Every 3rd Saturday of the month, I lead a team of brothers and sisters from our fellowship at Calvary Chapel Wellington in evangelism.
We head down to the local Naenae Shopping Centre, to do one-on-one witnessing to those coming and going to the shops.
The week before, I write a devotional which hopefully encourages our congregation in the area of evangelism. My Pastor sends this out with the emailed church notices.
Here’s March’s Gone Fishin’ Newsletter.
“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways. You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments.” (Ps 119:1-6).
We had a great start to the year last month – a good turnout, with lots of tracts distributed, leading to some good conversations. If you have always wondered what we do, feel free to just tag along with one of us and observe!
The Christian is a strange fish indeed. As the Psalmist says, God gave Christians a law to follow, just like everyone else. But when we fail to keep it 100%, God still loves, forgives, and calls us blessed. How does that work? Aren’t statutes there to keep us in line, and punish us?
Well, in the normal sense of a law, yes. But we have something that makes up for the shortfall. God gives us His Holy Spirit to help guide us to walk in His ways – even when the desires of our flesh take over, and we find ourselves way off track. That’s when the conviction of the Holy Spirit kicks in. In gentleness, He exposes our shameful hearts. This drives us to repentance before God.
Jesus Himself taught us to keep short accounts with God in what we know as The Lord’s Prayer:
“Give us day by day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one…” (Luke 11:3-4)
Just as we ask God to meet our daily needs, we should also ask daily for forgiveness. These go hand in hand for the believer – God providing, and God forgiving. It’s how we grow in sanctification to become more Christ-like.
The unbeliever, unfortunately, does not have that option. His conscience is seared, and – according to the lowered standards he has set himself – he has declared himself good. He has no need of a saviour because as far as he can make out, there is nothing wrong with him. He is like a blind man stumbling aimlessly towards the cliff of God’s judgement, with no knowledge of what lies before him.
And that’s where evangelism starts. Christ tasked His church with opening the worlds eyes to their peril – first by showing how sinful they really are, then offering them His beautiful saving Gospel!
Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Worldview
When we ventured out last month, it felt like a frustrating morning in the sense of one-on-one witnessing; people were still taking my million-dollar gospel tracts, but no one was wanting to talk with me. The one person I did talk to, a man called Izzy, just wanted to argue and belabour every point I was making. I’ll share more about my conversation with him another time.
Inside I knew that everything was fine, but I was craving to share the Gospel with someone. Everyone else in the team were calling it a day. But I just wanted one last chance to talk with someone. Inside I prayed that the Lord would bring someone into my path.
|Hilary Court, Naenae (courtesy Google streetview)|
Then I spotted a young man walking through Hilary Court with his young daughter of toddler age. So I walked over to him and asked him if he had received his million dollars today. He took the Gospel tract.
“No, I haven’t. what’s this about?”
“It’s a million dollars, just for you. But on the back is the million-dollar question: what happens after you die? Do you think there’s a heaven?”
“Are you going there?”
“I hope so. I’ve tried my best”
“How do you know if you’ve done enough?”
“I don’t, only God does”
“He sure does. But what criteria does he set?”
“Be good to others, and try to do what is right”
“Have you done that?”
“Like I said, I’ve tried my best”
“But is that good enough, though? I’ll tell you what, the Bible has a test to see how well you’ve done. Let’s take that test and see how you go, OK?”
“Ah, yeah, alright”
I introduced myself, and asked him his name. He said it was Joseph. He said his grandmother named him after the Joseph in the Bible.
I took Joseph through some of the 10 Commandments. He admitted to lying, stealing, blaspheming and lust (adultery).
He was using some very technicolour expletives with his responses. I was gritting my teeth, praying his little girl couldn’t hear his colourful language. He wasn’t being abusive towards me, it was just the way he talked – something that I have learnt to live with when witnessing.
“So, here’s the summary, Joseph. This is not me judging you, but by your own admission, you’re a lying thief, and a blasphemous adulterer at heart. And when you die, you get to face God on Judgement Day. Do you think he would find you innocent or guilty of breaking his commandments?”
“So would he let you into heaven, or send you to hell?”
“He would forgive me, and let me into heaven”
“Why would he do that?”
”God is good, and a forgiving person”
“Let’s try that in a court of law. ‘Yes judge, I did rape and murder that woman. But you’re a good judge, and you should forgive me and let me off.’ Would he be a good judge if he let you off?”
“When you put it that way, probably not”
“So, heaven, or hell?”
“Not probably, definitely! Does that concern you?”
“Yeah, a bit”
“It definitely concerns me. I don’t want you to go to hell either. But Joseph, God did something so that you don’t have to go to hell. Do you know what that was?”
“Didn’t Jesus die or something?”
I told Joseph the beautiful Gospel of salvation – how God crushed His Son with his and my sin. That He was buried. That He was raised back to life on the third day. That he needed to repent and place his faith in Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf.
“Joseph, if you do this, when you stand before God, He can say ‘price paid’. You did the crime, but Jesus paid the fine for you. God can commute your death sentence – not because you’re innocent, rather that you’re guilty, but the punishment has been meted out already. You will go to heaven – not because you’re a good person, but because you’re a bad person that has been saved by a good God. Does all of this make sense?”
He thought for a while. “Yeah. Yeah, it does”
“You need to repent, and place your faith in Christ. So, Joseph, when are you going to do that?”
“Maybe when I get home”
“Do it as soon as possible. You might not make it home alive. Then it will be too late to repent. 150,000 people die on this planet every day, and I’m guessing a majority of them thought they would make it home safely. Do you have a Bible?”
“Yeah, at home, I think so”
“Do yourself a favour, and read it. Start at the Gospel of John, in the New Testament, OK?”
I gave Joseph some more Gospel material. I thanked him for his time, shook his hand, patted his wee girl on the head, and headed back to my car. I thanked God that He had allowed me one more chance to share His beautiful Gospel that day.
I had gone from dragging my feet, to clicking my heels!
I’ll see you at my place this Saturday at 10am for prayer, before heading out.