OFFERING THE WATER OF LIFE
When you live in a well educated and prosperous culture you have the luxury of discussions and debates about all sorts of things. But if you are a missionary to the Sudan or Kenya or Russia or Haiti then debates about the age of the earth seem like a waste of time. Almost 20 years ago my best friend and I began a missionary organization which supports missionaries in remote parts of Africa. We have had them over to our homes and have spoken to them and corresponded with them hundreds of times. Some of them have their lives in jeopardy because they preach the gospel.
Never one time in twenty years have I spoken to these kinds of missionaries and have them suggest that the age of the earth was an important topic. You see, that kind of discussion and organized debate is reserved for us who are not hungry or thirsty or have our ears inclined to hear footsteps in the night coming to take our lives. These kinds of debates are reserved for the safe and well fed. I am sure Jim Elliot was not prepared to share his views on the age of the earth with the Auca Indians of Ecuador. I do not wish to sound as if I know everything because in reality I know very little. But this one thing I do know.
We, the followers of Jesus, need to share and live the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and refuse to be lured into questions and strifes over issues unrelated to the gospel. Let us make a clear distinction between in house teachings and debates as opposed to organizing entertaining discussions which are designed to come up with a winner who seems more persuasive than the other. To a lost and hell bound world of darkness it matters nothing whether the earth is 6 thousand or 6 millions years old. And yet the world is oh so willing to debate those kinds of issues. What they need and what they shrink from is “Who do you say Jesus is?” It is possible to embrace Darwinian evolution and that the world is 6 billion years old and receive Christ as Lord and Savior without changing those views at all. The Lord will deal with His children once they become His children.
But it is also very possible that we make those issues stumbling blocks for sinners who may never consider the claims of Jesus Christ because they find our views on other things, which we openly promote and challenge lost sinners with, as too far out. And the evil one deceives them into believing that in order to become a believer you must accept all these other things as well. I hope we all can see how we have obscured the gospel with other issues.
A man who was dying of thirst because he believed the water was made of arsenic saw how another thirsty man drank that same water and lived. That man then drank the water and was given life through that water. Now that same man knows another man who is dying of thirst but he says he can prove scientifically that the water is made of arsenic. Does the man who now has life:
A. Challenge that man to a debate about the chemistry of water
B. Mock that man because he believes what he used to believe
C. Continually drink the water in front of that man and cup his hands filled with water and offer it to the thirsty man
We have been called to live Jesus and share Jesus to a lost world who needs Jesus.
And he who drinks of that water will never thirst again.