“And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.”
Acts 24:24-27 NKJV
There are those who attend church Sunday after Sunday, and never respond to the Gospel. Many years ago, I went on a mission trip to Haiti. It was a transformative experience for me, as I put faith before fear.
While there, the national pastor we were visiting told my group of a man who was a regular at the church, as he attended many of the activities offered. Though he entered the building, the Lord had not entered him. He was a religious man, more bent on appearances than salvation.
This morning in Acts chapter 24, I read of Felix, the governor of the region. He had some prior knowledge of the “Way”, and understood what Paul spoke of in his defense. For nearly two years, he conversed with Paul on the Gospel, but he did not come to the Lord.
Two years of Spirit filled talk from Paul and evident conviction, and Felix parted company and left the scene. He was like a sieve, receiving the living water, but containing it not. Felix was afraid at one point, but sent Paul away rather than address the source of his fear: the sin that had ensnared him.
As I read the passage, I thought of some of the people I had encountered in the past, who heard me speak regularly of Jesus, of living a spiritual life, and living with other believers. I remembered the frustration as I poured and poured, but nothing remained.
They would continually mess up and run to the nearest listening ear to mope and ask for prayer. The more the cycle repeated the more frustrated I became.
We don’t know what became of Felix after he left the scene. Perhaps he responded, and will be seen in Heaven. We know that God’s word does not come back void.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:11 NKJV
As I have matured, I have learned that I am not responsible for the harvest, or what God does in the souls of people. I am only responsible for sharing the news. God brings the harvest, He brings the change. I must share, and live it out.
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”
I Corinthians 3:5-8 NKJV
We are living in a time when hearts are increasingly hard, and few are willing to hear the Gospel. It would be easy to begin writing people off and mourn them as they journey toward hell, but we must persist is sharing the Gospel message of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is working in the background, convicting people in the darkest recesses of their hearts. Even the most sinful could be fighting a battle against the light, and the light is silently winning.
Now is, most importantly, a time to pray for lost and for the saints, as the time is short and many a souls teetering on the edge of the abyss. Some of those souls are occupying church pews, week after week.
“praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:18 NKJV
The devil is actively deceiving and distracting many. His greatest deception is making people believe they are saved when they are not.
In the beginning of my walk, I struggled with doubt and regularly found my self reaffirming my faith through prayer. Finally, I came to understand the significance of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians chapter five.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV
These characteristics are not just evident in everyday life, but most profound in times of stress and duress. The Lord has placed me in many tough and volatile situations to test me and show me that I am His, as the fruit of my salvation appears in abundance.
Once I see it in me, I can see it in others. Through God’s grace I can witness and pray.
If you are praying for someone who seems to be a sieve, not holding the Gospel message, keep pouring and praying. Pray the the Lord seal up all the holes, that the message of Jesus fill their hearts and bring salvation.