Summer has well and truly arrived here in Queensland, Australia. The sun was high in the sky and the mercury was rapidly rising. For those who want to go to the beach for a swim, then this was perfect weather. But for evangelism, the heat actually limited the number of conversations we were able to have.
Many people throughout the day were happy to take tracts, but stopping to chat in the heat was not something many people wanted to do; yet despite all that, we were still able to have a good couple of hours of evangelism in Redcliffe.
We set up the Bible Table, which usually results in numerous people stopping to browse the free resources, but today only one man stopped. We even had the flip-chart set up, but again no one really wanted to engage.
However, we were able to engage in a few short conversations. One such discussion was with two ladies who had some kind of religious background; one of them said she had attended a Baptist church in the past. We spoke about God’s Moral Law, and before I could say too much both ladies said, “We’ve broken God’s Law. We aren’t good people.” One of them said, “But, I will keep trying, as near enough is good enough, right?” I quickly informed here that near enough was no where near good enough. This seemed to shock her, so I used the Christmas season to briefly tell her of Jesus, the rescuer who came to save those who are not ‘good enough.’ Both ladies took a tract and thanked us for the short conversation.
Towards the end of our time on the streets, John stopped at the Bible Table. At first Hanna engaged him discussion, but she called me in to talk to him also. This man had a very odd view of religion. He believed that in essence Islam and Christianity all taught the same things. I engaged him in a brief apologetic to show the differences between an Islamic understanding of God and the Christian one.
The conversation then went into the area of justice, and how could a loving God punish evil for eternity. He also wanted to know why justice was not served now. I spoke about how God has given the role of temporal justice to the government, but eternal justice is in the hands of God. I also explained to him that all sin is primarily towards God, and thus we face an eternal punishment.
John still objected to the idea of God’s justice, so I asked him, “John, do you think murders should be judged by God?” He said they should. “What about rapists?” Again he said God should judge them. “John, how about thieves, what should God do to them?” John without a pause again affirmed that God must punish these evil workers. But then I said, “John, should God judge liars?” This time there was a pause, and then the answer came back in the negative. Now I asked a very pointed question, “John, is that because you tell lies?” He said he had told a few lies, but it wasn’t that big of deal. This once again put the conversation back on the point that all our sin is against God.
John then said, “Well, I guess I had better be good to be forgiven.” I pointed out to John that none of us are good, and that we have all sinned. John’s mouth was open at this point, “Then everyone is lost!” he exclaimed. I agreed with him, that everyone indeed is lost if our salvation was left to us. I then indicated to the Christmas decorations and said, “John, do you know why we celebrate Christmas?” He replied that it was all about Jesus being born. I used this to explain the gospel, launching from Matthew 1:21 - “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Upon hearing the gospel, John objected, “What about all the Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, will they go to Hell?” I answered by quoting John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Well, John was having none of that. He told me that I was just like a Muslim, and just as extreme as them. He repeated several times, “You Christians are extremists; you are just like the Muslims!”
I answered his objection by saying, “What is wrong with being extreme?” He had no answer. I followed up, “The question you need to answer is, is what I am saying true or not?” John once again went on a tirade about extremism.
Next to where we were standing is a pharmacy, so I used this is an illustration, I said, “John, imagine you went into the pharmacy, and decided to go out the back to where all the drugs and medications are. Now, imagine you collect the medication and give it to the patients. If you did this, the Pharmacist would stop you and tell you that you aren’t allowed to do that. Would the Pharmacist be extreme for saying that they alone are the dispenser medication?”
John said that the Pharmacist wouldn’t be extreme. So I followed up, “John, you wouldn’t say it is extreme for a Pharmacist to declare that they are the only person allowed to give medicine. Nor, would you say that it is extreme for a Policeman to say they are the only person allowed to give fines. So why do you object and say Jesus is extreme for saying He is the only way people can be saved?”
John’s whole attitude changed at this point, he replied, “That is a very good question. I don’t know.” It was as if the objections John was holding to had crumbled around him, and he went from arguing to being open. I said to John that the only reason he would object is because he loves his sin, and hates Jesus. John didn’t deny this, but he did say, “How can I find out more about who God truly is?”
By this stage John had taken a free Bible from our table, so I quoted John 1:18 - “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” I followed up by saying, “John, if you want to know what God is like, then you need to look at Jesus. He has made God known. If you read the Bible, you will see the truth.”
Upon hearing this John said he would read the Bible, shook my hand and took a tract. His attitude was completely different as he left.
Please pray for all those we encountered today. May the Father draw them to the Son.