Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"You're talking in 1D and I'm talking in 3D".

This is what was said by a a grad student that I talked with about the gospel of Jesus Christ earlier today. I shared with him about what the Bible says about the afterlife, and that we are all accountable to God after death (Hebrews 9:27). I told him about the Law of God, how we have broken that Law, and that we are deserving of eternal punishment. Through out the conversation he was telling me that our afterlife is chosen, based on the collective thoughts and emotions of the people in the world. So, whatever the world is thinking or feeling at a particular time, that is what our afterlife will take the form of. He did not believe in the dichotomy of heaven and hell as described in the Bible. When I was talking to him I felt like we were on two totally different planes, and we kept missing each other when we were talking. I understood what he was saying, but there seemed to be no connection or much mutual understanding.......almost like talking past each other. He referred to himself as a Spiritual Moonie ( I don't know what that is.....). By God's grace I did talk to him about Sin, Judgment and the cross of Christ. He seemed to be set in what he believed, and it had no similarity to what I was telling him. As I said earlier, he told me that I was talking in 1d and he was talking in 3d. This confused me. Maybe what I was saying was too black and white? I don't know.
As I think back, I wonder if I should have spent more time on talking about sin and our need for Christ. There was not trembling or concern over the fact that we have sinned against a Holy, Righteous, God. He didn't even believe in right and wrong, but God has given us a conscience. Maybe I should have spent more time there..... We'll see! Until next time!

Scripture Wars!!

I was out last Thursday with a friend doing evangelism on the University of Florida campus and we saw a guy sitting under a tree with a black T-shirt on. I approached him and asked him the question, "If you were to die today, are you 100% assured you would go to heaven?" He immediately answered "no" and that "it is a sin of presumption to say that you are". All of a sudden we knew that we were talking to a Catholic. He began to explain to us to what the Catholic church believes about assurance of salvation, and to my knowledge the Catholic church does not believe in the assurance of salvation. A person can never be sure if he or she is going to go to heaven after death, but what is interesting is that the Bible says that we can know what for sure that we have eternal life (1 John 5:12-13). He continued to explain that a person must continually confess their sins to God to stay in His grace. In other words, a Christian can have eternal life and lose that eternal life! I get a free gift from God and lose that gift if I mess up! That's not actually a gift. It's works righteousness in disguise, and the Bible says that we are saved by grace through faith, not works(Ephesians 2:8-9).
The guy's friend came over and joined in the discussion, and we began to bring up opposing scriptures to one another about salvation. My friend and I thought of Titus 3:5, Romans 4, John 3:16, Romans 11:6, and Colossians 2 to show that salvation is not earned. We also used Ephesians 1:13-14 to show that it cannot be lost. They brought up James 2:24 to show us that we are saved by our works as well. We spent a good twenty minutes debating with scripture about biblical salvation ( being saved from God's wrath and sin). I have to admit that scripture always confuses me a little and Catholics and Cults love to bring this verse up to argue for a works based salvation, fully or in part. However, I have come to realize however that the Bible cannot teach salvation by faith and salvation by works at the same time... It does not contradict itself even though both verses seem contradictory. I believe that it teaches that a person who is saved will have works that result of that salvation that justifies us in the sight of men. True faith will show in the life of a believer through his or her works, but these works do not save a believer. It is the work of Christ on the cross that will save a person.

John 6:28-29 says,

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Our work for salvation is this..... trust Christ!

People who are too open?

Lately I have had the privilege to spend more time out on campus giving the gospel of Jesus Christ to students. Last Friday I had the opportunity to talk with three freshman students at the plaza of the Americas ( large field at the University of Florida). I was with another student and we approached them and asked them this question: "What do you think happens after someone dies?". They were immediately interested in the question and all three of the students began to give their thoughts. I don't exactly remember what they said about the afterlife but I remember trying to swing the conversation to what the Bible says about the afterlife. I had a bit of a bumpy start to getting there because one of the students had a phone call. After he got off of the phone I began to explain about heaven and hell, God's Judgment, the Ten Commandments and so on. As soon as I got into the Ten Commandments the students began to ask many questions about the commandments themselves and more about the afterlife. I was beginning to feel derailed from the point which I wanted to reach. It felt like a question or a thought would just continually come up when I was trying to talk about the need for God's forgiveness. These students were very open and so open that it was hard to get my point across about Jesus Christ, His death, and His resurrection. It seemed like they kept asking questions! But I wanted to be courteous, and listen to them. Finally I was able to go into the gospel, and what the bible says about the afterlife. The students wanted to justify themselves and say that they were good, but I reiterated the fact that we are not good (Romans 3:10) and that all of our good deeds are filth to God (Isaiah 64:6). The conversation lasted about 1 hour, and they told us that they learned a lot in our conversation.
I looked back at this and see that it is good to get people who may seem "too open" and want to talk a lot during the conversation about Christ. It is wise to be careful to listen to them to see where they are coming from out of love, and so that you can better address the person's need for Christ! However, be careful that you don't let the conversation be taken too far off course with religious speculation or thoughts about what might be out there when we die. Keep the conversation on course about our need for the gospel and the gospel itself!

I will put up some more encounters soon! Until next time!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

M and M's

I have chosen to title this blog M and M's because I have recently had interesting encounters with Muslims and Mormons. Did you know that both groups lay claim to a prophet who has supposedly brought a message from God by an angel? Did you also know that both groups believe in Jesus? So what's the problem? The problem is that both belief systems bring a message that is radically different from the message that Jesus actually brought according to the records in God's Word. Both religions also make the claim that God sent a messenger with a new revelation after the Biblical Jesus Christ. Islam claims that the prophet Muhammad brought a message from God to a pagan Arabia to worship one God, and that one can reach paradise by living a good life and following the five pillars of the faith. Mormonism claims that the true gospel of Jesus Christ was lost in the great apostasy shortly after the apostles died, and that Joseph Smith in the 19th century brought back the gospel message. His gospel however does not completely line up with the biblical gospel however, but it incorporates the idea that a person must work for their salvation by keeping the commandments and ordinances of the Mormon church, and also be baptized as a Mormon. Whose truth do we follow? Did God actually send prophets after the biblical Jesus Christ to bring a new revelation about salvation? No!

For the scriptures say,

"God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" Hebrews 1:1-2

We see from the scriptures that in the last days God has spoken to us through His Son Jesus Christ. And Christ spoke about His own death and resurrection and believing upon Him for the forgiveness of sins. No other prophet who comes after Christ with a message contrary to the one Christ gave is valid. Watch out for anyone who brings a different message than the one that the biblical Jesus has brought to us.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Philosopher in the Grass

This encounter particularly sticks out to me because it reminds me of the logic that God's word contains. It is even logical to those who do not believe in its validity.
I was with a friend about a month in a half ago talking to people about Christ, and we saw a guy and a girl laying in the grass. We approached them and I asked, "If you died tonight are you 100% sure you would go to heaven?" The guy then told us that he did not believe in heaven and that he was into philosophy. In the conversation my friend told him this from John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The guy began to argue that all of the religious figures such as Muhammad, Buddha, Jesus, and others were the same. He meant that they all were able to figure out how to use their brain in a greater capacity than the average person.
He then asked a question about the destination and judgment about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ. I could tell that he wanted to argue about it, but I was determined not to get sucked in, so I pulled out my Pocket New Testament and began to read from Romans 2:12-15 about the Law written on the hearts of the Gentiles. Surprisingly, he agreed with the passage of scripture and said that it made sense. However he still wanted to argue about Jesus Christ not being the only way to Heaven and God. Eventually we had to end the conversation because the guy was hardened.
One thing that stuck out to me about this encounter is that the Word of God (The Bible), is logical and it makes sense even to the mind that cannot discern spiritual things as was the case for the young man in the grass. When you are trying to proclaim the gospel to someone who is argumentative don't get sucked into the argument but remain calm and giv'em scripture! :)

...Coming Soon.... M and M's...

Update: Evangelistic Encounters

I have not written in this blog in a while, but I am going to continue with evangelistic encounters and things that I have seen the Lord do. Some of the encounters are ones in which rejection occurred, and some are them are full gospel conversations. I want to blog them in order to reflect on what has happened and record the things that God has done for your encouragement and mine!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Breaking the silence

It's been a while since I have posted. About four months to be exact. A good amount of things have happened in these four months. I know that last sentence doesn't really explain a whole lot ("Oh well). I just wanted to put down a few thoughts that I want to share. I am still pursuing God, and spreading his gospel on campus, though I still get a bit fearful for some reason while thinking about doing it! I believe that God has made me an evangelist even though I do not like to admit it. Others say that I am and am gifted. Eh! I still do not like to say, but I guess I must admit that this is the case.

I feel like God has challenged me to uses His word more often in sharing the gospel because it is powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb 4:12). It is powerful and sufficient for us (2 Tim 3:16).