Most Australians would self-identify as being Christians, however, the level of Biblical knowledge is extremely low. We saw that clearly displayed on Tuesday in Woodridge as many people who thought they were Believers actually had no knowledge of the gospel.
The day started off with four of us working to spread the good news of Jesus. It was wonderful to see so many people taking material from our free Bible and literature table. At one point I thought we were going to run out of booklets as people took resources. In particular in was encouraging to see people show an interest in the Scriptures. Many people gathered around asking for Bibles and also copies of the Gospels.
Today, I tried something different for Woodridge, I decided to set up the flip-chart to see if anyone would be interested in taking the "Good Person Test." To my surprise quite a number of people were keen to have a go, and many listened in to the conversation.
The first person I spoke to was a young man who is a Hindu. He had no concept of Christianity, but he had some wonderful questions. I was able to share the gospel with him, and then discuss the issue of their only being one God, and Jesus being the only way of salvation. For him, as a Hindu, he found this hard to believe, so he stated that all religions are true. From that point we were able to have a discussion around the law of noncontradiction and the Christian faith. At the end of our conversation he took a tract and said he'd look into Jesus more.
As soon as that conversation finished another young man approached me. He put out his hand to shake mine while saying, "God Bless You!" It turns out that he is from a local church, but sadly he was trusting in his own goodness to get him to Heaven. I explained the gospel to him, and by the end of the conversation he realised that salvation is only through trusting in Christ.
No sooner than that conversation had finished, a young and rough looking boy approached me. He had been listening into the conversations and had taken some literature from the table. This young man was ten years old, but he had some street smarts. He told me that he had never been the church, and he had never heard of Jesus before. We chatted for a few minutes, and he seemed to be amazed at the love of God towards sinful people. He took a Gospel of Luke and told me he would read it.
Towards the end of the day I was approached by two young high school boys who were clearly looking for a bit of a laugh. We had some fun with the flip-chart and I was able to connect with them. Things became rather serious when we started to talk about sin and how a good God must punish wrong doing. One of the boys knew of Jesus and His death, the other had never heard of it. At the end of the conversation both thanked us for sharing the gospel and they went on their way.
There is a massive need for gospel ministry in the open-air all-around Australia. People today don't seem interested in going to church so we must take the good news to them. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to make Christ known by all means everywhere.
Thank-you to all those who prayed for our Woodridge outreach on Tuesday. Even though our team was small the gospel went out, and we even saw a man profess faith in the Lord Jesus.
Right at the beginning of the day, I handed a tract to a young man who is in his twenties; he looked at the leaflet and asked, "What is this all about?" I replied, "Well, it asks the question, do you think you'll go to Heaven?" He looked up, and replied, "Whoa, that is a big question. I hope so!"
It turns out that this young man attends a church on the Gold Coast, but he wasn't sure on how to have his sins forgiven. He said he had been baptised, but was confused on if that would help him or not. We chatted about how baptism is not a means of salvation, but rather it is an act of obedience done by those who have trusted in Christ. We then went on to talk about how someone can be made right with God, and after hearing about sin, and the cross, this young man said, "That makes so much sense!"
I explained to him that salvation is freely offered to all those who would repent and trust in Christ, and that God is prepared to make all those who come to Jesus brand new. Upon hearing this, the man said, "Can I ask Jesus to forgive me right now?" Then, on the streets of Woodridge we bowed our heads and he prayed to the Lord Jesus.
Of course the question is now asked by many, "Was that young man saved?" My answer is, "I don't know. That's God's department." The man certainly professed faith, and the Lord may very well have saved him. Time will tell.
That young man has now been connected with a local church who will follow him up. I've already heard from them that he is keen to attend on Sunday and also to go along to an evangelistic Bible Study group. Please pray for him.
The rest of the day at Woodridge was spent handing out tracts, and engaging in a very lengthy discussion with a Seventh Day Adventist who wanted to argue about the nature of hell, the Sabbath and judgement. We answered his objections with the Scripture, but whenever we replied, he would quickly jump to another topic. Please pray the Lord would set him free from his legalism.
We praise God for the outreach in Woodridge this afternoon. God brought along extra labourers, which was especially needed as there were plenty of people around. One person on the team noted that his 100 tracts that he brought all went out in about 10 minutes.
After the steady stream of people subsided a bit, it allowed us to get into conversations with people waiting nearby, including with a young man named Abu.
He said he is a Muslim and was hoping his goodness would save him. We talked about the fact we have sinned and since God is a just God, He cannot ignore our sin. He began to understand that he deserves hell and thus why he needs forgiveness of his sins that only Jesus can provide. He said he wanted to place his faith in Jesus and turn from his sin.
I encouraged him to make sure he counts the cost of following Jesus first, but also gave him a gospel of John and recommended a local church. Please pray for Abu.
We sow the seed, God is in charge of the results. To God alone be all the glory!
It was great to see the gospel go out to many at Woodridge on Tuesday. We had good number of conversations about Christ, with even groups of people at a time.
Please pray for all those who heard the message or took a gospel tract, including a man named James. As one of the team began speaking to him, he said right from the start that he thought he would go to hell, because he gets drunk and does all sorts of bad things. He already knew he wasn't good enough to be let into heaven.
I asked James if that concerns him, and he said it didn't because "I've got 60 more years to mend my ways." So I gave him an analogy of a courtroom with a criminal standing before a judge and the criminal says, "Judge, I did that crime, but I'm going to start mending my ways, so please let me go." I asked him whether that would work. He said, "Of course not." I said, "Same thing in the sight of God. Even if we mend our ways, it does not erase the history of our sins, since God is a just God."
This then led onto explaining the message of grace, which seemed to be such a foreign concept to him, and so it took quite a while before he understood it. I explained how our forgiveness is only by Jesus taking the punishment for our sins, thereby satisfying God's justice on our behalf, and how we need to repent and believe that Jesus has done that for us.
James said he's not prepared to turn from his sins because he loves them. I asked, "What good is enjoying the momentary pleasures of sin if you end up in a place of pain and suffering forever afterwards? It's like choosing to have a cup of pleasure in exchange for an ocean of pain. Is that worth it?" He said, "When you put it that way, no it doesn't. I am going to have to really think about this."
To God be the glory!
Thank-you to all those who prayed for Tuesday afternoon's outreach in Woodridge. A group of five of us were able to hand out many tracts and engage in some wonderful gospel conversations.
Over the past couple of weeks I've noticed that there has been an increase of people making their way to the Free Bible and Literature table. Today, a number of booklets and many New Testaments were taken. We pray that the Lord would use this simple form of witness to reach the community for Jesus.
It was a beautiful sunny and warm winters day in Woodridge Tuesday as we made our way out to share the gospel. Some of our regular team members were away, so I wasn't quite sure how many people would come along to the outreach, but we prayed and asked the Lord to bring workers. He answered this prayer with five of us coming together for the gospel.
Upon arrival I set up the Free Bible and Literature Table and began to hand out tracts. There seemed to be a real openness amongst the people today. Many tracts were taken (in fact we ran out of tracts) and people were constantly requesting resources from the table.
During the outreach I was able to speak to a group of young people who showed some interest in the Christian faith. It turns out that all of them went to church, but sadly they had no concept of the gospel. They all believed that to go to Heaven you had to be perfect, and since they weren't, then they knew they wouldn't go there. It was wonderful to be able to explain to them that salvation is by grace alone.
Below is a link to the audio of that conversation. I hope it encourages you in your walk - www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo
With school being back from holidays, Woodridge was back to its usual busier state yesterday during our weekly Tuesday outreach. Alan had brought along his flip-chart that has some intelligence test questions on it.
The kids loved it. It's a great tool to show that even though we think we know the answer, we can get it wrong. So it's helpful to show the skeptical out there that even though think they know they're right about God not existing, how do they know they're not wrong?
Yesterday we also got to speak to quite a number of people about the gospel, including a young guy named Theo. We have been witnessing to him for a number of years now. He goes to a Seventh Day Adventist church, but the last time we spoke to him he was very adamant in thinking that we are saved by faith and works.
But when we spoke to him yesterday, he acknowledged that he was wrong about works saving him, and instead he says it is by faith in Christ. So we asked him whether he is 100% certain he is going to heaven and he said he isn't. He said that it's because he needs to make himself worthy enough to have assurance of salvation, and then even went on to admit that no one can ever be sure they are saved.
We pointed out that he's going straight back to salvation by works there. Our salvation isn't dependent on our own worthiness, because if that was the case, we would have no chance of being saved at all. We reminded Theo of the thief on the cross next to Jesus. That man had murdered people and yet in the minutes or hours before he died, he trusted in Jesus and said to Jesus "Remember me when you come into your kingdom". And Jesus said to him, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."
Quite often people who have grown up in the Seventh Day Adventist church confuse the distinction between faith and works. We reminded Theo that it is by grace through faith alone that we saved, nothing of our own efforts or law keeping, because Jesus has died for our past, present and even future sin. And if we are saved, it will show itself by our works.
Theo very much appreciated the chat and is keen to keep talking about it next time. Please pray for him. To God be the glory!
Tuesday we had some great gospel conversations with people at Woodridge (QLD, Australia).
One guy we witnessed to was named Em. He had been to church a number of times in his life and they had told him that to get to heaven, you need to cleanse yourself of all your sin by living righteously. Em admitted though he wasn't living God's way. So we talked about how we have all sinned and how even if we cease sinning, God cannot ignore the history of our sin.
We then went on to explain that Jesus came to pay for our sins and how we need to trust only in Him for our forgiveness. But Em didn't get it. So we explained the gospel another way to him, but he still didn't understand it. Since he had always been taught something different, grace was such a foreign concept to him. We had to explain the gospel some ten times before he said "I get it now!"
We encouraged him to repent and count the cost of following Jesus, but at the same time, not to delay. At the end of the conversation, Em said, "You know what, I was actually on my way to a party, but after this conversation, I am now just going to go home instead."
Glory to God that His word is so powerful!
We praise God for another good outreach in Woodridge. We talked to people from all different cultures and religions and shared with them the good news of Christ.
One conversation we had was with three Aussies who said they were Baha'i. They said that all the religions are true and that they believe in a progressive revelation, that is, God reveals more information over time. I said, we too believe in a progressive revelation (the Bible), in that the Old Testament came first and then the New Testament came later. But I asked them, "Does the new information that God reveals have to line up with the old?" They said it did.
And since they also agreed that Jesus was 100% accurate in everything he said, I pointed them to a number of passages in the Bible showing the exclusivity of Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). If Jesus says He is the way to Heaven and He is true, logically there can't be another way.
I said, "Let's say someone comes up to us and asks for the directions to Woodridge train station and one of us says, 'It's just there' (pointing to the station). But then another of us says, 'No it's 50 metres in the opposite direction. One of us is wrong, right?" They agreed. I continued, "So in the same way if Jesus says He is the only way to Heaven and other religions deny that or say something opposite, logically they all cannot be right at the same time."
I said, "Even though you like the idea that all religions are true, and you've been believing Bahaism for a long time, couldn't it be a possibility that your religion is wrong?" A couple of them were beginning to see that could be the case and one said, "I am going to have start reading the Bible for myself and learn more about Jesus." Since I had also spent a bit time explaining how forgiveness is only available through Jesus' death on the cross for us. Please pray for them.
To Glory alone be the glory!
It was a bit different today for our outreach in Woodridge. The council had removed almost all the fixed seating in the area, in order to stop certain people from spending their whole day sitting on the seats drunk, causing a nuisance to the community. This is really just a band-aid solution though, as we know that the true solution to the problem is the gospel of Christ.
But that infrastructure change didn't affect the witnessing at all today, as there were just as many people about. When the high school kids came by after school finished for the day, I noticed Alan got into an in-depth chat with a large group of them. So I came beside a couple of the guys who were on the fringe of the discussion and asked them about their thoughts on whether they would go to heaven.
One young man I chatted to was Arthur, he thought that God would let him into Heaven because he is a good man. It's amazing that no matter where people come from, we naturally think that we are good. So I talked with Arthur about the fact that we aren't good and took him through some of God's laws and how we have broken them. I explained the problem about God being good and therefore how we deserve His judgement, and also the good news about Jesus dying for our sins.
After explaining the message, I find it is very important to ask a checking question. Something like, "So to recap, what do you need to do to get to Heaven?" or "Do good deeds have anything to do with you going to Heaven?" The reason for this is people can often hear the gospel and nod in agreement but still not understand it. That is why getting them to explain it to you afterwards gives you an idea of whether they have got it or not.
For Arthur, he had come to understand it - that it was not of works but through faith in what Jesus has done that can save him. But when I asked him whether he thinks he is prepared to turn from his sin, he shook his head. He said, "My friends will bring me back to sin." I said, "Then it may mean getting new friends." For having peace with God is far more important than being liked by your friends. He saw that, and said he was going to have to count the cost. He didn't have a Bible and was happy to take a gospel of John. Please pray for Arthur.
We are simply unworthy servants doing our duty, God deserves all the praise!