Evangelism in Space and Time


       

   What would you do if you had a time machine? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Would you back and witness the dawn of creation? Would you go forward to see some futuristic society? Perhaps you would make it more personal and see what your life would be like fifty years from now. Maybe you’d go back and warn yourself not to make inevitable mistakes (or to invest in Apple!)

           I’ve always been a fan of science fiction. When I was a kid, my Dad used to show me all of the classic sci-fi movies. He instilled within me a love for space ships, alien conquest, and dystopian futures, all the while ensuring that I would grow up to become one big nerd! 

Science fiction is a type of story that involves the fantastic and incredible use of technology, usually set in a fantasy world. Often times those stories are about evil empires and rebel forces. Still, many sci-fi stories feature the use of a fictional machine that we know as a “time machine.”

           H.G. Wells may be credited with coining the “time machine.” Written in 1895, his novel of the same name tells the story of the “time traveler.” The time traveler invents a machine that allows him to move forward and backward through time. The novel highlights the traveler’s journey into a fictional future complete with action and mystery. His book has been adapted several times into movies, television shows, and comics. The Time Machine inspires future authors and filmmakers who tell tales of machines and strange phenomena that transport people through time.

           What does any of this have to do with evangelism? Actually, time travel is very much crucial regarding evangelism. Why? Because all evangelists are time travelers. Even more so, all humans are time travelers. You read that correctly. All evangelists and all humans are time travelers.

 It was God himself who made you a time traveler. He placed you within a specific moment of time. You were born in a particular year; you will experience specific moments throughout your life. You will eventually die within a specific year. Every minute of your life fades away into a minute. You are traveling through space and time without the aid of a time machine. There is no need for a flux compacitor, a cosmic phone booth, or a Wayback machine. The mere act of living allows you to move through the space-time continuum.

Unfortunately, as a time traveler, you can only travel in one direction. I hate to break it to you, but the space-time continuum ONLY moves in one direction. Science fiction is fun, but we must remember that it’s still fiction (not real)! Real-time travel slowly pushes into the future and never allows us to return to the past. 

We can look back on the highway of time and reflect and think about what has happened, but the future is in motion, and we are moving into it.

           Consider how you travel through time. You travel second by second and minute by minute. 

Minutes turn into hours, hours turn into days, days turn into months, and months into years. If you don’t believe you are a time traveler, simply pull out your watch, phone, or look at a clock. As each second ticks away, you are transported into the new second without doing anything. You are a time traveler, destined to move forward without any action of your own. 

           You’re not traveling through time alone but are joined by other time travelers who are traveling along with you. All humans are time travelers! All people, just like you, are bound to move through space and time. We live in moments that come and moments that go. All humans are met with decisions and choices on our journey. Some decisions are minor, while others are major. 

It has been said that the average human being makes around 35,000 choices a day.[1]  Some of those choices may have a very minor impact on our travels. In contrast, others may have much more dramatic and longer-lasting ramifications. We have all made good choices that have benefited us, and we have all made poor decisions that we regret. The truth is some decisions will forever alter our lives.

So how do we make sure that we don’t make the wrong decisions? Everyone knows that the world will hurtle challenges and obstacles our way. These challenges and obstacles often leave us confused, and we aren’t sure what the right decision is. Humans need help as we travel through time. The Christian understands that God has given us his word to help us to make the right decisions. Even more importantly, the Christian understands that following Jesus is the best decision with the best outcome! Sadly, not everyone knows this good news.

Travelers need Christ

The bible teaches that humanity needs a Savior. Yet, during this short period, we make bad decisions. 

Sometimes we make terrible decisions. 

God is holy and sets forth his holy commandments. When we think about commandments, our minds may immediately go to the “Ten Commandments.” [2]   We need to follow and obey the commandments. Still, we may be shocked to realize that the commandments actually teach us that we are sinners!  

Romans 3:20 reads, “For no one will be justified in his sight by the works of the law because the knowledge of sin comes through the law[3].” The 10 Commandments do a pretty good job of demonstrating how short man falls to God’s standard. A commandment tells us not to bear false statements, but we have all told lies. A commandment tells us that we aren’t supposed to steal, but we have all taken something that doesn’t belong to us. We even break the first commandment, no other Gods besides the real one. How many times have we placed our hobbies, pride, and self above God? How many times have we desired to travel through life doing it our way instead of God’s way? Humans are guilty of breaking the law and deserve to be labeled as sinners. Sin has dire consequences. Notice the picture that these verses paint of sinful humanity:

“We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way. . .” Isaiah 53:6   

“All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our inquites carry us away like the wind.” Isaiah 64:6                                                                      

“For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. 

Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21

 “All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. 

There is no one who does what is good, not even one.” Romans 3:12

 “For the wages of sin is death. . .” Romans 6:23a

           The above verses paint a grim and dark picture of fallen humanity. As humans travel through space and time, we are reminded that we are from our original parents (Adam and Eve). We are sinners that stand in condemnation. Sinners will travel through space and time into an eternity of our own choice, which leads to Hell. The remainder of our brokenness is a sad and disturbing reality. It is bad news.  

           We require some encouragement and some good news. Thankfully there is good news, and this good news is the answer for our fallen state. The good news is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Good News for Travelers

           The Gospel of Jesus Christ really is the good news we need. The bible verses quoted above demonstrate the brokenness and sinfulness of man. Still, other verses show the good news of the Gospel. The Gospel (which means good news) can be summed up in one famous verse;

“For God loved the world in this way; He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

           There is hope for broken and fallen humanity. Our hope is Jesus Christ. When a person repents of their sin and places their faith in Jesus Christ, the result is eternal life granted by Christ. This “eternal life” begins when people trust in Jesus and will continue with them as they move forward in space and time. Eventually, the believer will enter into the presence of God and not Hell. Then, the one who has eternal life is forgiven of sin and can stand before a Holy God.  

Eternal life is possible only because of the work of Jesus on the cross. 

Eternal life is available to all humanity as they travel through the earth. Still, once they reach the end of their earthly life, they will discover that their time to make a decision for Christ has expired. 

Both believer and the nonbeliever will continue to move forward through eternity. Still, only the believer will move forward into the presence of God and into a new Heaven and Earth.  

           The Gospel is the most important message that humanity needs to hear. It is a message that offers hope, peace, and forgiveness. The Gospel is for all who would believe and call on God. The Lord will turn no one away who places their faith in Him. Yet, for people to make such a decision, they must first hear the Gospel. 

Remember, we are all on a journey and are all in need of guidance. Christians recognize that their guidance comes from the Lord and his word, but others do not know where to get guidance. People without Christ need to know the life-changing story of the Gospel.

           So who will tell them? Just like you, people without the Lord are traveling the space-time continuum. These people will one day meet the conclusion of their lives and enter into an eternity without Christ. The Apostle Paul writes, “How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher?  And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” [4]  People cannot know the Lord unless someone first tells them about the Lord.

           I was fortunate to hear and believe the Gospel at an early age. 

At the age of seven, my mother gave a very simple gospel invitation to me. At that moment, I realized that I was a sinner and that Christ was the good news. 

I heard the Gospel message, and I believed. Before anyone can believe it, they must first hear the gospel message, just like I heard it when I was seven.  

           As humanity travels through space and time, it is critical that they hear the Gospel message, but one may ask, “whose responsibility is it to proclaim this Gospel message?” The scripture is very clear about this. It is the responsibility of the followers of Christ to proclaim the Gospel message. 

No passages is clearer on this subject than Matthew 28:19-20 (the Great Commission) and Acts 1:8.

           The Great Commission was given by Jesus before he ascended into Heaven. These were some of his last words to his followers before he went into Heaven. 

Last words are very important. 

Jesus said, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [5]  The Great Commission is a command for all believers to go and make disciples, baptize, and teach. The Lord promised to be with the disciples till the end of the age, which tells us that this promise wasn’t just for the present disciples. The promise was for all disciples of all time, Christ would be present with them as they went out to share the Gospel.

           Acts 1:8 is another variation of the Great Commission. It reads, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses. . . “(emphasis mine) The Acts 1:8 passage would have been included at the same time Jesus gave the Great Commission. Acts 1:8 specifically reminds the believer that we are his witnesses. Those who have trusted in Christ are to go forward and “witness” on behalf of Jesus. That original crowd would go into the neighboring areas of Judea, Samaria, and into the gentile world to proclaim the Gospel. They would go forward with power (the presence of Jesus). Today, believers also go forward with the Holy Spirit’s power to proclaim the life-changing message of Christ.

           The followers of Jesus are moving forward in space and time. People without a relationship with Christ are also moving forward in space in time. It is the hope of every generation of Christianity that the lives of believers will intersect with the lives of nonbelievers. 

Regardless of the time period, when the Gospel is shared, an impact is made; the truth has been presented, seeds have been sowed, and lives have been changed. People of all ages can be changed when a follower of Jesus proclaims the Gospel.

  [1] “How Many Decisions Do We Make Each Day?,” Psychology Today, accessed March 23, 2021, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stretching-theory/201809/how-many-decisions-do-we-make-each-day.

[2] Exodus 20:1-17

[3] Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), Ro 3:20.

[4] Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), Ro 10:14–15.

[5] Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), Mt 28:19–20.

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