Homework Help

by lora on January 23, 2009

In church last week we began an evangelism training course called Way of the Master. Gene and I have been familiar with this ministry for 6 years, but it was the first time many in this church had seen this teaching. After the second video on Sunday night, the pastor gave us some homework which required us to survey some people and find out their answers to a couple of questions. I decided to meet this requirement in a broader way, by posing the questions to those of you who read my blog and are my Facebook friends. I would really like to hear your opinions, whether or not you agree with me and what I will say on the matter. Don’t worry about offending me if you see things differently. I have a thick skin when it comes to this. I do ask one additional thing from you. Please read what I have to say after the questions with an open mind. Examine my arguments in light of scripture, and see if they line up with a plain teaching of God’s word. I really do desire your input and look forward to seeing what you have to say.!

1. Do you share your faith regularly?

2. Do you go out of the way to verbally share the Gospel with strangers? If not, is there any reason why you don’t?

If your answer to the first question is, “No.”, I want you to know that I understand. I would like to share my journey with you on how I got to where I am on this topic. I was soundly saved 25 years ago, and 25 years ago this month I took my very first evangelism course, titled “CWT” (Continuous Witnessing Training). Like many other programs it required you to go in a group of three, knock on a stranger’s door, somehow get in that door, and while sitting with them in their living room you share a form of the gospel with them. Doesn’t this sound like a fun and exciting experience??? If you didn’t die from utter terror, you were successful. The course had you memorize tons of scripture that you were tested on, and if you didn’t score a 90 or better on the test, you didn’t pass and had to go through another 13 weeks of torture. I applaud the church’s effort to evangelize, there’s just a better way to do it. Needless to say, I didn’t do a lot of evangelizing over the years. I tried and had a heart for it, it just never seemed to work out well.

Fast-forward to six years ago. We were in a church that constantly talked about handing out tracts everywhere you went. I had never been in a church that taught this and was quite unsure of how to go about handing out tracts. For a few months I just smiled when it was spoken of and thought highly of those who were brave enough to do such a bold thing, but inside I was in turmoil. My turmoil grew as Rachel, then 8 years old, started smuggling home tracts. Not just a few, but by the dozens. She then proudly proclaimed that she wanted to go about handing them out to total strangers! Panic ensued. What was I to say to someone when I gave them said tract? How was I to approach them? Could I just throw it at them and run? What about those people at Wal-Mart that I see 10 times a week? They would think I’m some type of religious nut job. Would they try to arrest me for handing out tracts? How embarrassing to be carted off in handcuffs in front of the world at Wal-Mart for handing out tracts. Then I took a deep breath and prayed. I was as humble and honest as I knew how to be. I told God that I was clueless as to how to go about doing this, but I also knew that it was important for Rachel and for me to figure it out. I asked for help and He brought it about in a miraculous way.

The way He brought about this help was through a little man from New Zealand whose name is Ray Comfort. Through articles, research, phone calls, and many conversations over a two week period, I found the answer I was looking for. A friend of ours let us borrow two videos that literally changed our lives. They are titled Hell’s  Best Kept Secret and True/False Conversions. You can listen to them both for free at the Living Waters’ site. These videos didn’t just change the way we evangelize (as in we actually do it now), but Gene was soundly saved through these videos. He had been lost as a goose and didn’t even know it. He was what is termed a false convert. A false convert is someone who believes they are in the faith but aren’t. If you had asked anyone if Gene was a Christian, including me, they would have unequivocally said yes. He was a good person, kind, generous, and I was thankful to have him as my husband. What we learned was there is no such thing as a good person, at least not in the eyes of God (Mark 10:18). When Gene saw himself through the Holy eyes of God, he saw that he was an unredeemed sinner heading straight for hell.

Some of you may say that you don’t believe a loving and Holy God would send people to hell. Did you know that the Bible talks more about hell than heaven? Scripture paints a very clear picture of what hell is, and it’s not a place of temporary punishment like a time out. It is an everlasting place of torment which will have no escape. God is Holy . . . and His Holiness is something that is very difficult for us to grasp, because we live in a world full of sin. Because He is Holy, He cannot look upon our sin, or be in fellowship with us while we are sinners. Most people say,”Well everyone sins, but at least I haven’t murdered anyone. I think He will compare the good I have done against the bad and see that in the end, I’m a pretty good person.” That sounds good and logical. Let’s compare that to something we have in our everyday life. Imagine you are in court for murder, and you say to the judge, “Judge, I know you are a honest man. I may have murdered this person, but other than that I have been a good guy. I give money to charities, help with the homeless, and work at my kids’ school. If you compare all of the good things I’ve done with the wrong, the scales lean in my favor . . . I’m a good guy. Won’t you let this slide this time?” No honest judge would say, “Sure, go ahead, you’re free to go.” If he did, he wouldn’t be a judge for long.

The problem many people have is seeing their sin through the eyes of God.  God gave us a way to measure our sin in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament He gave us the 10 Commandments, and in the New Testament Jesus summed them up for us when He said, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord our God with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)  When Jesus was speaking in this passage, He was talking to those very familiar with the Ten Commandments.  Since many of us today aren’t that familiar with them, let me share just a few with you.The 3rd Commandment says that you should not take the Lord’s name in vain. That is not just using a curse word with His name. It’s when you use God or Jesus’ name as an exclamation. When you use O_G (Oh my G_ _) when writing an e-mail, or any other time you use His name in a flip or irreverent way, you are taking His name in vain.The 6th Commandment says that you should not murder.  You are probably thinking, “I have never murdered anyone.” But God’s standard isn’t our standard.  In 1 John 3:15 this is what we read, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in Him.”The 7th Commandment tells us not to commit adultery, which includes even looking at someone to lust after them. (Matt. 5:27-28)

The 8th Commandment tells us that we shouldn’t steal.  Have you ever taken anything, no matter if only a stick of gum? It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, either .I have only listed 4 of the 10 Commandments and we have all broken at least one of them. In James 2:10 we are told that if we have even broken one we are guilty of breaking them all.  I remember the first time I ever heard someone say that. I thought they were nuts. Even though I was a Christian, I didn’t understand the importance of that verse.  The truth is we are all guilty before God, and every one of us will have to face Him one day.

Now, if you believe what I have just stated, and you are a soundly saved Christian, what are you doing about it? A few years ago I wrote an article and used the following illustration.Imagine you worked at the lobby desk of the North tower on September 10, 2001, and you knew of the attacks coming the following day.  As you watched the people enter the building would you smile at them and say, “Have a nice day.” Maybe you would say, “You might not want to come in tomorrow, it’s going to be kinda crazy around here.” No, you wouldn’t, that would be absurd.  You would tell them that there was certain destruction coming and to stay as far away as possible from Manhatten.  Over 140,000 people die every day, and we let them walk to their destruction, often without even so much as a warning.A couple of years ago Gene heard an atheist on the radio talking about Christians not really believing what they say they do.  He said, if we believed that people were really dying and going to hell, we would be on every street corner warning others.  Here is a video from Penn of Penn and Teller, who is an atheist talking about this very thing.  Please take a couple of minutes and watch it.  For an atheist, he is right on the money about what Christians should be doing.

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To quote Penn, “How much do you have to hate someone to not prosthelytize?” In other words, don’t we care at all about those around us? I’m not pointing a finger at anyone but myself here.  I get complacent, lazy, and socially self-conscious, not wanting to approach people or to hand out tracts.I know this is long, but it’s so important! If you have read to this point, thank you.  Please do let me know your thoughts on the questions, and if I’ve given you food for thought share that as well.  I’d really like to start a conversation about this.One parting request.  Please do what 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us, and examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.  Gene thought he was a Christian for 30 years, only to find out he wasn’t.

Don’t let that be you.

This is Gene with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron two years ago in Las Vegas.

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