Saturday, 9 February 2013

Give me two minutes

I've got a lot of books about the Bible, and the study of God's Word is something that will keep the believer well occupied forever. But while the Bible is inexhaustible and the Gospel message is profound, I have been impressed recently at how succinctly the Christian can make his case and present the message of salvation.

I was speaking to a man during the week, telling him about a Bible exhibition that was coming to his town. He told me he wasn't really interested in the Bible. I said he really ought to be, because if the Bible is the Word of God then it has a message we cannot afford to ignore. His reply was that nobody could prove the Bible is the Word of God. I told him I thought I could, and that I could do it in less than two minutes. He seemed a bit bewildered at this, so I asked him if I could have a go, and he invited me to do so.

I read the following verses to him:
I am poured out like water, all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue cleaves to My jaws; You have brought Me into the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

Psalm 22 v 14-18

He is despised and rejected of men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded [pierced] for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed...
Isaiah 53 v 3-5

I asked him who I had just been reading about. He said it seemed to be the crucifixion of Jesus. No prizes for guessing that! We agreed that it obviously was the crucifixion of Jesus - the description is so vivid and graphic. But the point is these passages were written hundreds of years before Christ, and before crucifixion was invented. These writers were writing about things they couldn't have predicted naturally of guessed luckily.

The man to whom I was talking told me I had done a good job, and had certainly given him something to think about. I told him that if the Bible spoke accurately about the future, then it gives us really good reason to believe what it says about our future.

This allowed me to take one more minute to give him the message of the Gospel - we have sinned against God and there is hell to pay for our sins (Romans 2 v 12); God in love sent His Son to bear the punishment and pay the penalty for sin on the cross (John 3 v 16; 1 Corinthians 15 v 3-4); He rose again and is able to save (Hebrews 7 v 25), and if we agree with God on our sinfulness and trust Christ as our Saviour He will save us from our sins and give us new life and peace with God (Acts 20 v 21; Acts 16 v 31; John 3 v 15; Romans 5 v 1).

There it is, it doesn't take long, but that brief message can change things forever.