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Who is open to the Gospel?

”Those who welcomed his word were baptized. About three thousand people were added to the community that day.” Acts 2:47 ”But more people, a crowd of both men and women, believed in the Lord, and we're added to their number.” Acts 5:14 What makes some people open to the Gospel while others do not seem to care? I think the simplest answer is: Those who are receptive to the Gospel have recognized that the Gospel is good news concerning their felt need. We all have needs and we all need the good news of Jesus, but we are not always aware of our needs nor are we often aware of the way that the Gospel of Jesus reaches out to meet those needs. Part of good evangelism is helping people identify their needs. If this isn't accomplished then Bert Lance's famous disposition makes a lot of sense, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Recently, I was blessed to meet a man from Iraq who was formerly a devote Muslim but who had come to faith in Jesus after a Christian man prayed for him and he was healed of terminal cancer. You can here his story on my podcast: "Healed by Hallelujah." Shortly after meeting this man, I received a newsletter from the Voice of the Martyrs ministry which documents the large movement of Muslim Kurdish Iraqis who are coming to faith in Christ. Why is this taking place among the Kurds and not necessarily among the rest of the Muslim population in Iraq? I think the simplest answer is that the Kurdish people have felt largely betrayed by their Muslim family in Iraq. The Kurds are treated with contempt as an ethnic minority in Iraq and so they lack a deep sense of commitment to Islam. The feel disenfranchised by Islam and they are looking for a place they can call home. That is why many of them are coming to Jesus. This is good news! But the sobering side of this coin is that, here in the West, many people who have grown up in Christian homes are leaving the faith because they too feel disenfranchised, disrespected, and let down by their experience with Christians (not least Christian parents!) and Christian culture. Turning the tide is not going to be merely a matter of "praying for the prodigal" but also of becoming the prodigal parents, the prodigal church and the prodigal culture. Until we repent of our hypocrisy and embrace the challenges of the next generation of Christian kids, we will fail to have a regeneration of Christianity in the West. These are the signs of our times and we should take warning. If we want people to be open to the Gospel, let us give them fewer reasons to close their hearts. Amen?

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