While waiting to be seated at a restaurant this afternoon, I started talking with our hostess Allison about her day. She immediately mentioned how awful it was hearing about the mass shooting in Orlando last night that killed 50 people and wounded many others. I told her I was very saddened by it as well, and then handed her a Gospel tract mentioning it was a card that contained life-changing information.
I said to her, “If you were to talk with any of the guests seated in this restaurant right now about where they’re going when they die, I’d be willing to bet that most of them would tell you they’re going to Heaven because they’re good people. Sadly, this is not the case. The Bible shows us that no one is good from God’s perspective. He sees us in truth. When we compare ourselves with the Orlando terrorist, we appear good; we don’t shoot people. When we compare ourselves with rapists, we’re great; we don’t rape. However, God will not judge us compared to other people; He will judge us compared to Himself. He is the standard of righteousness, and we fall short. Very much so. We have all sinned and turned our backs on God to do our own thing.”
Looking very surprised, she said to me, “That’s crazy! I’m that person! I’ve always considered myself a good person and I’ve always thought that God would forgive me based on my good works.”
I started to go through some of the Ten Commandments to help her understand the nature of her sin, “We’ve all lied to people and taken things that don’t belong to us. We’ve taken the name of God and used it flippantly, or even as a curse word in moments of anger. In fact, Jesus told us that when we hate one another, we commit murder in our hearts. Likewise, when we lust after someone we’re not married to, we commit adultery in our hearts. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight, and that is terrifying for us when we are covered in sin. If God simply swept our sins under the rug as if they weren’t a big deal, He would be corrupt and unjust. But God is perfectly holy and perfectly just. Because He loves you, God went on a rescue mission to save you from your sins and grant you everlasting life. The only way He could do this without compromising His holy character was by becoming one of us, a human being, and being punished in our place. Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived a life of no sin. This perfect, spotless Lamb of God was mocked and mutilated and nailed to a tree that He Himself created. He was spit on and humiliated. While He painfully hung on the cross, God the Father poured out His fierce anger toward sin on His very own Son and crushed Him. Jesus paid for your sins with His own blood shed on the cross. This is why you can never work your way to Heaven. Jesus paid your debt by His sacrifice, not by your good works. Three days after He died, Jesus rose from the dead proving that He is God. After showing Himself to over 500 people, He ascended to the right hand of His Father. He now offers you forgiveness of your sins, but you must recieve this gift. Jesus commands you to turn from your sin to Him, placing your complete trust not in your good works, but in the work that He did on the cross.”
Alison listened intently the entire conversation and then said to me, “Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It’s perfect timing! I’ve never been open to these things until recently. My mom is battling stage 4 colon cancer right now and it has caused me to feel so helpless and hopeless, but I’ve started to read the Bible and pray lately, and now you’re sharing this with me!”
I would never have known these things about Allison if I hadn’t spoken with her. So many people are struggling with the issues of life and eternity. They aren’t ready to take their final breath, but it will come upon them suddenly just as it did for 50 people last night in Orlando. The Lord has commissioned us to preach His Gospel of salvation to all the world. He desires to use us in people’s lives, but we must open our mouths.
The Gospel shared with a shaking voice of fear is infinitely better than the Gospel not shared at all.