We had our 2nd Fishers of Men outreach here in San Diego on Saturday, February 24th. The place was Balboa Park where thousands gather each weekend to view numerous exhibits and museums etc.
This time we had 10 fisherman and a fisherwomen from our sharing your faith class at Mapleview Baptist Church in Lakeside, California. We were able to give out nearly 400 gospel tracts and had dozens of interesting conversations with a wide variety of people. We used the "million dollar" tracts with another "optical illusion" tract that had the gospel on the back.
We intentionally attempted to start a conversation with people along spiritual lines with the ultimate purpose of sharing a clear presentation of the gospel.
When meeting someone that says they are Christians, we were to "challenge" them gently with what exactly do they believe is a Christian.
Perhaps the best conversation that I had was with a young man (he told me his name was Bryan with a "y"), in his early 20's who responded to my question that he was going to heaven. He said he was a believer and attended a church and was active in a small group.
I used to accept this at face value and would say something along the lines of, "Praise the Lord. It's always a delight to meet another believer in a world where there is so much darkness. Hope you have a great day."
Now I'm convinced that it is imperative that we pursue this further in an attitude of "meekness and fear." Polls have been taken that suggest the vast majority of American's claim to be Christian yet our society certainly does not give evidence of this. Even within the evangelical churches, many have no idea what a true believer is!
The conversation went something like this:
Jerry: Check this out. It's a million dollars with a million-dollar question on the back.
Bryan: This is really cool. Would be great if it were a real million dollars. Hummm. What's the million dollar question?
Jerry: Are you going to heaven?
Bryan: Yes I am.
Bryan: Because I'm a believer. I attend a small group in my church.
Jerry: So you're going to heaven because you believe and are active in a small group.
Bryan: Well yes.
Jerry: What exactly is it that you believe.
Bryan: I believe the Bible and live the best I can.
Jerry: If I told you I had but a short time to live and wanted to go to heaven what would you tell me?
Bryan: I'd tell you to start reading the Bible and believe it.
Jerry: The Bible says in James that the devils believe and tremble. Are they going to heaven?
Bryan: No. They are evil and won't go to heaven.
Jerry: Would you consider yourself a "good person?"
Bryan: Yes I would.
Jerry: Do you think you've kept the 10 commandments?
Bryan: I'm not perfect but I try to.
Jerry: Have you ever told a lie?
Jerry: What does that make you?
Bryan: I guess a liar.
Jerry: Have you ever stolen anything.
Bryan: Maybe something small.
Jerry: What does that make you?
Bryan: A thief.
Jerry: The value of the item doesn't matter. If I took a dollar from your wallet instead of a hundred I'd still be a thief. Have your ever taken the Lord's name in vain?
Jerry: The Bible calls that blasphemy. Jesus said that if you look at a woman with lust you have committed adultery. Have you ever looked with lust at a woman?
Bryan: Yes I have.
Jerry: By your own admission you've admitted you're a liar. A thief, blasphemer, and adulator at heart and you must face God at judgement day. If God uses the commandments as His standard will you be guilty or innocent?
Bryan: I'd be guilty.
Jerry: Would you go to heaven or hell?
Bryan: Well, I'd go to heaven because I believe in Him.
Jerry: I know we've been here before but what exactly do you believe about Him.
Bryan: (extremely frustrated). I,.... I.... (long pause). I know you're challenging me, which is good, but I just can't put it into words.
Jerry: (I truly sense his turmoil and agony). Bryan. A person goes to heaven and escapes judgement for his sins for one reason only. The Son of God, the perfect sacrifice died on the cross and shed His blood for the sins of His people. He died in the your place. The just for the unjust. The cross is the only way to heaven. Then to complete our salvation Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today. For those that repent of their sins and trust in Him as Savior and Lord, they are declared righteous and will go to heaven. God gives them a new heart and the power to obey Him. Salvation is all of God and is a gift. This is the very heart of the gospel and ultimate message of the Bible.
Bryan: I UNDERSTAND NOW! That is wonderful! I've got to tell my small group of this. Thank you thank you for talking to me. This is fantastic. Oh wow.
I do not know if Bryan was a believer who was just simply frustrated or not. I did not feel compelled to pray a "sinners prayer" with him but leave the saving work to the Holy Spirit. What I do know is I have never met a young man more excited about finding this incredible jewel than Bryan. His understanding was obviously opened by the Spirit of God. I sensed that indeed, he would tell everyone within his influence this incredible good news.
Thanks be unto God!
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