I‘ve always been desperate to reach the lost, and because of that, I’m continually pleading with God to save them. Their fate weighs heavy on my heart, as it should on the heart of every Christian. The very thought of the reality of Hell should take our breath away. It is that thought that drives me to daily visit a local college to engage students on-camera with the gospel—for our YouTube channel.
The Apostle Paul said that his agenda was to warn every man (see Colossians 1:28), and that agenda was motivated by God’s wrath. He said, “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Each of us should want to warn sinners that they are in terrible danger, by telling them that they are enemies of God (see Colossians 1:21). The problem is that they don’t know that. As far as they are concerned, God is happy, and all is well.
That’s why I’m grateful for certain keys that unlock the hearts of those who normally wouldn’t bother to talk about the things of God. This is because if all is well, needing mercy isn’t on their priority list.
One of these keys is to take advantage of the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.” This was a famous study done by two psychologists, in which they concluded that people who were not too talented, tended to over-exaggerate their talent. I had this delusion when I was in high school. I thought that I could sing...until I sang into a tape recorder. Never again will I do that. The experience was very humbling.
A humble person will listen to other points of view. That’s why my aim is to gently humble a student, so that he will be open and honest, and listen to the gospel. This isn’t deceitful. It is the art of discretion—to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
I do this by asking if he considers himself to be an educated person. Is he well-read? Most are quick to say that they are. I then ask if he knows what the biggest selling book of all time is. Most don’t. It’s the Bible. It’s that old, outdated, discredited and unscientific book that they haven’t bothered to open.
The fact that they said that they were well-read and yet they didn’t know the answer tends to humble them, and at the same time it gives a measure of credibility to the Scriptures. I then ask if they are familiar with a certain famous passage. They should be, if they are well-read, but of course, they are not. That gives me the liberty to educate them.
I ask, “Are you familiar with the famous incident where the religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus?” Surprise. They know nothing about it. I continue on the course of instruction by saying that the leaders sent temple guards to seize Him. But they came back empty-handed. When they were asked why they hadn’t arrested Him, they said, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46).
This gives me a humble listening ear to the amazing words of Jesus. He said unprecedented things such as, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice” (John 5:28). Jesus was saying that the time will come when billions of human beings—those who have been dead and gone for hundreds or even thousands of years, will be ripped from their graves by His voice to stand before Him in judgment. This leaves us with the thought that either this Man Jesus was deluded to the point of insanity or He was (as the Bible says) God manifest in the flesh (see 1 Timothy 3:16). He was the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).
Most widen their eyes when I tell them that in the Old Testament God promised to destroy death, and in the New Testament, we see how He did it. This thought and the words Jesus spoke are wonderful truths they will never hear in a secular school, in a godless home, or in this evil world. And so, almost daily I’m thanked by students for sharing the gospel. Most have no hope in their death, and to hear the words of Jesus is life-giving water in a parched and deadly desert.
Words in Red
If anyone deserves to have His words highlighted in red, it is Jesus of Nazareth. That’s why I did something unique in a new devotional called, Jesus in Red. Of course, having the words of Christ in red is nothing new. It’s been done many times. But this devotional is different.
The color red is often used to alarm us. God began this trend with red blood. When we see blood spill from our flesh, it alarms us. And so it should. It tells us that we are in danger. That’s why stop signs are painted red. That’s why fire engines are red. And fire extinguishers. And exit signs.
But, Jesus in Red does more than just put the words of Jesus in red. It isolates them. It removes the surrounding verbiage, so that only the gracious words that came out of the Savior’s mouth are in red. This is so that they can be read without distraction—of course with the admonition to the reader to afterwards open the Scriptures and read them in context.
If anything should alarm this blind and Hell-bound world, it is the words of Jesus of Nazareth. In their darkness they are a clear emergency exit from hopelessness of death. They are a larger than life stop sign. They are a loud siren, warning sinners of the fires of Hell.
His amazing words are spirit and they are life (see John 6:63). And it is His words that will judge all of humanity on the Last Day. What a terrifying thought that is, for those who are still in their sins.
May His words continue to alarm us even as Christians, and stir us to reach out to this sad and dying world.