I once read that a person needed to hear the gospel message a certain number of times before it would "hit them" to then follow Jesus. While some may need more opportunities to hear and believe, others may be struck immediately with their sin and need for Jesus. There's no magic number in sharing our faith with others and desiring them to respond to Jesus; if someone is called by God to follow Him, she will...and the Lord Jesus will never lose those who come to Him. (John 6) This is good news for those who have responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ and it is good news for those who are praying and witnessing to their friends who have not. My question today is whether or not we can hear the gospel message too many times before it inoculates us? Consider a child receiving a vaccination against a disease. The inoculation given to the child exposes enough of the disease, or an imitation of the disease, to cause the child to develop an immunity against that disease. Is it possible that there are those in our churches who have heard just enough of the gospel of Christ, who have read enough of the Word of God, who have gone through the Sunday and Wednesday night motions, that they are now inoculated against the good news intended to save their lives?
I believe Jesus addressed this group of people in Revelation 3:
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth...Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me...He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
The problem is not that we hear the gospel message of Christ too many times; in fact, we should be preaching this very message to ourselves daily so that our eyes are fixed on Christ and not the things on the earth. But, the problem is when we are given privileges and our hearts don't see them as such. Our hearts reject the very treasures we have been given, yet our bodies continue going through the motions. Inoculated people in the church are often faithful attenders who have heard the Truth so many times they can recite it without engaging their hearts. Application of this Truth is rare, but usually their stories are the same ones over and over again, particularly those in the early days of their spiritual walk. Many times their lives morph into a moralism-type religion since the outward is emphasized over the inward.
I have to guard myself from this quite often. It's easy to fall into the habit of reading the same comfortable parts of Scripture or leaning on knowledge I already have as opposed to stretching myself and growing into the unknown by faith. If you are finding the privileges of your Christian faith to be dry--worship is "okay", Bible reading is drudgery--you may be growing inoculated to the glorious good news of Jesus Christ.
When we preach the gospel to ourselves regularly, we remember how Jesus humbled Himself in the likeness of man, became obedient to the point of death and died that sacrificial death on the cross. He accomplished redemption for His own so that we might know mercy, complete forgiveness and newness of life. We are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness because of Christ's powerful and finished work on our behalf.
Do not become inoculated to this unbelievably glorious news! We have warnings in the Bible of those who had immense privilege, but were more devoted to the things of this earth than the promises of God. Remember Lot's wife? Although she was Abraham's close relative, and knew of God's promises, she preferred earthly things and perished for it.
Break up the fallowed ground of your heart and be softened to Jesus Christ. Renew your first Love. May the Lord revive you according to His Word!