Does God persuade people or do we?

I was talking with some fellow Christians about evangelism yesterday and the topic of persuasion came up.  There was a general opinion that we shouldn’t be trying to persuade, because God does the persuading.  I acknowledged the truth of that, but still tried to explain to them that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to persuade.  So, this morning I made a table that shows that both points of view are correct.  God does the “convincing/convicting/persuading” (on the left) and man must still try to “convince/convict/persuade/” and ask people to choose (on the right):

 

God Does the Convincing/Convicting/Persuading Man must convince/convict/persuade/choose
2 Cor. 4:4 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 1 Cor. 11:1 [Paul speaking] “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (Since he said this, let’s see what his example is in Acts in the verses below)
1 Cor. 3:5-7 “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” Acts 9:22 – “Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.”
Matt. 11:27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him Acts 9:29 “He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.”
John 3:3 “In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. “” Acts 14:1 – “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.”
John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Acts 17:2-4 “As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, ” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. ”
John 6:65 ‘He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”’ Acts 17:16-17 “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.”
John 8:47 “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” Acts 18:4 “Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks”
John 12:37 “Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him Acts 18:12-13 “While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.””
John 16:8 “When He [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will convict the world of guilt, in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement.” Acts 18:19 “They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews
John 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word” Acts 18:28 “For he [Apollos] vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.”
Acts 14:27 “On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” Acts 19:8 “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.”
Acts 16:14 “One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 26:24-29 ‘At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”  “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.  The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”  Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” ’
1 Cor. 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Acts 28:23-24 “They [the leaders of the Jews in Rome] arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe”
1 Cor. 2:14 “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 9:22 “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”
1 Cor. 2:4-5 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” 2 Cor. 5:11a “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men
Romans 8:7 “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” 2 Cor. 5:20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh 2 Cor. 10:5a “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God”
Eph. 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions –it is by grace you have been saved” Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God”
Phil. 2:13 “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Col. 2:13 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.” Joshua 24:15 “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”
1 Thess. 1:5 “…our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction…” 1 Kings 18:21 ‘Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.’
2 Thess. 2:13-14 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” John 7:17 “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
Rom. 9:15-16 “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Rom. 3:19 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God”
John 10:25-26 ‘Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. ‘ 2 Timothy 2:24-26 “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. ”

 

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