Free files for youth pastors:
I remember feeling so helpless and powerless. When I was 18 and working at a golf course in Tuscaloosa, the regular morning drill was getting paired off to go out on the golf carts and accomplish the daily golf course duties. On one morning, I was paired up with Matt, who was a devout and practicing Roman Catholic able to explain his faith very well. After hearing his spiel, I was perplexed. How could I ever put my faith in “the gospel of Jesus Christ alone” into words in such a way that would convince him to believe my way over his? But that was the problem. I was only thinking of it as trying to explain my faith rather than explaining THE faith!
There is a difference. As we’re moving through MACRO theology, the question that begs to be asked is, “Can all of this deep theology answer the cries of world?” If you look at the world around us, it is crying out! Wooden idols, Jerry Springer, and plastic surgery are all forms of the screams of society. Their screams are hollering for forgiveness, righteousness, and safety.
First we have to ask two questions. Question #1: Why are there so many different religions? I believe there are because God has created us in His image so that we have desires to worship Him, but the reign of sin has cursed all humanity to where our whole lives are distorted from its original intent. Lastly, there are so many religions today because of globalization which means that basically every other nationality, culture, and religion are now at our doorstep.
Question #2: Who will be saved? Different people say different things, which is always the case. Those following “Universal Pluralism” would say that every religion does worship the same God…just from different directions. Obviously that is false. “Inclusivism” teaches that everyone is being saved by the gospel of Christ as long as you have faith in what has been revealed to you. Although very popular, that is wrong as well. Those who believe that salvation is only found through faith in Jesus Christ are what is called “Exclusivists”…like myself!
So let’s get down to the heart of the matter. The question I get ALL THE TIME is “How can I witness to someone when they say that they don’t believe in the Bible, Christianity, or that there is only one way to God”? Do we think up the best apologetical argument that will convince them that God is the only way? Should we meet them where they are and just let them believe in their own terms (like a Muslim believing in Allah and the prophet Esa)? Or, do we tap into what the Holy Spirit is already doing and take advantage of His work? Ding ding ding! That’s right, let’s check out what the Holy Spirit is already doing within them.
John 16:8-11 says that the Holy Spirit is working in every unbeliever and is convicting them of three very important things to which I think we need to talk with them about. That means we talk more about these three things than we talk about the complexity of the eye, the watch found in the forest, or the discovery of Noah’s ark. We can witness to the world this way:
1. Speak to an unbeliever’s UNBELIEF (John 16:8, 9). Jesus says that the Holy Spirit is convicting every unbeliever of not believing in Him which is why wooden idol worship exists (along with every other religion). The Holy Spirit says, “You are not worshipping Christ.”
2. Speak to an unbeliever’s UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (16:8, 10). I am convinced that the world has a sense of righteousness. They may not experience much guilt when they do wrong, but they go crazy when they are wronged (The Jerry Springer Show)! The world wants a righteous standard in Jesus’ absence. The Holy Spirit says to them, “You are not living for Christ.”
3. Speak to an unbeliever’s UNSAFE eternity (16:8, 11). People all around us (or maybe you) don’t want to look or feel like they’re getting old and dying. Working out, hair coloring, plastic surgery, new sports cars, vacations, etc are just some ways they are seeking to take their minds off of the coming judgment. The Holy Spirit says, “You are not ready for Christ’s coming.”
Since the Holy Spirit is already convicting the world in these three ways, wouldn’t it make sense to be talking to them about sin, righteousness, and judgment to bring them to Jesus?!