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Man on toilet hears the gospel!

12 August 2011 No Comment

When people in the church talk about the need to evangelise the world, they often quote Paul when he said in Ephesians ‘Be ready to give an answer for your believing.’ (1 Peter 3:15).

Yet, many have misinterpreted this verse to mean ‘just wait until someone asks you about your faith’ or ‘wait until it comes up naturally in a conversation.’

This is not what the verse is saying.  As usual, we must take into account what the rest of scripture says about evangelism.  In the respect, a key verse is Mark 16:15 ‘Go into the world and preach the gospel.’  This is active, not passive.  The Greek meaning of the word ‘go’ is actually rendered ‘As you go.’

Mark 16:15 literally means ‘as you go about your day, actively give the gospel.’  When we combine this with what Paul said, and putting the two verses together, we could and should say ‘As you go about your day, actively give the gospel. Create situations and conversations.  Have everything to you need to do the job properly (i.e. be ready).’

The following is an illustration of ‘being ready’ and ‘as you go.’

Yesterday I was in McDonalds with my daughter. As we wandered around looking for a seat, I noticed a man pouring over some Watch Tower booklets (JW publications).  He was in his mid thirties.  It looked like he was doing his homework or having a serious Bible study. The table was strewn with study guides and booklets.

I had my iphone in my pocket so I said to him:

Hi. How is the study going?

He looked up and smiled and said ‘Great!’

You might be interested in something I have here I said.

OK, what’s that?

We just spent 10 years making a video which summarises the whole Bible in 11 minutes.  It’s on my iphone. Here, have a look. (notice I didn’t ask him if he wanted to have a look.  If you are light and breezy and loving as you do this, you’ll never have a problem. If you ask ‘Do you want to watch it?’ and you are nervous and hesitant you’ll only invite a ‘no’).

(His eyes lit up with enthusiasm and his face beamed with a big smile). No way! 11 minutes. That would be impossible wouldn’t it!

(Handing him the iphone). Here, have a look. What’s your name?

Les.

I am Julian. Nice to meet you.

We shook hands.

Well, for 11 minutes, my daughter and I sat beside him as he watched.

At the end of the video, he said:

Wow, that was incredible!

I said ‘Can I ask you a couple of questions? I ask everyone these.”

Have you ever told a lie?

Yes.

Me too.

So what does this make us? Liars, right?

Yes.

Have you ever taken anything that did not belong to you, even something small like a paper clip or a pen?

Yes.

So what does that make you?  A  thief. Same as me.

Now you and I, by our own confession, are a three thieving liars.

Have you ever hated someone in your life?

Yes.

Well according to Jesus, that makes you a murderer, same as us. You see, He redefined murder by saying that if we hate someone in our heart, we have murdered them in our heart.

So now, we are thieving, lying murderers.  Do you honestly think that God is going to let thieving lying murderers like us into heaven? I don’t think so.

Then I said ‘So if it was true, where would you go?’

Well, we have a different belief about heaven and hell.

I know you do, but if this was true, what you’ve just seen here on the video was true, where would you go?

(looking worried)…Errrr…I would go down.

You mean to hell I said.

Yes he said.

What you have seen in the truth Les.  I have a little booklet which explains where in the bible all the Bible verses are that justify this the theology in the video presentation. Can I send you a PDF file? (I DIDN’T HAVE A FOLLOW UP BOOKLET ON ME…GRRRRRRR).

‘That would be great’ He said.

We shook hands and departed.

What are the lessons?

(1) I want my daughter to see me doing evangelism. It’s the most important thing I want to pass onto her.  I want to train her like Jesus trained the disciples.  She is two, so I am starting early.

(2) As you go about your day, make evangelism happen. Create the situations.

(3) Be ready. I wasn’t completely ready. I had my iphone charged and ready, but I didn’t have follow up booklets. If you want to download a PDF file of the follow up booklet, click here.

(5) Be observant.  As I go about my day, I am looking for opportunities. There is a huge difference between looking for them and waiting for them.

(4) You don’t have to enter into a great argument about the differences between JW understandings of heaven and hell, and the Christian understandings. Just let the gospel and the Holy Spirit do the talking for you.  They are more powerful and effective that our arguments.  Then you can focus on being kind and loving. Being kind and loving will soften the soil of his heart to receive what’s written in the follow up booklet AND water the seed of the gospel you have just planted.

It’s a great way to do evangelism and hugely satisfying! Try it and see.

P.S I just returned from the gym this morning. Got talking to a guy in his mid 30’s in the change room. Asked him the question ‘what’s the oldest book in the world’ and then the follow up question ‘do you know how old it is?’

Cut a long story short, he watched the biblein11 video on my iphone.  I asked him the usual questions about lying, thieving and murdering.

He found out he was going straight to hell, and told me God had sent me to him and he was SO grateful.

He even said that I had made his day and that God must love him so much that he sent me to the gym to tell him.

And get this – he was a Muslim!!!

He asked me if I thought all the religions were true and I said of course not.

Jesus is the only one true God and all others are deceptions and aberrations from the truth.

He was so relieved to hear that!

I could say much more. It was an incredible 20 minute encounter.

And here’s the really amusing thing – I thought we were completely alone in the change room, and right at the end of my conversation with the Muslim, I heard a toilet flush and a guy walks out looking VERY sheepish and convicted.  He was so quiet during the entire conversation, I didn’t know he was even in there.

Even God has a way of reaching people in the toilet.

 

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