I had great time at my my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. I went to support her and her fiance (now husband). I also went to dance (with my lovely fiance) – you should ask her about my moves! But more important than dancing, I went there praying for an opportunity to spread the Gospel. Now, this was not a Christian wedding and most of the people there were not born again Christians. The wedding and reception were outside at her parent’s place in the country (just outside of Guelph).
After the wedding there was lots of time to mingle before the reception. I met some relatives who I didn’t know well, nor had I seen for a long time. It was great to see them. I had a great talk with my dad’s cousin’s husband. He is a very friendly man with a background in the United Church. He grew up going to church and mentioned that he wants to get going again.
He learned that I am training to be a minister. Somehow we ended up talking about the technological advances in our age. From there, somehow we ended up talking about technology and the church. We talked about whether or not the church needs to be more technologically advanced to reach out to her culture. This opened the door for a good discussion about the nature and importance of preaching the Word of God. We talked about church for quite a while. In fact, we talked about church, the Bible, preaching, and other stuff, but I had not asked him about his soul. I had some thoughts, “Something isn’t right here; he can converse about these things with great comfort, but unless he knows Christ he shouldn’t be comfortable – for the wrath of God is on him; we need to talk about what’s most important: the Gospel and what he believes.” If truth be told, we can talk to people about the church, the Bible and preaching all the way to the gates of hell. May the Lord help us to be bold and confront sinners with Gospel of God’s grace.
I said, “You know, there is an important question that I often ask people and that I like to talk about. Now, I am sure that you believe that God will accept you on Judgment Day, but my question is this: what is the main reason for your confidence that God will accept you – in other words, what are you ultimately banking on?” He was silent for a moment. He thought. Then he spoke. He shared with me a long list of the good things that he does (and has done). He shared about his integrity, his honesty, his character and his helping hand and so on. He also mentioned that he has asked forgiveness for the wrong he has done. If I could summarize his answer for him, it would sound something like this, “Though not perfect, I am a good person, who has lived a good life before a good God – I trust and hope that I will be okay on Judgment Day.”
After he shared for quite some time, I gently responded, “What if I told you that the Bible actually teaches that we are not saved based on the good that we have done, but by the good that Jesus did?” I forget his exact response, but he seemed sincerely interested. At this point I was certainly a little scatter brained, for I thought – wow, the Lord is opening a door here . . . what do I say! I am sure that I spoke too quickly, but praise God for giving me the grace to speak.
I shared Ephesians 2:8-9 and tried to expound. I shared that we all have sinned. I tried to explain the exceeding sinfulness of sin. I shared that God finds our sin repulsive in a manner similar to the disgust and anger we feel toward the sin of child molestation. My point was that God is holy and that he hates our sin intensely. Furthermore, I went on to speak of the just punishment of our sin which is death. From here I sought to explain the Gospel of Christ’s work on our behalf and our need to believe on Christ. By God’s grace, I shared the truth of the Gospel. Not a smooth delivery – but God was faithful to help me not to be afraid, but to speak, and not be silent. I am thankful to God for this courage, for I was certainly struggling with feelings of nervousness. Our conversation had gone so well . . . so nice . . . why stir up a sea that is calm? Why not just leave it at church, Bible and preaching? Why say, “what about you?”
He responded to my explanation of the Gospel by talking about his desire to get back to church. He seemed to agree with what I was saying. I thought, “He doesn’t get it; how can he agree with what I said?” I knew that he was not trusting in Christ alone, for he told me (at length) that his confidence before God is primarily rooted in his good works without any mention of Jesus. Thus, again, I preached the Gospel, emphasizing that you cannot work to gain God’s acceptance. I referred back to Ephesians 2:8-9, sharing how Christ must receive all the glory – not us. I spent more time emphasizing the guilt of our sin. If I could talk to him again, I would like to spend more time speaking of God’s righteous standards.
He seemed to really enjoy hearing what I had to share. Later on I learned that my brother spoke with his wife about Christ. She had a hard time with the exclusivity of Christ, but John responded, “The Bible says its true and I believe its true.” May the Spirit bless the Word and accomplish the work for which it was sent.
I thank God for opening a door for the Gospel and for giving me the grace to walk through. I hope this post will encourage you to keep praying for open doors wherever you are. May He receive much glory for the good things that He has done.