My first night of work
My first night of work as a concierge/security guard was not only an evening of training in security, but (by the grace of God) an evening of spreading the Gospel to my supervisor.
So your training to be a pastor?
The guard asked me, “So your training to be a pastor?” I said, “Yes.” He asked, “In what kind of church? I replied, “I do not know, but I would be best suited for a Baptist Church.” He went on to tell me that he grew up in an evangelical church, but that he cannot believe. He expressed to me his frustrations with the church. I let him talk and did not really have much to say, other than, “That’s too bad,” and sometimes, “That’s not biblical.” Of course, I was only hearing one side of the story, but the story is always worth listening to. He talked for quite some time and I did not say much.
I asked him a question
Later on in the evening I was praying for another opportunity to talk to him, not only about the church and God, but about the Gospel of Christ and where how he stands before God. The Lord answered my prayer and we talked for a while! I forget exactly how the conversation started, but I eventually asked him, “Can I tell you what the Gospel is?” He said, “sure.” Praise God! My heart was rejoicing. I went on, starting in Genesis 1-3 and eventually telling him of Christ’s work on our behalf, along with his need to believe the Gospel. If my memory is correct, I believe I used Romans 5 as my main text for explaining the Gospel. Whatever the case, I was sure to tell him that God is commanding him to repent (Acts 17:30).
He responded, “But how can God . . . ?”
He agreed that much of what I was saying was true. However, he told me, “I just can’t believe. How can God, who is in control of all things and knows that man will reject Him and go to hell, go ahead and create the world? I need an answer to that question.” He was also hung up on the issue of election. He was familiar with the biblical doctrine of election and he questioned why God would create the world, knowing that He did not choose many, allowing them to go to hell. He said, “I need answer to that. I need evidence, that’s just the way I am.” Needless to say, we talked for a long time. Indeed, I pulled out my apologetics box and sought to tell him what the Bible teaches on these topics saying, “I do not think that I will necessarily answer your questions in a way that fully satisfies you, but I do know what the Bible teaches about these topics, so I will tell you what the Bible says. Then you will be better able to think through these issues. However, even though I sought to reason with him, I only did so for so long. His questions/objections may actually NOT be what is really holding him back from believing. They might be, but they might not be. It is good for us to be aware of this in our evangelism. One thing I know for sure is that he needs to be confronted with the Gospel because the Gospel is the power of God to save him (Rom 1:16 and 10:17).
Would God accept you or reject you?
I asked him, “If you were to die today, would God accept you or reject you?
” He said, “I think He would reject me.” I said, “Really? Why?” He replied, “Because of all the bad things I have done; I actually got in trouble with the law and well, trust me, I know he would reject me.” I asked, “Are you concerned about this?” He said that he was. Thus, I proceeded to tell him that Jesus came to save sinners. That is who Jesus came for – people just like him (and me!) – sinners. He seemed somewhat surprised but also deeply encouraged by this truth.
The authority of feelings
As we continued to talk, he told me, “I just can’t believe, it just doesn’t feel right.” I asked, “So, what is it that is making your decision for you?” He said, “I do not know.” I said, “Well, you said it was your feelings.” We were silent, then I continued, ”Do you see that your feeling is what is dictating what you do or do not believe?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “That is the difference between you and me. I believe that the Bible is God’s Word and that it can be trusted. I believe the Gospel because it is God’s Word. You do not believe because of your feelings. Your trust your feelings more than the Bible. Your feelings are your god.” He understood what I was saying, and though he seemed somehow sobered and in a contemplative state, he did not show any indication that there was any problem with the authority he was giving to his own feelings. I hope he saw this as a problem. But I do not know. God knows.
Some closing remarks
Sometimes it is helpful to show people that they are making themselves out to be god (by determining what is good and evil, true and not true). In this case, my supervisor’s feelings were the ultimate guide to his belief about the Gospel. Let God be true and ever man a liar. May the Lord help us not to rely on our own feelings, but on His sure Word.
By the grace of God, He gave me favour with my supervisor throughout the entire month of my work as a concierge/security guard. Who knows how the Lord will use the message of His grace that was spread that night. May God be merciful to him as He has been to me.