Our friends Marv and Annie were with us at a convention in Chicago. They’re from Denver; I was in my hometown. Annie’s doctor had let her make the trip to Chicago even if she was eight months pregnant. Well, we had a reception our first night at the convention downtown. I jokingly told her, “Hey, if the baby decides to come tonight, just call our room. This is my city, girl. I’ll take care of everything!” Yeah, well, it didn’t turn out to be a joke. The call came in the middle of the night, and minutes later we had a lady in hard labor in our back seat. Oh, my goodness! I thought we’d have time to get out to our obstetrician in the suburbs. Not a chance! I had no idea where downtown hospitals were. I never needed one. Oh, boy! I finally found one – a veterans’ hospital. No maternity ward! Well, eventually I found a hospital with great facilities – just in time. Today we all laugh about it, but it’s certainly not one of my proudest moments.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about “Deadly Detour.”
I almost messed up the beginning of a new life – all because I went in the wrong direction. That’s easy to do with what the Bible calls being “born again.” If you belong to Jesus, I’ve got to believe you know folks who don’t, and that you want them to be in heaven with you. That can only happen if they’re born into God’s family by putting their trust in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for them.
But that rebirth can be aborted if you go the wrong direction in sharing Christ with someone. See, there’s a detour on the road to Jesus and you’ve got to avoid that detour at all costs. I call it the trap – one that is so easy to fall into when you’re having a spiritual conversation. I’ll tell you, when Jesus was talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, she tried to deflect Jesus’ claim on her life by using the trap.
In John 4, beginning with verse 20, she tries to get Jesus to start down that deadly detour. Here’s what it is – talking religion. She said, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” In other words, “Jesus, the issue is we have different religions. Yours is good for you; mine is good for me.” Sound familiar? Jesus won’t go there. In verse 24, He says, “God is a spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” In other words, “This isn’t about what religion you are, Ma’am. It’s about your relationship with God.” Then Jesus introduces Himself as the looked-for Messiah. Jesus makes Himself the issue, and He still is.
There’s just too much at stake for you to allow yourself to fall into the trap of talking religion with someone who needs Jesus. The issue really has nothing to do with religion. It’s whether or not you’ve had your sins forgiven so you can have a relationship with God. It’s really all about Jesus and all about his cross.
Paul said that in 1 Corinthians 2:2 when he said, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” It’s not about your religion. It’s not about your religious rules. It’s not about your rituals. It’s not about Christianity. It’s not about Christians. It’s not about attacking their lifestyle. It’s all about Jesus. So stick to Jesus. Keep bringing it back to Jesus; bring them back to His cross.
Your mission is clear. To take a person that you care about by the hand and lead them up Skull Hill to the foot of an old rugged cross, and point to the Son of God dying for them, and say, “Man, this is how much He loves you.” Any other direction is the wrong direction-one that leads away from the Jesus that they need. So, take them straight to Him.