Steve K joined me for evangelism this afternoon … oh how sweet it is to fellowship in the Gosel this way! I love praying with brothers! I love studying the Word with brothers! And oh how I love spreading the Gospel with brothers!
Nearing the end of the afternoon with an itch
We were nearing the end of our afternoon, yet hadn’t really been able to get to the Cross with anyone … some good talks (“speaking the truth in the love”) but not getting to the heart of the Gospel with unbelievers. Of course, that’s okay, but I had the itch … we prayed … and …
A Business Survey worth taking
There was a young man doing business surveys at Don Mills and Lawrence. I approached him and learned that he was researching the area to collect data. I told him that Steve and I were out seeking to talk to people too, but that we were from a local church. He asked about the church, told me he was Catholic, and by God’s grace we were were on the road to the Cross.
Would God accept you or reject you?
At the outset I told him what Catholics “typically” believe … at least what I have learned from Catholics I have talked to. I highlighted areas of agreement (with me, a Protestant); but but we quickly moved to one really MAJOR of dispute: how to receive the forgiveness of sins? I set the positions before him and asked him: “If you were to die today, do you believe that God would accept you or reject you?” He said,”He’d accept me.” “What’s the main reason why you think He’d accept you?” He replied, “Well, I’ve been a pretty good person and lived a pretty good life; I’d like to think or I hope He would [accept me].”
The righteous standards of Jesus Christ … and the sobering reality
I asked him if he knew about Matthew. He wasn’t exactly familiar with it, so I explained to him who Matthew was and that he wrote one of the Gospels. We went right to his record of the words of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. We considered the righteous standards concerning lust, anger and love for enemies (Mt 5) to name of few. His response?
We need to stive to be righteous
He said, “We need to strive to be righteous, well, not strive but, to live this way that He is commanding.” I agreed, “yes, it’s good to be good,” and added, “but that’s not what Jesus is teaching us to do.” God gave me the grace to tell him: “Jesus did not come for the righteous, but sinners (Mt 9:13), people who realize they need Him; it’s the sick who need a doctor.” He seemed to be listening attentively.
I went on to talk about the nature of guilt: “What if your parents were murdered and the murder was in court confessing to the judge: ‘I am sorry for what I have done. I have no excuse. But I am sorry for what I’ve done; I’ll never do it again. Please forgive me judge.'”
He interjected immediately, “No, he needs to go to jail.” “Exactly,” I responded, “he’s guilty. But what if the murderer offered to shuvle your driveway the rest of your life … and pay you one million dollars?” He replied, “That wouldn’t change it; he broke the law – the law doesn’t change.” He got the point: you cannot undo guilt by good works – the guilt remains. He mentioned that he was thankful for the analogy. Praise God!
Faith alone in Christ alone
At this point, the Lord gave me the grace to tell him two things of utmost importance:
1) “‘It is by grace you have been saved through faith … it is the gift of God, not by works,’ and do you know why? Because it says next, ‘least anyone should boast.’ God’s way is that no one will have bragging rights in heaven. It is by faith alone in Christ alone so that God gets all the glory.” The point was taken. He understood. But will he believe? May the Lord convict and convince!
2) “I just met you, I know your friendly, but I don’t need to know you well to know that your a sinner (we’d already talked about Christ’s righteous standards = God /perfection). You need to trust in Christ and what he’s done, being punished in your place for your sins and living the perfect life on your behalf, for the forgiveness of sins.
I gave him a copy of The Essential Jesus. He seemed happy to receive it. It’s tough to know how things really go, that is, when dealing with a businessman who wants your business, BUT, the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16) and faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ (Rom 10:17). So, take a survey and redeem it to the glory of God … you never know how the “God of all grace” (1 Per 5:10) might use it.