25 January 2016

Friends in Christ

As we begin our training week I guess many of us will be trying to work out how we can do personal evangelism better. It must be four years ago since I joined a thousand others in St Andrew’s Cathedral to thank God for John Chapman’s life. It was a fitting tribute to an outstanding evangelist.

During his sermon, the serving Dean recalled how John told us of four temptations he faced as an evangelist. I can identify with these temptations. Perhaps you can too. I share them with you.

Firstly, there is the temptation to believe people will think I am crazy. Do I really believe that THE God of the universe has actually sent his Son into the world? Do I really think that he died on the cross as a substitute for me and by that death was punished for my sin? Do I really believe he rose from death and is now in heaven preparing a place for me? Do I really believe that he will judge every person and decide whether they will live in glory with him forever? People will think I am crazy.

Secondly, there is the temptation to believe no-one will be impressed by this gospel. Surely good Muslims, good Hindus and good living people generally will get into heaven. To say that Jesus is the only way is so narrow. It is all so unrealistic given the numbers of people who have ever lived.

Thirdly, the temptation to believe that no-one will be converted by this gospel? I somehow forget the thousands of people I have met from every walk of life who have decided for Christ by this simple message and have kept going despite most difficult circumstances.

Fourthly, the temptation to believe NOW is not the time to share the gospel with people. There will always be a better time.

Let’s determine not to surrender to the Devil in these temptations. The Christ has died and been raised in accordance with God’s Old Testament plan. NOW is the time to repent and believe. NOW believers can be forgiven, receive the Holy Spirit and enter eternal life. God loves to show grace, mercy and love and there are many people in this city who want to hear and be saved.

Every blessing in Christ

Reg Piper