Contending for the Faith | thebereancall.org

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Transcript:

Mark Cahill: Hey, y’all, good evening! (Repeat, louder) Hey, y’all, good evening!

(Response) Good evening!

Mark: Better! It’s good to hear a harmonica done correctly! Isn’t that the truth? Yeah, that was good. We don’t get enough of that. This talk… (It’s good to be back in Alabama. I’m from Georgia, so it it’s nice to come back over this way. I went to college a long, long time ago, so it’s good to be back and do that). So, this talk is called “Contending for the Faith.” 

Let’s pray:  Father, thank you so much. What a wonderful God you are, that we get to sing about praise; getting ready for the journey to the other side. Get to sing about the Old Rugged Cross, but finally, soon and very soon we’ll get to see face to face the one who was on the rugged cross. But, Father, there’s still a whole bunch of people in Double Springs and America and the world that need to hear about your Son Jesus Christ and what He did for us on that old rugged cross. And that’s our job: to contend. That’s our job: to fight. That’s our job: to be daringly different from everybody else walking on this planet right now. So, I thank you, Father, for a church that does revival services. It’s getting rarer and rarer. Father, I thank you for the people here that have made a commitment of their time to be here during these days. Father, let them walk out of here with a great chunk of your Word, but much more excited, much more passionate, to obey what your Word says. And your Word is very clear. We need to be seeking and saving those who are lost before they take their last breath. So, Father, have your way tonight. Let it glorify your name. We ask it all in the great name of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

All right! I used to be a school teacher, so I go back and forth with my audience. Okay, so open your Bibles to Jude verse 3. So, open up your Bible…we’re going to go to the end of the New Testament, and we’re going to hit Jude, right before Revelation. So go to Jude and then verse three. Jude verse three: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you, that you should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints.” 

“Contend” means to fight, okay? That’s what the word actually means. So, what he is saying here is that the faith was given to the saints—those that came before us.  And so, Peter and Paul, and Thomas and Matthew—but then they passed it to the next generation, okay? And then the next one came through, and we had the Wesley’s and the Spurgeon’s and the other ones come through, all right? But it’s our job to keep the chain going. So sometimes you’ve seen, like, a relay race—some people are running and they hand off the…what? The baton to the next person, and sometimes they…what? They actually drop it sometimes! So, you make a choice at that point. Do you just stop and quit the race? Or do you go back and pick it up and take off again, right?

For some of us, we’ve actually dropped the baton when it came to the people before us, who handed it to us here in the 2000s in 2021, and if we drop the baton—I’m big on encouragement. That’s okay. Today’s a new day, right? Today’s a new day! I can pick that baton right back up and keep on going, and hand it to our kids behind us, people at church behind us, we can disciple and hand off. Because we’re taking off out of here, right? We’re checking out of here, and we don’t know when. But there’s a generation maybe going to have a chance to live after us (who knows where this is all going, right?), but we need to hand the baton to them correctly so they can carry it on and do that. 

So, think about what’s happened just in the last year in our lives, right? We’ve seen people contend, fight, over issues of masks and schools and critical race theory, and the vaccine passport protests, and stuff.  Some of the scenes in some of those school boards have been fascinating to watch, to see parents finally standing up for the rights of their children. All right? Think about “Drag Queen Storytime” that’s going on around the country right now. Where have we been? Where have we been? We only understood the fight a little bit when all of this happened in the last year of our lives, right? 

But think about this: it’s really a sight to behold, some of these people are making a stand, but are we bolder in sharing our faith in Jesus Christ than the people who are speaking boldly at these school boards? I love watching some of those videos, but some of them are convicting to me, because I’d better be bolder in standing stronger for Jesus Christ than we are going about the things of just the world, is that correct? 

But sometimes we stand for things of the world and it just encourages us to keep making our stand in all areas of our lives, and especially that time when we stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. Are we contending for solid doctrine? So many lies and false teachings in our churches today, okay? Are we contending for truth? That’s what America needs, is a good dose of truth! And it’s our job, as the followers of Jesus Christ, to bring this truth to people. 

Are we contending for souls? I mean, all you’ve got to do is flip the TV on, and the Internet on, and know that Satan is battling pretty hard for the souls here in our country. But do we fight harder when we have the Holy Spirit, right? Do we fight harder because we know the tomb is empty? We should be fighting harder than all of that, okay? 

And if we haven’t, that’s okay! Because today’s a new day, making a commitment during this revival service that that’s it! We’re going to go for it, no matter what the cost is going to be to our church, to our family, to our business—no matter what it’s going to be, we’re going to kick it for the Lord as we head out of here, okay?

One of my high school buddies, Tate—I took him to lunch one day, and I shared Jesus Christ with him over lunch. I gave him something to read and stuff. Tate looks at me, and says, “Mark, I want to tell you something. You’re the only friend I’ve got that ever takes his time to share Jesus Christ with me.”

Now, do you think I’m the only Christian friend Tate had? Yes or no? Impossible. No, not even possible. He had to have co-workers that were that way. But I said “had” because Tate’s taken his last breath now. He’s on the other side. But if I care enough where 

Tate’s going to spend eternity, I’ve got to take the chance over a lunch table, over a phone call, over an email, to make that seed and plant that seed and then watch what the Lord does!

I couldn’t make his funeral because I was traveling and preaching somewhere, and then someone texted me and said, “Mark, call me as soon as you can.” And he sent me a picture of Tate on the phone in baptismal garb. He had actually gotten saved and was baptized recently at a church before he passed away. I had no clue. I had lost touch with him and all that stuff, okay? But it sure made me happy to see that smile on his face before he went down underneath that water, and I know it was worth the time-taking to plant that in his life and do that!

I live in a part of Atlanta that’s a little iffy—drug dealers—and so we have this one corner, and there’s a lot of drug dealers there, and I was driving home one day, and all of a sudden, this one drug dealer came running down the hill at my car. They all know me because I stop, I try to talk with them, I give them tracts, and things like that. I buy them lunch. I do all kinds of crazy stuff. So, he came running down there, saying, “Hey, hey, hey, man. How ya doin’ man?” 

I said, “Good, what’s up?”

He said, “Can I get a ride?” 

I said, “Sure, hop in!” (Uh, I just give drug dealers rides, you know.)

I said, “What’s your name?”

He said, “Andrew.”    

And so I do a little U-turn, and I said, “Andrew, you see that spot right there?”

He said, “Yeah.” 

I said, “Do you know about that spot two weeks ago?”

He said, “Yeah, that’s where the guy was shot and killed standing right there on the corner.”

I said, “Yes, Andrew. Let me tell you something, Andrew. If you continue down this road, all right? of living your drug-dealing ways, one of three things is going to occur. You’re going to either go broke, you’re going to go to jail, or you’re going to die. That’s it. That’s the whole drug world right there in a nutshell, okay? One of those three things is going to happen to you, Andrew.”

He said, “Sir, I’m 19 years old and I’ve already spent two years in jail.”

Now, just think about that. Think about that life right there, right? So, I drove him over to his sister’s place, talking the whole time. I got to witness to Andrew. He liked to read. His sister liked to read. So I gave them some books to read.

It’s my job to contend for the faith. Satan is contending for that corner where the drug dealers hang out at, right? Why can’t we contend for the exact same corner with the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and do that?

Jude verse 17: “But beloved, remember ye the words that were spoken before the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Remember the words that were spoken before. So, he’s talking about the Scriptures here. The importance of scripture, and knowing the Word of God. The Word of God has got to get in you so much that it literally just comes out of you—when you talk, when you think, when you pray, when you speak to people, okay?

“The words that came before us.”  So, one thing I tell people all the time is the Law of Non-contradiction. When I was in Auburn, I made the mistake of taking a philosophy class, okay? I thought it would be an easy “A.” I was incorrect. I got the “A” but I was very incorrect on that. And the only thing I remember from that class all these years later was a thing called the Law of Noncontradiction. Something can’t be true and not true at the same point. I can’t be speaking in Double Spring and Haleyville at the same point.  One or the other is true. One can be false (I could be speaking in Atlanta, right?), but they both can’t be true at the same point. 

So, I use this all the time. I was at a High School reunion about three weeks ago—two weeks ago—and one of my buddies, we were talking about…his daughters have kind of been questioning things. And I said to him, “Richard, one thing you want to do is—when I was a school teacher, in order for me to grade a test, it had to have…what sitting next to it? An answer key. And if I had an answer key, I could X all day long and have a blast. But if I don’t have an answer key, then I can’t know what’s the right and wrong answers, correct?”

So, for the Christian, what’s our answer key? It’s the Bible! That’s exactly right. So, once I can prove this true, through archaeology, history, fulfilled prophecies (oh, my, I have a chapter in one of my books just on the fulfilled prophecies in this Book. People love that chapter)!

So, once I could prove it true, then I could put X’s next to things, correct? When someone tells me they’re good enough to go to heaven, I could put an X next to that, correct? When someone tells me that Islam has the Great Weighing scale—just good and bad deeds, I could put an X next to that, because I know it says One Way, One Path, through the Blood of Jesus Christ, forgiven of all your sins.

So, I was sharing that with them. So, the Bible’s the key. So then you have to take everything and compare it next to Scripture, whether it’s political, religious, or whatever it is and do that. He looked at me and said, “That was great. Mark, that actually made so much sense to me.” So I use that all the time with people.

A lot of times with people, I’ll just use the verse John:14:6. “For Jesus saith to them ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by Me.’” That’s either a true statement or a… what? A false statement, okay? And I just look at people, “…and you just need to find out which one it is.”

See, you cut right to the chase real quick, okay? And I put it all on the shoulders of Jesus Christ. Why? Because He can handle it. Right? Very simple. And I do that with people. And so, I was in a coffee shop in Atlanta, and I struck up a conversation with these three guys, and we ended up talking four hours! We sat there for four (I was hungry!). We sat there for four hours. We were having more fun! One of the boys was an atheist, and he goes to UAB, but this was in Atlanta before they headed back to school and stuff. And we just started going around and having questions, and this young guy—he asked so many good questions, things like…, well, so one of the things I told him—because as an atheist, he believes—what happens when he dies? Nothing, over with, okay?

So, I said to him, “What if death isn’t the end? What if there’s a door on the other side? What if there’s two doors on the other side?” (And he knew exactly what I meant, too, when I said that!) So, he asked things like, “Do you think the earth is young? Or is it an old earth?” 

That’s a great question. I guarantee he got it in some science class, either at in high school or UAB he got that, right? So, one thing to remember is that the world has really good questions; you and I have got really good answers, but we have to meet at some point. It might be a coffee shop, all right? It might be when your car breaks down. It might be the cashier. It might be the person who’s in line behind you. But we just have to meet somewhere, because they’ve got the questions, we’ve got the answers, and we’ve got to come together at some point and bring that truth to them, too. Because if we contend for the faith, fight for it, we want to meet people like him. It doesn’t mean I can answer every question, but I can sure point them in the right direction. And I point them to the old rugged cross, and let the walk happen there, as the Spirit begins to draw them, right?

Verse 18: “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time…” Does that sound pretty accurate in our world today? “…who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye beloved, building up yourselves in a most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Aren’t you glad there’s a merciful God waiting for us when we take our last breath? Oh, my, my! I can’t wait for that. Can’t wait for that! But are you telling people about this merciful and graceful God, who’ll give them a second chance, a third chance, a 70 X 7 chance, and do that? 

Verse 22: “…and on some have compassion, making a difference; and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Compassion. Do you have compassion on people? But do you have compassion for their soul, all right? Because their soul is exiting out of here, and we just don’t know when. But we want them to be ready for Judgment Day, correct? Most definitely we want them ready for that day. 

In the last lesson of the year because of all these lockdowns and craziness, I have met three people with severe, severedepression—two on the brink of suicide. Like about as close as you can get without doing it. One guy l took out to eat, we’d been talking and trying to stop the next step there, but he has a Christian upbringing. And so, I was able to point him back to what his parents taught him as a kid, when he grew up in Brooklyn, New York. But do you have compassion on people that are hurting right now? There’s a lot of hurt out here right now, okay? Great time for us to make a move into people’s lives, and have compassion for their soul and give them the truth that they’ve been looking for—sometimes their whole life in doing that.

I exercise at a park in Atlanta, and I was going to my car after I was running a little bit, and a lady walked past my car. I said, “Excuse me,” I said, “Are you born again? Are you saved?” 

She looked at me and just kept walking. And I said, “Ma’am,” I said (I usually say something like “I just want to make sure you’re right with Jesus,” or “I want to see you heaven someday,” something like that). So, I said something; she walked on. I was still in the car, and about two minutes later (I’m leaning in my car for something), and I hear, “Hey!” And I was like “what?” “Hey!”  I get up, and I look, and across the street—she’s across the street, and she gives me the “bird,” okay? She flips me the bird. Well, that was interesting because she was a little older than I was, and I was a little surprised at that.  And she said “Don’t you ever talk to me again. Don’t you ever speak to me again!” 

Well, that’s not going to stop me! You never let a bully bully you! Does that make sense? Don’t let a bully bully you. That doesn’t mean I have to be rude or anything. I stepped toward her. She’s across the street, so we’re not going to get close or anything. I said, “Ma’am, first of all, I have a First Amendment right. I can chat with anybody I want to.” We still live in the greatest country in the world, correct? We’re losing our rights, but it’s still the greatest country in the world. Don’t lose this country. There’s nowhere else to go. There’s nowhere else to go if we lose this country.

I said, “Ma’am,” I said, “It’s a public park, okay? People can talk with each other at the public park.” And I said, “I share that with you because I want to see you in heaven one day!” And I said, “The next time we meet, use a different finger.” That’s what I said to her okay? And I walked back to my car. Well, I actually ran into her two weeks later at the park, and she walked past my car again, right when I was by my car, and I said, “Hey, how are ya doing?” 

Nothing.

I said, “You know, it’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” (It was a gorgeous day, just a gorgeous cool morning.) “It’s a gorgeous day, isn’t it?”

She nodded at me and just kept walking. 

Okay, we’ll see what happens. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But remember, the fun thing is…well, not fun, but one of the things that happens—(that’s not persecution, by the way. That was just an inconvenience. Persecution is what’s happening to our brothers and sisters in other countries. That’s just an inconvenience.) But the thing to remember when someone is ever rude or mean to you, you can’t forget them. And if you can’t forget them, you end up…what? Praying for them! That’s exactly right. So, I don’t worry about situations like that because they’ll never leave your mind. She’ll never leave my mind. Every time I park in that spot, she’ll probably be the first person I’ll think of, which allows me to pray for her and then pray for someone else to witness to her as well, and do that.

I got a letter earlier this year—actually just a couple of months ago—from a lady, and it was a longer letter, like eight or nine pages, and I just put it to the side. I’m busy, we’re all busy, and I do… Anybody do the shorter things first before you and do the longer things?  And I just put it aside. And I saw it sitting there, and I thought, “I need to read this letter.”

So, this lady, Nancy Blake, wrote me this letter, and she said in this letter she had been praying for her father’s salvation for years. She goes into a bank, and a lady at the bank had these little “One Second” booklets that we do. She just had a stack of them on her desk in the bank, and it said, “Free, take one,” so she took one out of the bank, and she read it, and she just loved the Gospel presentation—just loved it. So, she decided to take it and give it to her dad. Now she wrote in the letter that she has the one her dad has—it’s still stuck in her Bible. She leaves it in the back of her Bible. It just sits in her Bible. Well, this little booklet is completely worn, coffee stains on it. She gave it to her 97-year-old father. He read it every single day in his reclining chair back in his room. Every day he read this thing front to back. All of sudden, one day the hospice pastor comes over, shares the gospel one more time with him, and dad decided to do what? Repent of his sins and get saved. I can’t even describe to you the joy that was coming out of this letter this lady had written me, okay? And the joy must have been for everybody around there. He was 97 years old, and this is what she put in there: he had written an obituary about all of his successes (he was a big businessman, a lot of successes) and he told his daughter to rip it up and toss it away. It was all a waste. 

Think about that for a second. She said he had such a repentant spirit, right? Actually, I remember the lady from that part of Texas who actually orders these and keeps them on her desk. She had no clue [that] someone was going to take it, put it into a 97-year-old guy’s hand, who would read it every single day, and it was going to lead to his salvation

I read the letter, and…my father’s not saved, and I had given him this booklet before, and he took notes on the back. He had a little sticky pad—he put notes (my father’s a Roman Catholic), and so I went over to his house one day, and I said, “Dad, are you reading the book?”

He said, “Yeah, I’m about halfway through, but I want to finish first before I say anything. And I said, “Fine.” And so I came back over a week later, and he said, “Mark, I’ve got a couple of questions for you.”

I said, “Okay.” 

He said, “What does the word ‘repent’ mean?”

Okay, that’s a legit question. 

Then he said, “Uh, Mark, what does the word ‘born again’ mean?”

Oh, my goodness! What questions! My father was processing this little booklet, okay, because he’s beginning to think, because he knows his days are running short, and he knows his middle boy cares about his eternal soul, and we just have to plant the seed and pray and then watch what the Lord does through that. 

On my way to church in Atlanta, I always stop at at least one gas station to bless some people, and stuff—but I was going to this one by my church, and I stop at this one gas station every now and then, buy someone’s gas on the way there. And so I pulled into this station—literally nobody in this gas station, like, literally nobody! And I’m like, “There’s always somebody there!” So, I pulled over to the side, I said, “Father, hurry up and bring someone here so I can be on time for church.”

So, I’m just sitting there. Nobody comes in! All of a sudden, a guy walks out of his car and just goes and sits in this car over there. So, I’m sitting there, and nobody is coming out. So I’m like, “All right, Father, it must be him.” So I just get up, and I start walking to his car (I always have gospel tracts with me) and I say, “Hey, did you get one of those?” and hand him a tract and stuff, and so Victor and I started talking. And Victor told me that he had been studying different religions, Islam, Buddhism, Scientology, all right?

I said, “Well, Victor, the most simple thing is you need to get saved. That’s the most important thing. You just need to find out who Jesus is and get saved.”

He said, “Oh, I was saved as a kid.”

“Okay, wait a minute. So, if you were saved as a kid, why are you searching out Islam, Buddhism, and Scientology?” Okay? Because sometimes I think we’re looking for what I call a “quick salvation” instead of a biblical salvation, all right? Take your time with someone who wants to come to Christ. Make sure they understand what they’re walking into, all right? And sometimes we don’t do that. 

And here’s a guy who thinks he was saved as a kid, but there was no fruit of it, he said. He just did the aisle and then went on with his life and did that. Completely searching the …..(?) So I did the John:14:6 thing: something can’t be true and not true at the same time. Jesus, what He did for you.

He was from Richmond. I said, “Victor, we can’t be in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and Richmond at the exact same time. One or the other is true, in doing that.” 

So, I did a little something that is crazy, and I…he had one dollar to his name. One dollar. I met a guy this week who had ten dollars to his name. I met a guy the other day who opened his wallet—he had five $1 bills in his wallet. He was trying to figure out how much gas he was going to put in because he was going to save a little extra money for food, okay?

Remember something. That’s not me now. I don’t…I have more than ten dollars in my wallet, okay? But I’ve been there before. I’ve been when it’s pretty, pretty close to $0. I never want to forget that there’s people running around, Double Springs, Birmingham, Atlanta, that have a dollar in their pocket.

So, he loved to read—he took a couple of my books, so I gave him that, and I said, “Put your other hand out.” And I put 5 ten-dollar bills in there. I put $50 in one hand and the books in the other hand. I said, “Victor, your choice. You can have the $50 in cash, or you can know exactly what’s going to happen in eternity when you die. Which one would you choose?”

I do that to folks. Wow! You should see the look on some people’s faces. Some people wrestle. They’re really wrestling, because they’re low on nickels. Victor looked at me. He said, “I really could use this money right here, but I know this about Jesus that you just told me about will last a whole lot longer than this money will here.” 

Correct? Yeah, he was correct. I said, “Victor, you’re correct.” And then I always say, “You actually get both of those today. Jesus said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

And it’s actually a very easy verse to understand. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is such a blessing to bless people this way.

And then he looked at me and said, “I didn’t know there were still people like you out there.” And that kind of intrigued me a little bit. Because shouldn’t he have said, “Come on, man! You’re like the third person this week trying to help me out. You Christians are always out here doing stuff, blessing on me. Come on, man! What’s up with y’all? What are you learning in that book,” right? 

But sometimes…I bought a lady her gas coming over here today. She pulled up to the pump, and I said, “Hey, you getting gas here today?”

She said, “Yeah!”

I said, “My treat.” 

And she said, “What?”

I said, “My treat. Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” 

And she had this really, like, shocked look on her face. I said, “Why?”

She said, “I’ve never had a blessing like that before. That’s why you see the shocked look on my face.”

She said, “It’s not a game?”

I said, “No! 

So she took my card. I tapped it. She said, “How much?”

I said, “Fill it up!”

So we started talking, and I said, “Do you like to read?”

She said, “yeah.”

I said, “Fiction? Non-fiction?”

She said, “Books.” 
(Hmm, I like people like that.) And she’s just a reader. She likes to put books in front 

of her eyes. And we started talking, and I said, “Any religious faith?”

And she said, “Uh, spiritual.”

Ok, that’s a general category that they’re not saved whenever they say that. So, I got a 

couple of books from my car, walked over, gave them to her, and we just kept talking. And she said, “You know, I’m not into…I didn’t grow up in church, I’m not into the ‘Jesus’ stuff now. “But, she said, You know, three weeks ago, there was a pretty serious forklift accident that I was involved in at work. And it’s traumatized me, and I’m still struggling with it today.”

(What better person could I have run into at a gas station today than her, right? And I was going to get gas last night and fill my car up and run over here today, and it was just rainy out, one of those ugly days, and I was tired, and I just thought, “Ahh, I’ll just do it in the morning.”

Well, I would have missed out on her if I had done it in my time instead of God’s 

time. But it was just such a perfect divine appointment that I just had to step in. 

Turn to Acts:8:1: “And Saul was consenting unto his death, and at that time there

was great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem. And they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, dying for his faith, and they made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, hailing men and women and committing them to prison. Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went everywhere, preaching the Word.”

So it’s something to think about. Preach the Word wherever you are, all right?  “In

season and out of season.” The only two times you ever share your faith: in season and out of season.” Okay? Don’t share it any other time. You could get in trouble with the Lord, okay? So it’s just basically we should be in season and out of season. How often should we try to talk to people about Jesus Christ? How often? Yeah, like all the time, okay?

Yet we make it a rarity instead of just a constant thing in our lives to try to strike up an eternal conversation with somebody and do that. So, if you get scattered for whatever reason, you just bring the eternal truth of Jesus Christ when you’re scattered.

Earlier this year I got an email from this guy, and this is what Trey said. He said, “Mark, [it was 2009 or 2010, so this was about 11 years ago] you gave me a copy of One Heartbeat Away” and $20 for my train ticket. That moment will always stick with me. I was unsaved at the time. Today I witnessed to the people in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, my home every Sunday night. My daughter and I pass out tracts and my friends and his daughter join us as well. We pass out food and water. I can’t thank you enough for the impact you’ve made in my life. God bless, Trey.”

The impact I made on your life? I gave you a book. It had to be a short conversation and twenty dollars. That was it! But “thank you for the impact you made on my life.” 

Oh, the train station he’s talking about is in Okinawa, Japan! I was flying to Okinawa to speak to the military over there (as a matter of fact, this was in probably in Tokyo, actually) and I was catching a train for something, to get to the bus I needed to go to, and I’ll just strike up conversations with people as I’m going through my day. And one of my high school buddies, who went to Auburn as well, became an F-15 pilot, and then he became a Christian. He wanted me to go over to Okinawa to speak to the military and speak at a church, Koza Baptist Church, over there, right? Well, good opportunity. I thought it’s be neat. I’d give it a shot.

So, God scattered me over there, right? And I did the Lord’s work while I was there, and then about two years ago I spoke at a college in Texas, a Christian college, and a young man came up to me and said, “Hey, I’ve actually heard you speak before.”

I said, “Yeah?”

He said, “Yeah!”

And I said, “Where?”

And he said, “Okinawa, Japan.” He was a military kid who actually heard me at a

youth group thing over there and then runs into me at a college in Texas, right? And it was just so fascinating, because those are just the little things that happen. But if you’re contending for the faith, fighting for the faith, we fight whereverwe are at, is that right? Anywhere—it might be a gas station; it might be a train station. It doesn’t matter. Our job is to contend and fight for the faith and do that, all right?

Matthew chapter 5—I’ll just read this one to you. Matthew chapter 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Now, many people take that verse, and think “Oh, I’m going to go do a bunch of good things and glorify my Father which is in heaven.”

That’s not the implication of the verse. How would they know who to glorify, unless I opened up my mouth and told them that I was a servant of the Most High God and Jesus Christ. You see, and when you do those good things and reach out to people like that, it all begins to make sense as the Holy Spirit keeps touching your heart and doing that. 

I used to teach school in Columbus, Georgia, and one day, there were some prisoners whacking weeds in front of our school. So ,I pulled up, I go into first period; I walk in and there’s all these ninth graders raising their hands and going, “Mr. Cahill, Mr. Cahill!”

I said, “What?”

“Are we going to go witness to the prisoners that come up?”

I said, “Of course we are! Why do you think God brought them here? Of course, are, 

okay? Y’all sit there, and don’t move.”

So I walked out of the classroom (something you’re not supposed to do is leave 

students alone in the classroom, but I took a chance here).  So, I walked outside, I saw the big guy with the shotgun, and I said, “Hey, how are ya doin’? My name’s Mark. I do prison ministry work and things like that, and I love to chat with prisoners. My students and I would like to come out and say hello to the guys, I would like to talk to them. We’re going give them some cokes and give some Gospel tracts and whatever.” 

And the guy with the shotgun—what did he say? What did he say? “Sure! Come on out!” 

I said, “No problem!” So, I go in, we get our change together, we buy some Cokes, so I told my students, “When we get out there, I’ll speak to them. But when I finish, I want every one of you to walk out amongst the prisoners, okay? I want every one of you to give them a Coke; I want you to give them a gospel tract, and give them a ‘positive’ touch. I don’t know if it’s a shake of the hand, a tap on the shoulder, but give them a positive touch. They do not get positive touches in prison. So that’s one thing I want you to do.” And I was just trying to teach them not to be afraid of people, okay? I have a guy behind me with a shotgun. We don’t have anything to worry about, okay? Because I wanted to teach them.

So we go walking out of the classroom, I’ve got thirty kids behind me, so we walk out, and there’s all the prisoners, they’ve got them all together. So, I share the gospel with them, give them the truth, and I had my students filter out. And all of a sudden, they’re having conversations with all these big old huge prisoners! They’re just talking away and having a blast. And then one guy came up, and he said, “Hey, Sir, I didn’t get one of those tract things you talked about.”

Isn’t that interesting? On a hot Columbus, Georgia, morning, it wasn’t the Coke! He wanted the Coke, but he wanted that “tract thing,” that Gospel thing. So, you just don’t know where we can meet people at. And it just might be right in front of your school one day. We just have to walk out and get into that conversation and do that, okay?

Go to John chapter 12. Two really good verses to make sure you know where these are and live by these verses as well. John chapter 12:42-43: “Nevertheless, among the chief rulers many also believed on Him. But because of the Pharisees (other people) they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the Synagogue.”

So they knew if they stood up for Jesus, they were going to get kicked out of the Synagogue. Now the Synagogue was actually more than a church. It was your business contacts, it was your social contacts, and your spiritual. So, if you got kicked out of the synagogue, that was a heavy penalty to pay. They had to make a decision, you know, “If I make this stand, it’s going to cost me something, and so what should I do?” Watch verse 43: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

You have to get to a point where you just don’t care what people think about you. That doesn’t mean we’re rude or jerks or anything like that. But you’ve got to reach that level that “I can’t be concerned with what every person at work thinks about me, everybody at the gas station,” or you’ll never open up your mouth and talk to people. It’s something that we all wrestle with. We’ll wrestle with it till we get to the grave, but then once I see Him face to face, I’m going to wonder why I ever wrestled with it. Once we see Jesus in His fullness, and what He did for us, and the nail prints in His hands and His feet, you know it’ll all be worth it. So, contenders can’t be overly concerned what people think of you. 

Back at the school I taught at, back in the Olympics—Atlanta had the Olympics in ’96, some of the Olympics Games part was in Columbus, Georgia. So they were bringing athletes around to speak at different schools, so my same ninth-grade class—we were getting ready to go to the assembly, and I said, “Okay, is this going to be a typical temporary assembly, or is this assembly going to have eternal value? Ninth graders, make a decision, okay? All right, let’s go!”

So we just walked out the door, we go sit in there, and some lady was up there, and she was an Olympic diver. And she was talking about the Olympics and all this stuff, and she’d actually had her medal in, like a case, and she opened up the case, and she walked up to students, like, “Would you like to touch my medal?”

I was standing back there, like, “This is crazy!” It was a bronze medal, too, not even a gold medal! But it was like, you’d at least have a gold before you do that! Her whole life revolved around that medal, all right?

So, then they start doing a question-and-answer time. People got to ask her questions, and one of my ninth-graders raised her hand, a young lady. 

[Medalist]: “Yes, ma’am?” 

[Student] “Ma’am, if you died tonight, are you 100 percent assured you’d go to heaven?”

[Diver] “Oh, yes, definitely. I’m a good person. I’ve done a lot of good things, yeah, I’ve done a lot of good things.”

Is that the correct answer? No.

It keeps going. One of my students, Brad, raises his hand up. “Ma’am, I have a question for you. If you would die tonight and stand in front of God and He asks you why [He] should let you into heaven, what would you tell him?”

“Oh,” she said, “I’ve been a [what?] good person. I’ve done a lot of good….”

She went right back to the good argument again.

All of a sudden, my principal walks over to the side, and he pulls Brad over to the side, and they’re talking, and Brad, all of a sudden, he points—he turns around and points at Mr. Cahill [Mark] standing in the back (my principal), and I was just like, “What??”

Okay, I got in trouble again! I get in more trouble. I, like, stay in trouble! But I thought that they would bring a Christian athlete to a Christian school, and I wanted to make sure the athlete didn’t keep that to himself, okay? And they’d boldly share their faith to the students so they could learn not to be a wimp for Christ. That’s what I thought was going to occur! It didn’t happen that way. They had brought us a lost athlete.

So, I’m in the back, and she says, “Good enough to go to heaven,” and the people who brought her were standing next to me, and the guy says, “She gave the wrong answer!”

I was like, “What? You’ve got the right answer?”

[Him]: “You’d better believe I’ve got the right answer!” (He was a really strong Christian!) He said, “As a matter of fact, we’re going to witness to her at lunch today!”

I said, “Well, guess what! Those two students just made your job a whole lot easier! They opened up that door, didn’t they?”

See, what we didn’t even know is that there was water coming behind for that seed and in just a couple of hours they were going to sit down and have lunch! But that was the boldness of ninth graders, 14 and 15. But it’s not the job of 14 and 15-year-olds to lead the way. It’s our job as adults in Christ to lead the way and do that. So, think about that.

Go to Romans chapter 1, and go to verse 16. “For I am ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

What is this? What is this? 

[Student]: “For I am not ashamed…”

Mark: Well, you should have said it earlier. I finished the whole verse before you said it. [Laughter] You can correct me. It’s okay, just pretend you’re my mom. [Laughter]

Mark: “For I am…what? NOT ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Goodness! If you can’t tell me the last time you talked to a lost person about Jesus Christ, there’s a very strong possibility you’re ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I ask people that all the time. “Tell me the last time you had a one-on-one conversation with a lost person,” and people can’t even tell me. Wait a minute! What are we here for? What are we doing? The most important thing we do as Christians is reach this world for Christ, and we’re not even doing it. Are we ashamed of Christ because I’m going to get laughed at? Mocked? Spit at? I’ve been spit at before. But just read the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or read some things happening in other countries! Goodness! Nothing’s happened to me yet for my faith. Nothing has happened to me yet. 

At the gas station again this morning, I started talking with a guy, Levante. I bought his gas for him. He just couldn’t believe that I would do that. Bingo! We started talking, and sharing the gospel, and that I grew up in church, and we were just going back and forth and sharing. And he just has a new daughter, three weeks old. I’m sorry—two weeks old. And he pulled his phone out, showing me pictures. He said, “Let me tell you something. When you have a daughter, life changes. Life changes!”

I said, “Yeah, it does, Levante, okay?” I said, “The number one most important thing in life…”

He said, “Family!”

I said, “No, no, no, no, no. Levante! What’s first? Jesus Christ, and if you have that correct, then you have family, right? You know how to run your family correctly as a guy, right? And then, I said you get to do great things for your daughter.”

We had the most fascinating talk at a gas station before I drove over here. It’s because I don’t want to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, okay? Jesus wasn’t ashamed of me when He died on the cross! Why should I not be ashamed of Him by not opening up my mouth and giving somebody the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Go to Romans 13, verse 11: “And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to wake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Time’s running out, isn’t it? None of us know how close we are to standing in front of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Two months ago—maybe three—one of my buddies gave me a phone call. He walked into his house after work one day, opened up the front door, and his wife was lying face down on the floor, dead. She had had a seizure. Gretchen. He went over and checked her pulse; she was long gone. Forty-six years old. Just like that, gone! Ted had no clue that when he left for work that day that he would never see his wife here again, in the physical. 

But let me tell you something about both of them. They loved the Lord Jesus Christ, witnessing all the time on the streets with us in Atlanta. They would witness everywhere they’d go. She was having some health issues, so she was witnessing in hospitals and nurses, and all the fun stuff. She was the happiest lady in the universe. But we never know how quick that can come, and it came very quick for Gretchen.

Look at verse 12, though: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light.”

We need to be about the Lord’s business as the time spins out of control and rapidly runs down. We need to be about the Lord’s business and do that.

I was having some pretty intense stomach pain here, and it was pretty intense, and I didn’t want to go to the hospital because every time you go to the hospital, it’s just a lot of money, and they solve the problem maybe half the time, so I just didn’t want to go. I was real stubborn. 

But it got too intense, and I finally called my father, and I said, “Dad, please come get me. I need to go to the hospital.” He comes over to get me. I grab a case of my books with me. We go to the hospital. 

I have a gall bladder issue, and it was just crazy. So, all these doctors and nurses kept coming in my room. So, I just talked to each one of them, witnessed to them, gave them One Heartbeat Away books, and books started going through the hospital. Some doctor comes in. I talked to him again. (They never have the answer.) And so, I gave him a book.

Thirty minutes later he comes back in. He said, “Hey, can I ask you a question?” 

I said, “Sure!”

He said, “Yeah, you seem pretty spiritual.” (What a great statement [smiling].) “You seem pretty spiritual. I’m a Jewish guy. Can I ask you a couple of questions about Judaism and Christianity?”

And, Bingo! He sat on the edge of my bed, and we just talked and talked and talked for about thirty minutes in that hospital, okay? A few more people came in. I gave the books out. I looked at my father, and said, “Dad, I’m out of books. It’s probably time to go home.”

So, he puts me in the car, and I go, “I figured my mission trip is over.”

But looking for those opportunities everywhere we go—not to be ashamed of the gospel, and do that!

All right, go to John:3:36. So when you hear “John chapter 3,” what’s the first verse that comes to mind? Sixteen. We always think “John:3:16.” So, every time I tell people that, just add 20 to it. Or go to the very last verse of the chapter. There’s a fascinating little verse right here at the end of the chapter that you just don’t want to miss. John:3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

We, as believers in Jesus Christ, should not want the wrath of God to abide upon anybody as they take their last breath, is that correct? Yes, that’s correct. Take your worst enemy—whoever your worst enemy is—you don’t want them to have five seconds worth of the wrath of God. So, what are you doing to be certain that nobody in your circle of life is going to have the wrath of God upon them for eternity?

I’ve been witnessing to this Muslim guy. We have a conversation going back and forth. And in Israel in Jerusalem, the famous Islamic site is called The Dome of the Rock. You’ve heard of the Dome of the Rock before? Okay. Inside the Dome of the Rock—there’s things inscribed inside the Dome of the Rock. One of the Qur’anic verses inscribed inside the Dome of the Rock says, “Allah had no son.” What? “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon him.”

So, the last time I emailed this verse to Khan the last time, I said, “Khan, you say that the Qur’an—that Allah did not have a son. The Book that came a minimum of 600 years before your book says that God had a son. It says God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Khan, two things can’t be true at the same point. (This was my last email to him, okay?) One of these statements is true.” And I said “Which one of these statements is true?” and my next sentence was, “Khan, be very careful, okay? Your eternal destination depends on how you answer this question.”

That’s a strong email to send to somebody, but see, he’s been lied to! The Qur’an has lied to him about who the Son is. We know God has had a Son, and it’s our job to stand up for the Son and do that, all right? 

I was reading a book called The Soul-winners’ Fire by John Rice. I love to read. I love books, and I like books that just kind of hit me, and I just want to pull a quote out of this book, Soul-winners’ Fire by John Rice: “Nothing is clearer in the Bible than this: Every Christian can and ought to win souls. Andrew won Peter. Philip won Nathaniel, Jesus won the woman at the well of Sychar in Samaria, and so many of her townspeople. Every Christian may have the marvelous privilege of winning souls; the marvelous privilege of seeing somebody go from lost to saved, from hell to heaven.” All right? Then he put in there the verse Proverbs:11:30: “For the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise.” Then he continued to write, “He that winneth souls is wise. We may put it down on the authority of the Holy Writ that the best wisdom of this world is not shown by the banker, nor by the statesman, nor by the educator, nor by the millionaire businessman but by the humble soulwinner. All other labor is insignificant beside the supreme labor of winning souls. All other efforts are as good as wasted when the results they bring are considered beside the eternal and glorious results of soul-winning.”

Think about that. That was a heavy line to me. But if you run your own business, run it for the Lord Jesus Christ, right? If you’re a bank teller, put some booklets out there that some lady might grab and give to her 97-year-old father.

See, we can all do things for the Lord. I’m going to have lunch tomorrow with some medical people in Birmingham, and the doctors who run it keep these (books) One Heartbeat Away on all their tables and their doctor’s offices, and they’ll put little stickers on here that say “Please Steal Me,” because they want them walking out the door. And I actually get to email them every now and then because someone will read it and email me, from Birmingham, and I’ll say, “Where did you get it?” and I’ll email Dr. Vaughn and tell him what happened with at least one of the books that walked out of his store, because he has a business, but he wants his business to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ because that’s so much more important.

I got an email from a guy—he was in the Jefferson County jail, so, you know, right on I-20 right there? The big tall building with the slits—that’s the Jefferson County jail. And he emailed me that he got put in jail on false charges. (Have you heard that one before? Okay!) Now I actually used to do a lot of prison ministry work before all this craziness. You know what’s interesting, though? Very few people will ever tell you they’re in jail on false charges. Very rarely will they tell you that. They’re usually pretty honest: “Yep, this is what I did, and I got caught. Four more years and I’m outta here.” Okay? Then you can just start talking, so you really want to start then. 

This was his email: “First let me say thank you to you for writing your books. I was locked up in solitary confinement for 18 days in the Jefferson County jail, when the food delivery inmate came by.” So, in solitary, typically on the door in the prison there’s a slit, like a little opening, kind of like a mail slot opening, but large enough to slide a food tray through. Now, they used to have the slits up here, but inmates being inmates, many times they would take urine and feces, and when the guard would come by to open the door, they’d flick it at them like “that,” and do it. So, they moved all the things down here, so all you do is get your feet dirty if something like that happened. 

So, the food comes, and so, the guy also ended up sliding a Bible through there, sliding this book I did, One Heartbeat Away, and then sliding One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven, and another book I wrote through there. Now, they’re not supposed to that, all right? A book cart comes by, and you can choose something off of it, but they’re not supposed to…but some food guy was being aggressive that day and gave it to him. One Heartbeat AwayOne Thing…, and a Bible. 

Guess what? He said, “While I was in prison, in my darkest moment, in the pit of what had become my life, I was…” What? “…saved.” He was saved! And guess what? They were false charges! They let him out after 18 days. Someone had lied about the whole thing and gotten him in there. 

But in another part of the email, he told me, “I thank God I got put in…” what? “…jail, so my life could slow down enough to get in the Bible, get in the Word, and get my life right with Christ and do that,” okay?

And that’s why it says in the scriptures to be thankful in everything—in everything we do. Because we don’t understand why you might be in that jail for 18 days; you just have to be thankful that that happened, and do that.

He wrote in the book, “How may I win souls?” That should be the chief concern of every child of God. We do these little booklets that are great to give away to lost people. There’s a guy in Canada, David—he orders cases! His team has ordered—I think it’s almost well over thirteen cases of these booklets. They are literally door-hanging every house in this city in Canada. And I don’t know—if you want to see where America is going, keep your eyes on Canada. Okay? Canada’s about four or five years ahead of us, but that’s exactly where we’re heading is toward Canada, and it’s been a rough patch for the last year-and-a-half up there. And they’re literally—when our team goes out, he’ll literally—he’ll actually—he takes pictures, but they’re literally trying to door hang every house in their city in Canada, so every single person has the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Is that bold? Yes or no? That’s bold, where I come from! Man, this guy impresses me! He called me the other day, because he was struggling. He said, “Do you ever get that weariness where you don’t want to walk out the door and go out there and go out there and be bold and share Christ?”

What did I say? What did I say? “YES! It happens to all of us.” I said, “You’re going through a patch where you know the enemy’s fighting you right now. And that’s a great place to be, because when you pop through, you and your team, you’re going to keep doing great things, because he [Satan] knows what you’re doing and he’s trying to stop you, and it’s not working at all in doing that.”

All right, let’s go to Mark 16 and we’ll get ready to close it here. Go to Mark 16 and verse 15. You all know this verse, okay? And it says, “And He said unto them….” Who is He? Jesus! Shall we pay attention to Him when Jesus speaks? Yes. Now, He wrote the whole Bible. God breathed the whole Bible into existence. Every word matters. There’s certain times where He’s speaking, though: “And He said unto them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Why every creature? Because every person needs the Lord Jesus Christ. If everyone needs the Lord Jesus Christ, then it’s our job to go out there and give Jesus Christ to those people.”

Philip, didn’t you tell me you went to the Dominican Republic doing a mission trip down there? Yeah! So you go to the DR, and you do your mission trip, but the question becomes “Are you bolder for Jesus Christ back here in America, or bolder for your one-week mission trip wherever you go once a year?”

I spoke to a youth group up on Huntington, Indiana, with 300 youth at this thing. It was a pretty big event, and they had all gone on this trip to some Spanish country—I can’t remember what it was—and they went there for a week, so I was up there about five or six months later, and I said, “Okay, a question for you. Since you 300 kids have been back and you went on your one-week mission trip to wherever it was, out of you 300, have you taken the time to talk to a lost person about sin, salvation, judgment to come, repentance, belief, the cross of Jesus Christ—if you’ve done that since you’ve been back in the United States—Indiana, anywhere in the States—raise your hand up for me.

Out of three-hundred students, how many of them raised their hand up? Go ahead. You can say it. You can say it. ZERO!

So, I said, “Oh, okay!” So I said, “You serve that “Big God!” That Big God that can do great things in the Dominican Republic, but can’t do great things in Double Springs. Tuscaloosa. Birmingham. Auburn. Atlanta. Indiana.”

No, the Great Big God who made the whole shootin’ match can do anything anywhere, and He takes seeds we plant and makes them grow, right? So, we want to be used by Him.

I wrote this in one of my books, and I said, “When you take your last breath, either Satan is going to have used you or God’s going to have used you, but you’re going to get used. Okay? Either Satan’s going to use you or God’s going to use you, but you’re going to get used. Sometimes I have to ask an audience, “Have you ever had another human being use you before? Yeah, it’s typically not a good feeling, is it? Right? So all I know is when I take the final last breath I want to make sure God’s done the using and Satan has not done the using at that last breath, and do that, okay?

Let me tell you just a couple of stories and I’ll be done. I got an email about three weeks ago from a guy, and this is what Jonathan said: “We met briefly as I was leaving an AT&T store somewhere north of Atlanta in the summer of 2019. I was not a believer at the time, and you gave me a book, One Heartbeat Away. I never read it.” Oh, that’s a great email to send an author, right? “I never read it.” But interestingly, I just met Friday a nineteen-year-old kid at a coffee shop in Atlanta—Sandy. He came up to me. He said, “Do you remember talking to me outside sometime?”

I said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You were going to Georgia State or something?”

He said, “Yeah.”

I said, “So what do you do now?”

He said, “I’m retired.”

Nineteen years old. His dad’s a big real estate guy. He got into Real Estate as a high school kid, and he has sold so much property he’s retired at nineteen. 

I said, “Sandy, you’re about to be so bored out of your gourd. You’re going to be searching and searching and searching to find a purpose for your life.”

So you’d think he’d…no, just because he has no pressure to pay rent doesn’t mean he’s in a good spot in life. He said, “Sir, I read that book you gave me.”

Oh, so he did read the book—the same book I gave him, though. So, we were talking, and now we’re going to go out and eat sometime soon in Atlanta, right? So it was just a good opportunity.

Well, this guy didn’t even read the book. But upon looking at it recently, I think it’s a great tool for apologetics and evangelism: “I was a hard atheist with a hard heart for most of my life but came to know the Lord Jesus Christ in the summer of 2020 while reading the Gospel of Mark after graduating from college. I thought of you randomly and wanted to share this with you. You’re an encouragement in your obedience to sharing the gospel with strangers like myself. I hope you are well. The Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

So, we’ve been shooting some emails back and forth. I just got him some other books and stuff, so now I’m encouraging Jonathan to be…what? Bold and share his faith, because if he’ll listen to me in an AT&T store, someone’s going to listen to Jonathan. He’s got a story to tell about the old rugged cross and what Christ had done for him.

I pick up people on the road. I just sometimes pull up to, like, a bus station in Atlanta or someone walking down the sidewalk. I roll down the window and I say, “Hey, do you need a ride?” If you ever do that to people, you either get a really quick “no,” or people look at you like you’re a serial killer, or they jump right in your car. I’ve had more people say, “Yes, I do. I have to get over here now. The bus is late…” or whatever. 

So, I was in a car and I had a…I was talking to a Jehovah’s Witness. I got a Jehovah’s Witness one time. So, I was driving through the chain states, and he was just super nice. I mean, we were going…he was listening and going back and forth. But then I took him (and I want to take you to this last verse). Go to First Timothy 3. So, one thing to remember, when a Jehovah’s Witness knocks on your door, should you answer your door, yes or no? Sure! Answer the door! I’m not concerned about what they’re going to say to me. I’m more concerned about what I’m going to say to them. 

Then, at the end of it, when they hand you the Watchtower literature, should you take it? Yes, or no?

Yes. Always take it. Because then that means that they can’t…what? Give it to somebody else. That’s exactly right. They can’t give it to somebody else. Folks, we’re in a battle here! We’re contending. And this is a fight. And literature is part of the fight. Let me just tell you, I’ve got more Books of Mormon at my place in Atlanta. If I ever start a Mormon church, I’ve got all the scriptures I need to start a Mormon church. They’ll give it to me, and I will take it, because they can’t give it to someone else. 

Now, interestingly, they’re taught not to take anything from you. But interestingly, this gentleman did! He took a couple of my books and these little booklets that we do, and he wanted that, because he just enjoyed the conversation.

So, go to First Timothy 3, and then go to verse 16. So now, it’s very easy to remember because Jehovah’s Witnesses, their translation of the Bible is called the New World Translation. All right? But they also believe in the King James Bible. So have a King James by your door so you can use that with them when you talk with them. They’ll have it in their satchel bag. They have it right there, okay?

I always take them to 1 Timothy:3:16. Watch what it says: “And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

“God was manifest in the flesh….”

Now, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe Jesus is…who? They don’t believe he’s God. Okay? There is no way around this verse. You actually cannot get around this verse. God was talking…I always ask them, “Can you explain this to me?”

Well, they pull up the Watchtower Bible, and there it actually says, “He was manifest in the flesh. They take out “God” and put “He.” So, one day I had an older lady and a college-age young man there, and I said, “No, no, no, no. That’s not right. So, I told the college kid, I said, “Do you have one of those Greek Interlinear Bibles?”

He said, “Yeah, I do!” So he pulls it up on his phone. I said, “Tell me what that word is right there.” So he goes to the Greek, and the word is Theos, and there’s only one way to translate Theos. And what is that? That’s “God.” So, I looked at him. The Law of Noncontradiction, right? I said, “Young man, someone’s been lied to. Someone’s been lied to. It’s either you, or it’s me. But it can’t be both of us. You need to find out who Jesus Christ is.”

Then the lady did her U-turn and got away from my door as quickly as she could, and the young man had to go with her, right? But good seed-plant? Oh, great seed-plant. He’ll never forget that encounter. So, keep that right by your door. 

But as we contend, as we fight, for the faith, we have to be those type of people that don’t worry if we get laughed at or mocked, and do that. 

All right, two stories and I’m done for you. I was in a restaurant in Atlanta—Do I have too many stories? 

Voice: “No!”

Mark: I like you! I like those “No’s.” I try to contend for the faith, and what I want to encourage you with is that these stories will work for you as well. They’re all out there for any of us who can step out and do that. 

I had two fascinating talks at the Marina—two people I met at the Marina just this afternoon. You don’t have to go very far to find lost people. They’re right outside your front door if you really want to chat with someone and do that. I was in a restaurant, and I had this waiter for lunch, “Tu” was his name; he was a Vietnamese guy. So, we’re sitting there. The place got slow. He finally just sits at my table. We talked for two-and-a-half hours in this place, okay?

He looks at me one time, and he says, “Mark, look at that guy.” And there’s a guy sitting by himself, just eating his food, eating his food. Tu was his waiter. Never said a word to him the whole time. He said, “What makes two people so different? You come in here and talk with me and share what you believe with me. He hasn’t said one word to me the entire time. What makes two people so different?”

We should be different, correct? Yes? We’re believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are different. But I want to be different in a bold way, in a contending way—for truth, okay? 

So, Tu—I gave him this book, One Heartbeat Away, at lunch there, and he looked at me and said, “Umm, I have that book!”

I was like, “What?”

“I have that book.” And tears start welling up in his eyes.

I said, “How do you have this book?” 

He said, “Oh, this kid at Georgia State witnessed to me and gave me that book.”

I actually know that guy. His name is Chris David! I was just at his wedding about a month ago, and I got to tell him the story of a seed he planted and I got to water in the middle of a restaurant! 

Tu and I go out to eat once every…uh…couple of months, we’re going out to eat, and he just finished a book I did called Paradise, and now we’re talking about this! But then he said to me (he was reading one of the books) and he said to me, “Mark,” he said, “I had no clue that Easter was about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I thought Easter was about bunnies and chocolate.” 

This is from a 21-year-old guy in Atlanta, Georgia, living in the deep south, and didn’t have a clue what Easter was about. And I thought to myself, How is that even possible?

Well, pretty easy, actually, because we’re not…what? Contending for the faith. That someone could run through Atlanta, Georgia—all those high school years and a couple years at college and not even know what Easter is. That’s on us, right?

But today is…what? It’s a new day! Back on track. Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’. Okay? Back on track, handing a tract out, talking with somebody. I can’t live my life looking in a rearview mirror. I tell people all the time, “You can’t drive a car looking in the rearview mirror.”

I just told a kid in the coffee shop—I said, “What’s going to happen in a short time?”

He said, “Sir, I’m going off on the side of the road.”

I said, “Yep, you’re going to wreck.”

But sometimes we spend our whole life looking in a rearview mirror—an event that happened in our past that we’re still allowing to affect us today, that we just won’t give it to God and move on with our lives. Isn’t that true? You find that with so many people when you start chatting with folks and doing that, right?

Okay, so I can’t live my life—I can’t live my spiritual life—with a rearview mirror. I’ve got to focus: Colossians 3: Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Right? I’ve got to stay focused in a very unfocused world. 

Last story for you: About two weeks ago, we had a reunion, and they sent me the information on who had passed away. They wanted me to do the speaking part about people who had passed away. And I looked, and one of the names on there was Keith Acuff, and he was a buddy from high school, and he just got radically saved. And we had lunch together one time, and I just lost touch with him, and he had passed—it just really hit me hard. It was one of those times when someone’s death does. 

So, I said, Mark, get up; get out the door. Go talk to somebody. What better way could you honor Keith’s death than going to talk to somebody about the Lord Jesus Christ?

So I went over to this one part of town, and I was about to go home, and I said, I just want to talk to one more person. So I drove over to this shopping center. It was a vape store. Do you know what a vape store is? If you don’t know, you’re just fine, and…but it’s a crazy little place. But I saw the guy in there working by himself, and I said, “Let me just go in here.” 

And so I went in there and started talking to the guy, and his name was Valery. He was a Russian guy. He was 22 or 23. And we just started talking. He said, “I’m agnostic.”

So I just said, “What’s the best piece of evidence you have found that there is no God?”

It’s a great question. “What’s the best piece of evidence you’ve found that there is no God?”

So, I just came back at him (we write about them in the books; it’s a real simple thing I do with people), I said, “Every time you see a creation, like a book, you know that there is a creator. Every time you see a design, like a watch or phone, you know there’s a designer. Every time you see artwork or stained glass (use something that’s around you, wherever you are at), you know that there is an artist. Every time you see order, like 20 Coke cups in a row, you know there’s an orderer.” I said, “When you look around the universe, what do you see? You see creation, design, art, in order. If every other thing had a creator, designer, artist, and orderer, why would you not think there’s a creator, designer, artist, and orderer behind this universe?”

I’ve had many people stop at that point and say, “Okay, that’s enough. You’re exactly right!” So,  it’s just a good…. So he really liked that. But then he asked me a question that I’ve actually never had before. Now, I don’t worry about questions I’ve never had before because either I can answer it, or I can say…what? “I don’t know.” I don’t have to know every question to know there’s a Creator to the creation I’m in today! 

But then, if I don’t know their answer, I’ll just ask for their digits— “How do you communicate? Email, phone, or whatever.” I’ll go find you an answer. I don’t have any problem with that.

So, I don’t worry about any question when I witness. Either I can answer it, or I can say…what? “I don’t know.” But that doesn’t stop the old rugged cross from being true for people,  all right? 

So, this is what he asked me. He said, “Okay, let’s say I had a twin brother and we live the exact same lives—did everything the same, everything was exactly the same, but my brother was a believer in Jesus Christ, and I wasn’t a believer in Jesus Christ.” He said, “Would we go to the same place when it comes to eternity?”

Y’all, that’s a great question! This guy’s been thinking about this, hasn’t he? Because he didn’t just come up with that question. He said he’s actually asked that to people before. What’s the answer? It’s actually “no,” but watch how I got there with him. 

I said, “You’re going to college. The first day of class, what do you get?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

I said, “Aw, come on, I’m a teacher. You get a syllabus, right? The syllabus says what days the tests are, what days the exams are, what it takes to make a, b, c, d.” I said, “Is the syllabus for your calculus class the same as the syllabus for your world history class? Are they? No, they’re completely different. You can’t switch the two. So, I said, “When you study the topic of ‘God,’ there’s different syllabuses on how to be right with God. Islam has the great ‘weighing scale’—a good angel who writes every good that you do. A bad angel that writes every bad that you do. And they get flopped on a weighing scale like that.”

I said, “In Christianity, you have to have no sin to get to heaven.”

That intrigued him, just by saying “no sin.” So I just took him through the Ten Commandments. I said, “Val, have you ever told a lie before?”

He said, “Yeah.”

I said, “What’s that make you?”

He said, “A liar.”

I said, “Have you ever stolen something before?”

He said, “Yeah.”

I said, “So what’s that make you?”

He said, “A thief.”

I said, “Have you ever lusted in your heart before?”

He said, “Yeah.”

I said, “Jesus said that’s the same as committing adultery in your heart. He looks at the inside as well as the outside.

“Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever been angry with somebody?”

He said, “Yes, I have.”

“Jesus said even being angry with somebody without cause is the same as committing murder in your heart.  God checks your inside as well as your outside. Valery, you just told me you’d be a liar, a thief, an adulterer, a blasphemer, and a murderer by God’s standard on Judgment Day. Would you be guilty or not guilty on Judgment Day?”

What did Valery say? 

“Guilty!” okay?

I said, “Would that mean heaven or would that mean hell?”

He said, “Well, by that standard, it would mean hell.”

I said, “Valery, that would mean every single one of us would be going to hell unless God provided a way out.”

I said, “Do you know what the way out is?”

He said, “No.” I said, “Repentance, the Old Rugged Cross, the blood of Jesus that cleanses you of…how much sin? All sin.” We just walked it through. Then I said, “Valery, it’s like this: If you bought those pants you’re wearing at a department store and they left a little security tag on it, when you come walking out the front of the store, what would happen? Beep beep beep beep! Right? 

“The Gates of Heaven are the same way. Two sensors on it. When you walk into heaven, only one thing would set the alarm off. It’d be all your…what? Sins. Okay? But if all your sins are cleansed by the blood of Christ, He said you could walk right through. So, would you or your brother go to the same place when you die?”

He said, “No, because he wouldn’t set the alarm off, and I would.”

He got it. It made total sense to him. You could see the little click at that moment in his head. He realized why…. He said, “Sir, that’s the most logical answer I’ve ever had to that question.”

So that told me he’s been asking the question to other people.  That might be his “Stump the Christian” question, okay? But that’s the one he tried. But I said, “No, no, it’s not only logical; it’s biblical, and it’s true! Right? Because when you’re free, you’re free indeed. Is that correct? We are free! We are so free! Now we can live for Christ and be bold for Christ, and contend for the faith, and fight, fight, fight. We don’t have to worry about what anybody  says about me, because I know who I have to answer to when I take my last breath and check out of here, okay?

Jude chapter three, verse three: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints….” Remember, “contend” means “fight,” okay?

We need to be fighting for the faith, is that right? It’s time to fight! It’s time to fight. I mean, just think about it. Are you more concerned about who wins the Iron Bowl or are you more concerned about a soul getting saved in Double Springs?  That should be the only question we need to ask in this state of Alabama. And sadly—sadly, too many of us are focused on the wrong thing, right? 

But, you know, the fun thing, if you ever play sports, is when the Iron Bowl happens on that Saturday in November, you’ve just had all this year of practice and you finally get to the Game, right? And it’s the Game, and you finally don’t have to fight with each other in practice. You can fight with the other side. And let’s see who’s got the best team this year!

We’re in a battle for this country. It’s a fight right now! But I tell you what…you, plus the Holy Spirit are an unstoppable force in 2021. You, plus the Holy Spirit are an unstoppable force in 2021 until your very last breath. If only one of you gets excited about sharing your faith in Jesus Christ, you, plus the Holy Spirit can begin the process of turning Double Springs upside down. That’s a choice you make. That’s a choice I make. And that choice will matter when we take our last breath, but it will also matter for people here who don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ, okay? So we need to contend for the faith, and fight very hard for the faith. Okay.

Let’s pray: Father, thank you for just a great time to be here. Thank you for this talk that you put together as I’ve been wrestling with what to do here for a few weeks now. 

Thank you for the Scriptures, thank you for the stories, thank you for those who have gone before us; thank you for those who have gone behind us. And maybe, Father, somebody in here has dropped the baton from a grandparent or a parent that gave them the faith back in the day, and told them, and gave them scriptures—that young person today their grandparent was the one who gave them the Lord Jesus Christ, and they repented, believed, and now serve the Lord. So, Father, remind us that we don’t answer to Pastor Philip, we don’t answer to a Baptist church, we don’t answer to a speaker. We answer to you, and Father, I just know that the more I read the scriptures, you want Judgment Day, the Bema Seat Judgment reward day, you want it to be great for any follower. So, Father, if there’s anything holding anybody back from living fully and wholeheartedly for you, let them leave it at the altar today, or leave it at the pew that they’re at. Father, just let them know that we have to be much more focused in a very unfocused world. And probably, Father, we probably don’t even understand. We’ve seen nothing yet. We couldn’t even believe where we are at today from a year ago. But we need to be about your business and not our business, so, Father, we want to thank you for it, and we ask it all in the name of your Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.