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OPINION

FIRST-PERSON: Raising the dead

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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FORT MEYERS, Fla. (BP)--In the book of 2 Kings, there's the story about Elisha the prophet who raised the dead child to life. We have the same responsibility. God wants us to take people who are spiritually dead and bring them back to life.
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In 1980, I was as spiritually dead as anyone you ever met. Besides owning one of the larger houses of prostitution in the country, being involved in racketeering, bookmaking and gambling, I was also president and chief executive officer of a multi-million-dollar international corporation.

I think about all those servants -- like Elisha -- who came into my life to tell me about this person called Jesus. Without exception, they were insulted, persecuted and antagonized. Most of them walked away thinking they'd failed, but they believed a lie, because I never forgot the name, the face, the words or the person who told me about Jesus.

Did it make a difference that somebody like you would come into the life of somebody like me?

Well, since March 4, 1981, when I surrendered to Christ, I have had the privilege to sit with well over 10,000 people on a one-on-one basis, and I have watched the power of the Gospel change so many of their lives.

As an evangelist, I know one thing for certain: I've never led one person to Christ. But I've been around a lot of times when the Holy Spirit's done it. Success is sharing your faith, living your life out for Jesus Christ. It has nothing whatsoever to do with bringing anyone to the Lord. In fact, if you caused the conversion, I can assure you the person still remains unsaved.

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I've had a great privilege over the last 20 years in that nearly every weekend I'm in a different denomination or culture around the world. I've been blessed to be in some great churches, large and small. But it also means I have had to see the collective church in all of its deadness. Wherever I go, I ask the same question: "Who is sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ anymore?"

It's one of several questions we need to ask ourselves. Among others:

-- How many of us have been the means by which somebody came to know the Lord Jesus Christ?

-- Do we really believe that unless a person is born again, they are damned? If we did, I'd never ask the next question ...

-- Where is our urgency?

What generation apart from ours has ever seen more prophetic fulfillment of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ than yours and mine?

The reason that most people do not share their faith is because of a sin -- the sin of silence. Remember when Peter the apostle three times denied knowing Jesus? Well, the church today, which is us, has found a modern way to deny Christ. We deny Him by our silence.

We're quick to say there are only two kinds of people in the world, lost and saved.

Well, there are only two kinds of people in any church -- those that talk about the lost and those that talk to the lost.

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For those of you who are born-again believers and do not witness to the lost, can you give me any excuse why you do not share your faith? Does it bother you when you read the verse that says, "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father in heaven"?

With the New Year, make a change!

Commit to fulfill the charge Paul made to Philemon (verse 6) and to you and me, "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ."

Bill Fay is an evangelist and author of "Share Jesus without Fear." To contact him, visit www.sharejesuswithoutfear.com

Copyright (c) 2010 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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