2Corinthians 2:15For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and amongthose who are perishing,16 to one a fragrance from death to death,to the other a fragrance from life to life.Who is sufficientfor these things?
My brother, John H, was preaching in Minneapolis, as he faithfully does 3-4 days per week. He is like a postman, faithfully delivering the mail whether snow, or sleet, or cold, or dark of night. Like a postman, his only responsibility is to deliver the mail. He does not wander around people’s houses to see if they open the mail. He is only responsible to deliver it. Heralds of the Gospel message are not responsible to make sure that people respond to the Gospel, that is God’s responsibility. But we must faithfully deliver it through tracts, one to one witnessing, and verbal proclamation on the highways and byways of our world.
As happens frequently, John was assaulted by a homeless man a number of weeks ago.The truth was impacting Him so much that he reacted in anger. This anger manifests itself many different ways on the street- in the case of this man,and threw a huge snowball at Him after a barrage of expletives and threatenings at John’s preaching. He was very angry at John, but as we know, what was really happening is that he was angry at the preaching of truth.
Fast forward to this past weekend. We were heralding the Gospel on the same streets of Minneapolis, I was on the box preaching. A man walks up slowly, tentatively to my friend Steve. He asks Steve if he can speak with me. Steve tells him that when I get off the box that I can speak with him. I get down off of the box, and this very humble man approaches.
” I want to go the way you guys are going”
I respond “What do you mean?”
” I want to follow Jesus”
I question him as to why he wants to follow Jesus. He explains to me that he is homeless, an alcoholic, and that he has led a very wicked life. I tell him that Jesus cannot save him from being homeless, but that he can save Him from the penalty of sin, which is death. I explain that Jesus came to give us righteousness, which is what we need to be at peace with God (Romans 5:1)
He thanks me for being honest- he explains he wants to be cleaned up from the mess he has made of his life- all the ‘sh*t ‘ that fills up his soul. He wants to turn from his life and turn to Christ. “I want to do it now. How?”
I explain to him that he needs to cry out to God, tell God his desires to be clean just like he just told me. I take him to Psalm 51 as an example. He is humble. He is ready. He asks me to pray with him. He calls Steve over as well. He drops to his knees, and cries out
” God, I am so sorry for all the sh*t I have done. My life is full of sh*t, my heart is wicked. I am sorry for being a drunk. Rescue me! I believe on you!”
I prayed over Him….God, you know this mans heart. Grant Him repentance unto life, give Him grace. Wash Him clean of his sin. Help him to follow you by the power of your Spirit.
Now John came across the street, with tears in his eyes. He had many encounters with this man, including the last, most violent one. He came across the street to welcome this man into the family. Michael begged John for forgiveness. John granted it to Him and embraced him. He also made arrangements to have lunch with him the following week.
We do not know where this man is, and what God is doing, but we know that He did cry out to God and that God will be faithful to complete salvation to those who call on Him.
I street preach to the glory of God. For some my words are a fragrance from death to death, bringing judgment. For others, it is the sweet fragrance of life. For Michael, I believe it became a fragrance for life.