While resurrecting this blog I noticed an unpublished post that I started in the spring of 2010. Here it is:
Speaking to a man we love
My wife and I had lunch today with a person who we deeply love; (we will call him J). Last night I prayed to the Lord to open doors to preach the Gospel to J . . . it has been a long time since I had a good conversation with him about Christ.
The historical context
I shared Christ with him (at length) around three or four times over the past four years. However, he continues to reject Christ. In fact, he is quite hostile to the true Gospel. Sniffs of discussion about sin and exclusivity are absolutely repulsive to him. His common refrain continues, “I will never believe. Never. I will never believe.”
At the pub
J asked me about the church I am about to pastor. This lead him to reflect on his “favourite” preachers, these being TV preachers who misrepresent Christ. Before long we were talking about true Christianity. I asked him to come and hear me preach. He smiled with a hesitant look that said, “No way.” He deflected the request and said, “I just can’t believe what you guys do. It is good for you. But not for me. You guys are nice (looking at me) Paul; you love her. That’s what matters.”
How I love her
I responded by telling him how I love my wife. I explained how Jesus Christ’s love for me is the reason and cause of my love for my wife. I shared the Gospel explaining how I am called to love my wife the way Christ has loved me. Such discussion of my personal sin and need for forgiveness is nonsense to J . . . to him it is foolishness. He responded, “No, you’re a good guy.” I tried to give the glory to God. He would not believe it.
Why don’t you believe?
Eventually he said that he simply cannot believe. I asked, “Why?” He said, it is not logical. It does not make sense to me.” He went on to speak of karma. He firmly believes in karma. I responded by telling him that the topic of karma is what separates Christianity from all other religions: “With Christ, you do not get punished – there is forgiveness, and it is free.”
Well, that is the post from the spring of 2010. A couple of weeks ago J told me, “Your not gonna covert me yet.” Interestingly, I was not evangelizing him, nor have I for quite some time. Even so, I thought to myself, “Wow, did he just say what I thought he said: ‘not yet’? ‘Not yet!’ Where did that come from?!!! What happened to: “I will never believe!” As hard as his heart may be, it seems to have slightly softened (yes, ever so slightly). I am thankful to God for this.
Furthermore, he came to hear me preach this past summer (that was a huge step!). In the providence of God I was preaching on the Great Commission which links the “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19) to “all the nations” (Mt 25:32) standing before Jesus on Judgement Day The force of the command to make disciples is not only grounded in the Lordship of Christ from the immediate context but in the doom of the unrighteous in the larger context. Thus, I spent some time talking about the sheep and the goats. I know he was listening for he still jokes and tells me that he is on the left. Oh for God to have mercy on J! Oh for the Lord to continue to soften his heart! Oh that he would do the will of the Father and find himself on the right!