“If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16:31
Jesus told the story of a rich man and poor man who died. The rich man ended up in Hell while the poor man was in Heaven alongside Abraham. When the rich man experienced the painful reality of Hell, he plead with Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to warn his five living brothers of the living torment that awaited them if they did not change their ways. He believed if his brothers saw a dead man raised from the dead (Lazarus) with this message that they would listen to him.
The response from Abraham is very revealing. “If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” We tend to think that skeptics need some kind of miraculous event to occur before they will believe the truth of the Gospel. This passage tells us that God’s Word (“Moses and the prophets”) is much more powerful than any miracle that could be performed.
I’m a perfect example of the power of God’s Word. For years, as an atheist, I looked for evidence of God but couldn’t see it. I was able to immediately explain away anything that remotely resembled the activity of God. It was only after reading through the Gospels in the New Testament that I became convicted of my sin and my need for a Savior. In fact, after reading the Gospels, I was compelled to respond to God by trusting in Jesus Christ to save and change me. I was immediately forgiven and received God’s gift of eternal life. I’ve never gotten over it that moment.
God’s Word is powerful. Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s Word is “sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”
When we share our faith, it is so important that we expose people to God’s Word. As important as your personal testimony and experiences are, they will never have the impact on another person like God’s Word. Use your testimony as an attention-getting tool or illustration in your “fisher of men’s” tackle box. But then be sure to share what God’s Word has to say about what you did and what they must do to experience life. Though there are many passages you could use, I can never get very far away from the very powerful John 3:16. It says it all.
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (HCSB)