A few months ago I had the privilege of going to a local park to share the gospel. I walked around armed with my characteristic question, “Are you going to heaven?”. I approached a young woman with glasses who appeared to be studying for a test. I said “Excuse me miss, I’m from a local church in the area, and I’m asking people an interesting question. Are you going to heaven?”
I was feeling a bit nervous because I had no idea what she was going to say, or if she was going to shoo me away like a common house fly. To my delight she proceeded to answer my question with sincerity and thoughtfulness. I found out she was from Russia and had only been in the United States for a few years.
She Didn’t Believe In Heaven.
She didn’t believe in heaven, and used to attend a Russian Orthodox Church where the Pastor taught that a person has to obey God to the point of suffering to go to heaven. After understanding her religious background I began to share the gospel. I asked if she had kept the Ten Commandments.
One by one I went through them asking if she had lied, stolen, and taken God’s name in vain, but to my surprise she said she’d kept them all! I thought to myself “wow, I’m dealing with a very good person here!” At this point I felt the need to go straight to the gospel of grace.
Jesus Suffered. Heaven Is Free.
I told her we are not the ones who have to suffer for our sins, but Jesus Christ is the one who suffered on our behalf. I explained that our sin separates us from a holy God according to Isaiah 59:2, but Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our sins to bring us back to God according to 1 Peter 3:18. He then rose from the dead three days later.
Most importantly, I explained that heaven and God’s forgiveness are FREE based on Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 6:23! I saw that the gears began to spin in her mind; she was thinking seriously about what she’d heard! All of a sudden the gospel sounded scandalous to her. I don’t blame her. How can heaven and forgiveness truly be free? It almost sounds immoral for multiple reasons.
“So, do we get to just do anything we want?”, she asked. This gave me the opportunity to respond with truth from Romans chapter 6 where we’re told that the when we trust in Jesus He frees us from the power of sin. Because of this we are told offer ourselves in service to God rather than to our sins. Her response to the message was positive. This was the opposite of what she heard in the past.
She Considers God Gift.
She then said she wanted to think about it more and read the Bible on her own. I then invited her out to our church service, and gave her my contact information. How many people out there have yet to understand that heaven is a free gift from God? There are many! There are curious souls out there waiting to be engaged about eternity by us. All it takes is tossing out a direct but simple spiritual question.
Who can you share the gospel with today?