On Sunday night the team headed into the city as usual and although there was a bit of rain around, there were still plenty of people to chat with.
The Sunday night outreach is a "team training" outreach in which the team pairs up and has alternating chats, enabling feed back and encouragement to be given.
One pair started chatting with a "strong" Roman Catholic, Tristan and his friend. The friend had been drawn to catholicsm but in the conversation took a back seat role listening and making an occasional comment.
When asked whether they would be heading to Heaven or Hell, Tristan shared that he thought he deserved Hell. This seemed to be an encouraging start but something seemed off.
It turned out that Tristan thought that he was a good guy who had done some bad things and so the solution to his problem was that he would improve Himself, pay off what he had done wrong (in purgatory) and then be accepted by God because of his great character and improvement.
This started a long journey demonstrating through God's word just how wrong this view of himself was. It was shown that his rebellion against God is wilful and continual, that each action he has done is in some way sinful, even if it is morally good on the outside and therefore no one is good, not even one. The friend agreed with this, Tristan on the other hand couldn't accept it, he wanted to think he had some good within himself, to give himself hope of eternal life.
For the sake of the friend, the conversation was turned to the solution, it was pointed out that our inability to honour God on own is an essential part to comprehending salvation as a gift. Tristan argued with this but was bought to a halt with the question, "If you have to work for something is it a gift?". Tristan said, "That would not be a gift!". Then came the killer question, "Do you believe that salvation and eternal life are gifts from God?". Tristan agreed with the logic but didn't agree with the point and was stumped.
His friend took this moment to point out, "I have never seen you unable to respond to a question before". It was a beautiful confirmation of the simplicity and logic, that salvation cannot be through merit or work and still be a gift.
A further point was made that it would be to steal glory from God to think that one's actions contribute to their salvation. Tristan flatly denied this saying that God gets the glory because He gave us the tools, even though we do the good works. He was given an analogy to demonstrate the contradiction of this position, "Imagine someone gave you a spade and bucket and took you too the beach, if you were then to make a sandcastle, who would get the credit for the castle that was made?"
Tristan acknowledged that it would be the builder not the provider of the tools but was still firmly holding onto the position of self-righteous reliance upon his own abilities. His friend was challenged and thanked us for the conversation saying it gave him a lot to think about but Tristan doubled down declaring the Roman Catholic Church as the only true interpreters of God's word, despite having been shown three contradictions his church had with God's word.
Please be praying for these guys, praying that God would allow them to see the depth of their sinful state and therefore enable them to come to understand why they could never save themselves and instead to trust in Christ alone as the only one who can save them and enable them to live as God has designed them to live, in submission to Him!
Brisbane Team (Night) (QLD)
Meets Fridays (7-10pm) & Saturdays (6-9pm) & Sundays (7:30-9:30pm) in King George Square.
Contact Ryan Hemelaar for more information.