Who is the true evangelist when it comes to saving the souls of men and women? Is it those who go door to door to hand out Bible tracts? Is it the sweet little old lady who lives next door and lets her light shine so that others can see Christ? Is it the one who visits orphans and widows, those who go to assisted care living homes, or someone who visits the sick in the hospital? Now these are taking the gospel into all the world, even if its right next door, but truly, the real evangelist is God the Holy Spirit.
John 6:44 may be one of the clearest indications of who does the seeking, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." The word "draw" used in this verse is the same word that is used when Paul and Silas were dragged to jail. The King James' translators didn't seem to like the idea of John 6:44 being read as, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drags him. And I will raise him up on the last day" but that is what the literal language of the Greek is. This shows the effectual work of God in our salvation. If one reads Ephesians chapter one and two, we can see that salvation is fully the work of God. Even the fact that a person is born again as Jesus said in John 3:3 it is actually "born from above." Does anyone have any choice in the matter as to whether they are born or not? Does the baby take part in the decision as to when they are born or to which parents? Certainly not and so similarly, a person who is born of God is done so by the express will of God and then pursued by what the poet Francis Thompson called "The Hound of Heaven."
Many who come to saving faith say that they had been seeking God and finally found Him but was God missing? Who was seeking whom? Truly, "no one seeks after God" (Rom 3:11b). Most assuredly, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" (Eph 2:8). That is crystal clear as Paul says "that is not your own doing." No doubt if we did deserve credit for saving ourselves we would have something to brag about and knowing human nature we most certainly would but the only thing we bring to our salvation is the sin which needs to be forgiven. We have no such power to save ourselves because "the gospel...is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Rom 1:16). The day we understand that God is the Evangelist, God the Holy Spirit, we take the pressure off of ourselves when witnessing because we understand that it is God alone that saves. God does use us in the process but it is not our responsibility to save them...it is their response to His ability...though it is our responsibility to tell them.
Ezekiel 34:11-16a speaks of a day yet to come when Ezekiel wrote this but read who does the seeking? "For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak..." God says "I" eleven times but not once is the one being saved mentioned.
God can use the worst job of witnessing to save someone but as I told one young man that it takes a man (or woman) of God, using the Word of God (Bible) with the Spirit of God to make the children of God. Yes, it is God Who does the saving but He gives us the great privilege of participating in this glorious event. And it is all for the purpose of glorifying God. There is no other purpose behind it.
Jack Wellman is a pastor and Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible.