I woke up this morning, and I was for an unknown reason thinking that I would speak to some Jehovah's Witnesses today. Lo and behold, the very first people I talked to at the coast today were Jehovah's Witnesses. How the conversation started was like this: I handed them a tract and said that on the back it asks the question, "Do you think you will go to Heaven?". They replied, "No, Heaven is not for us." With this response, I thought they could either be atheists or JW's. I probed them further to discover what their beliefs were by asking, "Are you religious?" They responded in the affirmative, explaining that they follow Jehovah.
I asked them who they thought Jesus was. "God's son," they responded. I asked, "Is he Michael the Archangel?" They said, "We learned about this two weeks ago, yes he is." I asked them what Scripture backing them could muster to prove that one, but they couldn't point to any. So I then went to Hebrews 1 - the chapter where the writer to the Hebrews confronts this heresy square on by showing that the things that were spoken of Jesus were never ever said about an angel. I pointed specifically to verse 8 which is God speaking to Jesus calling Him God.
These two JW's did not have their New World Translations on them (they of course render it differently in their 'bible'), but they were content with me reading the verse from the King James. They had no idea how to respond to that verse. Instead they just kept stressing that they think we are all following the same God and believing in the same Jesus. I had to point out that we don't believe in the same Jesus. They were shocked to hear this. So I gave them an analogy: The Muslims say they believe in the same Jesus as Christians, yet they don't consider Jesus God's Son, but merely a prophet. They obviously don't believe in the same Jesus as Christians. They agreed. In the same way, the Jehovah's Witnesses believe in a Jesus who is not God, when basically the rest of Christendom does, so obviously we believe in a different Jesus to the Jehovah's Witnesses. They seemed to understand the point.
I then pointed out 2 John 9 to them. This verse talks about that if a person does not abide in the teaching of Christ (that includes who He really is), he does not have God the Father. So I stressed to them to make sure they check the Scriptures to see what it sees about Jesus. We then talked about how a person can be saved, and I shared with them that it is not by doing good works (door knocking, going to Church, baptism, etc) but only faith in Jesus' death on the cross.
We then had lunch together as a team. It was a great time of fellowship. There were about 10 of us on the team today, as quite a number from Christian Witness Fellowship came down to the coast today as well.
After lunch I got up to preach, and started off by mentioning the successful voyage of Jessica Watson around the globe. I pointed out that even though this is quite an achievement, and it has earned her lots of fame and money, the fame and money will not last. Within 500 years it is likely that no one will know about what happened on the 15th of May 2010.
Jessica Watson may be an easily recognisable name today in Australia, but ask someone a couple hundred years in the future, and you'll find it to be a very different story. What's more than the fame and money not lasting, it's that none of those things can stop man's worst enemy, death. So I then talked about how each one of us will have to face death one day and so we will all have to stand before God to give an account to God on how we have lived our life. No amount of money is large enough to bribe God. I then talked about how we have all sinned (lying, stealing, lusting, etc) and deserve Hell because of it. But Jesus came to die on the cross, satisfying God's justice on behalf of all those who would repent of their sins and trust in Christ's death alone as the reason they will go to Heaven.
I had a few groups of hecklers, mostly young people, asking questions like, "Was Jesus married?", "How do we know the Bible is true?", etc. I responded to their questions, and then brought it back to the judgement to come and the cross.
The rest of the team did a wonderful job again today in all they did. In these reports, usually the many conversations they have and tracts they hand out don't really get a mention, as I simply don't hear about them often. But God knows about those conversations. And so please pray for the people that were spoke to, not only those mentioned in these reports, but even those that aren't. God knows who they are. I praise God for raising up more labours recently who are very eager in joining us at the Gold Coast.
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.