Monday, March 17, 2008

Be A Straight Shooter

I Corinthians 13 :1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Over the past 3 months I have had more than my share of many many theological debates. Some were mild conversations, radical conversations, and just plain ignorant debates. Quite honestly I did maintain my composure and never raised my voice or did anything that would not reflect the attributes of Christ. No! I am not flawless but it was important for me not to descend to character bashing or anything of the sort.
Before the Lord dramatically changed my heart I used to study apologetics relentlessly as if I was cramming for a big test or exam one day. I was a machine gun waiting to shoot the next victim down with my apologetic bullets ready to fire. If anyone even hinted of something that related to morals, The Bible, afterlife, or religion I was more than ready to fire. The thing I was lacking was agapē love. Therefore it fell on many dull and irritated ears. I had to ask myself the question; "What is my motive behind learning all of this important information?" At the heart of the matter was pride and knowledge with the intent to win an argument.
Aforementioned I have had plenty of opportunities to share the gospel and would like to share two instances.

The first was with a woman at my part-time job and she is a devout Jehovah's Witness. She is about 65 years old and I think God has used and is using me to share the Gospel with her one last time. My first encounter with her was around Christmas time and we both agreed that the commercialization of Christmas was over emphasized so I thought she was a church attendee but could not tell what her stance was theologically. I pretty consistently take my Bible with me wherever I go along with something else Biblical to read. My second encounter with this woman was when she saw me reading my Bible and very rudely(as she would have thought was coming to my rescue) grabbed my Bible and told me all of the times the Hebrew word YHWH(Yahweh) was changed to Lord or Jehovah in the Bible and she was infuriated. I said, "OK what is your point?" She says, "You have a contaminated Bible" So politely before I pulled out my sword I wanted to size her up before her decapitation. She proudly proclaimed that she was a Witness. To sum up this long three months of debating with this woman-I found myself debating semantics for hours a week as the Jehovah's Witness' are trained to do regarding the Doctrine of the Trinity in which they emphatically deny.
I finally through the grace of God realized what I was doing and simply asked her, "How are you saved?" She says, "By works and grace" This is a direct contradiction to God's Word in Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. Plain and simple since I understand in Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
I calmly and politely told heard that if she did not turn from her sins and repent that she and her Jehovah's Witness' will shortly be in Hell. Now, this is something I should have done a long time ago but I neglected the fact that it is my obligation to be an ambassador and messenger-meaning I simply say what my King has already pronounced.
I pray for her regularly. I do believe that this may be her last chance for salvation. This woman has had 4 strokes in the last 5 years and the Lord I know has been gracious with her because she looks great and is 100% mobile.
The second situation is a old friend of mine for over 5 years. This is a friend who called me out of the blue and usually calls me when he wants to feels spiritual for a moment. This gentleman is 1 year older than me and has been married a little longer than me and his wife committed adultery in the past with 2 other men. During this trial he and his wife got back together and wanted to seek reconciliation since they have 3 beautiful daughters. He wanted to work in out and they had many ups and downs and unfortunately this man committed adultery himself and is now in a relationship with a woman who is 25 his senior. He has no intent to work this out with his wife and right now is in the process of moving in with this 50+ year old woman. He came to my house and we talked for 3 hours. I gave him the Gospel backwards and forwards and told him that he is living in sin and would go to hell if he did not repent of this lifestyle. I am also in continual prayer for this lost brother.

I listed these examples because sometimes we can either get caught up in quarrelsome arguments or be too interested in salvaging relationships. It is our obligation to give everyone the gospel regardless of how it makes them or us feel. This is simply our duty as followers of Christ-Our Lord. If you really want to be a friend to anyone regardless if it be your wife, husband, family member, or co-worker. You will be the best friend ever if you simply open your mouth and God could use the seed you plant in their heart to save them. I am not against apologetics and I think they are useful along side of the Gospel but it is only the Gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit that brings about regeneration that saves.