Friday night was an encouraging night of ministry. Although the weather was quite miserable, we were still able to share the gospel with a number of people. There were eight of us in total and it was great to be out together!
Here is a short video that introduces you to the team as we were getting ready to minister the gospel.
The Lord was pleased to use the open-air preaching to bring in a reasonably well sized crowd, which the team used well to initiate some conversations.
Annika spoke with a man named Cyprian, who she had also spoken with a few weeks earlier. He is from Transylvania and is Catholic in his faith. As he listened to the gospel he acknowledged that it is Jesus who saves us, however he also insisted that he must do certain Catholic rituals in order to get to Heaven. This is the big problem with Catholicism today. It seeks to come under the Christian umbrella and it likes to say that we are saved by grace, however because of its many traditions and doctrines it cannot say that we are saved by grace alone, and that comes out quite clearly when you meet and talk with a Catholic.
As Annika opened up God’s righteous standard to Cyprian, he admitted that he didn’t know for sure if he was good enough to go to Heaven. He said that he believed the Bible and so she encouraged him to read the gospel of John, and to look especially for Jesus’ words that make clear He and He alone is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). Do pray for Him, that he truly understands the grace of God, that none of our works can save us.
I had a great conversation with a man named Tim. He was very pleasant to talk to and he gave me his full attention as I shared with him. I was quite amazed at how attentive he was and at one point wondered if he was really taking it in or was simply being polite. I do know I was able to share the whole gospel with him, and for that I rejoice. He did ask a few questions as I spoke, which encouraged me because it showed that he was listening. One question he asked was this: “But surely our good works count for something.” I answered his question in two ways:
Firstly, none of our “good works” are good, by God’s standard. When an unbeliever does a good work (like a fireman saving a person’s life) that good work is good, in and of itself. However, God always looks at the motive behind the “good work.” Sinful man always performs good works with an ulterior motive. His agenda is to justify himself before God. Sinful man, when pulled up for any particular sin, will almost always fall back on something good he did prior to his transgression. Justifying oneself always results in self-righteousness. So when a “good work” is carried out with a sinful motive, that “good work” is not a good work in God’s eyes, rather it is as though it were a filthy rag before Him (Isaiah 64:6).
Secondly, I pointed out that even if it were the case that we had performed some good deeds in our lives, that were accompanied by a pure motive, the truth is we have also committed very obvious and blatant wicked, sinful works. In the eyes of the law, a good work is unable to absolve a guilty criminal from absolute justice, and since God’s standards are infinitely higher than human standards, the same is even more true. A just and holy God will by no means pardon the guilty (Exodus 34:7), since this would not be justice. This is why God became a man, so that by living a righteous life He Himself would be the righteous perfection we cannot be, and then by taking upon Himself the punishment we deserve, justice would finally be satisfied, the result of which is mercy then being extended to the world. This is what the Bible calls “the grace of God,” and it makes Christianity unique among all world religions in existence today.
Tim left with much to think about. Do pray for Him.
As the evening wore on, the rain started to fall far more heavily. You can see what I mean in this short video.
Our evening together concluded in prayer, and we thanked the Lord for all of the precious opportunities He gave to us. What a privilege it is to be used by Him for the gathering in of His people.
Soli Deo Gloria!!