Well, instead of a typical 'Bible study,' I am going to tell you a short story about two men walking down a busy urban street. Seems boring, doesn't it? You'll be surprised.
Well, there was this young man walking in full stride. He couldn't be older than 30, and wore a business suit. He was obviously prepared for something important.
He saw another young man, looking very depressed, coming out from the alleyways. This guy was holding a Bible and looked like he was in a constant state of prayer.
The perky guy walked up to the weary man and looked at him with seeming concern. "What's wrong, sir?"
"Everything," said the other man, with a weary expression gracing his features. "Everywhere I look, I see bad things. Bad things I say…"
"What's bad? The skyscrapers? The lights? Are you claustrophobic?" The perky man inquired the weary man, with feigned concern.
"It's not that. Everywhere I look, I see the poor in need of food. Everywhere I look, I see people walking by them and not even caring." The weary man said with a painful tone of voice.
The perky man suddenly lost his glib tone of voice and went silent. The weary man noticed a look of avoidance in the perky man's eyes.
"You know the poor need food, yet you don't take half-an-hour to even consider caring for them. They are people, just like you sir." The weary man found some strength in his voice.
"Yeah, but there are much more important things to do." The perky man brushed off the whole topic. The weary man looked down the street with a sorrowful look in his eyes.
"What is important to you is not important to my Father in heaven." The weary man said, as of fact.
"Your father is in heaven? What nonsense is this?" The perky man looked at the weary man with a disbelieving expression.
"My Father in Heaven is God. Without God, I would be completely worthless. Yet it is true of anyone, sir. Without God, all you are is an empty soul craving something you cannot have." The weary man said calmly, yet firmly.
"What are you talking about? I am a happy man! Can't you see?" The weary man shook his head back and forth.
"You are blown around like chaff in the wind. You follow wherever the opportunity abounds, so you can find your sense of identity. Yet you cannot keep your hands on this identity. It leaves you, so you try to find a new one." The weary man said sadly.
The perky man grew solemn and looked down the street blankly. He realized the weary man was right all along, yet the perky man had no love for God. He only loved himself.
The weary man took his Bible and offered it to the perky man. "You can have my Bible, sir. It'll prove to be important soon." The perky man looked confused.
"Why would it become important?" The perky man looked down at the Bible, contemplating if he should read it sometime soon. "Alright, fine. I'll take it." He looked at the weary man with a slightly incredulous face. "Aren't you going to miss this?"
"Nah. The Father provides me with what I need." The weary man said softly. "My Father always gives me what I need."
"Okay, if you say so…" The perky man replied.
"Follow me." The perky man raised his eyebrow at this request, yet he felt an authority that he couldn't resist. He reluctantly followed the weary man.
The two eventually walked out of town. The weary man had a house on 490 Trinity Avenue, the perky man observed.
As the two sat in chairs across from each other, the weary man noted, "You have a lot of grudges against others."
"Because they wronged me!" The perky man yelled in anger. The weary man simply nodded, agreeing that people wronged the perky man.
"They wronged you, but the Father in heaven tells you to forgive them." The weary man pointed out the perky man's error.
"How… could… I… forgive… them…?!" The perky man fumed.
"With Christ, He gives you the power to forgive others, through the Holy Spirit." None of this made sense to the perky man, who was blind to spiritual things.
"How do I get the Holy Spirit?" The perky man asked, half-mockingly.
"Trust that Jesus died for your sins on the Cross, essentially bearing your shame. Trust that Jesus rose again after three days and conquered Death itself." The perky man looked totally confused. "Confused?" The perky man nodded.
"This makes no sense…" The perky man desperately uttered.
"It does not make sense to the man in the flesh, but to the man in the Spirit, it is the only thing that makes sense." The perky man nodded absentmindedly. "To die to yourself to live is Christ."
"I bet you're a cult leader trying to brainwash me." The perky man said angrily.
"Jesus loves you, and so do I." The perky man stepped outside the door to the weary man's house.
"How could you love me after only knowing me for one day?" The perky man asked curiously.
"You're seeking truth. You might not see that what you're holding there will absolutely change your life. Christ knows your heart. Be good, and sin no more." The perky guy gave a 'hmmph' and left.
Something about the perky guy seemed weird after that. Every day while at work, he'd look at the Bible with a strange, enticing curiosity. He was still too afraid to open the Bible, for his life seemed too good at the time.
Yet with time, he saw the emptiness in his daily routine. He began to realize that he needed something more than his daily routine. He thought about life after death. He thought about the prospects that there was really a Heaven, and a Hell.
He saw one of his work enemies, and slandered him as usual. Yet this pain gripped his chest. Why was he feeling sorry for a pathetic fool like his enemy?
"What's wrong, sir?" His work enemy asked quietly.
"I… don't know. Sorry for hurting you, even if you hurt me."
"That was the past sir. I gave it over to Christ and I have respected you ever since. You couldn't seem to let go of it though. It corrupted your mind."
"Maybe I should do the same." He picked up his Bible and walked into a closet.
He read about Christ's love, but that was only part of the picture, he felt. He read some more, and the topic of sin came up. He gasped at the words that told him that we were totally depraved. Yet hope sprung up from the well with the words commanding repentance. He could let go of his sins and trust Christ as his Savior!
"I repent of the life that I lived, LORD! If You are real, give me Your Holy Spirit so I may find purpose in life!" He didn't feel anything immediately, and went back to work.
Yet, he noticed a gradual change in how he saw the whole workplace. He saw these selfish businessmen extorting others for money, and it displeased him greatly.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil." The perky man said with a soft tone to the business CEO. The CEO turned to him and looked at him like he was an idiot.
"Money is the greatest thing on earth, you urchin." Instead of anger, the perky man forgave the CEO of his grave offense against the LORD, not letting it get to him.
During his weekend, he wrote down 490 Trinity Avenue on his little sticky note, and decided to head down to the weary man's house to thank him for the message of Christ.
When he got to the destination, he saw the same house, but it was entirely abandoned. It looked like no one has been in there in hundreds of years.
"Does anyone live there?!" The perky man asked the nearest person walking down the street.
"Nope, no one has lived there since 1850. You delusional?" He wasn't delusional. He was there like 3 months ago!
The pit in his stomach turned into a feeling of blessedness. "I… entertained… an angel… God sent this angel so I could be free! GOD SENT THIS ANGEL SO I COULD BE FREE! CHRIST TELLS ME THAT I AM FREE INDEED! I AM FREE INDEED!" The perky man shouted with praise to the LORD.
"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:2)