Some see the preaching of the gospel to the lost is like preaching to the dead, but there is power in God’s Word to bring them eternal life.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead might be a syndicated show, ad nauseam by now, but it’s a pretty good picture of you and I before we knew Christ. Scripture says that “you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:1-2). By the way, that was all of us at one point. We all “once walked according to the course of the world.” All of us were “following the prince of the power of the air.” We were all as dead as Lazarus…four-days-dead! So what happened? It was only because of “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4-5). You and I provided the corpse; God quickened it. Just as the Prodigal’s father said, he could say about us: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:24). So did the angels in heaven, I’m sure (Luke 15:10).
The Living Word
The Word of God has power. It will accomplish what God sends it out to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11). There is also power in Jesus’ words. Think about this: Jesus “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3). The Word of God also cuts, but it cuts in order to heal. We also know that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). It gets down to where we live because “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). This means that “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20), so for certain, “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21).
The Holy Spirit
When you share Christ with the lost, it might seem that you’re preaching to the dead. That’s because “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14). It doesn’t matter. We still must “preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor 1:23). Thankfully, it doesn’t depend on us to save anyone. When people are exposed to the Word of God, and they understand it by the Spirit of God, they can finally see Who Jesus is; the Son of God, however, before conversion, we were all in the flesh, and “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (Rom 8:7). Those who have trusted in Christ “are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9). If there is no Holy Spirit residing inside a person, there can be no regeneration. That means, they do not belong to Christ, but “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom 8:11).
You may not understand it…and you may not even like it, but there is only one way to the Father and into the kingdom, and that is through Jesus Christ. You and I must realize “that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet 1:18-19). There is no other way to be redeemed than by Jesus’ and His blood, shed for you and for me. Jesus is He whom “God put forward as propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins” (Rom 3:25). Propitiation means “to gain satisfaction,” and God was satisfied in Christ and His work at Calvary. That’s good news for us, but we must be ready for His return, which could be at any moment. Already, millions of the saints “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14). What about you? Have you repented and put your trust in Christ? Today is the best of days to do that (2 Cor 6:2). Tomorrow may come too late, particularly if you were to die (Heb 9:27) or the Lord would return. Trust in Christ today and you can be born again, from above (John 3:3-7).