A Sermon Illustration to Challenge Us to Tell the Gospel

Billions of people around the world have little or no opportunity to hear the gospel.

Millions of people in the United States, including some who themselves have never heard the Good News, are not Christ-followers.

Some of our neighbors likely are not believers.

In many cases, some of our own family members aren’t Christians.

Lostness surrounds us, even if we don’t always view people as “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). We may live in evangelistic apathy, but the realities of heaven and hell remain.

When I think about this truth, I’m reminded of a situation I found myself in several years ago. I was a rookie volunteer firefighter, excited every day to do something I had dreamed of doing for many years. On this particular day, our firefighting team responded to a small fire in a trailer by the road. Bales of hay were burning when we arrived.

Our team extinguished the fire, and my job then was to probe for any other hot spots or fire remaining in the hay. As I focused intently on doing that task, I failed to recognize that a small fire had erupted at my feet. In fact, I didn’t notice it until my captain said to me, “Uuhh . . . you’re standing in fire!” It seems I was so protected by my fire boots and so focused on the task that I missed the flames directly around me.

I fear I might sometimes do the same with people around me. I preach the truth of eternal damnation, but I suspect I sometimes miss people close to me who are headed toward everlasting fire. I’m so insulated in my church work and so focused on other ministry tasks that I don’t always sense the flames around me.

May God forgive me—and compel me to evangelize!



Posted on June 22, 2021

Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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