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Donna Morley received the following email from a young woman--a high school senior. Her questions and Donna's answers might help others, so here it is.

Hello Mrs. Morley!

I writing because I'm taking an evangelism course through my school. My
assignment is that I have to ask another Christian two questions. Do you

1. What do you think is the purpose of the ten commandments?

There are many Christians who believe the purpose of the Ten Commandments are to show us how sinful we are. Truly, selfishness is the curse of our sin nature, and indeed there is something to be said for this. One thing I don't agree with, are Christians who use the commandments to tell people that they are "adulterers," "thieves" and "liars." This is unloving, and I have yet to hear of one person coming to Christ with this type of approach. If they do, praise the Lord, God certainly uses all things. Yet, I don't highly advise this type of witnessing. I've only heard of people getting angry, and Christians being considered unloving because of such outreach. One woman shared with me that she regrets using this type of evangelism (based on videos she saw at church). Sadly, it backfired on her and she's now lost a friendship as a result. Some will excuse this sort of evangelism by saying that this was Christ's primary approach to witnessing. I respectfully disagree.

As I see it, the commandments of God, whether expressed in the Law or the prophets, are not scattered, unconnected rules; they run up into one great principle; they are all developed from the law of love. As the Scripture says, love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10).

Love is our refining, elevating power. It's the source of the best life. And, the highest form of love must have the highest object, and that is God Himself. "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Ex 20:3; Deut. 5:7); "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain..." (Deut. Ex. 20:7; Deut. 5:11). You shall "observe the Sabbath"--in other words, worship Him (Ex. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12). As we see, these commands are focused on God---showing Him love.

When the scribes asked Jesus, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" (Mark 12:28) He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30; Deut. 6:5). Again, Christ points to love--loving God.

Along with loving God, we are commanded to love all others. Jesus confirmed this when He told the scribes, "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself '" (Mark 12:31). How? By going back to those Ten Commandments that speak of not only honoring our parents (Ex. 20:12; Deut 5:16) but all men; to respect their rights (don't take their life; don't steal from them); their feelings (don't commit adultery, and actually, we can expand upon this and be loyal in all our relationships); to give them reverence (don't speak falsely about them).

Paul the apostle ties the ten commandments into love when he says:

"Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another ; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, 'You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfilment of the law" (Romans 13:8-10).

Love keeps in mind that all of mankind were made in the image of God. They are all precious in the sight of Christ, ransomed with His life, redeemed with his precious blood. That love, that respect, should be in the way we regard ourselves--true, real, sincere. As we care for ourselves, for our own comfort and happiness, so we should do with others. If we are Christ's true disciples, we must care for the comfort and happiness of others. If we can't love others, which includes by way of the ten commandments, then we can't love God (1 John 4:7-8, 20). Jesus made this point, in the reverse, "if you love Me, you will keep My commandments." The Jews believed the ten commandments--those acts of love--were important, that they wore the written commandments in their phylacteries; yet the Lord bids us to carry those commandments of love in our heart.

We must not be content with our spiritual state unless we are sincerely and earnestly striving to obey God's commandments, which again, brings us back to loving God, and loving others.

2. What would you say to a non-believer when they asked you why they
should become a Christian?

When a non-believer, asks, "why should I become a Christian?" we first must keep in mind that the question posed may be asked in a derogatory way. The non-believer could easily be challenging the Christian, wanting to know, "what's in it for me?"

If we first tell the non-believer that "putting their faith in Christ, will prevent them from hell" they would, perhaps, mock--as they pretend to be scared of the "fire and brimstones." This non-believer may not be open to the gospel at all. Despite that, "mockers" have come to Christ and we need to show them Christ's love.

I would begin sharing with the non-believer (who most likely doesn't see his/her sin) by saying that God doesn't need any of us; we need Him . God has done fine since the beginning of eternity without us; yet we can't live for the rest of eternity without Him.

I would emphasize the fact that being a Christian is not embracing a religion; it's embracing a relationship with Jesus Christ. I take the word Christian and cut it up. "Christ" is one part, then the "ian" is the other part. The word Christian then, means to me that, "I