christians pray for this?” The answer is sadly “No, not all Christians do because some think it is wrong.”
“Making converts” or proselytising is looked down on in our country and illegal in many many more (just follow our weekly page 7 country reports). It is banned from our schools and frowned upon in our universities (supposed bastions of free speech). Even the word “proselytising” sounds cruel, something extremists do or a nasty medical procedure. “Converting” someone doesn’t sound much better, and is seen at best in our society as insensitive and arrogant, and at worst dangerous.
So why do I pray for family and others to be converted? Why do I believe we should? Because Jesus and the Bible urges me to. Because converting people is what Jesus came to earth for. Because being converted to following Jesus is best thing that could ever happen to a personal from any faith or culture. Because praying for a person to be converted is one of the most loving things we can do for them.
In John 3:3, Jesus said unless a person is born again he cannot be part of God’s kingdom or family. In John 3:16 he famously urged everyone to turn from whatever else they believed in—to believe in Him, because he alone could give eternal life. He wasn’t speaking to religious blank slates – he was urging & commanding people to leave their Romans, Jewish, Gentiles religions and follow him. The New Testament word for this “conversion” is “strephomai” and is often translated in our Bibles as “turning” or “changing”. So in Matthew 18:3 Jesus says unless we “change” (are converted” and become like little children, we can’t be part of God’s family.
But converting someone is something we cannot do—only God can “change” a person’s heart and spirit, and make them born again, change them from dead to living spiritually (Ephesians 2:1-3). To be born again though, people need God’s Holy Spirit to illuminate them from within, to open their spiritual eyes (2 Cor 4:4-6). Please pray for this. They also need God’s revelation. They need to hear what Jesus says. Please keep sharing this enthusiastically and pray for others to share it too.
And Jesus is converting people today. Look at the people sitting next to you in church! I also read this week of 500 former Moslems, refugees to Germany from ME, who were baptised recently by a Hamburg church. One convert Somaz, said “In Islam we always lived in fear, fear of God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. However Christ is a God of love”. Please pray for God to convert more hearts and lives to Jesus.
Your brother in Christ, Graham Crew