Tag Archives: Two Ways to Live

Day 8: “My Time Is Almost Up; I’m Close to the End”

Last week a group of us went door-to-door handing out invites for our summer kid’s program. Arthur and I met a friendly old man named Heinz while walking on the street. Before lone, we got talking to him about the Gospel.

Though we talked for a while and much was said, I was especially struck by Heinz’s words, “But my time is almost up; I’m close the end.” This was his reason for not changing his mindset about God. He figured, “If I’ve lived my whole life not embracing any one religion, why would I start now?” We told him about the judgement to come (Hebrews 9:27) and that we will all stand before Jesus.

After talking about judgement, I said, “Maybe in the Lord’s kindness He sent us to you to tell you the truth before it’s too late.” He smiled and with a bit of a chuckle and said, “Well wouldn’t that be something.” Though he seemed to be joking in part, his eyes didn’t look entirely closed to the possibility.

Another one of his objections was the crusades and other the evil things done in the name of Christ. He said, “There has been a lot of things done in the name of Christ.” We pleaded with him to look to Jesus to learn the truth of Christianity. We encouraged him to read the Bible. He seemed quite intimidated by the size of the Bible and even reading the Gospels. But eventually he settled on the Two Ways to Live booklet that we gave him.

In God’s kind providence, Arthur saw him later that day at the library and Heinz still had the booklet in his chest pocket! May he read it and understand the Gospel of God’s kingdom and grace. Please pray for Heinz.

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Day 6: “I’m Frightened!”

After talking to so many people who are either hostile or indifferent to the Gospel, I thank God for conversations like this one! What follows is a summary and it’s quite abbreviated, but it’s the most encouraging talk I’ve had for quite some time. I will refer to her as T and myself as P. After a minute or so of conversation, here’s how things went:

P: Can I take some time to go through this little booklet called Two Ways to Live?

T: I got that last week.

P: Really, maybe my friends gave it to you?

T: One guy was white; the other was Indian.

P: Yep, those are my friends. We’re from the same church, just over there (pointing), on the other side of those buildings. Well, what do you think?

T: I still have it, but I haven’tread it.

P: Well, while you wait for the bus can I go over it with you?

T: Sure.

P: (reading from the booklet) God is the loving ruler of the world. He made the world. He made us rulers of the world under him.

T: Okay.

P: But we all reject God’s rule by trying to run our life our way. But we fail to rule ourselves or society or the world. We’ve sinned; everyone has. I know you seem like a very nice person, but when the Bible assesses you and I, here is the assessment: “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). Would you say that you are a sinner?

T: Well, yes, we all are.

P: But God is just. He won’t let us rebel forever. His punishment for our rebellion is death and judgement. So, what we deserve for our rebellion against God is punishment.

T: But what if we have a struggle that we really wan’t to be rid of but we can’t seem to overcome it?

P: Do you mean sin?

T: No, not sin; I’m not talking about hurting others, but an inner struggle.

P: Do you mean something like, say, anger?

T: Yes, like anger. What happens if I struggle with that?

P: Well, if it’s unrighteous anger, you will be punished because it is sin.

T: But what if I go really deep in prayer.

P: The Bible teaches that you can’t remove the guilt of your sin.

T: But what if I really try to stop and I don’t like it?

P: No, God hates all sin. He is just and must punish it.

T: So there’s nothing we can do?

P: That’s right; it’s too late; we’re guilty.

T: (with sincere concern) So, I’ll be guilty forever because of my sins?

P: Well, there is a way to receive forgiveness and that’s the good news.

T: (looking straight at me with all seriousness) Well you better tell me soon because I’m frightened!

P: Okay, Well here it is: Because of God’s love, He sent His Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus always lived under God’s rule. He didn’t rebel like us, but he came to die in our place. And by dying in our place he took our punishment and brought forgiveness.

T: Really?

P: (Bus came) Oh, do you need to get on the bus?

T: No, it’s okay, I’ll just get the next one.

P: Okay, well, not only did Jesus die for sinners, God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus conquered death and now gives new life and He will return to judge the world.

T: So, this is why Jesus came?

P: Yes, and we will either trust in Him and what He has done for us, and submit to his rule, receiving the forgiveness, or we reject him and we’ll be punished for our sins.

T: Thank you for sharing.

P: Well, isn’t it great news?!

T: (In a sobered manner)Thank you; I’m going to pray about this.

I really encouraged her to come to church to learn more. She has my contact info, as well as all the church info she needs. Please pray for her salvation.

Spreading More Than The Gospel

Gospel Review

Our afternoon study called ‘A People Made Ready’ resumed this past Sunday. In our first study, we looked at the question, ‘What is the Gospel?’ We saw that the gospel is the announcement of the reign of God, though Jesus Christ, who is Lord over all. Essentially, the gospel is a message about Jesus.

Spreading this gospel means introducing people to Jesus – telling people the good news of who he is in light of his saving accomplishments. And since he is Lord of the world, all the people of the world must give their allegiance to him. If we profess allegiance to this King, we ought to spread this great and glorious gospel. That was week one.

But there is something else about the nature of this gospel that warrants careful consideration while spreading it: the gospel is the climax of a much larger storyline. Jesus did not appear out of the thin air.

The Gospel is the Climax of a Much Larger Storyline

The preaching of John the Baptist in all four Gospels is significant! He prepares the way for the coming of the Lord (Malachi 3:1) and the great and awesome day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5). John the Baptist’s ministry is to prepare God’s people for the climax of the entire history of redemption! The gospel is the climax of a much larger storyline. Paul tells us that all God’s promises (from the OT) “find their yes in [Christ]” (2 Cor 1:20). This means God has a history of making promises. As the storyline of the Bible progresses, the suspense thickens: how will God keep his promises? Without charting out what these promises are, at least two observations are in order: (1) though the Gospel is the announcement of God’s reign through Jesus Christ, it’s a climactic announcement that shouts ‘fulfilment of promises!’; and (2) unless someone is remotely aware of the larger storyline, they are unlikely to appreciate and understand this climax.

Understanding the Storyline is Not Trivial

In Colossians 1:5-6, Paul tells the Colossians that the gospel bore fruit among them and all over the world “since the day [they] heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.” This passage doesn’t tell us explicitly that we need to preach the storyline of the Bible, nor that x-amount of the storyline needs to be understood before the gospel can be rightly believed. But it tells us that people need to understand the grace of God in truth. And as is the case with any story, the more someone understands the plot (promises) of the storyline, the more they’ll understand and appreciate the climax (Lord-willing).

When it comes to the storyline of the Bible the gospel is the climax, and it is where the grace of God is most clearly displayed! We greatly serve fellow sinners when we help them see the context or big picture in which this climactic event takes place.

How do we Share Big Picture Stuff while Sharing the Gospel?

How do we do this? Though there are hundreds of thousands of people in the GTA who have, at least, a semi-Christian view of the world with a decent amount of biblical literacy, there are more who don’t. People in our culture are becoming increasingly biblically illiterate (even churches can be!). So how much of the storyline do we need to communicate in conjunction with gospel bites about Jesus? Though this largely depends on the nature of any given conversation Matthias Media’s Two Ways to Live booklet is an excellent resource for sharing the Gospel in light of the basic storyline of Scripture. (Just click the link above to see the six picture presentation).

A Brief Outline of Two Ways to Live (without pictures)

Here is a basic outline of the tract that you might find helpful:

1. God is loving ruler of the world. He made us rulers of the world under him. (Gen 1-2; Rev 4:11). BUT, is that the way it is now?

2. We all reject the ruler – God – by trying to run our lives our way without him. But we fail to rule ourselves or society or the world. (Gen 3; Rom 3:10-12). WHAT will God do about this rebellion?

3. God won’t let us rebel forever. God’s punishment for rebellion is death and judgement. (Gen 3; Heb 9:27). God’s justice sounds hard. BUT …

4. Because of his love, God sent his Son in the world: the man Jesus Christ. Jesus always lived under God’s rule. Yet, by dying in our place he took our punishment and brought forgiveness. (Gen 12:1-3, 15:1-6; and 1 Pet 3:18). BUT, that’s not all …

5. God raised Jesus to life again as the ruler of the world. Jesus has conquered death, now gives life, and will return to judge. (1 Pet 1:3) WELL, where does that leave us?

6. The two ways to live:

(1) OUR WAY = Reject God as our ruler. Try to live life our way. The result: Condemned by God; facing death and judgement.

(2) GOD’S NEW WAY = Submit to Jesus as our ruler. Rely on Jesus’ death and resurrection. The result: Forgiveness by God and eternal life. (John 3:16; Rev 21:1-5)

At the end of the booklet, the call is to (1) Talk to God; (2) Submit to Jesus; and (3) Keep trusting.

Practical Instructions for Sharing Two Ways to Live

1. The six points are six pegs on which to hang a gospel conversation. You can enter in at any point. (You don’t need to start at the first point).

2. You can elaborate more or less on any point. This will depend on the conversation you are having.

3. Learn to connect topics of conversation to the six pegs (pictures) of God’s big picture.

Here is an example of connecting a conversation to one of those pegs: If someone is reading the news and comments on how messed up the world is, you could pipe up and say, “It really is messed up, but ya know, the reason is because we all reject God as our ruler; and we try do things our way. That is the main problem. That’s what the Bible teaches. Have you ever thought about that much?” This would be an example of entering in and hanging a conversation on the second peg. If the conversation continues, you will likely talk about the fall in Genesis 3, and there is great potential to end up focusing on Jesus who redeems rebels.

Spreading More than the Gospel

So, the gospel is the climax of a much larger storyline that provides the very framework needed for understanding it. Accordingly, it’s important that we spread them together (Jesus according to the Gospels & the storyline of the Bible). Indeed, we ought to spread more than the gospel. The more biblically illiterate a person is, the more we need to give them more than the gospel.