Wednesday, March 05, 2008

He Brought His Brother

One of the two who heard John and followed Him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is, being translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus." (John 1:40-42)

I’ve already related here one conversation with three rather rebellious young ladies. That is how my portion of our ministry ended last Friday night, a far cry from where it began. And here's how it began.

We got to the Fountain in Five Points a little late (but right on time on God’s clock). I have been building a small “library” of material to give away, items that cover issues people bring up in conversations. I would like to either send people off with something to read about a matter that concerns them, or attract people by the material. When we get to the Fountain, I arrange my stuff on the wall with some Open Air material as well.

When we got set up, there was not much foot traffic, so some team members were looking over the material to see what was available. The Open Air material was new to a couple of them, so they tried to figure out the IQ tests (I love to play around with them—they don’t know what’s coming next). While they were puzzling with this one, a fellow came drifting within ear-shot, so I called him over to help the team figure out one of the IQ Tests (click on the image for the link). He came over, tried his turn, but when he saw the Ten Commandments chart, he scooted on across the street before I could engage him in conversation.

I grabbed a handful of tracts and turned around to find a familiar face coming up the sidewalk. I was already talking with someone else, and a new team member stepped up to work them over, so I could not get to them right away—but we saw each other. Almost a year ago I was introduced to some new friends who were in the Marines and Army. One in particular “did his time” and is now in law enforcement. I had the opportunity to share the gospel with him, and though he was already going to church, had not heard the gospel fully explained before. On his own, he repented and came to the Lord Jesus Christ. Since then, I occasionally see him on the street (he makes it a point to “swing by”) or he gives me a call. This time, he brought somebody with him and waited patiently for me to finish my conversation (which I will post later).

While I was having the other conversation, they both were given tracts by another team member, and were working their way through the Good Person test. When my conversation ended, I came over and we introduced all around. I was happy to learn that my friend had brought his younger brother with him (probably about 19 or 20 years old). My friend was training his brother in “a job” (I can’t tell you what it is—I am sworn to secrecy), but God worked it out that tonight, he would also “train” his brother in righteousness.

“How’d you do on the first three?” my friend asked his brother.

“I failed. I’m a liar, a thief and an adulterer,” he looked at me, uneasy.

“Did you know you were these things already?” I asked.

“Not really,” he softly replied, then looked down. Shame?

“If God were to judge you by the Ten Commandments, would you be innocent or guilty?” I asked.

“Guilty,” he answered.

“Would you go to heaven or hell?” I inquired.

“Heaven,” he answered.

“Why?” I went on . . . and waited. Brother looked at brother. Brother looked at me. Brother looked at brother. My friend wanted to explain, but had a hard time finding words then said to me, “you tell ‘im.”

I looked up into his eyes (everyone is taller then me) and asked, “Do you think God is a good God, and if so, why should He let liars and thieves and adulterers into heaven?”

He did not have an answer. He shrugged, and looked down.

I told him, “God has a place for liars, and it’s the same place He has for thieves and adulterers and murderers and sorcerers and drunkards and unbelievers. Do you know what that place is called?”

“Hell,” he said.

“Does it bother you that you will die in your sins and go to hell?” I asked.

He shook his head and did not say a word.

I went on. “Do you know what God did to keep you from going to hell?” He answered a quiet, “no” then said something about sending Jesus.

“What does Jesus have to do with keeping you from dying in your sins and going to hell?” I asked. He could not put it together, so I showed him from scripture.

“The Bible says that sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) and because we have all broken God’s moral law, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ (Romans 3:23). They ‘paycheck’ we get for being sinners is death (Romans 6:23). The good news is that ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). This means that He paid the penalty we deserve so that we can be free from both sin and death and can receive new life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you ever heard that before?”

“Sort of,” he said.

I thanked him for being honest with how God saw his heart and for listening to what I had to say. I went on, “Imagine for a moment that you were standing before a judge who had a list of everything you’ve ever done and he says to you, ‘Ok, before I pass down judgment, what do you have to say for yourself?’” I paused to let him see he had no way out.

“You know there are only two ways out of a courtroom: in cuffs, or out, right?” I explained, “Now imagine for a moment that the judge gets up from behind the bench and is standing beside you. This means He has given up all He has as a judge and He is standing beside you as a lawyer, now working on your behalf, for your defense. When he stepped down (understand He has never done any wrong, and is perfect) He is offering to you all His goodness in exchange for all your crimes, all your sin. All you have to do is admit what you’ve done and hate it the way He does. All you have to do is accept the death that He died to serve as your own and take up the new life He is extending to you by faith. Understand that He is making payment for you. Will you accept that gift?”

Big brother smiles at little brother.

“Yes,” he said. I felt the need to make certain he got it. “The Bible says that God displayed Christ publicly through the crucifixion to make payment for sin. He wants you to be not just ‘forgiven’ but clean from sin. The Bible says to ‘riches profit not in the day of wrath but righteousness delivers from death.’ (Proverbs 11:4). I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, ‘turning over a new leaf?’”

He nodded.

“God doesn’t do that. He makes a new leaf. ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold, new things have come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Is there any reason why you should not bend the knee right now and confess your sins to God and ask Him to save you and give you new life?”

“Right here, on the sidewalk? Do I have to?” he asked.

“Jesus died publicly, not in secret. Beside, you would not be the first,” Brother and I encouraged.
He couldn’t do it.

After a few minutes of fidgeting, I did not want to make him feel more uncomfortable than he already was, so I encouraged him to read Psalm 51, make it his own prayer and I would pray for him—but I had to make certain he understood that my prayer for him was not his own for repentance and salvation—he needed to do business with God alone.

I took off my hat and prayed for him right there on the sidewalk, people passing behind us . . . Amen.

I opened my eyes and saw the tears in his. I think he did business with God right there.

We rejoiced as brothers and said our goodbyes . . . until we see each other again!

Popular Posts