Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My First Attempt at Writing a Tract

I have spent the last three days writing a tract that I hope to translate in Khmer when we return to Cambodia in the next couple of weeks. Praise the Lord, there are already many good Gospel tracts in Khmer that have been greatly used by God. My motivation for writing this tract was not because I had nothing better to do, or to try and replace any of the good tracts that have already been written. My motivation for writing this tract stems from a problem that I encounter with so many Cambodians: believing that outward acts of goodness, also known as merit making, is equivalent to being an inherently good person. There are a couple of huge challenges that we face when giving the Gospel to Cambodians. First, Cambodians are indoctrinated from the time they are babies to "kluen dtee-pung kluen"- depend upon yourself. Because Buddhism has no personal God to whom we are accountable, and because life teaches all of us that people cannot be trusted, Cambodians grow up believing that they themselves are their only way of salvation. Another challenge that stems from Buddhism is the doctrine of "twer bpuen, baan bpuen; twer agrock, baan agrock"- do good, get good; do bad, get bad. This is the doctrine of karma. This is the primary reason I wrote this tract, and it is vital to understand this problem if you are going to effectively witness in Cambodia.Cambodians believe that as long as the outward actions are good, then the content of the heart does not matter. I wrote this tract to counter this falsehood. That the condition of the heart is as important as the outward actions of a person is a foreign concept to most Cambodians. I pray that we can see this tract printed, and that it will be used of God to open some Cambodians' eyes to the truth about themselves and about Christ.

If I were to ask you, “Are you a good person?” what would you say? Having lived in Cambodia for a few months now, I have asked many people this question, and most people say, “Yes, I am a good person.” Sometimes, I will ask them why they believe they are good. Many people answer, “I don’t hurt people,” “I do good things for others” “I faithfully give to the monks” and other things as well. What do all of these things have in common? The answer is that they are all actions that other people can see. These are certainly good things to do. Perhaps if I were to ask you if you are a good person, you would say yes. Perhaps you even do some of the good things mentioned above.

But I want to ask you another question. What if people could see inside your heart? Would you still claim to be a good person, or would you be embarrassed? What if we could see every thought or imagination you have ever had? Is there anything you would be ashamed of?

Many people think incorrectly about themselves. They say, “As long as people consider me to be good, then I am good.” So they do good things on the outside where everyone can see them; but in their hearts they are very wicked. In their hearts they have sins like these:

Not willing to forgive
Pride- counting one’s self to have more value than other people

But did you know that God knows everything about you? God is the all-powerful, eternal Spirit Who created us and everything we see. He is everywhere at one time, not only in a temple. He knows everything about us; therefore, we cannot hide from Him. He not only sees what we do, but He sees our hearts as well. Therefore, when we have hatred, or lust, or jealousy, or pride in our hearts, He sees all of these sins. Even though others cannot see the sins in our hearts, God sees. Because God sees our hearts, this should change our perspective about ourselves.

God has revealed Himself through His Word, the Bible. The following are some verses from the Bible that tell us about God.

God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

For He knoweth the secrets of the heart.

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

God knows everything. But He has another characteristic that is very important for us to understand. God is holy. He hates all sin. When we sin, whether it be an action or a sin in our hearts, we sin against Him.

Some people say, “I am not a sinner. I don’t even know how to sin.” These are false words.  God’s Word says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” If we compare ourselves to others, we may not look that bad. But if we compare ourselves to God, we are all sinners. Whether we are rich or poor, beautiful or not beautiful, educated or uneducated, we are all sinners.

Because of our sin, the Bible says there are three results. First, we are spiritually dead and separated from God. “Even when we were dead in trespasses and sins.” “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” Second, we will die physically. “For the wages of sin is death.” Third, we will die spiritually. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

Because of our sin, we deserve God’s punishment. God acts according to justice, which means He must judge all sin, both outward sins and sins in our hearts. But God is also full of love and mercy. The Bible says, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, and His purpose in coming to this earth 2,000 years ago was to receive the punishment for the sins of the whole world. Because of His great love for us, He was willing to be beaten and die on the cross. He himself was perfect, but He died in our place. Three days after He died, He rose from the dead, showing us that He was not only a man, but that He was God.

Jesus did all of this for us because He loves us, and He wants a relationship with us. He did all of this because none of us are good enough to enter God’s presence. Even if we do good works like building temples, giving to monks, and helping the poor, we all have sin in our hearts that separates us from God. The only way we can have a right relationship with God, and go to Heaven after we die, is by repenting of our sins and placing our faith in Jesus Christ to be our Saviour. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”  Are you willing to admit that you are a sinner that deserves God’s judgment? Are you willing to humble yourself and stop depending upon yourself, and depend upon only Christ for your salvation?

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