I have been reading a book called “One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven” by Mark Cahill for my church’s book club. We have not met to discuss the book yet but I am looking forward to when we do! Writing to Christian readers; Mark points out that there is something that we as Christians will NOT be able to do when we get to heaven. So, what is it? “One thing you cannot do in Heaven is share your faith with a non-believer. Why? Because everyone in Heaven is a believer.”
I have had many opportunities to share my faith with others in my life. Unfortunately, I have not acted on all of those opportunities. It is easy for us to share our faith and tell what we know of God and the Bible with those who already believe. It is much harder to share it with those who don’t. For me it is because of fear. I fear being rejected and/or laughed at. I fear not being able to answer questions that come my way. I fear that people will see my faults and think I am being hypocritical. I want people to like me! Maybe it was to people like me that Jesus spoke to when he said:
“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man [Jesus]. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven…” Luke 6:22-23
There has been one time or another where all of my fears mentioned above proved to be things that happened when sharing my faith. I remember a guy in middle school calling me names like “holy roller” or “Bible thumper” because I carried my Bible with me at school. I have encountered several people who have just been plain smarter than me in almost everything who threw questions at me that I had no clue how to answer. I have also been called hypocritical. I can think of a specific example where I was living in sin and a person I worked with knew of my sin and what I claimed to believe. Needless to say, to that person, my actions spoke much louder than my words. I may have been in that person’s life for the sole purpose of sharing Jesus. It breaks my heart knowing that (because of how I lived my life at that time) I may be the reason that they won’t get to go to heaven. I can only pray that God will send someone else to that person who is a much greater example of who Jesus is.
Throughout the past seven months; I have had the privilege of sharing my faith and beliefs with someone who I now consider a friend. We talk two or three times a month and most of the time we end up on a spiritual related topic. Her beliefs about the spiritual world and life in general are very different from mine but I truly enjoy talking with her whenever I can. She asks a lot of good questions and I have been able to dig deep into the Bible and do research in order to answer them to the best of my ability. This has caused my faith to get stronger and has made me more educated about my personal beliefs. Did you know that God calls us to be educated believers?
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15
I can give my basic foundational beliefs and personal testimony to anyone who asked me about them at any given time. But when the hard questions come (whether Biblical, scientific, hypothetical, etc.); I am not afraid to answer a question with “I don’t know.” If I do not know an answer to one of my friend’s questions; I go and search out the answer and bring it back to her either through e-mail or the next time I see her.
Speaking of questions; Mark Cahill mentions several common statements or questions that non-believers say or ask when a believer presents the gospel to them. He also explains how we as believers can answer them. It was nice to read the answers to them all in one place. I think I have covered most of these questions with my friend at one point or another; either because she asked the question or I brought it up to explain something I was talking to her about. In today’s and tomorrow’s blogs; I am going to quote most of Mark Cahill’s chapter called “Good Answer!” because I think he explains the answers much better than I can.
(Everything indented is quoted from the book “One Thing you can’t Do In Heaven” written by Mark Cahill. The questions are in bold and the answers follow. Anything that I inserted to the quotes, including scripture, I put in [brackets]. )
“There is no absolute truth.”
“Always remember that all truth, by definition, is very narrow. It has one right answer and many wrong answers. For example, 2 + 2 = 4, not 5, not 11, not 67 (one right answer and many wrong answers). There is only one person who is the president of the United States right now (one right answer and many wrong answers). I would expect when it comes to eternity that there would be one right answer and many wrong answers. And that is exactly the case. There is one truth, and it’s found in the Bible. We must continue to steer people toward the eternal truth of God’s Word… It doesn’t matter what you believe, it matters what is true. People need to think about truth rather than just belief. I might believe that the earth is flat, but it isn’t. I might believe the sky is green, but it isn’t…”
“In explaining his spiritual beliefs, [Jim] said that, as long as he believed in his heart that something was true, then it was true. One issue you’ll encounter frequently… is the concept of absolute truth versus relative truth. The belief that truth is relative to a given situation. Here is one of the arguments that I use: “Adolph Hitler killed six million of God’s chosen people. So as long as he believed in his heart that it was an okay thing to do, then it was definitely okay to do, wasn’t it, Jim?” At this point Jim is in a bind. I have had only three people answer yes to that question. Some people get caught in their argument an don’t want to admit that they are wrong. Jim answered, “There must be some absolute truth.”… “Jim, if you ever want to find absolute truth, you can find it in the Bible…”
“In what situation is rape okay?” … Think about it. Can you think of one situation in which it would be okay? Since it is wrong for all people, in all places, at all times, then the statement “rape is wrong” would be an absolute truth. And if there is one absolute truth, there can be two, three, or more.” [Definition of rape: noun-the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.]
“Can you prove that there is a God?”
“People frequently ask this question, implying that our faith is blind while reason is on their side… God has never asked us to have blind faith, and He never will. Blind faith is what leads people into cults. We use calculated faith for most decisions in life, and we should do the same for eternal decisions.”
“I was… chatting with a theater professor as he was walking to class. He asked, “Can you prove there is a God?” I said, “Sure, I can.” … I explained… “Every time you see a shirt… you know it has a creator. Every time you see a watch, you know it has a designer. Every time you see art… you know there is an artist. Every time you see order, like twenty Coke cups in a row, you know there is an order. When you look around the universe, what do you see? You see creation, design, art, and order. If every other thing has a creator, a designer, an artist, and an orderer behind it, why would you not think that there is a Creator, a Designer, an Artist, and an Orderer behind this universe?” …
“Romans 1:20 says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse…” [KJV] People will have no excuse before God if they claim there wasn’t enough evidence for Him, because the creation speaks of a Creator. How do we know a building had a builder? Just by looking! The building itself is the proof that there is a builder. This universe itself is the proof that there is a God. Period.”
“How do you know the Bible is true?”
“1. The Bible is the best-selling book in the world. That alone doesn’t mean that the Bible is true, but because it is the best selling book in history, we should take a look at it. Approximately 150 million Bibles are printed each year! No other book even comes close… there is a good chance the Bible contains at least some truth; reading is a great way to find out.”
“2. The Bible claims to be written by God… people believe that man wrote the Bible, but the Bible claims that God is the author: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” 2 Timothy 3:16 [KJV] “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21 [KJV] However, just because the Bible claims God as its author, does that mean He is? Actually, no it doesn’t… We need more proof than that…”
“3. Historical evidence supports the Bible. No one has yet been able to identify a single historical mistake anywhere in the Bible. That in itself is amazing. If man wrote it, we would certainly find historical errors after all these years–but there are none. So that you can study more on this point, as well as on the next two, I recommend that you read any of the following books: *New Evidence That Demands A Verdict, by Josh McDowell *The Case For Christ, by Lee Strobel *The Signature Of God, by Grant Jeffrey. All three books provide powerful evidence that the Bible is not from the hands of man, but from the hand of Almighty God…”
“4. Archaeological evidence supports the Bible. To date, archaeologists have not discovered a single thing in the Middle East that has proved the Bible wrong. As a mater of fact, each additional discovery continues to prove it true. There have been 25,000 archaeological finds relating to people, places, and events in the Bible, and not one has contradicted anything in the Scriptures. That’s incredible proof of the Bible’s trust worthiness. The three books mentioned above contain numerous quotes and great information about this archaeological evidence… If you can believe the historical and archaeological evidence for the Bible, why can’t you believe the spiritual part of the book?…”
“5. Fulfilled prophesies validate the Bible… Fulfilled prophecies not only prove the Bible true, they also are a proof for God… “What is the only book in the world that contains hundreds of very detailed prophecies?” The correct answer is the Bible. The Book of Morman doesn’t; the Koran for Muslims doesn’t; the Bhagavad Gita for Hindus doesn’t. I ask, “If the text contains prophecies that do not come true, what does that say about the book?” People will answer that the book is false. And that’s absolutely right… If a book predicted something that didn’t come true, the book could not be trusted. I point out to people that when the Bible was written, 25 percent of the content predicted future events. And every single one of those prophecies has come true in the minutest detail, except for the few remaining prophecies about the return of Jesus Christ to earth. Statistically, there is no way that man can predict the future with 100-percent accuracy. I then ask people, “Who is the only one who can do this?” One time I asked this question of an atheist, and he answered “God” –and he doesn’t even believe that there is one! But he recognized that only God could know the future…”
“Sometimes the person… will ask what some of the prophecies are. I usually use the following three:
*The Book of Micah (5:2) [Micah prophesied sometime between 750 and 686 B.C.] tells us that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem–not in Jerusalem, Atlanta, or New York [“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (KJV)]. And Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7) [“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (KJV)].
*The Book of Zechariah (11:12-13) [Zechariah prophesied between 520 and sometime after 480 B.C.] says that this Messiah will be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver [“And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” (KJV)]. Jesus was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15) [“And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.” (KJV)].
*The Book of Psalms (22:16-18) says that this Messiah will be pierced in His hands and His feet. [“…they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”] This prophecy is amazing because it was written 800 years before crucifixion was ever used as a means of punishment, yet Jesus was pierced in His hands and feet (Matthew 27:35) [“And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” (KJV)]…”
“The Bible is not just a single book, but a compilation of sixty-six books written by some forty authors over 1,500 years. Its internal consistency and fulfilled prophecies prove its divine origin.”
If you haven’t already; I recommend reading my continuation of this post: “Do You Know The Answers? (Part 2)” Part 2 includes the following arguments and questions that non-believers often say or ask:
“Doesn’t evolution prove the Bible false?”
“How can Jesus be the only way to God? Aren’t there many paths to Heaven?”
“I don’t believe in Hell, so there can’t be one.”
“The Bible says we are reincarnated when we die.”
“Can God create a rock so big that He can’t lift it?”
“When I am old, I will get right with God.”
“How can there be a God when there is so much evil and suffering in the world?”
“What about someone in Africa who has never heard the Gospel? Is he condemned to Hell?”
“The church is filled with hypocrites.”
“There are so many different religions; how do I know which is the right one?”
I highly recommend that all Christians read Mark Cahill’s book “One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven.” You can purchase it at Christian Book Distributers here.
Overall this book has made me more aware that our time here on earth is short compared to eternity. I know where I am going to spend eternity because of God’s grace and mercy that he has extended toward me. I pray that Christians (me included) who read this will be able to better defend their faith in Jesus and be more intentional about sharing their beliefs. I also pray that non-believers who read this will at least have something to think about and maybe get some answers that they have been looking for. Friends, I truly care about your search for eternal answers, and hope that I will someday see you in Heaven where we can worship our Almighty God together in eternity!
If I can answer other questions, or at least lead you toward more resources, I would be happy to do so. Please feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org