Whenever my wife, Mally, and I return to our homeland of Australia, one of our favorite things to do is to go into Brisbane City. We enjoy walking around the Queen Street Mall, in the heart of the city.
While Mally is shopping (I hate shopping!), I will sit in the mall and observe all the people walking by. Often I sit there counting the people. Why? When I reach 100 people, I remind myself that statistics in Australia have revealed that probably only one out of that 100 is likely to be a born-again Christian.
My heart sinks when I look around the mall. I realize that almost all of the thousands of people I see in that mall are heading to a Christless eternity. Probably only about 1% of 20 million people in Australia are born again.
In the United States, because of the history of Christian influence here, there is a greater percentage of Christians. But I wonder what the real percentage is. Various statisticians/ organizations have researched this question, but they admit that many people who call themselves “Christian” define the word in various ways. Some suggest around 20% of Americans are truly born-again Christians, but others suggest the percentage is much less.
We commissioned America’s Research Group (ARG) to conduct a nationwide study of millennials (20s to early 30s) who regularly attend church (i.e., at least three times a month). We discovered that 40% stated outright that they were not born again, and 65% said they believed being a “good” person would get someone into heaven.
It’s not just those outside the church we should be concerned about in regard to being saved!
So it’s not just those outside the church we should be concerned about in regard to being saved!
Such sad statistics burden me. Remember, we are all members of the human family. We are all related. Doesn’t this weigh heavily on your heart too, as you realize that so many of our family members are on the path to destruction?
I’ve written before that my parents had a burden to reach their fellow countrymen with the gospel. In so many ways, I saw them make sacrifices because of their heart to proclaim the saving gospel message to so many people.
Recently in my church, I shared a message based on Ephesians 5:16 (NKJV) and its phrase “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” I explained to the congregation that this verse, in the context of Ephesians 5, instructs us to use every opportunity we have to shine the light of the truth of God’s Word and the gospel as much as we are able.
I then shared an example from my own upbringing that had a great impact on me.
When I was growing up, my parents used to take us to my mother’s parents’ home in North Queensland. On one of those trips, my mother shared with me about the time when, as a teenager, she used to ride a bike five miles each Sunday (over many months) to carry two girls to Sunday school! She wanted to make sure they heard God’s Word and the life-changing gospel.
Over 60 years later, my mother met those same ladies again! One was a strong Christian, and the other said she had wandered away a bit but was turning around.
It’s interesting how you can vividly remember certain events in your life. I’ve never forgotten this anecdote about my mother and the bicycle, and I think to myself, “If my mother, as a teenager, was prepared to help people get to Sunday school for the sake of the gospel, why shouldn’t I do whatever is needed to help people hear the saving message of the gospel? Their eternity is at stake.”
When I think of 2 Peter 3:9, I’m convicted to understand God’s heart for people in “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
I’ve often used 2 Peter 3:9 over the years concerning Answers in Genesis (our speakers, resources, website, and so on), the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter to share the following truth: there’s no point in trying to convince people to believe in God/creation, because even if they are creationists, they will end up in hell just like an atheist if they don’t believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
I’m reminded of James 2:19: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!”
By Memorial Day weekend, we will open a large, new “Christ, Cross, Consummation” exhibit in the museum to present the message of salvation.
When we first opened the Creation Museum and its “walk through the 7 C’s of history” (Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, and Consummation), we produced a powerful movie called The Last Adam. This well-done film clearly presents the saving gospel. And by Memorial Day weekend, we will open a large, new “Christ, Cross, Consummation” exhibit in the museum to present the message of salvation, starting from the foundational book of Genesis and sharing the truth of the power of the Cross and Resurrection.
In February, we opened Why the Bible Is True, a 2,500-square-foot exhibit on the third deck of our life-size Noah’s Ark. The stunning exhibit presents a unique, captivating graphic-novel approach to share the gospel, using commonplace situations that apply to today’s culture. For our guests, it’s like walking through the pages of a book—you just can’t wait to read the next page and find out what happens. This kind of approach is used to clearly explain the gospel message.
With visually striking artwork, we explain the various “doors” in Scripture (e.g., the Ark door, the door the Israelites put blood on before their exodus from Egypt, the door to the sheepfold, the door to the tomb, and so on). We challenge each Ark visitor concerning whether they have gone through the “door” (the Lord Jesus) to be saved.
You certainly can’t leave the Ark without understanding the gospel message.
People from all over the world are visiting—Christians and non-Christians. As we greet them, we are unashamed of what we stand for as Christians, and therefore boldly (in a sensitive yet challenging way) present God’s message of salvation at our attractions.
So let’s use every opportunity we can as we “redeem the time” to ensure as many of our “family members” (over 7 billion of our “relatives”) are challenged to receive the free gift of salvation.
You may not get the opportunity to carry two kids on a bicycle to Sunday school like my mother did. But we have so many ways available to us today to carry out the Great Commission, such as sharing AiG’s website, books, DVDs, events—or bringing friends and family to the God-honoring Ark Encounter and Creation Museum!
Yes, let’s all be “redeeming the time.”