So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6

FRONT PAGE - here you will find the last 20 postings about recent conversations. Please pray for these people!

Answer to Prayer

8/29/13                    Matt, Lauren       late 20’s

I was blessed to be a part of another evening of New Life Community Church’s 21-day “prayerwalk” focus.  It’s hard to pray for too long out in the neighborhood – talking to God about people – before He gives us the desire to talk to people about God!  Maybe that’s why Jesus didn’t directly send His disciples out when He saw the harvest was plentiful – instead he told them to pray that the Lord would “send out laborers into the harvest”. (Matt.9)  It’s impossible to sincerely pray that prayer without seeking in some way to be part of God’s response to that same prayer.  So I soon found myself talking to Matt and his wife Lauren, who were out grilling on their front steps.  Matt is a musician for a large non-denominational church, but sees religion as mostly an emotional experience and isn’t too sure about the realities of heaven, hell, and faith in Jesus.  “It doesn’t seem fair for people to be sent to hell simply for not believing in Jesus” he said.  “What about people who have never heard of him?  I’m sure there are good people of many religions who will end up in heaven, because God knows their hearts”  What this showed me was that in the same way deep down Matt believes he will go to heaven because he is a good person, and his “acceptance” of Jesus is to him just evidence of his own goodness.  Like so many, Matt has a blind spot when it comes to reading the Bible.  It is rooted all the way back to the first few chapters of Genesis.  I explained to him that many people read that God made His creation “good” and that when He created man we were “very good” and made in His image.  We assume we are still good and deserving of many blessings for our goodness, even though, as Lauren said, we all “make mistakes” from time to time.  I went on to explain that, on the contrary, Genesis 3 shows us that we are no longer “good”, that we are in active rebellion against God and our God-given conscience, and have been under a curse and condemned as a result.  We don’t deserve rewards, we deserve punishment and it is only by His grace and mercy that He is withholding this punishment for a time.  The Bible simply doesn’t make sense without this basic foundational understanding.  Even the good news of John 3:16, that “God so loves the world” rests on the foundational truth that we are “condemned already” – condemned for not believing in Jesus when it is so obvious that He is our only hope of salvation.  I told Matt it is like someone jumping out of an airplane and blaming the parachute they didn’t have on for killing them.  “It is the law of gravity that kills them, and in the same way for us it is the law of sin and death that cuts us off from God.  You sin, you die, but Jesus is our parachute, He’s the one perfect sacrifice who can take our place.”   Matt and Lauren seemed like they had never heard this before. Tonite I went out, as usual, praying with fear: “Lord, exactly WHY am I doing this again? I ended up, also as usual, praying for those I talked to and saying “I’ve got to do that more often!”

2 comments:

James Wiz said...

It's hard to understand that some of those that are active in church never hear the gospel. Perhaps it's not the law of gravity that kills them but simply takes them where they don't want or plan to go.
How did you explain to them about all those that have not heard of Jesus?
I would have loved to see all this on video.
Thanks.

Jeff said...

Hi James, thanks for the encouragement. I do hope to make more videos from time to time, though it does add a different dynamic to the conversation that I'm not sure I like - seems less personal than I like. As a teacher I am still getting settled in to the new school year, so not sure when I'll get around to making more videos.

What I explain about people who have not heard the gospel is that we are all condemned/guilty of sin because we all have a God-given conscience, and we all break it. We know right from wrong but continue to do what is wrong anyway, regardless of culture or religious background. To people who continue to insist that they will not believe in a God who would send "good" people to hell", I sometimes say "Well if your are so concerned about them, why don't you become a Christian and then go and share the Gospel with them?" Usually, when people claim unbelief because of their self-righteous concern for others, it is a smokescreen to justify their own sin and unwillingness to believe and to be held accountable to God.