The following story is an encouraging way to start the new year. The story highlights the importance of not assuming that our friends and family have biblical understanding of concepts like sin and a Holy God. Instead, we need to carefully explain biblical truths so that they are on the same page. Then the gospel makes sense.
My wife and I served on the mission field in the Brazilian amazon in the early 1990s. One day I was with two Brazilian Christian friends who we attended church with. We were at the river one morning and encountered a friend of theirs. This friend was not a Christian but was a very religious person. So my two Christian friends Tim* and Victor began sharing the gospel with their friend. As I listened (I had just become fluent in Portuguese) it seemed like their friend did not understand the message that they were relating to him. Suddenly I had a thought. Did this young man understand the biblical meaning of sin? So I asked Tim to enquire what his concept of sin was. The young man answered, “Oh I am not a bad person. I don’t steal or do bad things with girls. I try to help people when I can.”
A light clicked on for me. Tim and Victor were giving an answer to a person who did not have a question. If his concept of sin was not correct, neither was his concept of a Holy God. And if those two concepts were not right, it will be impossible for him to see his need for a sufficient substitute. Which explained why he saw no need for personal faith in the Saviour.
Over a number of years now, we have had the privilege of taking many through The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. Most all of them had no questions or the wrong questions at the beginning of the book. But at the finish of the book, most of them were suddenly asking the right questions. A good number of them trusted the Saviour. A few of the ones who were saved are now taking others through The Stranger book, and have seen some trust the Lord. This outstanding tool helps people come face to face with the right questions, which is absolutely essential to form the right conclusion on the gospel. And, it provides a great pattern and method for the new believer to share their faith.
– Mark Evans
(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)
Photo credit: Joseph A Ferris III on Flickr.