Ready Corpus Christi is an emergency preparedness guide for residents. On the Ready Corpus Christi website you will find things like “Be Ready for a Hurricane.” This is a publication that is also mailed to residents before Hurricane season. It describes the preparations that you need to make at the beginning of hurricane season. The idea is to have everything ready well BEFORE the hurricane arrives and not 48 hours before, when everyone has already emptied the shelves of basic food supplies, water and lumber.
Likewise, we are to be ready well in advance of an opportunity to preach the gospel. You don’t want to be scrambling around when an opportunity finally presents itself, when the Lord sets the thing up for you. You want to prepare with the anticipation that the Lord is going to use you to preach the gospel. Here’s what to do.
Be ready to hear – Ecc 5:1; Jas 1:19 – when the Lord sets up an opportunity for you to preach the gospel, listen carefully to the person whom he sends your way. You must be a good listener. When you study Jesus in his earthly ministry, you see that he dealt very differently with each individual. His answers addressed their unique needs. When you listen to people speak, you can hear their heart, because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Be ready to answer – 1 Pet 3:15 – when you listen carefully to the person who asks you a question concerning the gospel, you must know how to answer his question. You learn by experience, of course, yet you must listen to the Holy Spirit as he brings things to your remembrance that he wants you to say. At the port, we met a seafarer named, Henry. He was so occupied with his coffee, cigarette and cell phone that he didn’t even look at us when Randy gave him a New Testament. Randy left the crew rec area to take New Testaments to the mess and Henry and I were left alone. He never even acknowledged my presence. When Randy returned we grabbed our backpacks, put on our hard hats and prepared to leave. Henry asked, “You guys leaving?” Randy said, “Yes.” And suddenly Henry was ready to talk. Randy gave him a good witness and answered his questions. The point of this illustration is that you have to be the one who is ready to answer because you never know when the Holy Spirit is going to use you to answer. He didn’t use me when I was alone with Henry; he used Randy. And he wants to use you. So always be ready to be the one to answer.
Be ready to preach – Rom 1:15 – for people to get saved, we must preach the gospel. So, have your gospel message ready. If someone approached you and said, “Please preach the gospel to me,” what would you say? Do you have your message ready? I have a gospel message that I have preached hundreds of times, if not over a thousand times, I’m sure. I know it by heart. It is filled with good verses and vivid illustrations. I can’t remember how many people have been saved after hearing that message, but quite a few. So, get your message ready because you are going to be presented with an opportunity to preach soon. And you want to BE READY.
Conclusion: God has made it abundantly clear that he wants you, the members of our church, to tell others you know about him. Therefore, you must always be ready, because you never know when he is going to use you and to whom he is going to have you preach. Always be ready to hear. Always be ready to answer. Always be ready to preach.