This afternoon, as it was a public holiday, the team headed to Wellington Point to share God's glorious gospel with those having a relaxing afternoon by the water. There was a surprising cool breeze and as a result not many people around. Thankfully, that didn't stop God providing a range of wonderful conversations with people.
One early conversation was had with a young man named Jacob. He goes to youth group occasionally on a Friday night at a local church but apart from that has no real exposure to God. He thought he was a pretty good person and would be going to Heaven. Slowly as the conversation progressed Jacob came to understand that he wasn't the good person he thought he was but rather was a sinner like the rest of humanity. He saw that his sin deserves God's wrath in Hell and that on judgement day, as he currently was, he would face God's condemnation for his sin.
It was a privilege then to share God's offer of salvation, that God has made a way for sinners to be forgiven. Jacob said he understood and was interested to talk about it. Jacob has been encouraged to speak with his youth leaders at the church to ask for a Bible and to ask them more about how he can be forgiven.
A conversation almost on the back of that one was with two Germans who were travelling in Australia. A young man named Leon and his girlfriend, Xena. This couple were a mixture between agnostic and having some Christian background. Both professed that God wasn't important to them and they both had fairly poor understandings of God's revelation about Himself. Both also professed to be good people.
As the conversation progressed, the Gospel was focused on over the next half and hour. Many facets and aspects were spoken about and many questions or challenges to it were answered. At one point, almost twenty five minutes in after all that had been said the question was posed, "What is stopping you from giving up your autonomy and surrendering to the God who punished Himself, so that you could be forgiven?" Xena seemed squirmy at this, from this point onward in the conversation she seemed moved and like she was seriously considering God's call in the Gospel.
Moments later when she was saying, "Maybe if God came and showed Himself to me, now, I would believe". It was at that moment when Leon actually took charge in pointing out that God has. It was even shared that God's revelation about Himself and actions in history were clear. Xena seemed to be left wondering about her eternity. Leon on the other hand, seemed defiant. He tried to defend himself with the same, "we can't be sure" arguments even after they were answered. He acknowledged this and stated that it was because he didn't want God to exist.
These two were left with a thorough understanding of the Gospel and a challenge to find salvation in Jesus Christ.
A final conversation was had with two young Muslims. These guys laughed at their own sin and even tried to play it off as not that bad. They went on for almost thirty minutes declaring how good they were, whilst at the same time being completely apathetic toward the wickedness of their own sin and how angry God is with sinners. They declared that their god just forgives sin, as long as the sinner is "repentant". It was pointed out that the word forgiveness means, "cancelling a debt", in other words, the person whom the debt is against is willing to pay for the debt.
When this was pointed out, the question was asked, "How is your god, paying for the debt of your sin?" These young men squirmed, then declared that he isn't. It was stressed and explained a number of times, that the god they believe in is both a liar and unjust. Firstly, if he doesn't punish sin, when he has declared that it has the penalty of Hell, he has made himself a liar. Secondly, if he has no desire to see justice upheld and will let a guilty person walk free, he is not only unjust, but one who rejoices in and rewards unrighteousness.
These boys were not interested in God being anything other than that which they had been told at their local mosque and it was an extremely sad conversation. Two men, celebrating sin, rejoicing in their lust, lies and pride and completely unable to understand the Gospel as a result. These men, paid little attention to the Gospel and simply mocked at it, even without understanding it.
They also declared that heaven for them was a place where God gave them 70 wives/slaves and that God would reward them by granting them anything they asked for. This is an incredibly perverted view of Heaven, not only is it simply a place to indulge your selfish desires but even worse, it is a place where god serves you. A place where god's best gift to you is that which he can serve you, rather than his best gift being himself.
Please take some time out of your day, to plead with the loving God, that he would justify these two young men by the work of Jesus Christ and bring them to a humble surrender. Please pray that Jacob would come to a saving knowledge of the truth and that Leon and Xena would desire to know God intimately and be willing to give up their sin, in pursuit of the Saviour.
Today we had the 2 flipcharts near the pier and a couple of roving evangelist types operating in the same area. There was opportunity to interchange roles occasionally and the team worked well together in this format.
There was a lengthy chat with a Sikh family which concluded with them receiving a gospel of John. They were going to check out the claims of Christ for themselves. Pray that they do. Jesus came to save His people from their sins and not just to make salvation possible, Mt. 1:21.
A novice using a flipchart reached the point where Conan exclaimed the equivalent of WOW. He has a Bible and was going to read John and ask the Lord to show him the truth.
There were others visibly affected by the gospel and others were still questioning. There is no doubt that conversations were relatively easy to start compared to trying to get people walking past to stop and chat.
Thank God for Himself; He alone is worthy of praise and thanksgiving now and forever. Amen.
One flip chart at the jetty and another on the western side of the point were in use today. Twice people came up and asked to do the test while someone else was already being taken through. In those instances, the ones who had done the test were handed over to another to finish the gospel presentation. pray for those like Evony and Ruth who are now counting the cost. At one point the objection had been raised that one was too lazy to do anything about Jesus. Ryan asked her if she were crossing a road and saw a speeding car heading for her, wouldn't she try to evade it? As eternal punishment in God's prison is so much more serious, he needs to take the claim of Christ on her very seriously - today! They each received a copy of John's gospel.
Brad went through the test with Harry and had a few more questions answered before he had to leave. His Dad also listened to it all and thanked us.
There were some instances of people using the examples of church-going people they knew who went and confessed their sins and then did the same sins once again and again. Judgment is not based on a sliding scale but each person has to give account of their own life. May God soften hearts so an individual will deal realistically with his own need to be forgiven of his sins and suxch would flee to Christ for refuge.
To God alone be the glory great things He has done and continues to do until His people are all gathered in.
God sent a brisk breeze such that we could not set up the flip chart where it was last time. We were to know by the end of our outreach one reason why God did this. There were 4 Indian gentlemen who had been brought up in a R.C. grounding. As they were taken through the law and gospel, understanding seems to have been granted them. They, each one, expressed a desire to trust Christ alone this very day. Once the fog of tradition is blown away, the simplicity of God's salvation is so relieving. Eph. 2:8-10 shows God's prevenient grace produces saving faith which invariably produces God's good works. There can be no merit in doing what we are supposed to be doing as His children, Lk. 17:7-10. Our works, which God prepared beforehand that we should do, are the Christian response of love, e.g. Jn.15:14 +1 John 5:3 " For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."
God was doing more than this but all His works are glorious as they exhibit His glorious being. To Him alone be the glory and we thank Him for the privilege of serving Him once again in this way.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and only Mediator between God and man had 6 of His body members in the team today. For the first time at Wellington Point, Ryan and Harry had the use of a flip chart. As an example of how this was advantageous, there was a family to whom they had been chatting. When they indicated that 'they had to go', they were asked if they had done this "Good Person" test. They stayed and were engaged as God's good news was presented. The other 2 teams took up their usual positions and carried on as usual.
The team spirit has been developing into a blessing for each one of us. e.g. A young man flying his drone was chatted to. He had been challenged just a few weeks earlier by a different team of ours. May our gracious God awaken the spirit of this young man to consider what he has heard - seriously. Eternity in God's prison with no possibility of escape, is a dreadful prospect for any sentient being to experience.
May the Lord build His house, Ps. 127:1 + 1 Peter 2:4-6! To Him alone be all glory and praise, now and forever. Amen.
Wellington Point weather is somewhat unusual. 3 of us went to the pier side and one needed his Sydney winter coat. Of those wiling to converse, there were a higher percentage than usual of those who called themselves Christian:
Andrew - actually is a Mormon. He was challenged to read the Bible as we worship different gods and we have different ways of becoming 'saved'.
2 Chinese ladies who were leaving after finishing their lunch handed back the tracts. When asked "If you were to die today and had to give a reason why God should let you into His heaven, what would you say?" had no idea. As they were walking away we said, "Is it because of what Jesus has done for you or what you have done?" One said, with a huge smile, that it was the first. God knows the heart - 2 Tim. 2:19 - and it is obvious in any Christian's life.
A Baptist man who did good deeds. His girl friend was more interested in hearing the gospel than he was.
A young Chinese man, Brian, who had not been in Bible study for a few years had no answer After hearing God's good news, we gave him an illustration of what it means to 'count the cost' = when I became a Christian after 10 years of marriage, God became my first love and Railee my second. Brian was shocked at this. So I explained how God taught me how to love Railee - properly. Then Railee completed the illustration by relating the same shift in allegiance once she was converted. He understood the need for him to have God as his first love - in everything. We asked him to explain this to his girlfriend, who was in Australia on a visit , as they continued to walk around.
Meanwhile the other 2 had stayed on King Island side which was relatively balmy. They also met a 'Christian" who was getting into heaven because he was better than he used to be. After explaining the law and gospel to him, he was able to give the right answer to the checking questions Ryan put to him. Mr. Aseila, a former rugby 'great' from the 1970s Fiji team, now appears to be in the kingdom of God. Please pray that he will share the good news with others in the Methodist church he attends.
Thanks the Lord that His name is near to His people, Ps. 75:1. To Him alone, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be all glory.
We had a break in the showery weather which was long enough to do what our Lord would have us (6 on the team today) do. We had a few conversations and gave out some tracts as usual. One encounter with a Korean young woman reminded us of the lack of a fear of God in some people. This lady was showing a non-English speaking Korean woman around the Point. During a chat with her, the fact was presented that Jesus is a fully competent Saviour with the capacity to save His people out of their sins, or former, present and future sins. The lady responded with a remark that if she trusted in Jesus then she could live as she wanted and He would certainly save her. The reply that if anyone continued to live as he wanted to, yet claimed to be a Christian, it would demonstrate that he was not a Christian at all. Thankfully she then agreed to give a tract to her Korean friend who was returning to Korea in a week. Once back, she was asked to search out a Christian to explain the tract to her. Please pray that God will be gracious to these lost souls that He directed to hear some of His liberating truth today.
We recall that repentance is one's acknowledgement of one's own sins and his inability to reconcile himself to God. It is a fruit of regeneration and leads to a new way to live - for the glory of God. Where there is no repentance, there can be no forgiveness. The Christian knows the ongoing blessedness of ongoing repentance as one walks with the Lord - daily; moment by moment.
What a privilege that every Christian has been reconciled to the one true and living Holy God. To Him be all glory!
Our gracious Lord brought Harry here from England to hear His truth. He claimed an atheistic/I believe in science position. He was taken through a reason for taking the Bible as God's revelation = great basis for believing the message of salvation by grace and then showing one's love for the Saviour by obeying His commands, Eph. 2:8-10 + Jn. 15.
Someone has said that the Bible is able to defend itself. It is our pleasure to feed people enough evidence to convince them that one needs to check out the authority of Scripture alone for oneself. Think of the scoffers among archeologists who said things like, "The Bible talks about the Hivites but ther is no evidence they ever existed." Time has proved the Bible true. Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ book/movie, etc. ) is one of a troupe of individuals over time who have set out to disprove the Bible and God has convinced them otherwise. Think of (Frank?) Morrison who, after careful investigation from the stance of an unbeliever wrote, "Who Moved the Stone". This book shows the reasonableness of the gospel accounts of the resurrection and subsequent appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Harry was privileged to hear the law/gospel/count the cost presentation and was last seen staring out to the ocean seemingly thinking about these things. God knows his thoughts. May God have mercy on Harry and to God alone be the glory and praise.
There was no particular interest in eternal things evidenced in most of the people contacted today. But we know God is always working, Jn. 5:17, and we often do not realize it at that time, Jn. 3:8.
There was this timely reminder of the dire consequences of preaching that states "God loves everybody" but does not even attempt to define what this love is. A young man named Christian had the firm view that God loved him. He grew up in a Christian family but he was the only non-believer in that household. He claimed to have repented and trusted in Jesus twice before but he was unchanged.
He was reminded that God knows when repentance is true or not. He was shown Ps. 5:5 which states that God hates doers of iniquity. Christian appeared to be truly shocked that this was in the Bible. Pray that he has his ears opened to God's truth about himself and truly repents. As we know, anyone who dies in his sins must pay the penalty = finite creatures are consigned to everlasting punishment and can never be released nor escape: they cannot meet God's standard of absolute 'repayment'. God's justice is absolute. If anyone refuses Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord now, he can never be reconciled in hell.
Praise the Lord that His love endures forever and everyone who is 'in Christ' is firmly in God's household, Rom. 8:38,39, for ever.
We give God all the glory for His ways are far higher than ours and He does not change.
God gave us 7 workers today, including an 81 year old who had spent 2 years evangelizing in Hong Kong. The first contact he and his teammate made was with a Chinese lady who spoke no English. So he spoke to her in a language she was familiar with. We had some 'good' conversations, including these for follow-up prayer:
- Raj or Ruj, a Persian man whose sister has already been converted. He heard it all, received a tract and John's gospel. He appreciated the web contact details so he can pursue his inquiries without attracting undue attention to himself. Please pray that he does email us.
- Connor, a life-guard who had attended a Christian school. Since then, he has looked at other religions and concluded that some sort of divine force was in charge. We covered some preliminary points of contention before we got to the law and Substitutionary atonement and what he needs to do. Conner readily received a gospel of John which we asked him to prayerfully read asking God to reveal Himself to him.
There were 3 young marrieds couples plus toddlers - all university students (except the toddlers) from Vietnam and with no belief in God. They asked me if I was a J.W. to which I replied, "No! I am a Christian." I did some apologetics with them, gave them tracts and warned them that when they return to Vietnam that their government does not like Christians. Interestingly, they knew this already.
There was more going on but we leave the ongoing work to our sovereign God. What a privilege to tell forth God's good news of how sinners may be reconciled to Him. To Him alone our praises arise. Heb. 7:24b,25.