Here’s April’s Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galatians 2:20).
This is an exciting season for Christians. If there was ever a time when we should get the Gospel word out, then this is it!
We have an awesome opportunity to push the message of reconciliation of the cross. There are spiritually broken people out there that only Christ can heal. The world believes it has all the answers, but we know those all end in certain destruction.
The world does try hard to drive home its’ own agenda though, doesn’t it?
We have heard it a lot lately; that is – be nice to people, and be inclusive towards all people types, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.
It’s a way of balancing out the bad things in life:
- Help a few old ladies safely cross the street,
- mow the lawn for the disabled man next door,
- put a little something on the Givealittle page for that family who’s trying to pay for cancer medicine for their little girl,
- join the march for the people who are being ostracized by society because of their gender orientation.
It puts a little tick in the charity box to atone for the wrongs that have been done, and makes us feel better.
It all amounts to false hope – a bit like a little boy jumping to try and touch the moon in the sky.
The Apostle Paul says that trying to become righteous in and of ourselves renders the Gospel useless:
“for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
You don’t need a crucified and risen Saviour, if you can achieve perfection all by yourself. Take God out of the equation, and bingo, look how much you can do! Look how good you can be! You’re not that bad after all! Look how much guilt of the past you can cancel out!
And that’s why the world hates God, because He shows us how depraved we really are, and how much we fall short of His perfection.
Instead, let’s have a cute bunny rabbit who gives us chocolate eggs.
We can’t have Christmas being about God coming to earth in the form of a man in order to save us.
No, no, no – let’s swap him out for a hairy, fat, old guy who delivers us presents.
Anything, and everything, to rid God from our lives.
If I can’t meet the expectations of God’s law, then hey, I’ll just make up my own, and declare myself ‘righteous’. And if I’m not that bad, then I get to go to heaven – the heaven that I’ve created, that the God that I’ve created will let me into.
Every day the world is getting darker, and our job gets that much harder. We can’t expect our country to side with us any more when it comes to Christian values or morals. In fact, the opposite applies – God is normally the last person the world turns to in order to determine right from wrong. And we are despised because God exposes the worlds’ true dark heart.
But then again, we don’t evangelise to spread Christian morals. We don’t witness in order to make the world a nicer place. No, we are here to do what Christ tasked us to do 2,000 years ago – to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Rick won’t define evil
It was a difficult time for street witnessing last month. The usual day we put aside – the 3rd Saturday of the month – turned out to be the day after the terror attacks in Christchurch. Our prayer time beforehand centered around asking for guidance in how we might approach our witnessing. Our consensus in prayer was for Christ to help us to use this sad time to reach out in love.
I found myself circling Hilary Court many times before I could find the strength to talk to anyone. Being from Christchurch, I was feeling the pain and sadness that had again struck my city. Part of me wanted to grab people by the collar and scream at them to repent before it was too late – but inside I knew I didn’t have the strength.
I saw a young Pacific Island man sitting in the sun, and thought I would try something different. So I sat beside him and said I was asking people their opinion about the attacks. He agreed to let me record our conversation. I introduced myself and he said his name was Rick.
I started our conversation by trying to get Rick to define what evil was. Was the person who committed this atrocity an evil person? To my surprise, Rick could not call the perpetrator evil, or even a bad person. He just said it was just sad what happened, and the people that did it were just lost.
I tried to get Rick to clarify how bad you need to be to be called evil. He didn’t know how to answer that question, so I tried to narrow it down a little. I went through some of the 10 Commandments. If I lied or stolen, would you call me evil? He said no. He even told me that if I raped and murdered a woman, I would be just ‘lost’. He didn’t even agree that there was a standard of right or wrong, and that everyone gets to heaven – including Adolf Hitler, who was just ‘disturbed’.
Sadly, Rick could not (or would not) define what evil was. If he did, then that would mean there would be a standard for good and bad. Then he would be required to meet that standard. Then he would see that he fell short of it. So it was easier for him to muddy the lines, and develop his own set of rules. That made him feel better about himself. In his made-up philosophy, it gave him a better chance to make it to heaven – one that he had created himself.
Unfortunately, we know that God’s standards are beyond perfection, and require a perfect person to place our faith in that could meet that standard. Christ did that on our behalf, and I pray that a seed from something in my conversation with Rick would spark a fire in his heart to repent and place his faith in Him.
You can listen to my whole conversation with Rick here:
I’ll see you down at the Riverbank Market this Saturday for our special Easter Outreach!