Tag Archives: Steve K

Disrespectful Jesus and a Determinded Evangelist

Disrespectful Jesus

I was speaking to a man the other day, I forget much of what we disguised, but I recall feeling compelled to preach John 14:6. His response was interesting: “That’s disrespectful!”  Though things got a little heated from there, I’m glad I was prompted this way because it sparked a very telling conversation.

He went on and said more. If my memory is correct, I think he started to question whether Jesus really said that (or meant that). He tried to defend Jesus (that being his unbiblical idea of Jesus), arguing that Jesus would not hold such an absolute and exclusive view.

In particular he kept commenting on the exclusive claims of Christ, saying things like: “that’s crazy,” “that’s disrespectful,” “I can’t believe that,” “that’s not right.” He talked about other religions, other scriptures and issues of interpretation. My attempts to reason with him seemed unprofitable at large (but you never know how the Lord will use those conversations!). Near the end of our talk I told him, “If I were you my knees would be shaking because one day you will stand before Jesus and He will judge you. He says in the Bible that He will judge the world. You will give an account to him.” He replied by telling Steve K. and I that we’ll have to agree to disagree and encouraged us to move on. Things ended on the friendliest note possible (in light of the nature of the exchange). Interestingly, he said what we were doing (out sharing what we believe) was good. Good? Yes, he said, “good.”

That ended our conversation. As I thought over what we had discussed, I was struck by the fervency, absoluteness and certainty of his relativism. His relativism seemed unshakable. And he was not alone. There were two others I spoke with that day who were deeply rooted in religious relativism! The one told me “when you say someone is wrong you are walking on thin ice.” The man who said this is a Chemistry prof at York U. (We talked for a long time!).

A Determined Evangelist

All that being said, not everyone believes such things. I talked to a nice Muslim man earlier that day. He would describe religious relativism as crazy. And there are lots of Muslims in Don Mills! Even so, I am determined to get better equipped to know how to better reason and preach the Gospel to committed relativists. Of course, there is nothing better than the Bible when it comes to getting equipped for the Lord’s work, but there certainly is a place for learning from others.

Alex Philip, who is a close friend of mine (and Chaplain at Peoples Christian Academy), recommended “True For You But Not For Me”: Overcoming Objections to Christian Faith by Paul Copan and Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions by . So, over the next couple of months I will be reading and reviewing selected chapters from these books. I will review them and interact with them over a number of blog posts.

So, if you’d like to read along with me, grab the books and share your comments. I pray that God will use these books to better equip us to do what the Thessalonians did – to sound forth the word of the Lord that man people may “turn from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead.”(1 Thess 1:9-10). Stay tuned!

An Evangelistic Prayer Meeting (Accidentally)

A couple of weeks ago, Steve K and I were praying on a bench just behind Shops at Don Mills. While Steve was praying, I noticed that a lady sat down on the bench right across from us. I thought, “She must see that we are praying. Our heads are bowed and she can certainly hear Steve. Should I talk to her? God, what do I do?” As soon as Steve was finished praying, I said, “It’s a beautiful day isn’t it.” She responded by telling us how encouraging it is to see people praying in public.

We had to slightly yell to communicate, so Steve and I ended up sitting on the bench with her (not too close though … it was not awkward .. the benches were quite large). With a smile she told us, “I’m a stanch Catholic.” She went on to tell us of some struggles her brother is having. At that time I was able to share what Julian had been preaching on in 1 Peter 1:6-7, that God gives us trials to for the testing of our faith.

She was thankful for what I shared and went on to speak about the goodness of God and our need to follow Him even when times are tough. It was a nice conversation, and it was quite tempting to NOT push to the Gospel, BUT, being compelled by God, I knew it would not please the Lord to let this opportunity pass … how often to we have people approach us in the midst of prayer?!

I asked her, “Do you think God will accept you because of your faith in the work of Christ alone OR  because of your faith in Christ PLUS her efforts of following God?” She was quite sure that her works contributed to her reception of the forgiveness of sins. I asked her if I could show her a passage from the Bible that teaches that savlvation is by faith in the work of Christ alone. She consented. So I opened my Bible to Ephesians 2:8-9 and read it to her. She was silenced and seemed a little surprised. I went over it again, nice and slow.

However, somehow she was able to redirect the conversation. I forget how this happened but suddenly she asked me if she still needs to forgive a family member who has done many wicked things and remains unrepentant. I took her to Matthew 18:21-35 and read it to her. She seemed to want me to move on and just tell her my thoughts … but I persisted in reading Scripture – I figured, “you need the Word, not my opinions; I’m gonna give you the Word.” I emphasized that she must forgive as she’s been forgiven, that is, of course, if she believes she deserves hell and has received God’s unmerited grace. I re-read to her Mt 18:35 – “So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

I asked her if she had unforgiveness and bitterness in her heart (for by the way she talked, it seemed she may be struggling with it). She said, “No, I have forgiven him.” But then she asked me, “How can we know if we’ve forgiven someone?” I took her to Psalm 103 and read these words: “as for as the east is from the west so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” I told her, “when God forgives, he completely removes the sin. He forgets it and he does not hold it against us. He does not hold onto it. It is gone.” She persisted in saying that she had forgiven him, but we continued to chat about this. I forget the exact comment she made at the end, but she basically ended up saying something like, “Maybe I haven’t forgiven him as much as I originally thought.” Then she left.

Now that’s an accidental evangelistic prayer meeting. Be it Ephesians 2, Matthew 18 or Psalm 103, may the Lord use His Word and draw her to the Gospel of his grace.

Business Surveys and Faith Alone in Christ Alone

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.