How a Cheesy Sign led to Great Conversations 

I try to get out to the University of Delaware every week to share the gospel with students there. I have a great friend/mentor who is out there almost every day. He has really helped me to get out of my comfort zone when it comes to evangelism. He has a super great heart, and he is doing a great work, but I can’t say that I love all of his strategies.

He likes to use signs.

I’ve never been a big fan of signs. I’ve never thought that holding signs in public would be very effective–especially cheesy signs that ask people to take a heaven test. I really didn’t like that sign. The other signs that he has are scripture verses, and when we go to holding signs, I always choose one of those. If I’m gonna hold a sign, that’s my choice.

But yesterday, while he was preaching to the students, he took my scripture sign to use in his message, and gave me the heaven sign. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I looked at it as a good exercise in crucifying the flesh (it kills pride). And it was that or passing out tracts, and I was wasn’t feeling the whole tract thing yesterday.

To be really honest, I really didn’t want to be there at all. I had a long weekend, I didn’t feel prayed up, and I wanted to be lazy. But I went anyway.

So there I was, holding the ‘free heaven test’ sign, feeling like a moron. Since I didn’t think I’d be doing much good, I decided to pray for the masses of students that were walking by there. Mark was preaching, Joe was handing out tracts, and  there I was, holding the heaven sign.

Then the inexplicable happened! A student came up to me and asked about the heaven test!

I was a little shocked, but I composed myself. I knew about the heaven test, but I hadn’t done a refresher before hand because I didn’t expect anyone to respond. Fortunately, my memory didn’t fail me, and I went to it.

What is the heaven test?

But before I comment on how it went, for those who don’t know, I want to explain this little test.

The heaven test is a simple test to see if you would make it into heaven if you happened to die today. It’s actually a fantastic way to locate where a person is in their thinking. From there you can properly apply the gospel. This method of sharing your faith was popularized by Ray Comfort (you can take this test online at needgod.com). It goes like this:

First, you ask the person if they consider themselves a good person. Most people will say yes (Proverbs 20:6). Then you ask them if they think they would be good enough to get into heaven. They may say yes, or ‘I hope so,’ or ‘I think so.’

After that, (whatever answer they may give) tell them about the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments are God’s standard of righteousness; see how that stack up against the 10 Commandments:

“Have you ever told a lie?” “Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?” “Have you ever stolen anything?” “Have you ever lusted after someone (for lust is adultery in the eyes of God. see Matthew 5:28)?”

When you shine the light of God’s law upon their hearts, the honest person will begin to see that they are not really a good person at all–they are like the rest of us: sinners that fall short of God’s standard.

Many times, when you are prayerfully and lovingly exposing to them their guilt, they will get uncomfortable. In all of the cases that I had yesterday, I could see them become noticeably uncomfortable. Two of the three people that I talked to sought to get away at this point. I believe it was their conscience convicting them, and the Holy Spirit. I had told them the bad news, but I wasn’t going to let them get away until I could explain to them the Good News!

Once a person can see that they are not really a good person, but that they deserve hell and damnation, just like the rest of us, then the story of Jesus makes a whole lot more sense. Now I could explain how Jesus died for guilty sinners like us so we wouldn’t have to go to hell, but could have the free gift of everlasting life! Hallelujah!

But now back to my story.

The first person I talked to was a little agitated when she approached me. She thought it was foolish that a person could take a test to see if they were going to heaven. But as I went through the heaven test with her, her expression was changed. She was one of the rare people that I encountered who quickly acknowledged that she wasn’t a good person. I was able to share the simple Gospel of salvation by speaking of what Jesus did on the cross. She was Catholic. I told her that she didn’t need a priest, but that she could talk to Jesus directly. I told her that it seemed to me that she needed to get some things right with God. She genuinely agreed. Then, this girl, who was noticeably agitated by me at the beginning, thanked us for doing what we were doing. There is no doubt in my mind that this was a ‘God moment.’

A few moments later, a group of three popular-looking guys approached me. Mostly joking, one of them said, “So what is this heaven test?” Then he told me that he was Jewish.

He wasn’t a very good Jew. He couldn’t tell me any of the ten commandments, except ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ which he said didn’t apply to him anyway, because he wasn’t married.

So I took him through some of the 10 Commandments. As he began to see how woefully short he fell of God’s standard he said, “Yep, I’m going to Hell!” and started to walk off.

I said, “Wait! I told you the bad news, let me tell you the good news!”

Then, with his two friends next to him, I preached to him Jesus.

It was awesome. I don’t think it could have went one bit better. I felt like it really made him think. I didn’t pray with them on the spot or anything, but I challenged them to think about these things seriously, because they are of the utmost importance.

My final encounter of the day (I was only out for two hours) was a young college student who approached me alone. He asked about the heaven test, as well. In this encounter, the student was very honest, and saw his guilt. I told him about Jesus, how He paid for his sins on the cross, and how offers eternal life to all who will repent and believe. He agreed with everything I said. Then I said to him, “When are you going to repent and trust in Jesus?”

“Soon,” he said.

“Don’t wait,” I said, “Your eternal destination is on the line.” He agreed.

I can’t tell you how much joy it gave me to be able to share the gospel with these three people. I mean, how often, on an average day, do you get the chance to clearly share the gospel with three people! Even as a minister, it doesn’t happen very often for me. Holding the cheesy sign worked yesterday. It led to some serious conversations about the most serious of issues.

Will I hold the cheesy sign again? Yeah, I’m sure I will. I’d like a better way, and I’m working on that, but three is better than zero. You can’t argue with that.

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