Our church is out hitting the streets around Naenae again tomorrow.
Here’s the latest newsletter that went out this week.
“…we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25)
We had a great time last month. The weather did not play ball, but it certainly did not dampen our spirits!
Before we ventured out last time, we spoke about some examples in Acts of how, even though the Apostles were the ones going out into the world preaching the message of repentance, it was the Lord who was adding to their numbers.
So often we think we are not clever enough to be evangelists.
We think we need to know the answer to every theological question that will ever come our way.
This can help in some situations, but the end goal of evangelism is not to win an argument. It is to win souls.
The Apostle Paul helps us out here. In 1 Corinthians 1, he explains how he preaches about Christ and what he has done for us – regardless of how foolish it may sound. Why is that?
Because the power of God is in the Gospel itself, not the deliverer of it.
A farmer goes into a field to scatter seed, and months later a crop is harvested.
Does the farmer stand over the ground and admonish the seed to grow?
Does he yield some sort of authority over the seed to convince it to produce a harvest?
No. All the farmer needs to do is scatter the seed, and the rest is out of his hands. The only thing he knows is that if he doesn’t scatter any seed, he won’t produce a harvest. Anyone could scatter the seed and yield a crop, because the power of the crop is in the seed, not the sower.
In the same way, when we come to sharing the Gospel, we have no control over whether our witnessing will yield a convert.
No amount of forcing the issue – like arguing, debating deep theological issues, etc – will force the person to become a Christian.
We are told to preach Christ crucified, and let the power and wisdom of God do its’ wonderful transforming work for us. We scatter the seed, and then we pray that God will yield a crop. All we know is that if we don’t scatter any seed, we won’t produce a harvest. Anyone can witness and yield a convert, because the power of God is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not the deliverer of it.
Vali, the Know-all
Last time we went out, I came across 2 pleasant Pacific Island men chatting outside the barber shop across the road from the pool. Their names were Vali & Travil. I gave them a Million Dollar tract each, and asked them what they thought was the answer to the million-dollar question, “what happens when we die?”
And what began then was a very long dialog! Vali took over the conversation, and he thought he had all the answers. And by the answers he was giving me, I could tell that he had dabbled a little bit in lots of different religions, in an attempt to find some answers to the hard questions of life. And the conclusion that he had come with? That it didn’t really matter which God, prophet, or deity you prayed to, so long as if praying to them brought you some sort of peace in this life.
I pleaded with Vali by telling him that praying to Mohammed or Buddha will fall on deaf ears because they are still in the grave, and that the only way to heaven was through Jesus Christ. He answered by saying “yeah, all the religions say that theirs is the best way”.
And then, after about 20 minutes of this going back and forth, it finally dawned on me: I was attempting to win an argument with Vali. I thought I was clever enough to provide all the biblical answers he could come up with. I think I managed to keep up with him, but in all honesty, we were going around in circles. Every answer I gave him brought up another question.
I would have had more luck at the Naenae Boxing Academy (right), across the road from Hilary Court, duking it out over there.
Actually, that’s not true – I wouldn’t last 5 seconds, but you get the point!
So I swallowed my pride, and said “You know, Vali, we could discuss this back and forth until the cows come home. But that’s not why I’m here. If you give me a couple of minutes to talk, I’ll explain.”
He agreed to listen, so I said “You and I both agree that there’s a higher power out there, and this is the God of the Bible. Your conscience bears witness to this. One day this life will end, and the Bible says that you will have to stand before God and give an account of everything you’ve done – every lie you’ve told, every lustful thought you’ve had, every time you’ve blasphemed His name. Vali, you’ll be judged on these things, and you’ll be found guilty of breaking God’s law. Your punishment will be an eternity in a lake of fire.
“But Vali, God did something so that you don’t have to go to hell. He came to earth in the form of a man, born of a virgin, making Him fully God, fully man. He lived a perfect life for 33 years that you and I can’t live for 33 seconds. And then God sent Him to the cross. While he was hanging on that cross, God poured out His wrath on Him that included your sin, that He should have spared for you. You did the crime, Jesus did the time for you. And what was the purpose of this? Well, it means that if you repent – which means to turn away from your sin – and place your faith in Christ and His sacrifice on your behalf, when you do this and stand before God on Judgement Day, God will be able to dismiss your case, because Jesus has already paid the price for you.
“Vali, this is the truth. This is the Gospel, and what is required of you. If you don’t repent of your sins, you will have to pay the ultimate price yourself. Jesus is the only way to God, and I’m sure you already know that. You just don’t want to admit it because you love your sin too much. But it will cost you an eternity in a lake of fire. I’m sure you don’t want that to happen, and neither do I. Vali, I’m pleading with you – repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”.
He nodded his head, and before he could counter me, I shook his, and Travil’s hand, thanking them for their time. I asked them to think about what I said, and left them. I wanted the Gospel to do its’ work on them, and not continue discussion.
I felt much better knowing that instead of trying to win an argument, I had instead planted a Gospel seed. Will it produce a harvest for the Kingdom? Only God knows – that part is out of my hands.
Please keep Vali & Travil in your prayers.
I’ll see you all at my place at 10am this coming Saturday for prayer, before heading down to the shops!
Witnessing Tip: Stick to the job!
It’s so easy when wanting to witness to someone, but you end up straying off topic.
It’s nice to talk about the weather, of how the persons’ health is, how their kids are, what their plans are for the day, etc.
But our conversations should always lead to the Gospel.
Have this thought in the back of your mind: ‘What if this was the one and only time this person will ever hear the Gospel?’.
This should motivate us to stay on track. Don’t get nervous, just pray and ask God for the courage!