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Gospel One To One

Preaching Teaching and Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry

Moray's Blog...

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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

1 Timothy 3: 16

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I often get asked by people how they should answer difficult questions that they receive when sharing the Gospel. We recently dealt with the “Hell” question on one of my previous blogs (What do I say when I get a tough question), giving just one suggestion on how to answer it. Today I am going to talk about how some people will tell you that they believe it’s possible to earn their way into heaven, through beliefs like attending church once a year at Christmas to being part of a church choir or any other church activities. In other words through doing works.

 

I have never been slow to let work colleagues know that I am a Christian. On one occasion some years ago I was talking to a new colleague that had joined our financial advising office. Chatting one day he very soon discovered that I was a bible believing church goer. “He said, “I go to church” in a very definite way. I replied “Hey that’s brilliant, where do you go”? His reply was, “Well……I go with my wife to the Christmas eve service where we live every year”. I thought about his answer for a moment and asked him, “Tell me, why do you only go then”? He said, “I think that’s enough to be honest. It means I believe in God, and He knows I’m there, so I will end up in heaven”?

 

When you witness to people about Jesus you will find out that many will come up with their own way that God works, coming up with all kinds of theories and beliefs. They give answers like “I’m in the choir”, “I am a member of the chapel” and “I give money to charity”. When a person does that, they are saying that they know more than God and are basically putting Him under their feet.

 

Today’s main scripture is: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast”. Ephesians 2: 8-9

 

There is nothing we can do to merit our own righteousness earning our way into heaven. Salvation is a gift from God that we must willingly receive. There is no other way. So here is a simple example of how you can explain the answer. There are many others, but I like this one because it is quick to share, and more importantly it is easy for a person to understand.

 

“Things I do” vs. “It’s been done”

 

Things I do: “Well when people talk about doing things like you have suggested, you could probably call it religion, which is simply doing things, hoping that you have done enough to get into heaven.  That could be through attendance, helping in the church or doing other types of good works. My question to you is:  How will you ever know that you have done enough to get there? It’s rather like a salesman who makes sales to justify his salary never knowing whether he has sold enough to reach his target. If he misses his quota, it will mean that he will be out of a job. The truth is that we will always fall short of hitting the target through doing things to earn our way to heaven because Romans 3: 23 says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. No matter how hard we try will never hit the mark. Doing things will never mean that a person can earn forgiveness and favour from God”.

 

It’s been done: “Thankfully I have got some great news for you. Real Christianity means that the work has already been done for us. When Jesus came to earth, He lived a perfect life which we could never live, and more than that He willingly died on the cross to pay the penalty we owed for the wrongs we have done. To become a real Christian means that we should ask the Lord to forgive us for our sins. When we do that He adopts us into His family and begins to change us from the inside

out”

 

“You can know without a doubt and you can be sure that you will go to heaven once you have accepted Jesus as Lord because it says in 1 John 5: 13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life”.

 

Once again this is just a suggestion. Another way of explaining it is using the idea of spelling religion as “Do” and Christianity as “Done”.

There is nothing wrong with having a few answers that you have spent some time preparing. People go to bible school to learn apologetics to be able to answer questions like this. At the very least having answers means that you will be a more effective witness for Jesus. The more you do something the better you will become. Do what you fear and the fear will disappear.

 

I hope that this helps.

Explaining why you can't earn your way to heaven

Is your lifestyle evangelistic? (Part one)

At a recent prayer meeting we were praying about a number of church activities. These included a couple of what are new types of evangelistic endeavour for our fellowship. As I sat listening to some of the prayers that were being offered up, I felt that I needed to pray into this, especially as I am actively involved in the initiatives. When my opportunity came along I asked the Lord to open doors, to draw people and used many of the phrases that we probably hear uttered at these types of meetings. The last part of my petition to the Lord was asking Him to help the people in our fellowship to have evangelistic lifestyles.

 

 

On my drive home I asked myself, “What exactly is an evangelistic lifestyle”? Having thought about this and taken a good look at scripture, I will hopefully at the very least be able to give you the answer that I arrived at. We will cover this subject over a few blogs as there is just so much to say about this subject. The term is used very much in church circles of late, so I think it is important to have a clear understanding of what it actually is.

 

 

Being alert: First of all a lifestyle evangelist is always ready and prepared to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If a genuine opportunity comes along, they will always take it without hesitation. Paul in Athens is a very good example, when he came accross the statue of the unknown God.

 

 

“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you”. Acts 17: 22-23

 

 

He simply was presented with an opportunity to share the good news and took it. After he had spoken we know from scripture that some people sneered, others said that they wanted to hear him speak again, while many believed and responded to the message. The great thing is that today people still react and respond in the same way whenever they hear the Good News.

 

 

I know some people who cannot help themselves when it comes to sharing their faith. Literally every person they speak to gets to hear the Gospel. I remember a few years ago being in a Chinese takeaway in Glasgow. I was with my cousin is one of those people that can’t help themselves. We went up to the counter; the young lady took her pad and held her pen at the ready expecting an order. She looked up to see my cousins beaming face. He introduced me and said, “Hello young lady, this is my cousin who is also my brother…….in Christ” as he pointed with his right hand towards heaven. The assistant who was Chinese and spoke broken English looked horrified. I have to admit that even I felt a little embarrassed.

 

 

Perhaps it’s a bit of an extreme example, but amazingly though, God often moves through people in this way and opens doors for the Gospel. We often don’t know what happens to the seed when we sow it.  It can stay there until one day it germinates and starts to speak to a person’s heart. I have seen it happen many times before. It isn’t the way I operate though, but we must all be ready to take the initiative when a true opportunity comes along.

 

 

Initially, most opportunities will come through people you know, like friends, family or work colleagues. These are a very good people to start with. We must be ready and prayed up. I have said many times that when you step out for God in faith as a witness, the Holy Spirit will go with you.

 

 

Our own contacts are important as we make the decision reach out. Ask the Lord to give you opportunities, and He will do it. When they come along as the always do, you will need to be ready. Look at the figures below to see how most people have ended up coming to church. The figures are pretty much the same worldwide, and it was certainly true in my own case. I initially came to church through someone I knew.

 

·        A friend or relative 78%

·        Pastor 6%

·        Sunday school 5%

·        Church service or program 3%

·        Walk-in off the street 3%

·        Special need 2%

·        Personal visitation 2%

·        Evangelistic crusade or TV show 1/2%

 

 

Baptist church figures USA 1998

 

We don’t have to become a pest so that people avoid us; we just need to be prepared to share the truth of the Gospel. That means in season and out of season. In other words ….. anytime.

 

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15

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