Our soul winning passage from the Word of God today is Isaiah 45:22 which reads: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
Allow me to share with you some important insights regarding this Scripture from David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible:
This simple but powerful statement shows the plan of salvation.
It shows the simplicity of salvation: all we must do is look. “One can read may books on theology which expound all kinds of things in an attempt to show how man can reach God, but these theories are far from the truth. The Holy Spirit needs exactly four letters, two of them the same, to tell us what to do: l-o-o-k. That is all. It is the simplest, basic thing any person can do, yet the most difficult to do in daily living.”
It shows the focus of salvation: we must look to God, and never to ourselves or to anything else of man. “Look unto ME, is His Word, which means looking away from the church because that will save nobody; away from the preacher because he can disappoint and disillusion you; away from all outward form and ceremony. You must look off from all this to the throne and there, in your heart, see the risen, reigning Lord Jesus Christ.”
It shows the love behind salvation: God pleads with man, “Look to Me.”
It shows the assurance of salvation: and be saved.
It shows the extent of God’s saving love: all you ends of the earth!
In Numbers 21, the people of Israel were stricken by deadly snake bites, and Moses lifted up the image of a bronze serpent, raised on a pole, and the people who looked to it lived. The people were saved not by doing anything, but by simply looking to the bronze serpent. They had to trust that something as seemingly foolish as looking at such a thing would be sufficient to save them, and surely, some perished because they thought it too foolish to do such a thing!
This is why we must look to the LORD, and to the LORD alone. Only He is God. Institutions are not God. The Church is not God. Pastors are not God. Brothers and sisters in Christ are not God. We don’t look to them; we look to the LORD, for He alone is God.
Our soul winning quote today is from Leo Buscaglia. He said: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Our soul winning devotional is part 69 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler.
Evangelism Is…Learning to Listen (Part 3)
Key Listening Mistakes
If the goal is “attentive” and eventually “empathetic” listening, you will want to avoid the five key listening mistakes. They are:
1. Make-Believe Listening. This is similar to “pretend” listening. If listening is equated to caring, people will eventually know that you care by the way you value their words!
2. One-up Listening. Rather than listening and empathetically relating to the other person’s pain, the temptation is to minimize that person’s story with a more impressive experience. This will not lead to effective evangelism.
3. Barney Fife Listening. We all know about this mistake. It relates to one of Barney’s most famous lines on The Andy Griffith Show, “Nip it in the bud.” But sometimes it is better to listen and to keep our solutions to ourselves. The heart of “empathetic” listening is not arriving at a solution. It is, rather, the compassion it takes to be fully connected, even if that means remaining silent.
4. Dr. Phil Listening. This is listening that can easily become a show, or worse, your job. There is little empathy here, just a disconnected string of trite suggestions. It is listening with your mind but not your heart!
5. iPod Listening. This is one of the greatest afflictions of modern culture. That is, we deify ourselves by walking through life in our own little world with little concern about the needs of hurting people. After all, how can we listen to the cries of the needy if our hearts, minds, and ears are closed and we are consumed by the desire for personal gratification? Think about it. How often have you walked through a crowded area with little concern for others because you are distracted by some form of technology? Can you imagine Christ walking through that same room with His fingers in His ears, His head down, and His eyes closed to hurting people.
In our next broadcast, we will continue looking at why evangelism is…Learning to Listen.