Tag Archives: Steve F.

Evangelism and Fruit

I have known Steve F for around 16 years. I first knew him when he was dead in sin, but now he is alive in Christ Jesus. Not only is he alive in Christ, he makes it his aim to tell others the Good News! It was a joy to have him co-labour with us a few weeks back. In this post, Steve shares about the nature of fruit in evangelism.

Hungry for fruit

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to join six other Christian brothers at the Shops in Don Mills to spread the good news of God. One thing that I was hungry for that day was to see some fruit, so we prayed about it before we went out. I was paired up with Joe and the first person that we approached was a man that appeared to be in his mid 30’s (he was hovering over a valet parking sign). After sparking up a conversation about the store that was offering valet parking, we told him what we were doing.

Alvin was the man’s name and he’s from the Philippines. After talking with him for 15 minutes about various things from the Bible Joe and I found ourselves really encouraged, for Alvin was very thankful that we stopped to talk to him about eternal things. We ended up giving him the booklet, “The Essential Jesus,” which is basically the gospel of Luke. After giving him the book he again thanked us both as he started to leaf through it. As we walked away I found myself filled with joy for it seemed as though this man understood (in a small way) the importance of being in a right relationship with the Creator….but yet it was still short of the fruit that I wanted to see that day.

Planting, watering and watching God give growth
After reflecting on the conversation with Alvin, I started to think about some passages in Mark’s Gospel that I had previously been pondering. In Mark 10, after Jesus tells the rich man to sell all of his goods and follow him, the man leaves disheartened because he had much wealth. Jesus then tells his disciples how difficult it will be for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, which in turn threw the disciples for a loop. They thought that those with worldly treasure were favoured by God. They responded by saying, “then who can be saved?” Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” This was a comforting thought that day, knowing that it’s not up to Joe and I to give a complete storyline of the Bible followed by a smooth and graceful transition to the gospel message … and if we did that well enough, we would walk away with a conversion in our back pocket. The Bible doesn’t teach that that’s how the lost are saved. As Christians we plant and water but it is God who gives the growth and that growth will come at the right time.

Some signs of fruit?
An hour after talking to Alvin, a couple of my friends mentioned that a Filipino man in his 30’s was leaning up against a wall, reading the “Essential Jesus”! Was I ever joyful for that!

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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.

Back to the Bus Stops – An Hour with Steve F.

Georgie and I returned from our honeymoon this past Sunday (by the way, I love being married to Georgie!).  Upon returning we’ve been busy moving into our new place. So now, after about a month of silence, I am online again and ready to blog!

After feeling convicted for shying away from some evangelistic opportunities (and possible promptings) this past month, I felt burdened to hit the bus stops today. After spending time in the Word (2 Kings 6:8-19 and Phil. 1:29) and prayer, Steve F and I hit the bus stops at Islington and Elmhurst for about an hour this afternoon. What follows is a very brief summary/recap of two conversations we had:

A Catholic Trusting in his Works

Steve and I approached a guy at the bus stop. I told him we were from the church down the road and that we were out sharing the Gospel. I asked him if we could speak with him briefly while he waited for his bus. He was cool with that, but he reassured me that he too was a Christian for he was Catholic.

Then I proceeded to talk to him about Jesus as the only way to God. He then informed me that he is NOT really a devout Catholic but that his parents are more Catholic than he. I cut to the chase and asked if he thought God would accept him or reject him if he were to die today. He was convinced that God would accept him. He said he was a good person. He also mentioned that he had never murdered anyone or did anything really evil.

I told him that what ultimately matters on Judgement Day is the standards of the Judge. I said, “God standards are what matter. Jesus talked about these standards.” I opened up my little NT to Matthew and read Matthew 5:27-28 on Jesus’ standards concerning adultery and lusting. The bus came so I gave him the NT and really encouraged him to read the tract inserted.

Talking to an Agnostic with No Religious Background

We approached this young man (we will call him V) the same way as we did the Catholic. He did not seem to be excited about talking, but he definitely listened and seem to get more interested the more we conversed. I quoted from John 14:6 and told him that Jesus must be either the Lord, a lunatic or a liar. He agreed to these logical possibilities. I asked him, “Have you ever read from the Bible?” “No,” he replied. Then I said, “Do you have any religious background?” Again, he responded, “No.” I asked, “Do your parents have a religious background?” He said, “Buddhist.” Then he told us that he was basically agnostic.

Steve proceeded to explain the law of God. He asked V if he had ever lied, stolen, dishonoured his parents. If my memory is correct, V confessed to breaking these laws. After going through the law, Steve asked him how this all relates to his worldview as an agnostic.

On that topic the conversation swung back to me. I did not want V to think that he was somehow exempt from the law of God and it’s just demands simply by being agnostic. Thus, I decided to show him that his worldview is self-refuting and thus problematic. I said, “I am not trying to be rude with you here, I just want you to consider how being agnostic is self-refuting. Think about this: you are certain that you cannot be certain about things.” He said, “I guess you can put it that way.” I said, “I do not know exactly how your agnosticism fleshes out compared to other agnostics, but is true that you believe that we cannot know anything for sure?” He agreed (that we cannot know anything for sure). I said, “Listen closely, this position is self-refuting, it does not hold – you are saying that you are absolutely sure that you cannot be sure about anything.” I spelled this out slowly for I wanted him to see that he really is sure about something, namely, that you cannot be sure about anything. I am not sure if he has ever had anyone attack the very foundation of his worldview like this, but I hope the Lord uses it to shake his confidence in agnosticism and to drive Him to the Scriptures and to Christ.

We gave him a NT and encouraged him to read it and to read the Gospel insert as well. His bus came and he seemed to be slightly sad to leave. I told him that my contact info is on the literature we gave him. Then he left.

Praise God for giving Steve F and I the grace to go and spread His Word. May He keep us humble and may His Word bear fruit and multiply.

Thoughts from Steve F.: Evangelism, Joy, Planting and Watering

Steve F. is a great encouragement to me. He works as a pilot for a small charter company out of Pearson. He has co-laboured in the Gospel with me many times over the past three years. I have especially enjoyed his fellowship in the Gospel this summer. Not only am I delighted by his fellowship, I am also honoured to have him as one of my groomsmen at my upcoming wedding! I really encourage you to read this very encouraging post which he wrote. In a heart warming manner, this post challenges us to keep planting and watering:

Evangelism and Joy

I once heard John Piper speak about the prayer of a man who was about to go out and do some evangelism on the streets in Minneapolis. This man prayed that he and those going out with him would have the joy that he so often experiences after getting back from evangelizing before they went out.

In the few times that I’ve been out on the streets this summer with Paul I haven’t always experienced much joy before going out, but I can say that again and again I experienced the joy that is so often accompanied when you return from speaking about Jesus Christ. Paul tells me of days when he’s out spreading the good news when it seems that most of the people he talks to are hard – no one seems to even care about the state of their soul or the righteousness and justice of their Creator. I’ve experienced the same thing at work when I talk to co-workers and it appears they really couldn’t care less. After conversations like this I still have joy in knowing that the Word of God went forth, however, this joy is something that has to be fought for.

It’s great when people actually have some level of interest, especially when they begin to ask questions. But I find that my heart longs for more than just people expressing interest in the gospel – I want to see people responding to it. I want to see fruit. I naturally think that if I don’t see the fruit from the words I spoke, then there won’t be any. That’s simply not the case.

An Encouraging Reminder to Keep Planting and Watering

It was about two weeks ago, when taking my car in for an emissions test, the Lord reminded me of something that I had forgotten. As I was waiting for my car at my friend’s shop, a gentlemen walked in who appeared to be in his late fifties or early sixties (he also had an English accent). I was reading the Bible and I had a desire to somehow move the conversation toward spiritual things. However, I had no idea how to do so, that is, until he said something to the effect of “it’s all in God’s hands”. I thought to myself “perfect.” I mentioned something about going to the same church as my friend who owns the shop. He said, “Oh, so you know Pastor Paul.” I said, “I sure do.” Turns out this man is a confessing Christian.

I forget his name so we’ll call him Craig. I asked Craig how God called him from darkness to light. After about 10 minutes of sharing with me his conversion story and his new found love for Christ, he told me something that brought tears to my eyes. He said that he can remember the day and also the face, so vividly, of the young man that told him and his friends about Jesus Christ at a bus stop one night. He said he was eighteen years old at the time. After listening to this man tell them about Jesus Christ, he remembers that as he and his friends (who were out drinking) were getting onto the bus, the man pleaded with him, the last one getting on the bus, “don’t forget Jesus, don’t forget Jesus.” 

Craig said he remembers this so clearly, and he never forgot about Jesus. The man at the bus stop (decades ago) never saw the fruit, but he was faithful in proclaiming the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. His reward is in heaven. We’re called to plant and water, it is God who brings about the growth in his timing.

“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers.”  

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

A Typical Afternoon and Talk about Science

Well, after a morning of catching up on administrative duties, I hit the streets in the afternoon (on Monday). And what did the bulk of my afternoon look like? Well, what follows is a brief overview, followed by a snippet from a conversation I had with a young teen about science. The purpose of this post is to give you a better feel for the nature and dynamics of this summer ministry:

Overview

1) went to Elmhurst and Islington bus stops (praying on the way for grace; was reminded that my primary aim is to please Jesus)

2) tried talking to a friendly lady from China – she said that she does not speak English (this happens often . . . I really need to have more tracts in other languages)

3) walked toward the plaza on the corner of Islington and Rexdale Blvd.

4) stopped at a bus stop to try to talk to man who looked really hard; I was reminded not to judge by outward appearance; I tried giving him a coin and talking to him, but he would not talk with me and even turned his back to me . . . indeed, he was hard

5) kept going toward the plaza and a boy happened to join walking on the sidewalk really close to me; just as he was about to hang back (or go ahead) I gave him a coin with the 10 commandments; he was going into grade 9; we talked for a while as we both walked toward the plaza (I will elaborate on this below)

6) went to the coffee shop to work on my lesson for the Grace Kids Remix service Wednesday night; part of the reason I go there is because I want the regulars (and there are MANY regulars) to get more and more familiar with me so that sooner or later they will feel more comfortable with me and I will hopefully be able to build friendships and have more open doors for the Gospel

7) Steve F. called and wanted to hit some bus stops; thus, I went back to meet him at Islington and Elmhurst; co-labouring in the Gospel gets top priority on my to-do list

8) arrived at the bus stops and met a Christian girl who is a friend of Chloe M. (from GFC)

9) had a great talk for a while with a man from Ghana (in West Africa); we had his NT open (which I had given to him) and we read Ephesians 2:8-9 (for he said that God would accept him based on God’s forgiveness AND the good things he does); he folded the page in half in his Bible (I think he was surprised and wanted to revisit this passage); it seemed as though he hopes we meet again – he has my contact info

10) hooked up Steve F.; he arrived and shared the Gospel with a Muslim man while I was talking with the man from Ghana

11) Steve and I talked to a high school student who goes to a United Church; upon giving him the coin with the 10 commandments on it, he assured us that he has been baptized and confirmed; we talked to him for a bit but the bus came – he also has the Gospel tract which is included in the NT we hand out

12) Steve saw a guy who he knows from local pick-up basketball – I prayed for Steve while he talked to him; just as Steve was getting into the Gospel the bus came

13) saw a man who I had preached to last summer, who actually came out to visit our church once; we talked to him for a bit, giving him a copy of the NT and inviting back to church; interestingly he said, “no, I do not have much money right now.” We insisted that we are not looking for money, and that coming out to church is for FREE  . . . he was thankful for the NT . . . it was nice to see him again

14) we walked back toward the church

15) we met a Hungarian lady on the way back who I had ministered to two summers ago; in fact, she also visited our church (at least a few times) two summers ago; I had preached the Gospel to her much two summers ago and even a bit last summer (I think), but she has sadly been infected by the teachings of the word-faith movement and the health and wealth gospel; this time, I simply gave her a copy of the Gospel presentation which I had typed up as an insert in the NT’s I hand out, and I encouraged her to read it to see what she thinks

16) we continued on back to the church

Well, that is it – a typical afternoon of evangelism ministry in Rexdale (though no evangelistic outing is ever the exact same). I am hoping and praying that, by the grace of God, the ministry at the coffee shop will look much different a few months down the road.

Talking about Science with a Grade Nine Student

He just happened to be walking right toward me. When he came onto the side walk I could tell that he was about to go ahead of me or lag behind. So, right away I handed him one of my coins with the 10 commandments on it. He received it and we both kept walking together. I asked, “do you have a religious background?” He said, “Buddhist and Christian.” I responded, “have you ever read the Bible?” He said, “no.” Thus, I reached into my bag and gave him a free NT. I explained to him how the Bible is made up of 66 books and that the NT is the last 27 books, which we have since the coming of Jesus. He did not seem to have a clue about the Scriptures, nor the 10 commandments, but he had heard of Jesus. I asked him of his age and learned that he is going into grade nine at a local high school. I talked to him about this for a bit and learned that he is nervous about going into grade nine.

I did not know how long he would be walking with me so I cut to the chase: “If you were to die today, do you believe that God, the God who created the world out of nothing, who is a person –  that God – would he accept you or reject you?” He seemed to be very interested in the way I modified God (as the God who created everything out of nothing), and responded saying, “Did you know that most scientists hold to evolution.” I said, “you mean, that all things came from nothing?” He said, “yes.” I said, “well, there are many who believe that, but that are also many who do not. I went on to talk to him about creation scientists and informed him of the many scientists are convinced that there must be a designer based on the evidence of intelligent design.

I pointed out the apartment building beside us and told him, “I know that someone built that; it did not just come to be.” He said, “obviously.” He went on to talk about the components of the bricks in some scientific lingo that I did not understand. I take it that he is really into science. I asked him if he knew about DNA. He did. I went on to explain that the design of DNA and all things in our world point to a designer.

Since I know that he has already been lied to about science and since he will likely keep hearing lies in high school, I thought it was a great opportunity to reason with him about the nature of science. First, I told him that the scientific process requires observation before conclusion. He knew this. This is basic grade 6 science. He agreed. Then I asked him, “how could people observe what happened before anyone was there? No one was there to observe.” He said, “they can’t, or it would take them millions of years to find out.” I said, “No, they can’t find out from science. No one was there to observe it; it is too late now. We are going beyond the limits of science when dealing with the question of how things began.” I told him, “now we are talking about philosophy and religion; we are talking about what to believe. People can offer theories, but this is not science.” I went on to tell him that the Bible says that God created all things, and that the Bible is God’s Word.

I told him not to believe everything he is taught from his teachers in science. I encouraged him, “have a critical mind.” I asked, “Do you have any younger brothers or sisters?” He said, “yes.” I said, “you know more than them, right.” He said, “yes.” Then I asked, “Are you always right? Should they always believe you?” He said with certainty, “no.” I said, “well, this is the way it is with your science teachers, though they have more education than you, they are not always right; you need to be a critical thinker.” I told him that science is great and that I really like science (for I do). I did not want to discourage him from scientific study, I just wanted him to be aware of the limitations of science. Accordingly, I had one more argument for him to consider.

I told him, “Science cannot prove itself. It is a practice with is based on a set of assumptions, such as, there is order in the universe, conclusions can be found, and other assumptions. These are good assumptions, but the assumptions themselves, that is, these ideas cannot be tested empirically.” I asked him, “Do you know what I mean when I say, ‘you cannot empirically test ideas?'” He said, “yes.” I think he followed my argument. I love science. We simply need to be honest about its limitations.

I hope and pray that he reads the NT and the Gospel tract which I gave him; I hope to see him around.

Levels of Law and Mormonism

Steve F. and I were delighted to have three young Mormons at Steve’s place Friday afternoon. This was our second meeting with two of these missionaries. The topic of conversation: prophets. We talked for about an hour and a half or so, thus I will only share a brief summary with some reflections scattered throughout.

They said that each prophet brings a new law which is a higher level of law. Though they ultimately wanted to culminate our discussion with Joseph Smith and the new law offered by him, the two prophets we talked about most were Moses and Jesus. We spent much time talking about the relationship between the Mosaic Law and the person and work of Jesus Christ, which was a great stage upon which to preach the glorious riches of the true gospel of God’s grace.

I was able to read to them texts such as 1 Peter 1:10-12, Luke 24:25-27 and John 5:39, which all teach that the central role of the Law and the Prophets is to point people to Christ. I tried to explain that Jesus came to obey the Mosaic Law which Israel had broken. They seemed to be riveted on the fact that Jesus came to teach a new law because of the apostasy of Israel; however, they spoke without due attention to the fulfillment dynamic of Christ’s work and ministry. What I found especially interesting was their distinction between what they called higher law and lower law. This distinction is worthy of much attention. Is there such a thing as higher law and lower law? We know that Jesus spoke of the greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40) and that he gave a “new commandment” (John 13:34), but have God’s standards changed? What did they mean by levels of law? They did not offer a clear explanation of the different levels of law, but assured us that they will be able to better explain this doctrine at our next meeting.

We talked about God’s standards for a while. I was uneasy with the idea that Jesus came to fulfill a lower law. My uneasiness quickened me to talk about the person of Christ and his perfect work on our behalf. The more I think about the standards of the Old and New Covenant, the more convinced I am that both demand perfection (consider Galatians 3:10 and Matthew 5:48). However, as one of my Pastors (Julian Freeman) explained to me today, though God’s standards are always the same – with greater revelation comes increased accountability. In other words, as he said, “you are only accountable for what has been revealed.” So, since the coming of Christ, who is the fullness of God’s revelation (cf. Hebrews 1:3), there is a sense in which we are more accountable to that standard of perfection, which was not revealed with the same degree of clarity in the past as has now been displayed in Jesus Christ and his New Covenant. When the Mormons spoke of levels of law, they seemed to have another explanation in mind; but I will wait to hear them further on this point.

Though I was unable to explain these distinctions to the Mormons during our meeting, I took the occasion to highlight the glorious work of Christ. Since they had also brought up the topic of the Sabbath (and incorrectly mentioned that it is commanded in the New Testament), I read to them Hebrews 4:10, preaching Christ as our rest. By God’s grace I explained how the Sabbath, the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets all point to Jesus Christ. I preached that Jesus is the fulfillment of all of these things and tried to help them understand why Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” They had explained that this command is a call to hard work. I tried to explain that this statement functions (in context) to help people see their sin, and thus, to look to Jesus as the One who came to live a perfect life on their behalf (not that these commands are not binding on New Covenant believers; they are binding, but only by faith alone in Christ alone by the power of the Spirit are we to heed these commands). Accordingly, Matthew 5:48 functions to point us to fullness of faith in Christ and his perfect work. This passage is not a call to gaining God’s acceptance through Jesus + hard work. This topic of faith alone vs. faith + works was the major point of difference in our last meeting; thus, I took the opportunity to re-preach the truth of justification by faith alone in Christ alone.

Well, that is all I shall share for now. Steve F. and I were both encouraged as we contemplated the perfect work of Christ on our behalf – what a glorious gospel! We enjoyed seeing these men again. They are very friendly and a joy to see. May the Lord help us to continue to love these men and preach Christ to them. May the Lord grant us wisdom to know how to best converse with them to the glory of His Name.

Meeting with Some Mormons

John C. joined Steve F. and I for our meeting with a couple of Mormons in the afternoon. We met for an hour and a half or so . . . much to talk about. During our meeting, one of the mormons stated what the Gospel encompassed and looked to us for approval. We were not able to approve of his description of the Gospel, for he said the Gospel is a message centrally about faith, repentance, receiving the Holy Spirit, and perseverance. He taught us that there are 5 things man must do to enter into a right relationship with God. 

I responded  by telling him what I learned from John Piper (at T4G ’06), which is the Gospel in 5 parts (but NOT 5 things you must do). Here is the best explanation of the Gospel which I have heard:  The Gospel is a message about 1) historical events – the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; 2) Achievements – the good things that Christ accomplished as a result of his work – forgiveness of sins (for people), removal of the wrath of God, installation of his Kingship over all things, completion of perfect righteousness, the defeat of Satan and death etc.; 3) Way of Transfer – the way for sinners “to get” the benefits and achievements of Christ applied (transferred) to them is by faith alone (which includes repentance), not by works (at all); 4) New Identity – the good things that are now true about the believer as a result of true belief – sons and daughters of God, counted righteous, receive the Holy Spirit, sins forgiven, etc.; and 5) God – the message of the Gospel is the clearest display of the character and glory of God – his holiness, love, justice, faithfulness, righteousness, grace and mercy, etc.

The Way of Transfer was the point of disagreement. They insisted that the way to get saved is not by faith alone, but also by faith and works. We spent much time debating this most important point of doctrine (called justification – how a sinner can be declared “righteous” by God the Judge).  We studied Ephesians 2. 4-10. Of special interest was their interpretation of Ephesians 2.8-10. They stated that when Paul says the way to get saved is “not a result of works” he really means “not by works alone.” In other words, they believe that the way to get saved is by faith and works.  Herein lies the difference of eternal life and eternal death.

There are many reasons why this Mormon understanding of how to get right with God is not true. The most clear reason is because that is NOT what Paul wrote. He wrote that the way to get saved is by free grace, for it is a “gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast.” He did not say we are saved by faith AND works. His main point is to make a positive-negative statement (yes to grace – no to works). If Paul (who is a master of precision) wanted to teach on the importance of grace in addition to works, he would have written that we are saved “not only by works, but also by grace.” Furthermore, if we are saved by works even in the least bit, there is no place for free grace; we would have to earn our way to heaven. We could have something (even a little bit) to boast about.

The reason why we are not saved by works (at all) is, as Paul said, “so that no one can boast.” True believers have no ground for boasting; the only thing they can boast in is the work of Jesus (Gal 6.14). As Paul said to the Romans, “Then what comes of our boasting? It is excluded” (Rom 3.27). There is no room for boasting because we are not saved by our own efforts (not even in the least bit).

 May the Lord have mercy on the Mormons as he has had mercy on me. It is only by God’s grace that I can see that the way to get saved from the wrath of God (which I deserve) is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

We plan to meet with these Mormons again. If you have any advice concerning how to best preach the Good News to Mormons, please let me know.