This summer I’ve had many opportunities to share the gospel with many people! It’s impossible to keep track of every conversation or know all what God does in the hearts of those that hear me preach, but I can keep track of some! Often times, I sense the power of the Spirit of God at work and I want to relay to you one particular occasion to show you the power of ministry in the streets.
This summer I started an evangelism small group in conjunction with my church. Every week we either went to the streets or had a study about evangelism. On our last outing for the summer, a group of us went to downtown Newark, DE. We set up the sketch board and talked with people who stopped by. One man, about 60 years old or so, a well put together man, stopped by to examine our sketch board.
One of our methods of evangelism is to have on our sketch board a riddle that attracts the attention of passerby’s; when they stop to try to solve it, we help them through it. The riddle is designed to lead them into the subject of the afterlife. From there we ask them if they think they would make it to heaven when they die.
When I asked the man if he would make it to heaven, he answered in the affirmative and he told me that it was because he was a good person. From there, I gently led him through the law and showed him that ‘none are good, not one,’ but that we ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ He agreed, but said that ‘God forgives.’
Now, I want to point out something really important here. God does forgive, this is true, but many people have an incorrect understanding of it. God’s forgiveness is conditional. He only forgives because the penalty of our sins was paid for by Jesus on the Cross and that only when we meet the conditions of repentance and faith. If those conditions are not properly met, there is no forgiveness. When we are sharing Christ with people, we will often run into people who don’t understand this properly (especially Catholics), and we must do our best to not leave them with the impression that their soul is not in danger.
I suspected that this was the case with this man. He didn’t seem concerned about his sin, nor did he mention Jesus at all.
So I pressed the issue that God can’t just forgive. I showed him that a good judge can’t just forgive a criminal. The man became frustrated with me. He assured me that his church taught that God does forgive. I repeatedly told them that God can’t just forgive. I noticed that he was becoming tense and irritated that I wasn’t agreeing with him on this. I’m sure every religious person he has ever talked to acknowledged readily that God forgives. Why wouldn’t I?
When I felt that my point had been sufficiently made I finally said, “That’s why He sent Jesus.”
The presence of God immediately dumped on top of both of us. His facial expression was suddenly changed from that of irritation to that of bewilderment. I explained that Jesus bore the full punishment for our sins. God carried out perfect justice upon Him (for our sins) so He could have mercy upon us. I could feel the weight and substance of my words as they came out of my mouth. Each one fit perfectly into the situation. The presence of God was strong.
The man didn’t say a word. He stood there in bewilderment. I paused so he could talk, but he didn’t. It became a bit awkward for me. I probably should have prayed with the guy or something, but I didn’t. I thanked him for stopping by and asked him to pray about these things. He slowly turned around and walked away, all the while with that strange look of bewilderment on his face.
Something powerful happened in that moment. I think that man got the revelation of Jesus. He got it in the streets.
It’s so important for Spirit-filled Christians to be in the streets. Thanks for helping me go and helping me to lead others there, too.
The University of Delaware is shortly back in full swing. I’ve often sensed that God has called me there for the time being. I know I’m called to preach on the campus, but I’m praying that God would do something more. Please pray with me as I gear up for the upcoming school year.
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