Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Scam Artist Receives the Gospel

We've all received them--e-mails allegedly from a Christian in Africa requesting money or requesting help to retrieve money from the account of some dead relative or pastor, with the promise that the wealth will be shared with you.

Since my e-mail is attached to my ministry's website, I get such e-mails all the time. I usually delete them without giving them a second thought. But today I decided to share the gospel with one of these scam artists. I'm pretty sure other seed sowers have done this already. But for those of you who haven't, maybe the following e-mail will be helpful to you in drafting your own.


Emmanuel (if that is your real name),

In your e-mail, you said that you needed "a Christmas gift." I agree. My gift to you this Christmas is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you will take the time to read on. I believe your eternal soul depends on it.

I often receive e-mails like yours from the African continent (Ghana, Nigeria, etc), requesting money. First, let me say that I forgive you for your attempt to steal money from me by trick or device. Second, if I am wrong about your intentions, please forgive me.

Having never met you (and I likely never will), my assumption is that you would consider yourself to be a good person, at least on some level. Let's use the Ten Commandments (God's Holy Law) to see if you are, in fact, a good person.

Have you ever told a lie? If you have ever told a lie, that makes you a liar.

Have you ever stolen anything? If you have ever stolen something, regardless of the value, then you are a thief.

Have you ever taken God's name in vain? Have you ever used the name of God to further a criminal enterprise? If you have, then you have committed blasphemy. You have taken the name of the God who gave you life, and you have used His name to lie to and to steal from others. The Bible says that God will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

Have you ever looked at a woman to lust after her? Then, according to God's holy standards, you are an adulterer at heart.

Emmanuel, do you honestly believe that God is blind to what you are doing? Do you believe that He will simply overlook your sin? Do you believe that God will weigh your sin against what you perceive to be your good works, or against the sins of those whom you think are worse people than you, with you coming out on top? Then you have violated the Second Commandment, which is the commandment that forbids idolatry. You have created a god in your mind, in your imagination--one that will not judge in righteousness, one that is not holy and just. The god of your imagination does not exist. But the One True God, who is holy, righteous, and just, will not only judge your actions; He will also judge your intentions and your thoughts.

Emmanuel, if you are honest with yourself, if you see yourself the way God sees you, then you must admit that you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterous, idolater at heart. The Bible says that it is appointed once for a person to die, and then comes judgment. God will judge you, not based on how you see yourself, but according to His Law. He will find you guilty of breaking His Law, and you will receive the just punishment for your offenses against Him--eternity in hell.

What you don't know, Emmanuel, is how much longer God is going to allow you to live in your sinful, unredeemed, unsaved state The fact that He allows you to draw so much as another breath is an example of His grace and mercy. In the Book of Acts (the 5th book of the New Testament [just in case you are unfamiliar with the Bible]), God struck dead a husband and wife because they lied about their finances. Their deaths were sudden and unexpected--to themselves and to the people around them. Does it concern you that the fate of this couple could very well be your fate, too? It should concern you. And I am concerned for you. I don't want you to go to hell, Emmanuel.

Do you have any idea what God did for you so that you wouldn't have to spend eternity in hell?

God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man. He lived a perfect, sinless life. He died a horrible, bloody, undeserved death on the cross to pay the full penalty for your sins against God. He took your place of punishment and wrath. And He defeated death, once and for all, when He rose from the grave. He is alive today and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.

God requires the shedding of blood as the penalty for sin against Him. On the Day of Judgment, will it be the blood of Christ or your own blood that the God of the Universe will accept as the just payment for your sin?

If you are truly concerned about where you will spend eternity, then I have good news for you, Emmanuel. Your only hope for avoiding the wrath of God; your only hope for avoiding eternity in hell; your only hope for spending eternity in heaven with God is to be born again. Jesus said, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). What does it mean to be "born again"? You must repent. You must turn from your sin and, by faith, put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.

The name you have chosen to use in your attempts to steal from others is a very special name. "Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which translated means, 'God with us'" (Matthew 1:22-23).

My hope and prayer for you, Emmanuel, is that you would indeed have a merry Christmas--but not because you receive money from strangers. My hope and prayer is that this Christmas you will repent of your sin, put your faith in Jesus Christ alone as your Lord and Savior, and receive the free gift of eternal life that only He can give. Then, and only then, will God be with you, Emmanuel.

I am praying for your salvation.

1 comment:

Dee said...

Tony, thank you so much for using the word of God on these scam artist. there have been so many good honest hardworking christain people taken in by these scams. May God continue to bless you and your ministry.