I was glad to be out on the streets again today, even though I was the only one on the team. The Gold Coast City Council had set up a big Christmas tree in Cavill Avenue, but the area was still mostly deserted. It seems the Global Financial Crisis has taken a bit of a toll on the tourism at the Gold Coast. Another big factor I think is the construction works they are doing down there, for they have taken out lots of the seats in Cavill and along the Esplanade.
One of the first conversations I had was with a guy named Jason. He was about 25 and obviously works out. When I asked him whether he thought he would go to Heaven, he explained that his parents actually go to Hillsong. They've been constantly pleading with him to convert. He said that he knew he should one of these days, but he thought he wasn't ready yet. I then asked him what he thinks a person must do to be saved, for his parents possibly told incorrect things. He responded, "Go to Church and do good things." So I then spent next few minutes explaining that no one is good in God's sight and we can only be saved through the finished work of Christ on the cross. At the end of the conversation he thanked me greatly for the wake up call.
I then saw Tom, a mid-twenties guy who lives in Surfers and I regularly see. It was good to catch up and answer a lot of the new questions he had, and always bring it back to the gospel. He explained that he just loves sinning and doesn't want to turn from them. I asked him why he gets drunk about every weekend. He said it was boredom, he had nothing else to do. I explained that there are so many other things that he could do instead and gave him some suggestions. The conversation went for about half an hour, constantly pleading with him to come to Christ, but his heart was very hard. Please pray that God softens his heart.
As I was walking back to my car, I was handing out the million note tracts, one bloke called me back asking about it. He said he was a Christian and attends an Evangelical Lutheran Church. When I asked him how he thinks a person is saved, he responded, "If they believe and are baptised they will be saved". I asked, "And be baptised?". He responded, "Yes." So I asked him whether he believed passages like Ephesians 2:8-9 that talk about being saved completely by grace through faith and not through any of our own works. He said he did.
I then asked, "Was the thief on the cross baptised?" He responded, "Well we don't know if he wasn't baptised before he was put up on the cross." I said, "It's unlikely seeing as though he was a horrible criminal, and secondly, does not the baptism need to follow the faith, not precede it?" He agreed with this.
He then responded by asking, "So do you ignore the verse in Mark 16:16 that says if you believe and are baptised you will be saved?". I responded, "No, but you've got to take all the passages in the Bible and see what they say and not just a single verse." He agreed with this. So I explained that the overwhelming majority of passages regarding salvation talk about it being through faith that a person is saved, not baptism. I then went onto show him how even in Mark 16:16, the second half of the sentence says: "But whoever does not believe will be condemned." It doesn't mention baptism there as something someone will be condemned for. At this point, it seemed to click in his mind. And so he said, "I actually agree with you now."
Another great day of outreach, to God be the glory!
Gold Coast Team (QLD)
Meets 7:15-10pm every Friday night at Surfers Paradise on Cavill Avenue.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.