After a fortnight away it has been great to come back to this city and share the gospel again in Hobart for the second half of the month. This last week has been full of interesting and gospel focused conversations and interactions.
On Monday I was intending to spend time at the University talking with the students but it is currently exam time so conversations are very hard to start with stressed out students. Instead I spoke with a series of very interesting people in the mall:
Ms J. – Coming from a new age background she believed that our “energy” went onto somewhere else after this life and wasn't sure where that was. She then asked me where I thought people went after death. I shared the gospel with her and the two destinies of people after death, heaven and life eternal with God or hell and eternal punishment. As most people do Jenny found the idea of hell very difficult and thought it very harsh. I offered to explain why the idea of judgement was comforting, interested she ask why. I pointed to the horrible injustices of this life and the many people who get no reward for good work and the many who are never brought to justice for their evil deeds. I also discussed the wisdom and understanding of God and how we can trust ourselves to Him because He can see all the facts of someone's life and all their intentions also. So the infinitely good and infinitely wise God who will judge the earth is a comfort for all the injustice we become upset by in this life and also the resolution of the lackings of our justice system. Jenny and I also talked about the need of personal salvation and the many great promises made by God for those who will trust in Jesus. Jenny thanked me for talking as I left and I went glad in heart for the blessings of God!
Mr J. – We have talked before in the past and this time he stopped while I was handing out Eternity cards and asked what it was all about. I responded that the card spoke about life after death, where we go from here when we have died. Jeremy wasn't sure what happened and wanted to know what I thought happened to people. I shared with him about the judgement of Jesus and His separation of people into two destinies depending on their deeds and their response to Him. I showed how the law leaves us all without excuse before God and that my only hope (and Jeremy's) was that God would accept me for the sake of Jesus and His goodness and sacrifice in my place.
Miss A. and Jehovahs Witnesses – There are many J.W.s around the city regularly handing out literature and sharing the distorted gospel they have been taught by the Watchtower organisation. I spoke with Annie and her friends about who would be in heaven and who Jesus was. The discussion was quite congenial but there is a hardline that JWs will not cross and that is who Jesus is. They have been deceived into thinking of Jesus as another created being and not part of the Triune God. This then leads to a huge clash between the gospel we proclaim and the one that they proclaim. I did my best to show some of the many reasons that scripture gives to support Jesus as God not just a god. I hope that some small seed of doubt in the Watchtower organisation were planted and moved them towards faith in the real Jesus.
There were another couple of conversations over the course of the day and I pray that there would be God's hand on all of them. May they be blessed with the exact words that He desires them to hear which will glorify Jesus and draw these people to faith in Him.
On Tuesday I had a good discussion with Mr S. who has been making an effort to read the bible and has begun with the gospel of Matthew. He had some questions he had about the law of God and how it applied to Mary's situation when she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit. This appeared to be fairly standard questions for Mr S. but at the same time it was encouraging to see him reading the Word of God.
Also encouraging was the crowd of people who gathered during the preaching. God in His grace saw fit to bring along three young guys who were heckling me during the preaching and a couple of other young guys who would answer questions. Initially I was preaching on the end of the world and asking people what they thought would happen at the end of the world. The amusing answers and shout outs from the crowd drew some people to listen as I spoke about what God says will happen and why. Further people were drawn in as the three young guys shouted for me to “Stop, Stop, Stop, Shut up, Stop!….” and that no-one was listening to me (they didn't get the irony of their own listening or the crowd they were drawing). I had to preach over the top of them as I shared the great need of salvation and the great salvation that Jesus offers through faith in Him. After a period they went away and I continued to preach the gospel.
After the preaching I was able to discuss with two of the hecklers and urge them to reconsider their opposition to the gospel. May God change their hard young hearts!
It has been a wonderful week in Hobart. May Jesus receive the glory and honour and praise and dominion!