This week I was working alone and so after beginning with prayer I began to tract the people passing through Barkers Pool. I was planning to preach tonight but God had other plans. Just as I was weighing up weather to preach now or a little later a conversation started that lasted the rest of the night. Two young men took tracts from me and then asked what they were.
Walking with Sam and his friend I asked them the question worth more than millions of pounds, will you go to heaven when you die? Both of them said immediately that they would not go to heaven, yet they laughed at the thought of going to hell eternally. We had walked by now up to the local skate park and they invited me to come and speak with their friends.
Going down to the park I handed tracts to all the youth that were there. Many of them saw that it was regarding God and promptly left, which left me with a group of about 5 or 6. We then had an extended discussion of the Christian world-view and what they believed and I presented the gospel to them. Some of them had some idea of what Christians believe but many of their ideas were a mix of Roman Catholicism, urban myths/heresy and the truth. We discussed many things but the conversation focused around a couple of major topics – Who is God, “God vs Science”, Heaven/Hell, Sin and the Gospel.
Throughout the conversation we kept moving towards an understanding that we all deserve hell but God gives grace to those who trust in Jesus. Unfortunately this is where one of the biggest misunderstandings for people arises. Most will say one of two things: No-one will get into heaven then (despair); or You mean then that Christians are so good that they don't deserve hell then (works righteousness). I tried my best to emphasise to them that no Christian deserves heaven but it is offered to all if you will repent and trust in Jesus. I think that they understood this and it gave me another chance to glorify the work of Jesus and point them to Him as their only hope.
After a period the conversation became somewhat silly with some of the less interested friends in the group coming to disrupt things. This was not a huge problem as I had already been able to share the good news with those who were listening.
At this point Sam came over and wanted to know if he would go to hell for his homosexual and premarital sexual acts. I began by asking if he was married, no. I then spoke to him and his friends at length about the fact that sex of any kind outside of marriage is abhorrent to God but they are the symptoms of a greater problem. Our hearts naturally hate God and we'd declare war on Him if we could. Again I pointed him to the only cure that is offered, the atoning death of Jesus Christ in our place.
At this point I was about to leave as quite a few of them were getting drunk and very rowdy, but praise God there was more to do yet. Calum came to give some of them a lift home for the night and I struck up a conversation with him. Initially he said that he didn't believe the bible or in Jesus or in God. So I asked what he did believe in, he was not sure. I gave him a short gospel presentation and asked if he'd read the bible and if he would read one if I gave it to him. He said he would and took one immediately.
Mark also arrived at this point and so I asked him what he believed. An elementalist was the reply, the belief that the world is made of conflicting elements and there is disharmony in the “equation” of the universe. He also believed that we need to work hard to improve our part of the “equation”, but equally that the universal “equation” would one day be rewritten.
We had a facinating discussion using this bridge of disharmony to look at the gospel. It went something like this: The disharmony comes from sin, rebellion from maker of the “equation” who made all things in harmony with each other. We cannot rewrite the “equation” because we are so flawed in our own “personal equation”. We need someone else to do it for us and harmony only comes when God intervenes and re-writes our equation for us through trusting in His work seen in Jesus Christ. This brings us into harmony with Him and the universe. One day soon the universal “equation” will be re-written, your choices determine if you will be a part of it or not. Only those fitted for it through Christ will be there, the rest go to the outer darkness and fire. Mark still wanted to rely on own efforts to change his life. So I warned him that choices determine where we end up and that he'd gone far but not far enough, he needed recreation not just reformation. I urged him to trust in Jesus's work for us and not rely on himself.
I said my good byes and left for home rejoicing.