6/27/16 Roy 28
Our church has begun a new series on the book of James which is all about “faith that works”. James is well known for teaching that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Not wanting to have dead faith, as I left church I stopped the first passerby on the sidewalk, an intern from China named “Roy” (not his Chinese name) and explained that I had just been to church and had heard some incredible news that I knew was too good to keep inside the four walls of our church building, that it was meant to be shared with others, and that I was wondering if I could talk to him about it. Fortunately he spoke pretty good English and yes, he was interested in talking about it.
Roy came from a fairly unusual background in China in that he hadn’t really been taught about Buddhism, Atheist Communism, or the local ancestor worship that so many have grown up in. Neither has he heard much about Christianity or the Bible, but he was very interested in learning, mainly because he did have a basic belief that our soul continues on after our body dies. I began with the story of the Garden of Eden to explain our alienation from God and our need to be reconciled, which much later I explained could be possible through Christ. Roy hadn’t really heard much at all about Adam and Eve, the Ten Commandments, or the cross so it was all fairly new to him. Yet he asked insightful questions that showed he was really listening and making connections. For example he asked “Would God punish innocent children for their sins if they don’t really know any better?” and “What if I was a criminal and paid for my sins in jail, but while there became a Christian, would I still have to be punished for my crimes if I had already been punished?”
What a joy to share the Gospel with someone who had never heard it before but really wanted to understand. Earlier in church we had heard about the Gospel, sang songs of praise for the Gospel, talked to God about sharing the Gospel with others, but there was nothing quite like the joy of proclaiming the good news of Jesus to ears that needed to hear about Him. To fail to proclaim outside of church what we proclaim inside causes cognitive dissonance, a disconnected anxious feeling that no worship service, no matter how heartfelt, can cure. Feel like you’re missing out on something in church? Leave! Take it to the streets! A living faith will cause us to talk to God about people, but we will also talk to people about God.