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!