How to Hear from the Heart

Praise the Lord we had a successful day of Gospel Outreach at the Richwood Flea Market yesterday. By success, I mean the good news of Jesus was proclaimed to many people, both through resources like gospel tracts, books and DVDs, but also through personal, verbal testimonies of the person and work of Jesus.

Thank you all for praying. The Lord answered our prayers in the affirmative to prepare the hearts and minds of people that He would send to us. Let me share with you one example.

After handing a man an Ark million dollar bill tract, he stopped and read through the entire gospel message on the back right in front of me. After he was done, I asked him what he thought of the message. He said he liked it and agreed with it. He mentioned that he was a Christian, so I asked him what church he is a part of and he mentioned a local Christian church.

Now this next part is key.

I didn’t simply shake his hand and say, “Nice to meet you brother!” Because I didn’t really know his heart, whether he was truly a born again Christian, or just a church-goer. In fact, most times when people tell me they’re “Christian”, that’s my prompt to dig deeper, to probe further into their heart of hearts.

Now I know that no man can fully know the heart of another man at the deepest level, only God truly knows what is in a man’s heart of hearts. But God has given us clues that I believe can help us come to a reasonable conclusion.

Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”

So generally speaking, you can gain some insight into the heart of man by listening to his words. But here’s the thing with religious people (like church-goers who aren’t born again), many times these folks know the right words and can spew them out from religious rote, like muscle memory. So they may say something like, “I’m saved because I accepted Jesus.” But their heart is not trusting in Christ alone for salvation.

So here’s the trick: Dig deeper. Probe further with deep questions.

Here’s what I said to this gentleman, “So let me ask you a deep question. It’s a hypothetical question. It’s not really going to happen like this, but let’s say you died and went to Heaven and God met you at the pearly gates and asked you, ‘Why should I allow you into My Heaven?'” Then I looked him straight in the eyes and asked, “What would you tell God?”

At this very moment, you could see the wheels turning. He was thinking deeply about this question. You could almost see him struggling with what his heart wanted to say, yet he knew wouldn’t sound right.

I believe the Holy Spirit is working at this point, so I usually do not interrupt their train of thought. I just wait patiently for their response. I did so with this man as well.

But in this case, his wife came over and said, “Because Jesus died for our sins and I believe in Jesus.” At this, the husband nodded and agreed.

So I heartily affirmed her answer and admonished both of them with the fact that Jesus paid it all. Our good works can never earn our salvation. I quoted Bible verses like Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.”

I challenged them to make sure that their trust and hope is in Christ alone for their salvation, glorifying God for the all-sufficient work of Jesus on the cross to pay for our sins.

So praise God, I think the Lord used that gospel encounter to challenge the husband, maybe to convict him of the fact that his righteousness is like filthy rags and to cling to Jesus alone as our hope.

So when you’re sharing your faith, remember to probe further when someone tells you they’re a Christian. I find that true Christians don’t mind being asked the deeper questions and actually appreciate the fact that you care enough to dig deeper.

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