All day long I had butterflies in my stomach.
So God reminded me of 2Timothy 1:7 – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” And I also remembered 2 Timothy 1:8 – “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord…”
I thought of my concern for the lost and realized it is greater than any type of fear I may have about witnessing. The time was here, so we went ahead to meet with our group.
We joined the group, His Feet on the Street, to pray before we headed out to dare to share the good news of the gospel with others as the folks were positioning for a good spot and were waiting for the fireworks to begin. Including myself, there were two others in my group.
We started off with talking to a group of young men, a mix of 2 Americans and 4 Hispanics who were hanging out. I noticed some tattoos on some of the guys that were gang related. I knew I had to approach them. I had to speak in both languages because they did not all speak English. We had every distraction you can imagine having, but we were certain that God was working. After going back and forth with the 10 Commandments and questions and answers at least two of that group out of 6 or so understood the need to repent and surrender their lives to Christ. As we went ahead handing out bottled water with the verse of John 4:13-14 and speaking to people on the street we presented the question about where they thought they would go if they died tomorrow.
We came across a grandmother who was about 70 years old or so with her two granddaughters. We offered them some water, and a dollar track. This story touched me deeply.
The grandmother was here visiting from Argentina, and she was here because recently she had had a heart attack and was having some major health issues. She showed our group all the bruises on her body due to clotting issues. She said she didn’t think she had much longer to live and she wanted to spend sometime with her granddaughters and son who lived in Canton, GA.
She said she went to church occasionally and believed that there was a God. However, she wasn’t sure she would go to heaven or hell, but she thought if she did good deeds she possibly could go to heaven. I told her Satan believed in God and that he even went to church. I asked her if she thought Satan would go to heaven. She said she didn’t think he would go to heaven because he was evil.
I shared Ephesians 2:8,9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” And Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” I also shared James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? I wanted to ensure that she understood good deeds did not grant us salvation and that believing there was a God did not grant us salvation either, or a ticket to heaven.
I explained that with faith an action had to follow, an action of repentance, an action of wanting to change our ways, an action of willingly surrendering to Jesus. One may say that he believes or has faith, but the Bible says in James 2:18 “But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” I told her that the kind of faith we are reminded on this verse is a faith which is required for salvation, the faith that will produce actions.
We used several analogies, about inheritance, gifts and then I asked her that if I gave her a Million dollar bill and offered it to her, if she would take it? I said because you believe the Dollar has value, you reach out your arm and take it, making it yours. Your physical action of acceptance shows that you believe the Dollar has value; but that action is not enough work that you could claim to have earned the Million Dollar bill.
It is still my gift to you.
No matter how much work our faith causes us to do, it will never be enough to earn the gift of salvation. That is still a gift that we can never claim to have earned. In conclusion, we are not saved by good deeds or works. The works, which our faith demands, could never pay for salvation. Believing there is a God will not save us; but faith is the means God has chosen for delivering his free gift. I read her Luke 13:3 “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish”
I asked her if she could picture heaven with people who prayed and idolized other gods, people who were thieves, murders, adulterer, liars, etc.
She said no!
I explained that if God was Holy then no one who was not holy could be where he is. The Bible says we are all sinners. Then I explained that through God, giving His Holy Son as a sacrifice, His sacrifice cleanses us and God remembers our sins no more, and that we are presented Holy to God through Jesus.
I read her Colossians 1:22 “But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
That is Good News!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.“ I also shared Hebrews 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. We showed her some verses on the book of Romans and after discussing the 10 commandments, she was convinced after a few minutes that there is no one good or holy, but God.
She asked me if I thought I was going to heaven if I died. With certainty I said “Yes”.
I shared with her my story about being lost and the false idols in my life. How I came to realize I was a sinner and that only through my repentance and putting my faith in Jesus Christ was I able to know with certainty that I would go to heaven. I told her how I am not the same person I used to be and how I was lost.
We discussed how one feels when we get lost and then find a familiar site or face. Our grief and despair is replaced with joy and special peace. I told her I was No longer lost!
Now I was found!
Trusting Jesus to lead me safely home to heaven, I follow close behind. I still remember what it was like to be found and have the peace of His mercy, grace and forgiveness. I asked her, so are you lost? Do you want to turn from your lost path and let Jesus lead the way. Do you want his forgiveness? Surrendering to Christ is submitting leadership to the one who knows the way.
Jesus Christ came into the world to bridge the gap between man and God, to die on the cross of Calvary and pay for the penalty of our sins. I said Romans 6:23 says, "the wages of sin is death, but, the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
Do you understand why Jesus did what he did? Do you want to put your faith with an action and follow him?
She said yes.
I said bow your head and call upon God, repent of your sins, ask for his forgiveness, ask him to help you turn from your sins, tell Him you want Him to be your Lord and Savior that you want to live for Him and for Him to live in you. Tell Him you surrender your life to Him. We prayed with her as she did this profession of faith. Glory be to God! I asked her if you die tomorrow do you know where you are going?
She said “to heaven” I said “How come?” She smiled and said because I repented and surrender to Jesus my life.
I hugged her and gave her advice to find a Bible and start by reading the book of John and to trust the Holy Spirit to teach her and to go and share it with others.
She thought she came to the USA for a visit with her family, but in reality she was here for a visit with the Holy Spirit. The Lord spoke to her heart and used her own language in a foreign country for her to find her way.
Praise the Lord for His patience with us.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Wow! Praise God for His goodness and mercy!!
For those of you who don't know, "G" and her husband are a couple of my favorite people on this planet. I told G that she reminds me of the Apostle Paul...she is fired up all the time and seems to never stop.
Thanks for coming out and being a part of the biggest one day evangelism event in Canton, Ga. You are a huge encouragement and blessing to me and everyone who is fortunate to know you!
Keep up the good work in the Lord G!