A couple of weeks ago, I met Justin. While sitting at a fast-food restaurant with a group of preachers, he came in and sat behind part of the group. We had been having some wonderful conversation and this young man (twenty-two years old) had been sitting there a while; I wondered if he was listening. The talk turned to the matter of a loss of power in preaching despite somewhat of a recovery of sound doctrine among some preachers of this generation.
Then a strange thing happened. One of the men among us, a pastor of many years, turned toward the young man and said, "That young man needs God." Now, I had hoped that the young man would profit from our conversation and even wondered about some of us talking to him but this was an unexpected (yet quite direct and simple) way to turn the conversation!
It turned out that Justin was homeless and a drug addict. He had been in and out of rehabilitation, and had been clean for a couple of weeks, according to his statement. Evidently he had come into the restaurant to ask someone to buy him a meal, which was done. But his need for food and a home in no way overshadowed to us his need for the bread of life and a home in heaven. By the grace of God, Justin received compassionate but serious and urgent warnings and a clear presentation of the gospel from us that night. He was warned that his idea of God may be an idol as he seemed to claim a pursuit of God that was detached from His Word and people. One pastor told him that he was walking on the edge of hell and that he did not have the power to change himself but Christ did. One of the men with us was once addicted to drugs and spoke to him from his own experience and pointed him clearly to the Savior who came and died for sinners that He might give them life. Justin was also reminded of the accountability we all have before God and the urgency of trusting Christ now, as none of us has the promise of another day.
This experience was a combination of joy and sadness. I rejoice that the Lord gave us boldness to speak the truth to this young man. I rejoiced to see brothers who believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation were actively and lovingly seeking to evangelize a sinner. I rejoiced to see a clear presentation of the gospel with a clear warning as well as a clear welcome to come to Jesus.
But the sadness is that our words seemed to go in one ear and out the other. Justin appears to still be darkened in his understanding. He appears to think that he can still do better instead of seeing his need to trust in Christ to change him. Even as we often get distracted from the eternal by the temporary, his focus seems to be on his present, immediate earthly needs instead of his eternal needs, which are just as present and immediate although perhaps not visible to him.
Please pray for Justin. He needs to be in the Word and under the sound of the preaching of the Word. He needs to turn in faith to the Savior held forth in the Word to get the most important thing straightened out his relationship with God. Please pray that Justin's heart would become good soil in which the seed of the gospel takes a deep root, that God would open his eyes and that he would know his spiritual hunger satisfied by the Bread of Life and have a permanent dwelling place with God.