Newhall, Saturday morning July 19, 2009
Open air preached James 1:1-12 and Rom. 1: 18-20; Conversation with Carlos
I was originally going to preach on the passage that I was studying for which was Rom. 1: 18-20, but I decided to change it to James 1: 1-12 after Ricardo asked the men we were witnessing to, "What question would you like to ask us?" Their response was something like, "How can God help us to deal with the fact that we are having a hard time finding work?" I knew that I had to change the original sermon that I had prepared for since the passage in Romans did not deal with the issue they wanted answered.
The problem was that I didn't study the James passage, so I read James chapter one a few times, and just trusted the Holy Spirit to help me deliver the message to these men. I started with a brief introduction of the book of James, some information about the author, and some historical background. I also emphasized the fact that James in this first chapter was writing to Christians and telling Christians that the way to deal with the trials that they are currently facing in their lives is by faith. A faith which they have received from God. Moreover, I explained to the men that they shouldn't rely on the things of this world because they will soon pass away like the illustration of the rich man that James describes in the first chapter. The only thing that man can hope for and have faith in is God.
I asked the men if they had the same type of faith that James describes in the first chapter. I then told the men that the only way that they can have this same faith that James describes and endure the trials that they are facing is if they have repented of their sins and put their trust in faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. It was at that point that I explained the Gospel to them.
One of the men named Carlos was very interested in what we had to say. He told us that he was addicted to drugs, and that he knew that what we were telling them was true because he intentionally avoided us when we were there on previous occasions so he wouldn't have to hear the preaching. (In fact, Ricardo would tell me later after our encounter with Carlos that Carlos was giving them a hard time the previous weeks because he was playing dice with the other men while the message was being preached, so Ricardo was surprised by his reaction.)
Carlos told us that he wanted to repent and believe, but he couldn't because of his drug addiction. We told him that he couldn't be saved by his own power, his own strength, or his own will, but he needed to simply come in humility to God and ask the Holy Spirit to save him. Ricardo explained Isaiah 66: 1-2 to Carlos. It was a very encouraging encounter with Carlos. Ricardo told me this past Saturday that they spoke to Carlos again ( I wasn't able to go), and Carlos told them that he would be attending church the following Sunday. Please pray for Carlos.