Today, Yahoo.com featured an article that detailed the findings of a University of Chicago study about belief of God in relation to age (Read the article).
According to the study, people tend to believe more in the existence of God as they grow older due to the realization that death is coming closer for them. The largest increases in belief in God most often occur among those 58 years of age and older. Death, from the study, seems to be a strong force that drives man to the only Giver of Life... God. Even the most masculine person around has no power over death. Death, when it stares a person in the eyes, can make any person's legs shake.
For people who regularly share the Gospel and are familiar with "Hell's Best Kept Secret" (listen to it here), the statement made by Ray Comfort in the message, "Fear is a legitimate tool to bring people to Christ", stands so true in light of the findings of the said study. We really need not wait for people to get old and death more of a reality before we share God's life-giving capability to them. We just need to make them realize through the Law that they have messed up with God, and so, if they die, they stand to receive the punishment He has prepared for every sinner. Then make them agree that death could come to anyone, anytime.
When we witness to the unsaved, we must, in a way, bring them to the edge of a cliff, a step away from danger to make death a bigger reality to them even if the person's age is no way near the end of the average lifespan. Make them realize that there are laws like the law of gravity that if broken can spell disaster for anyone. If they step off the cliff, the law of gravity gets them. Similarly, God has a moral Law that we must not break. And if we do, the harsh penalties of His Law will be given to us. This will make a person realize that he is in trouble with God.
But a lot of people don't really mind offending God if they think that it will still be a long time before they face God and His judgment, and therefore, they still have time to get right with God towards the twilight of their lives. I get this a lot in my witnessing encounters especially with young people. This is where we take advantage of man's fear of death. Tell them of popular young people that died young. Talk about people who were just making their daily routine one morning that had their appointment with death later in the day. Talk about the person who was enjoying life one evening but never woke up the next day. I often talk about a doctor-friend of mine who, just like any other day, kissed his doctor-wife goodbye one morning before he went to work but never got to his home anymore alive as he died in a vehicular accident that very ordinary day. Tell them that they actually have no assurance that they'll get to go home to their families after your conversation with them ends. When the reality of death coming to them anytime sinks in on their minds, then it's now time to give them the message of the Gospel. The message that talks about how one can be victorious over death through the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. The message that will enable them to someday say, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55)
Fear of death. Yes, a very scary topic but can be our ally in making people realize the need for them to cry out to God for mercy as soon as possible. Let's take advantage of it.
Dennis Aglosolos, the Director of Living Waters - Asia, will be answering questions.