Tag Archives: Gospel

What is the Gospel?

A New Series Called ‘A People Made Ready’

I am so thankful to Pastor Julian for giving me the opportunity to teach a 10 week series on evangelism and apologetics! We started this past Sunday and I find myself humbled and sobered by the nature of the training. Just think about it, I will influence the way people understand the Gospel and how to share and defend it. Consequently, I will influence the way the Gospel is articulated to unbelievers. Indeed, this is a humbling task! (Please pray for me).

So, with much trepidation I proceeded to start the series with a lesson on the Gospel. The Series is called ‘A People Made Ready’ and the first lesson was on ‘The Gospel that Saves Us.’ We looked at the Gospel that has made us ready – ready for Judgement and ready to give allegiance to our King until then.

John Dickson’s The Best Kept Secret

Much of what I shared is what I learned from John Dickson’s insightful book, The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission: Promoting the Gospel with More than Our Lips (Zondervan: 2010). He has a chapter called, “What is the Gospel: The Message We Promote.” I strongly encourage you to get your hands on this book. But, until then, let me share with you what I have learned from him on the content of the Gospel (and what you will find in his book).

What is the Gospel?

Gospel language is used in the OT. One example is found in Isaiah 52:7,

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news (lit., “tells a gospel”),
who publishes peace, who brings good news (lit., “tells a gospel”) of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

The man who has beautiful feet is the man who “tells a gospel.” Not just any gospel. This gospel is a gospel of peace, happiness and salvation, but its primary content is articulated in these three words: “Your God reigns.” This is the Gospel. Accordingly, when Jesus comes, he proclaims “the gospel of God, saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel'” (Mark 1:14-15). Jesus is saying that the reign of God is here, pressing and breaking in. We know that this reign came in the person of Jesus, God’s appointed Messiah.

So, the Gospel is the announcement of the Good News of God’s reign. Isaiah 52-53 is about real events that will actually happen – real achievements and accomplishments. In Greco-Roman culture gospels were announced. They were not merely the announcement of ideas, but actual deeds and accomplishments of Roman emperors. Accordingly, the gospel is the message of reign of God in the deeds and accomplishments of his appointed Messiah, Jesus. What what deeds are we talking about? Only the death and resurrection? Paul helps us here.

Three Key Gospel Summaries in Paul

1) According to 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, the Gospel is the message of:

  • Jesus’ identity as the Christ (Christ is not Jesus’ last name, but refers to his office as God’s appointed Messiah/King)
  • Jesus’ saving death (for our sins)
  • Jesus’ burial
  • Jesus’ resurrection
  • all of this “according to Scripture”
  • Jesus’ appearances to witnesses

2) According to Romans 1:3-5, the Gospel is the message about how:

  • Jesus was foretold in the Scriptures
  • Jesus was born a royal descendant of David
  • Jesus was raised from the dead as God’s great Son
  • Jesus is both Christ and Lord
Interestingly, this summary focuses on the bookends of the Gospel, the royal birth and resurrection, as will the next summary.
3) According to 1 Timothy 2:8, the Gospel message is that:
  • Jesus is the Christ
  • Jesus was raised from the dead
  • Jesus was born in the line of David

It is important for us to see that these summaries are, well, summaries. Two of them reaching from birth to resurrection, thus highlighting the entire scope of what the Gospel truly is. Therefore, the Gospel is the whole story of the Messiah from his birth to teaching and miracles, his death, burial and resurrection that will establish Jesus as King, Judge, Lord and Saviour in God’s Kingdom.

The Gospels and Acts

No wonder Mark begins writing, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Mark wrote a Gospel. The content of the gospel is found in the Gospels. I asked the saints this past Sunday, “what is the Gospel?” I received a number of theologically correct answers, one of them being, “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

Interestingly, listen to the way the apostles preached the Gospel in Acts; they included things like Jesus’ “mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him” (Acts 2:22), the return of Christ “whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things” (Acts 3:21), and “the baptism that John proclaimed [and] how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:37-38). Of course, the death and resurrection of Jesus is the focal point of apostolic preaching, but biblical authors understood that focal point to be the climax of a gospel that is larger in its content.

Bringing it All Together: The Gospel

The Gospel is the announcement of the reign of God, though Jesus Christ, who is Lord over all. The core content includes:

  • Jesus’ royal birth secured his claim to the eternal throne promised to King David
  • Jesus’ miracles pointed to the presence of God’s kingdom in the person of His Messiah
  • Jesus’ teaching sounded the invitation of the kingdom and laid down its commands
  • Jesus’ sacrificial death atoned for sinners who repent and believe, and who would otherwise be condemned at the consummation of the kingdom
  • Jesus’ resurrection establishes him as the Son whom God has appointed Judge of the world and Lord of his coming kingdom (new creation)
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I Will Never Believe!

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!

Excuse me, Can I Ask You a Question?

Praise God for co-workers!

I was working at Starbuck’s last Friday and I left the store only to see my dear friend, Daniel Thabet, on his way in! What a kind providence! Even better, his appoinment was delayed and he was able to hit the streets with me – oh what a blessed joy to co-labour with dear brothers in the Lord! After some time in the 2 Timothy 1 and prayer … leaning on the Lord we went out.

Excuse me, can I ask you a question?

It is not everyday that I do this, but waiting for the walk sign to flash (at a cross walk) and feeling strongly compelled to speak to the man beside me, I asked, “Excuse me, can I ask you a question?” He said, “sure.” “What do you think about Jesus Christ?” Smurking with a bit of chuckle, he replied, “That’s a pretty open ended question.” Open ended it was. But it lead to a very pointed and profitable discussion about the claims of Jesus Christ.

Respectful but lost 

He was a friendly Hindu. We talked for maybe about 15 or 20 minutes. I cannot recall exactly what he told me about Jesus, but he told me his plan – it was to live a good life in hopes that God will reward him accordingly. He suggested that all religions are similar. I agreed that many religions have many things in common, namely, do good. But when it comes to Jesus Christ, true Christianity is very different from everyother way (vastly different!). God gave me the grace to relay to him what Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) expect through me” (John 14:6).”

Being very respectful (and apparently interested), he wanted to hear more about “why?” Why is Jesus the only way? God gave me the grace to talk about our sin (Rom 3:23) and how we are all guilty before God. He was kind enough to give me time to explain how guilt cannot be removed by payback (good works). The pennies seemed to be dropping and he seemed quite agreeable, not only that we are all sinners, but that is a serious offense to sin against a Holy God.

Gospel

By the grace of God I was able to tell him, “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) … even more, to talk about the reconciliation we can have with God through Jesus Christ. He wasn’t in a rush. He didn’t have a Bible and he wanted one. So I gave him one. I also challenged him to seek God and the truth about Jesus Christ. I admonished him to seek God by reading the Scriptures and asking God to reveal Himself.

Oh that he might seek and find! But not only him. Me too! May we all be seeking Him at all times (Ps. 105:4). This entire discussion started with two questions: 1) Can I ask you a question? and 2) what do you think about Jesus Christ. Daniel and I were encouraged by how God answered our prayers t0 lead us to someone who would be open and willing to listen to the Gospel. Praise God!

The Authority of Feelings: Evangelism in the Workplace (1 of 4)

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.

Whitefield Stirs Peter’s Meditations on Evangelism

This post was written by my close friend Peter N. He is currently at teachers college in Ottawa. What you will read below is an inspiring quote on Whitefield’s evangelistic zeal followed by an insightful meditation on personal evangelism.

Reading about Whitefield

I have endeavoured to pick up where I left off a year ago and finish reading Volume 2 of Arnold Dallimore’s biography of George Whitefield. There is a quote at the beginning of chapter 4 that caught my attention.

The Quote:

“Whitefield was the very first Englishman who seems to have thoroughly understood what Dr. Chalmers aptly called the aggressive system. He was the first to see that Christ’s ministers must do the work of fishermen. They must not wait for souls to come to them, but must go after souls, and ‘compel them to come in.’ He did not sit tamely by his fire-side…mourning over the wickedness of the land. He went forth to beard the devil in his high places. He attacked sin and wickedness face to face and gave them no peace…In short, he set on foot a system of action, which up to his time, had been comparatively unknown in this country, but a system which, once commenced, has never ceased to be employed…” Bishop J. C. Ryle in Christian Leaders of the 18th Century.

This quote inspired the following meditation on evangelism:

Indeed, if we really are convinced that God has His elect in the earth, and believe that to be a truth not to be denied, how are we actively seeking to win His elect over to Christ?

The temptation is to lean toward the strain of hyper-Calvinism, which says that if God elects His children, He will do so with or without our help, for God needs no aid. This tends toward a particular streak of apathy and laziness in terms of speaking the gospel to our fellow-man. The default position of our attitude towards the lost inherently, whether we are aware of it or not, is to think that if God will save them, He will save them, and this is the key thought, “But not through me.”

But this is not to be for the Christian!

Other related streams of thought revolve around this poisonous doctrine. The thought is always, “God, send someone else to tell this person about the gospel,” when God’s Spirit is clearly telling you to speak of Christ. Another subtle thought is to say, “I’ll simply live such a good life around this person that they will inevitably ask me what is this hope I cling to.”

There are two objections to this that come immediately to mind. First, has someone ever actually asked you this question? I think if we were honest most of us would admit not many have asked such a question of us. A corollary question to this one is: If we were really living as Christians as we ought, might there be more questions asked of us by our unbelieving friends? Perhaps the reason we never get asked to give a reason for the hope that we have is because we are not truly living out the called out, separated lives we are supposed to, as saints of God.

The second objection has to do with the very nature of saving faith. How did you become saved? It could not have been through merely the exemplary life of a Christian. Such a life may have reinforced the leading you had towards Christ, but was it not foremost the proclamation of the gospel to you that you believed? Is it not the belief in the essential doctrines of the gospel that makes you a believer?

So, this brings us to the point of this discussion. We must proclaim the gospel to unbelievers. We must open our mouths and speak of Christ to them. No doubt, the testimony of our lives insofar as it is consistent with the Word of God will bolster the testimony of the gospel. But the gospel’s proclamation to repent and believe is the way God saves. The person must hear the gospel. The Spirit must grant saving faith to that person as the gospel is preached to them.

A Challenge this Christmas season

This holiday season there will be many opportunities to speak of Christ to those around us. May we not enter into that dangerous strain of hyper-Calvinism and all its subtle implications and outworkings in our lives. Lord, loosen our tongues to boldly speak of Christ to the lost. For how can they believe in someone they have never heard proclaimed to them? (Rom 10.14)

The Importance of Praying for Open Doors

This post was written by my good friend Peter N. He is a faithful man who loves Christ. I asked him to write this post after watching him faithfully evangelize at a restaurant this past weekend. I have learned much from him and I hope you will too. In this post he shares the story of what happened while attending my highschool alumni basketball game. This story serves as a great reminder of the importance of praying for open doors (and also attempting to turn conversations toward Christ). I trust you will profit from reading it.

Unexpected turn of events

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to join Steve F., John M., Paul M., and Georgie M. to a yearly alumni basketball game in Listowel, Ontario, where they grew up and went to high school. The players were made up of past and present students of Listowel District Secondary School who played basketball. After the game, the tradition is to eat dinner at a particular restaurant. I had personally not planned on attending this event, but in God’s sovereignty I went along with them.

Praying for open doors

Paul M. had prayed before the game for evangelistic opportunities throughout the day. Once again the five of us prayed before dinner in the car for doors to open to share the gospel during dinner. The Lord answered us.

Discerning the situation

We entered the restaurant and only three of the players were already seated, T, S, and K. Once seated next to them we began to engage in small talk with the three who were there, snacking on peanuts and waiting for others to arrive. Others began to arrive while I was intentionally probing the three to see if a conversation would develop where the gospel could be presented. Nothing seemed to be going anywhere with K and T (they were not that talkative), but I began to have a conversation with S (who was quite talkative), asking about his work, life, and family.

The Lord opens the door

By this time, most had arrived, were seated, and we had ordered our food. As I continued to ask S about his family he mentioned his sister on an exchange program in another country. He remarked how she would come back next year “guaranteed.” That word struck me, guaranteed. “There really are no guarantees in life,” I thought. I proceeded to say that to him hoping that it would lead to a spiritual conversation. Thankfully, it did. He responded by asserting that if there are no guarantees in life, how can that statement be a guarantee? He was right. But the statement is still true from a human perspective. We as humans can make no guarantees apart from the promises of God. In that sense there are no guarantees in life. I asked him, “What do you think happens to you when you die?” That began an hour-long dialogue between him, Paul M., John M., and me.

He claimed to be a good person and on that basis God would accept him. He was skeptical of the exclusivity of Christianity and the Bible’s claims. He argued that he could not simply accept our testimony without having studied them himself. Paul M. clearly described the gospel to him. Paul M. challenged him to repent and believe the gospel, and by waiting he was actively rejecting the gospel. He needed to make a decision now. He chose to reject the gospel, excusing himself by stating he was going to wait for it to be revealed to him. In the meantime, he would continue searching for truth and be a good person.

I challenged him to search for the truth; not to dismiss the claims of the Bible and Christ without first having studied them himself, and without bringing presuppositions to the text. I urged him to read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel because it adequately explains the history behind the formation of the canon. Steve F. suggested he read The Reason for God by Tim Keller. This is another excellent book, which highlights the rationality of believing in God and especially the God of the Bible. He said he would read them. I pray he does. I got his e-mail address to follow-up with him. I will in the coming weeks.

It all started with prayer

It all started with the prayers in the car, before and after the game. The Spirit gave us the willingness and intentionality to proclaim the gospel to S, not to mention in the hearing of T and K. The Lord was sovereign. He answered our prayers. He gave us the boldness we needed. To Him belongs the glory forever and ever.

Gospel on the GO Bus

Late night on the GO

Recently, I was travelling from Toronto to Guelph on the GO bus. The trip was late at night. By the time we were getting close to the Guelph there was only one other passenger on the bus (sitting near the back). I was sitting right at the front . . . in a great spot for a conversation with the bus driver.

I did not feel like talking, BUT . . . 

I did not feel like talking. However, I sensed that it would be best to try to talk to the driver and hopefully spread the Gospel to him. Yet, I found a war being waged within myself, “Just read your Bible instead, it’s too awkward to say something to this guy.” But on the other hand, “Have faith in God, just say something; who knows what the Lord may do?” “No, he is going think you are weird; just read, that makes more sense.” Yet, “Why wouldn’t you try to evangelize; be bold, open your mouth and speak?” The war continued, but finally, by the grace of God, I spoke (praying much).

I opened my mouth

“So how long you been driving bus?” I forget the exact amount of years, but he said something like, “Ten years.” I said, “How do you like it?” He replied, “It’s good.” I said, “Do you always do this route or do they switch it up?” He responded, “They switch it up.” The small continued for a bit and that was it. Silence. Attempt made. Good little chat, no Gospel, but at least I tried. A little discouraging that the conversation ended so soon. But, I cannot force things – I guess the Lord was not opening the door. Or was He?

I sat in silence for a little while, wanting to say something, but having no idea what would be suitable to say. No longer we went without speaking the more weird I felt resuming the conversation. Finally, he passed a truck and said to me, “This truck was holding us up and all the traffic behind us, now we can go faster.”

I thought, “Wow, he said something! This is an open door to respond . . . somehow . . . in someway.” I said, “I notice you have an accent. Where are you from?” He said, “Sri Lanka.” “Really!” I replied. Then I went on to explain how I have friends from Sri Lanka. He found this interesting. I learned that has been in Canada for over twenty years now. I went on to ask him about his religion. He told me that he is Hindu though Sri Lanka is largely Buddhist.  

Talking about Jesus

I told him that I was a Christian and asked, “What do you believe about Jesus?” He did not really answer my question but assured me that he is not very religious and that religion has been the cause of great problems in the world, especially war. I agreed to this sad reality but told him that Jesus Christ came to give peace, to reconcile people to God. He seemed quite intrigued. [Now for those of you NT scholars, I know it is also true, in another sense, that Jesus also came “not to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34), BUT this is in reference to personal relationships with family . . . on the cost of following Jesus.]

I asked him, “Do you know the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” “No.” I asked, “Can I tell you what it is?” He said, “sure.” I started by explaining Genesis 1-3 (in summary fashion). I focused on how God is the Creator and that He created all things good. I told him how God created us to be with him. God was to be our God, we were to be his people and He was to dwell in our midst. But Adam and Eve rebelled against God, and this rebellion had deadly repercussions. I stopped and asked him if he understood what I was saying. He affirmed that he did. So I went on.

Romans 5 with people from the East

From this point I basically explained Romans 5:12-21. We talked about the difference between the individualistic culture of the West as opposed to the East. He agreed that the culture of Sri Lanka is much more familial. He seemed to have a clear understand of how the SIN of one family member serious affects the rest of the family. So, I explained Adam and Jesus as the two representative heads of mankind. If my memory is correct, I think I talked about the consequence for sinning against God, which is everlasting punishment. I talked about the guilt of our sin and how the entire human race is unable to somehow undo our guilt. It is too late.

Thus, I explained how God has shown his great love toward us in providing a way to be saved from our sin, guilt and punishment. He sent Jesus to be our representative in two ways. He came on our behalf, acting as a substitute, both in his (1) life=representative righteousness for us, and (2) death=representative bearing punishment for us.

From this point I explained how the only way to benefit from the work the Jesus has done on our behalf is being stopping to live our lives our way, and to turn to Jesus, putting all of our trust in Him and the WORK that HE HAS DONE on our behalf.

If my memory is correct, I think I stopped and asked him if he understood what I saying. Again, he said that he did. Sometimes I ask this often because it gives the person a chance to ask questions and to gain clarification on anything I said that may be unclear to them. Whatever the case, he really seemed to be listening and understanding (at least on an intellectual level). I asked him, “Have you ever heard this message before?” He said, “No, but it is good to hear this teaching.”

The Gospel is a message of command

I continued, “There is one more thing you need to know. This message is not just an option. The Bible says that God is commanding all people everywhere repent, that is, to turn to Christ (Acts 17:30-31), even you and me – all people. Everyone will face the judgement.”

A weighty feeling of intensity and awkwardness

At this point I could feel the intensity of our conversation. This was not a light conversation. I was telling him that God is commanding him to turn to Jesus Christ. There was a weight that I could feel in the air. I was uncomfortable. I was tempted to say something to lighten things up a bit. Possibly I could say, “Well that’s Gospel. Thanks for listening,” or “So, how many kids do you have?” or “Do you have a place where you meet with other Hindu’s for worship?” I often make the mistake of saying something to lighten things up at these really intense moments. This time God gave me the grace to let it sit. I endured the awkwardness and said nothing. Neither did he. I wondered what he was thinking – only God knows. That was it.

Eventually, we had some brief small chat when he dropped me off in Guelph. He was very friendly. I gave him a copy of the NT and a Gospel tract inserted. He was thankful for it. This is the ministry of planting. You never know what kind of ground you are planting on AND who God may send to water.

Praise God for His Grace

Praise God for shaking off my fears and giving me boldness. This evangelistic break through was because of God’s grace. I am thankful to God for this grace. I was filled with joy after sharing. People come to faith by hearing the Gospel (Rom 10:17). May the Lord give us the grace to keep spreading it!