“Yet remember, though He condescendeth to reason, to persuade, to [call], and to beseech, still His Gospel hath in it all the dignity and force of a command. If we would preach it in these days as Christ did, we must proclaim it as a command from God, attended with a divine sanction and not to be neglected, save at the infinite peril of a soul…
’Repent ye’ is as much a command of God as ‘Thou shalt not steal.’”
This was the rolling marquee that greeted my group as we walked into the 'Four Corners' area of Atlanta.
The marquee said something like this, "First Baptist church of Atlanta welcomes The 500 evangelists ready to go minister the Gospel in fulfilling the Great Commission."
The marquee was a huge encouragement for our group of about 30 or so that had made our way from the “Deeper” conference to the heart of Atlanta to share the Gospel with the lost.
After everyone had made their way to the meeting point in front of the Hard Rock Café, we gathered together for prayer and headed out in pairs or groups of three.
My team included my oldest son and my always faithful witnessing partner from the last couple years.
We were able to talk to several folks over the next few hours and hand out a lot of tracts.
We met one interesting older woman who believed that she had never committed a sin that would keep her out of Heaven. When pressed on this, she said that the only sin she had ever committed was telling ‘little white lies’. She assured me that the only reason she even told these lies was to protect people of keep harm from coming to them.
I asked her if she had ever taken anything that was not hers…. No.
I asked her if she had ever used God’s name in vain…. No.
Always kept the Sabbath day…. Yes.
Always put God first….Yes. Always loved God with your heart, soul, strength and mind…Yes.
Ever committed adultery….No….lusted after anyone….No.
Always honored her father and mother…Yes.
Ever hated anyone….No.
I said ma’am, you may be the most perfect person I have ever met in my life! Then I asked her if she had ever coveted anything; ever wanted something that wasn’t hers.
Yes…….but I didn’t take it.
AHA! (no I didn’t really say that)
I said ma’am, the Bible says that if you break just one of the Commandments you are guilty of breaking them all. I then gave her the link in the chain analogy.
I asked her if she were to die today and stand before God, would she be innocent or guilty of breaking God’s Law. She said innocent because she has never committed a sin that would keep her out of Heaven.
I explained to her that God is holy and just and must punish all sin, no matter how trite or meaningless that sin seemed to her.
She then told me to believe what I wanted to believe and she would believe what she wanted to believe. I told her it’s not a matter of if I believe it or not, what matters if it is true or not. Either the Bible is correct and God will punish sin or the Bible is not truthful concerning the nature of God and His holiness.
That’s when she looked down the street and told me that she was waiting on the bus and that it should be here any minute.
I tried to take a little more time by explaining to her that there was nothing she could do to earn her way into Heaven by trying to be a good person. I told her that if there was something that she could do that could earn her way into Heaven, then she could have reason to boast about her salvation. I explained to her that only by repenting of her sins and putting her faith alone in Christ could God accept her and allow her in His Kingdom.
She again told me to believe what I wanted to believe and she would do the same.
I asked her to make sure she carefully read the Gospel tract tonight and consider thoughtfully everything we talked about.
We shook hands and departed.
We had many more conversations and I trust that God’s Word will not return void with the people we spoke to but accomplish His perfect will concerning them.