On Gospel Conversations…
Currently, I am reading Mark Dever’s book, “The Gospel and Personal Evangelism” and this book is really a great reminder and a challenge. It is true that many times that we have neglected God’s given command to preach the gospel (2 Timothy 4:2) because of so many reasons; we feel inadequate, afraid, ashamed and have a lot more excuses. But this command to preach the gospel withstands. As followers of Christ, we need to be reminded that we are His ambassadors, His mouthpiece and His image-bearers.
Yesterday, I met Jigs, one of our church members who is a seafarer and is about to go on board this week and we discussed our discipleship tract while he is away from us so that we can still continue to care for him. While discussing, there was this university student who was standing behind the door holding his coffee until we finished our discussion. When we were about to leave, he sat down right next to me and when I was excusing myself to get my things, he approached me and told me that he overheard us talking about God and church. I explained then what we are doing and asked some basic questions about his church affiliations since he mentioned that he somehow understood what I am sharing with Jigs. But then he is quite hesitant to further talk about church until I ask him where he lives and when he mentioned that he came from Bacolod, I immediately told him that I am from Bacolod as well. It's indeed a small world after all since I am a friend of his first cousin.
The hesitancy changed into a joyful conversation, and I explained to him how God is sovereign indeed in allowing our paths to cross. He’s been here in Manila for study and he doesn’t have a church here. So we shared to him the gospel and prayed for him and he expressed his intention to join the church and we are praying that he would be visiting this Sunday. We then left him and we went our way to Makati to meet Riah, one of our church attendees.
We took a Grab car and when we started our ride to Makati, Jigs started to open a conversation with the driver asking about his vehicle and his experience in this kind of work. The driver started to share about his life and that he used to be an OFW in the UAE and that opened more topics to discuss since I went to UAE for my internship. He also shared about his family and I’m just glad to know that he originally came from Toboso, Negros Occidental. We came from the same province and that made us more comfortable having our conversation. Jigs and I were thinking of how we could share the gospel to him until he shared his experience last night when he was paid with a fake money by a passenger and then I immediately segue mentioning the reality of sin and how can we actually sin since we are all sinners by nature (Romans 3;23) and that we all deserved the wrath of God. Then I continued sharing to him the gospel and clarifying that we cannot be saved by good works but by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) since he asked if Roman Catholics has the same teachings with us Evangelicals. I emphasized the importance of repentance and faith as well (Mark 1:15) as a response to this good news of salvation. We then prayed for him and invited him to church.
Indeed, God gives us opportunity to open our mouths and witness the gospel truths to others. It is a joy to obey God’s command to preach the good news. We are praying that the gospel that was shared will bear fruit, but we entrust it to the Lord. It is not our job to convict people, it is God’s work. We just have to obey faithfully and clearly tell the truth.
May this story encourage and challenge us to always remember who we are as Christians and our mission as we journey in this life, that we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9b). That even in our normal conversations, lets remember that it matters. Let’s always make sure that our words are seasoned with salt, that it edifies, that it speaks the truth. Let our conversations be gospel-saturated that it may bring life to others as they hear the good news and respond in faith and repentance. Let’s make sure to pray and ask for God’s guidance, wisdom and opportunity to be bold in what we are called to do. It might be challenging and hard, but gospel conversations must be a norm among Christians who profess Christ as their Lord and Savior, and that the watching world might see the beauty and the power of the gospel.
Understanding the great truth that this gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) then we have to share it with joy, with urgency and with all honesty. As a recipient of God’s amazing grace, lets toil being God’s ambassadors witnessing to others this blood-bought good news. We are not alone in this; God is with us!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Allen Manzanares is the pastor of Evangelical Covenant Church Manila - ECCM.