This past Sunday I preached on the "gospel" based on Colossians 1:5b-8. I sense the Lord's presence very much during my message as I explained what the gospel is and how the Lord uses it in our lives. I don't recall how many times I told the people the need "to repent and believe" and in how many ways I said it. Over and over and over during the message I continued to call people to hear the gospel, repent of their sins, and trust Christ.
In the congregation were more than a few individuals who are listed on our church's prayer list as those needing salvation. Periodically I would find myself looking at them as I called for folks to heed the gospel. Some of them appeared to be sleeping. Others were looking around the auditorium. None of them appeared to be paying any attention to my plea.
Now this was not the first time I have experienced such a response to a message clearly aimed at those apart from Christ. Yes, I call sinners to repent and believe with each and every sermon I preach. But, every now and then, the text leads you directly to a message of salvation and this was clearly one of them. My heart is always broken when I see the word falling on bad ground and being stolen away by "birds" or choked off by "thorns". Oh, if only they could see and hear the message of God. Yet, they sit there, appearing completely unaware of the doom they are courting and the judgment that is awaiting them! Indeed it just breaks my heart.
But it does not surprise me. Clearly their response is to be expected from those who are spiritual dead and depraved as Paul teaches in Romans 3 and Ephesians 2. They will NOT respond on their own just as the Lord said in John 6:44. They are spiritually dead and without hope except for the grace of God.
May God's grace touch their lives and may His Spirit work a work of regeneration in their hearts before it is too late, no matter who might be preaching the Gospel to them.