Recently I received a Facebook friend request from someone I thought I might be related to another of my Facebook friends. After friending them, I realized I was mistaken.
Coming from a woman in a foreign land, I immediately began to question the motive of the request, thinking in the back of my mind that it was possibly some sort of con. Not long into our correspondence things she said moved me further toward this conclusion. Near the end, concluding that it is a con has been nearly impossible to avoid. None the less, I have been determined to sow the seed of the Kingdom and hope for the best. Rather than spend time dismantling her motives, I have endeavored to encourage her to consider the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Below is correspondence we have engaged in for the past twelve days. While I realize that it is lengthy, I have included all of it because I believe there is value in seeing the flow of real conversations in our quest to learn how (or how not) to share the gospel with others. I have withheld her name, replacing it with “Facebook Friend.” My side of our correspondence I have labeled “JY.”
Get comfortable its going to be a long ride! See you on the other side.
Facebook Friend – HI
JY – Hi. Have we met? My apologies for not knowing?
Facebook Friend – No, im only ur friend in facebook
JY – Ok. How did you get reference to me to request friendship? Do we have shared acquaintances?
Facebook Friend – Nope.finding friends in facebook sir
JY – I see. I’m glad to be your fb friend. Do you know that your Creator loves you and has a plan for your life?
Facebook Friend – Hehehe yeah.. I know god is always ther for me.and maybe u r the one person given me from god
JY – What do you know about God’s plan for your life?
Facebook Friend – Ahm I do know.. But I do my very best to finish my studies for having a good job soon.. And I hope god give me a one person that willing to help me foe my study
JY – I do not understand what you mean? Please explain if you so desire.
Facebook Friend – I mean willing to help me and willing to go here at my place. How I wish I found a 1 person that willing to help me and my study.. I want to rich my dream because I want to help my family.soon
JY – Reach what dream? Help you with what study? God’s will for our lives, beginning with salvation from our sins is the most important thing in life. Do you believe you have begun a saving relationship with God? If so, how?
Facebook Friend – Yeah.if u trust really him.i believen that
Facebook Friend – I want to reach a good job someday.. I am studying in bachelor of science in business administration
Facebook Friend – Are u willing to help me sir? Also my styding?
JY – If you are willing to discuss what the Bible says about how to know if we are saved, then I am willing to help you where I can with your other matters too.
JY – If you are interested in discussing salvation please consider the following: Jesus said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
JY – Facebook Friend, who do you believe Jesus is?
Facebook Friend – I believe in jesus christ because he is our creator and he is also the one that never leave with you werever you are he is always there for me to protect me and help and guid me always…
Facebook Friend – Jesus said; love your neighbor as u love your self.therefor god is always watching whatever u do peoples around u
JY – Yes the Bible does say Jesus is our Creator, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16
JY – Jesus being the Creator also means that He is God, because it is God who created all things, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1.
JY – The apostle John also testifies that Jesus is God, the Creator and that He came to earth in the flesh, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-3,14
JY – The apostle Paul recorded that as God Jesus is part of the trinity or godhead – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” Col. 2:8,9
JY – The Apostle Matthew records these three all being present at Jesus baptism Matthew 3:16,17.
JY – Facebook Friend, in believing that Jesus is the Creator, do you also believe that He is part of the eternal godhead. And that He came to earth in the flesh as the Son of God as the Bible says?
Facebook Friend – Yeah I believe that he is our eternal goodhead.. Because I know he is always guid us for a good attitude and also he always says; dont do a bad things of ur self because there is a bad doing in ur life..
JY – Well said.
JY – The Bible also says that Jesus is the only mediator between God and us. “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 1:5,6
JY – A mediator is one who helps solve a problem between two parties – us and God.
JY – The problem between us and God that we need Jesus to help us with is our personal sins. The Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 59:1,2). Also, that we deserve to die spiritually (i.e. be separated from God and go to hell) because of our sins (Romans 6:23), but also that we can be forgiven and have eternal life instead through Jesus mediation for us (Romans 6:23), which He did by dying on the cross for us and being buried in a tomb and then being raised to life again!
JY – Jesus death burial and resurrection is called the gospel, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” 1 Cor. 15:1-8.
JY – Facebook Friend, along with believing that Jesus is part of the eternal godhead, do you also believe that He is the only mediator between us and God the Father? Do you also believe that Jesus died, was buried and rose again three days later to provide the way for your sins to be forgiven?
Facebook Friend – yes sir.. I believe 😉
JY – God be praised for your belief in Jesus Facebook Friend!
JY – The Bible teaches us that it is good to believe in Jesus, but unless we act on it by obeying Him in faith in Him for salvation from our sins, we are no better off than demons, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” James 2:19,20
JY – One action Jesus taught we must take to put our faith in Him for salvation is repentance – turning from our sins to follow Him. Jesus said, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
JY – The Bible helps us know what types of things are sinful and need to be repented of. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9,10. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
JY – Facebook Friend, believing that Jesus died and rose again to provide the way for your sins to be forgiven and requires you to repent of your sins, do you acknowledge that you have sinned and need the forgiveness only Jesus can offer? And are you willing to turn from your sins in repentance and follow Him?
Facebook Friend – Yeah I believe I have seen because all people in this world are not perfect.. And if u’ll forgiven everything that is good becuase u are helping people wants ur need and guide
JY – Facebook Friend I am having difficulty understanding you on this point. I’ll ask differently.
JY – Have you been baptized?
Facebook Friend – Yup
JY – How?
Facebook Friend – I know what is baptist but I dont know how to english
Facebook Friend – How to translate in english
Facebook Friend – Baptist, that what we call relihiyon. If you born then binyagan ka in the water u swim to watch around
Facebook Friend – Are u willing to help me? If ok or not just tell me please
JY – I’ve been driving and now I’m getting ready to have supper with my family.
Facebook Friend – Ah ok
JY – As I said before, I am willing to help you if I can.
Facebook Friend – Ok..
JY – It is important that we try to understand each other about baptism.
JY – Were you baptized as a baby?
Facebook Friend – Yup
JY – Did you become saved at the time of your baptism or later as a child or an adult?
Facebook Friend – Later as a child
JY – About how old do you think you were?
Facebook Friend – I dunno
JY – We’re you saved by praying asking Jesus into your heart or some other way?
Facebook Friend – Church
JY – Thanks for your answers. I must go for now so as to eat with my family.
JY – Facebook Friend, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.
JY – Paul said here that those who do not know God and those who have not obeyed the gospel will face God’s wrath and etrnal destruction in the final day of judgment. We’ve confirmed the basics of who God is in our study together. And you have confessed that you believe in God as the Bible describes Him. You know God.
JY – But what about obeying the Gospel? Earlier in our discussion we saw that the gospel of Jesus is His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-7). Question: How can we obey Jesus death burial and resurrection?
JY – Jesus provided the answer when He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Mark 16:15,16
JY – Paul confirms that Baptism is the way one obeys the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (i.e. the gospel) to be saved. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:1-11
JY – Facebook Friend, notice that Jesus said a person that believes is the one who should be baptized. This disqualifies infants from being baptized who cannot believe first. Jesus indicates that baptism is for people old enough to believe.
JY – Does this make sense? Do you agree that Jesus words about baptism mean a person must be able to believe in order to be baptized biblically?
JY – Feel free to respond, but I am off to bed for the night.
Facebook Friend – Like
JY – Facebook Friend, I have two questions for you based on my last message: 1. Do you see that baptism is participation in Jesus death, burial and resurrection based on Romans 6:1-11? 2. Do you recognize that only those who believe in Jesus should be baptized based on Mark 16:16?
JY – What are your answers to these two questions?
JY – Other scriptures that baptism is only for those who first believe are:
JY – Acts 8:35-38
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”
JY – Acts 2:36-41
Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.”
JY – Facebook Friend, some religious people incorrectly teach that a person is born guilty because of their parents sins and therefore need to be baptized as infants. The Bible however teaches that a child does not inherit their parents sins and there for does not need baptized until they are able to understand what Jesus has done and believe.
JY – Ezekiel 18:20
“The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”
JY – Being baptized as a believer in Jesus (not a baby) is obedience to the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Romans 6:1-11), and saves us. we are not saved before baptism or sometime after but in our baptism.
JY – 1 Peter 3:21
“Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”
JY – Colossians 2:11,12
“and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
JY – It is in our baptism, not before or sometime after – that we become saved children of God.
JY – Galatians 3:26,27
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
JY – Facebook Friend, do you believe that a only a person who believes should be baptized as the Bible states? Do you also believe that a person is saved in their baptism and not before or sometime after?
Facebook Friend – Like
JY – Happy New Year Facebook Friend!
JY – If you understand and believe these things. Than I encourage you to obey them. You said you were baptized as a baby and saved as a child but according to Jesus that is not how one is saved. To be saved you need to correct this. Facebook Friend I encourage you to repent of your sins, confess Jesus as the Son of God and be baptized in Jesus name for the forgiveness of your sins. Only then will you be saved. Do you understand? Are you willing to obey these things?
JY – If so, I know someone in the Phillipines that can help you.
Facebook Friend – Like
Facebook Friend – K
JY – Yes you desire someone to help you obey the gospel to be saved?
Facebook Friend – U don’t help me? OK!
JY – Don’t help you?
Facebook Friend – Yeah
JY – Do you recognize your need to be baptized biblically?
Facebook Friend – Yup
JY – If you were to die today, would you go to heaven or hell?
Facebook Friend – Heaven… syempre
JY – Facebook Friend your answer shows that you do not understand what we have discussed.
JY – The Bible teaches that unless you are baptized into Jesus as a believer, you will not be in heaven.
JY – Sins are forgiven through Jesus at the point in time a person is baptized.
Facebook Friend – Ok
JY – Does this truth bother you?
JY – Do you fully understand English or would Filipino be better?
JY – Huwag mong ganap na maunawaan Ingles o ay magiging mas mahusay Filipino?
JY – 2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
JY – 2 Pedro 3: 9
“Ang Panginoon ay hindi mabagal sa Kanyang pangako, na gaya ng pagpapalibang ipinalalagay ng, ngunit ay pasyente papunta sa iyo, hindi na nagnanais para sa anumang upang mapahamak, kundi para sa lahat na dumating sa pagsisisi.”
Facebook Friend – U did not help me?
JY – Is Google’s Filipino translation bad?
Facebook Friend – Wht
JY – In a previous email I sent you a translation in Filipino of what I shared in English, using a Google translation app.
Facebook Friend – Ah ok.. I see
Facebook Friend – I read it
JY – Was that a decent translation or not?
Facebook Friend – Desent
JY – What did you mean when you messaged, “U did not help me?”
JY – What problem?
Facebook Friend – About my school
Facebook Friend – My tuition.. I need 5000 thousan to pay that.. But its up to u if u help me and how much
JY – Where do you work?
Facebook Friend – I dont have work.. Im still studying
JY – Studying where?
Facebook Friend – Philippines.. NORSU
Facebook Friend – Please help me, huhuhu I need u
JY – What is NORSU?
Facebook Friend – Name of my school
Please provide the entire name of the school and where I can find information about it.
Facebook Friend – Ok, NEGROS ORIENTAL STATE UNIVERSITY THATS A NAME MEANS NORSU)
Facebook Friend – Guihulngan negros oriental is the address… My tuition is 6870
JY – Are you already enrolled?
JY – You said you are studying?
Facebook Friend – Yes..but I cannot pay my tuition
Facebook Friend – My exam is on january 11 and I need to pay my tuition on time…
JY – Are you a Freshman or Sophmore or what?
Facebook Friend – Fresh inrolled
Where did you come up with your first $1870?
Facebook Friend – 6870… Ahm my parents.but my fathers dead
You said you need 5,000. So you already have 1870 right?
Facebook Friend – Yup…
Facebook Friend – My ate give me that, 1870
What about scholarships?
Facebook Friend – Nothing.. Already full
Facebook Friend – U need a baker if u apply a schollar ship.but I dont have that..
What do you mean a baker?
Facebook Friend – I mean power person..have a rank
Ok. What career are you looking to get an education for?
Facebook Friend – Business women..soon
What kind of jobs are available to you with a buisness degree?
Facebook Friend – Manager..etc its all about a business
Facebook Friend – Manager,hr,assistant.etc
Some students who cannot find scholarships work their way through school. Have you considered working to pay for school?
Facebook Friend – Yes
But you are not working now?
Facebook Friend – Yes because its hard to find a good job here if u cannot finish ur study
Facebook Friend – I mean no.. Becuase u cannot find a good job because u do not have a gradueted school.in philippines its so hard here to find a money if u do not study first
JY – I get that it is much easier to get all the tuition up front, but if working to pay for one class at a time ends up being the only way for you to continue your education, do you value your education enough to pay for it that way?
JY – I admit I do not know the economics of the Philippines.
JY – Your refusal to allow me to ask a Christian friend in the Philippines to meet you to help you study the Bible causes me hesitation.
Facebook Friend – So can u help me my problem?
Facebook Friend – I have so many problem,i dont know what I am going to do. Im first year student as of now. I need finish four year course.. Please dont ask me many question.if u help me then good.if not its up to u…tell me 😦
JY – I ask questions to learn more about you. It would be irresponsible of me to just send money to anyone who asks without knowing them personally or through a friend. Don’t you think?
Facebook Friend – Ok 😦
Facebook Friend – Please.. Huhuhu I need ur help
JY – Your deadline is simply way to close for me to help in any significant way?
Facebook Friend – Huhuhu
JY – What does “huhuhu” mean?
Facebook Friend – Crying
JY – I see. I’m sad you are sad.
Facebook Friend – Yes
Facebook Friend – Please huhuhu
JY – I can’t see how I can help your immediate situation. I am however interested in continuing our friendship.
Facebook Friend – Im very poor..my mom dont have work.and my ate help for my study but she already married
JY – The best way I can see to help you is to help you be sure you are saved according to the Bible. Then introducing you to other Christians who may be in your area. The church is the family of God who encourages and provide for one another.
Facebook Friend – Its up to if u dont help me.. How many times I told u that I am poor person.thats why I need to finish my study to become rich.. To leave poor life
Facebook Friend – I dont know what u mean
JY – Education and a good job are things that will eventually pass away, your soul and church family you could have forever. Being poor physically is not looked down on by God. Nor is being rich held in hight esteem. Being right with him is most important.
Facebook Friend – Dont based on bible etc..the only need now is to help me
JY – All of my life including my help is based on the Bible. God gives both of us what we have and He should be what we live for.
Facebook Friend – K
Facebook Friend – If u help me then help.if not tell me.. Dami pang satsat
JY – Are you getting mad?
Facebook Friend – Nope
JY – What does Dami pang satsat mean?
Facebook Friend – Nothing
JY – I am willing to help you as I said earlier, “The best way I can see to help you is to help you be sure you are saved according to the Bible. Then introducing you to other Christians who may be in your area. The church is the family of God who encourages and provide for one another.”
JY – I don’t think I can be of any help to you financially at this time though.
Facebook Friend – Thank you.. Please
JY – I hope you get your tuition. Are you willing to continue studying the Bible with me?
Facebook Friend – Yup
JY – I am glad. You are in my prayers for God to meet your needs.
Facebook Friend – Thanks
JY – I must go for now.
Facebook Friend – When? Where
JY – Do you mean When? Where for Bible study?
Facebook Friend – Yes
Facebook Friend – When u help me?
JY – How about we try to study together online at MyJourney.worldbibleschool.org
Facebook Friend – Hehehe ok
JY – If you sign up for this course, I will be your teacher.
JY – It is a free course.
JY – When you sign up I will be notified and will write you a welcome.
Facebook Friend – Hmmm ok
JY – I will be watching my email for your enrolment. I pray your success in all you want to do.
Facebook Friend – Ok.thanks
Facebook Friend – What u like I call u sir?kuya? Etc
JY – My name is Jeff.
Facebook Friend – Ok
JY – Goodbye for now.
JY – I haven’t seen that you have registered for Bible study with me online yet – MyJourney.worldbibleschool.org. Do you remain interested?
Facebook Friend – Ok
JY – Do you plan to sign up to study the Bible with me at MyJourney.worldbibleschool.org?
Facebook Friend – Yup
JY – How about right now?
Facebook Friend – Its up to u
JY – I’ve changed my mind. Before signing up online lets try studying further here on fb messenger first.
JY – Do you have a Bible with you right now?
Facebook Friend – Nothing
JY – Are you messaging from a smart phone or personal computer?
Facebook Friend – Sun phone only
Facebook Friend – Why
Whew! We made it! Everyone still with me?!…Wait were is… 🙂
What do you think, a worthy effort? Absolutely!
Worth in sowing the seed of the Kingdom of God does not depend on the recipients, but in the seed being sown! It looks to me that the scriptures teach that effort to share the gospel is determined by the gospel itself. If the gospel is being sown, than no matter the soil it lands on, nor the intention or skill of the sower, the work has value (Romans 1:16, Philippians 1:15-18). When quality in these three is combined with the gospel than even better for all involved (Matthew 13:18-23, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
Though this opportunity with my new Facebook friend may not turn out to have been the most “productive” way I could have spent this same time, it is an opportunity that I have determined to make the most of (Colossians 4:5,6). I urge you to do the same with your opportunities whatever form they may come in!
Do your Facebook friends know you are a Christian? More importantly, do they know the gospel of Jesus Christ and how to receive the salvation it offers? Be a Facebook friend for real.
There is no better friend then the one who points souls heavenward.
Keep thinking souls!