How anyone can be ready to die? - Roy Daniel
Van Staden's Tragedy:
When I was a small boy, a friend of mine committed suicide. I have cried thinking how different it could have been if he had known the contents of this booklet. It is too late to tell him, but I can tell you! Another friend of mine lives near Van Staden's bridge. He is so poor that he cannot fix his only car. A few months back he received a text message from his oldest son. It read, “Third time lucky, I'm jumping.” The father had no car to drive, and despite his heart problems, he ran with all his might towards the bridge. He was running down the N2 when another friend of mine stopped his car and asked Johan, “Whats wrong?” In desperation he jumped in and said, “My son's jumping Van Stadens -- Go !Go!” They sped down the road. The son was nowhere. An old lady with a pale face was standing there and said in shock, “A young man just jumped off the bridge.” My other friend told me later that he had never seen a man scream and howl as that father did for his lost son. The body lay crushed on a rock below. Some die like that, others die in car accidents, from sickness, or old age. You never know when death will call. Are you ready?
Did you know the greatest test of whether you are a true Christian or not is love? What is scary is that going to church, doing rituals, having amazing experiences (like being healed), having feelings of joy, or crying while singing about God do not prove that you know or love Jesus. The Bible says, "If any man love God, the same man is known of him."-- 1 Corinthians 8:03 If you don't love God, then God doesn't know you, and you don't know him!
Following are the stories of two people -- A fat lady and a child. Ask yourself the question: Which one loved Jesus?
A man went to a fancy costume party dressed as a devil. On the way there, he was caught in a thunderstorm. The only place of safety was a church. It was Sunday, and people were sitting in the service. The man forgot that he wore a devil's suit. He was therefore surprised to see people screaming and running away in fear. A fat lady was unable to get away because of the frenzied flight of the others. She clung to a pillar and addressed the man, “Please do not hurt me. You know, and I know, that we were always on the same side.”
People laugh at that story, yet their own lives cry out that they are on Satan's side in many areas of their lives. They watch Satan's movies and listen to Satan's music. They make friends with Satan's children and use Satan's language. They call themselves Christians, but they don't love Jesus! They are children of the devil who call themselves children of God.
In a Soviet state a small boy and his father faced soldiers with guns. The soldiers gave the father a choice, “ If you deny Jesus Christ we will let you go, but if you refuse we will skin your boy alive in front of your eyes.” The little boy looked up at his father and said, “Father, if you deny Christ, I will be ashamed of you.” The boy was skinned alive and died.
Do you deny Christ in “small” things like the television programs you watch? If you do, you certainly would deny Him when faced with guns! God's word promises that if you deny Christ, He will deny you when he comes to judge the earth!
Those two stories really happened. There is something else that is really going to happen, and that is the JUDGMENT DAY. After death God is going to judge EVERY person (including you), and it is not going to be by your standards. Right through life people think about a million things: money, family, fun, pleasure, etc., but very few of them are serious about what will happen after death. That will change a split second after the final whistle blows! When your body is lying in a coffin, your soul will be facing God's judgment. The vital question then will not be, “Did I make a lot of money?” nor “Did I have the prettiest wife?” No, the question will be, “AM I RIGHT WITH GOD?”
Soon God will stand on the judgment throne and open the book of life. People will then realize that if their name is not in the book, they will face God's holy wrath against sin forever. The above question will then be all that matters. The scary thing is that God's Word as revealed in the Bible tells us that many people who think they are right with God will find out on Judgment Day that they are not. They are like people who dream of eating and wake up hungry. They think they are Christians, but they will suddenly realize that they NEVER KNEW OR LOVED GOD. Many very dedicated people will discover this. Many who despised filthy people, because they did not follow Jesus as fully as they did, will find out that they never followed Jesus themselves! Other people who have had amazing experiences that they think proved their knowledge of God will find out that they were believing a lie. Some may ask, “IF I DIE NOW HOW CAN I KNOW THAT I AM RIGHT WITH GOD.?” If you are interested, this booklet will give you the simple biblical answer to that all-important question.
The Answer Lies in a Powerful Message:
There is a message more powerful than any other. It has set drunkards free, broken chains of hatred, and filled hearts with life where only spiritual death had reigned before. It has taken hell-bound sinners and placed them firmly on the way to heaven. Through this amazing message, people have found forgiveness with God for the grossest and most awful sins. Others, bound by dead religion, have found true spiritual life. It can set free, make alive, and transform forever. A 70 year old Vietnamese woman heard this simple message. It changed her life. She started to tell people. The police ordered her to stop, for it was against the law in Vietnam to tell that message. People are jailed and many are tortured. She refused to stop and was arrested. She could not help talking to the other prisoners. The guards tried to stop her. They put her in a small box with little or no room to move. A small hole allowed air to enter. A few weeks passed, and her skin started to fall off from lack of light. They released her, but her terrible ordeal was unable to stop her zeal. She could not stop talking to the prisoners about the message that changed her life. After a while, she was released from jail with a warning -- which did not stop her. This amazing message shows people how to meet with God and be sure of heaven. It is called THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. It is God's will for YOU to hear it!
Gospel means "good news". It was preached by Jesus, Paul, and many others 2000 years back. Through the ages it has been preached to mankind. You may ask, "Why do I need this good news?" How does it concern me? Here is a short guide to the gospel message. May YOUR life be changed forever.
Firstly: Why is the message necessary?
A) WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT!
You may not realize that the message is necessary, because you do not realize who you are and what you have done. According to the Bible, the first man (Adam) sinned against God (by disobeying God's commandment not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil), and he thus became a sinful being. That's awful, because God's holy wrath is aimed against all sinful people and beings. We, as descendants of Adam, are all born with his sinful nature. We are born spiritually dead. We have inherited this from Adam. Not only are we born sinners, but we have done sin. Many people believe that they are good in God's eyes, because they are good in their own eyes. They have not murdered any one, and they enjoy church!
The following illustration shows why we are all in they same boat. There was once an archery contest. A huge prize was to be given to any person who could hit the dead center of a round circle. Many took part, and there was much expectation that someone would win. The contest came down to the last two archers, and no one had hit the center -- in fact all of them were way off from hitting the middle point. The second to the last archer drew his bow and shot. The arrow fell to the ground far short of the target. The last archer grinned. He drew his bow, aimed carefully, and let fly. His arrow flew superbly through the air. It seemed drawn to the center of the target, but it just missed. He smiled in confidence. He thought, “The other archers shot so pathetically. My arrow landed so near to the center. Surely I will win.” The herald stood up and read, “No one wins. The competition rules are WHOEVER HITS THE CENTER wins. No one qualifies for the prize.” The Bible states: “...for there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” No matter how near you come to keeping all of God's laws, you are no different than the person who kept none of God's laws. You are a lawbreaker and deserve the eternal wrath of a holy God. God's standard is perfection. That is a problem, because we all fall short of God's standard by breaking His holy law. It is so hard for many “good,” kind churchgoers or good people to see that they too have fallen short of God's standards. They think they will get into heaven because they are so much better than others; however, there is no difference. They have not hit the target of God's standard of perfection.
No one will get to heaven because of their own goodness, yet most people think they are good. The Bible says: “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness:”-- Proverbs 20:6. We have to stop comparing ourselves to others (which makes us feel good) and measure ourselves by God's standard. Then we will see that there is no difference, and that we are all filthy sinners, deserving eternity in the fearful flames of hell. The law points out that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God's standards. There is plenty of space for all of us in hell.
Good people do not believe they are dirty sinners. Are you like the man who wouldn't believe his face was dirty? He came home, and his wife told him, "Your face is dirty.” He thought she was joking. He felt clean. After much arguing, his wife brought a mirror, and he saw the truth. A big smudge was spread across his face. He could no longer argue that he was clean. That is the function of God's law. It is like a mirror to show “good” people that they are dirty in God's eyes. It stops our mouths. We can no longer argue and say we are good in God's eyes, because we see in the mirror that there is no difference between those who are good churchgoers and those who murder, drink, and swear. Some have more dirt than others, but all of us have broken God's laws.
God says He is coming to judge. After death or at the second coming of Jesus Christ (i.e. God, the Son), those who do not know Jesus will be judged according to God's standards, (not by man's). There are many things that people have done which they think are “not so bad”, but which in God's eyes are extremely filthy and worthy of God's eternal wrath. God will judge all who do not know Him on Judgment Day by THE 10 COMMANDMENTS! This means all are sinners. All have broken God's laws.
If you think you are a good person and do not deserve hell because of your religion, good works, going to church, praying, tithing, etc., let us look in the mirror to see if you are good in God's EYES! Bear in mind that all your good works and religion could never take away the punishment deserved for breaking even one of God's holy laws! Please carefully consider God's standard, which no one has reached.
COMMAND 1, 2
It is wrong to have any other gods except Him. This may be a graven image or anything you love more than God: e. g. money , sport, or uncontrolled craving for food.
God considers it sin to use his name as a swear word or to use it lightly in a joke. If you have even listened to a video which does this, and you did not put it off you are guilty.
God's law states we should keep the seventh day as a day of rest -- free from working for money. Few people are willing to give just one day in the week to God.
One must honor, respect and obey one's parents.
Murder, including hatred, (not choosing to forgive) is sin!
Adultery, including lust (e.g. viewing pornography) and sex before marriage, is sin.
Stealing (even small things) is sin.
Lying is sin!
Covetousness, i.e. jealously desiring what belongs to others (wife or property), is sin.
As you see, we are all lawbreakers. This is not a small thing. If you asked the souls in the flames of hell, "Why are you here?" many would say, "If only I had realized how serious God is about His law. I never did much wrong. I went to church . Because I was so good and believed that Jesus loves me and would never send me hell, I sang of Jesus, but I never knew Him. I never realized I needed Him to save me. I thought I was on the way to heaven!” Sinners in hell are receiving wages for what they were and what they did. Everybody dies. After death comes the day of judgment (Hebrews9:27) in which we will be held accountable for everything done in our body on earth. The punishment for sin is eternal death in a lake of fire (Rev20:14). No amount of good works, going to church, baptism, or being born in a Christian home can save ANY ONE from the punishment THEY deserve for disobeying God's law. Ten million years of church going, singing hymns, and helping the poor can never buy forgiveness for one lie (Law 9) (Eph. 2:8,9).
B) YOUR GOOD LIFE MEANS NOTHING ON JUDGMENT DAY
Will you be like this orange juice on Judgment Day?: Imagine a good, shining orange that was peeled and put into a fruit-mixer. Another bad orange was added. Worms wiggled from holes. Oozy, green, liquid rottenness covered the rest. The mixer turned on. Out came a rotten mess which no shop owner would agree to sell! Did the good orange make the bad orange good? NO! Just so our good works CANNOT make our bad works (sin) good! Sin is breaking God's law-- 1 John3:4, and “all have sinned”--Roman 3:23.
We cannot save ourselves. We have no strength or power to meet God's requirements of being perfect and holy, and that is why we desperately need good news from somewhere else! We are spiritually "dead in trespasses and sin" (Eph2:1), “having no hope and without God in the world." We are sinners worthy of eternal hellfire. We are NOT worthy of living in God's presence for even a moment -- and thus we cannot enter heaven. We are worthy of hell as law breakers (Eph2:12). Until we realize our state before God, we are not ready for the gospel message! The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. That means it shows us that in God's eyes we are unholy sinners, filthy rags, worthy of being thrown into God's eternal bonfire (no matter how religious or good we think we are, or men say we are!) It shows us we are worthy of the flames of hell and that we desperately need Jesus.
A very good person started to realize she was a sinner in God's eyes. She became desperate. Her minister came and said to her that he knew she was God's child, and so she should stop worrying. She said goodbye to him and went to her room. There she prayed and said, “God, the minister says I am Thy child but what do You say?” She sought and met with God. You see on Judgment Day it will not help if men said you are good. The only thing that matters is if you are good in God's eyes.
I once asked a little girl if she was a Christian. She smiled and said that she grew up a Christian. I looked at her kindly and said, “If the Bible says we are all born spiritually dead, and that we all also sin, at what point do you become alive? Did you suddenly become alive at some point just because you grew up in a Christian home? The Bible says we have to come to a point where God forgives us and makes us spiritually alive! That is when we come to Jesus as a sinner (sorry about our sinful heart and deeds) and ask him to forgive us and make us spiritually alive.” She looked at me and said, “Thats just it, I am not alive!” My friend are you alive? Read on to find out!
Secondly: How is this amazing message made possible?
Why would God do something to restore sinners? One reason was to glorify Himself; another is love. God is love. He does not love us because we deserve it. He loves us in spite of the fact that we fully deserve Hell! To paint a picture of God's love is impossible. The following true story gives us a small idea of how immeasurably great God's love is.
THE RAILWAY WORKER
A man worked on a railway line. He sometimes took his child with him to work. A railway bridge lifted up into the air like London Bridge. It was the man's job to make sure the bridge was down when the train came. He allowed his son to play in between the mechanisms below the bridge. Suddenly he heard the sound of the train racing towards the bridge. In a split second he had to make a choice: Jump to save his son, or push the lever to save the train and kill his son. A moment later he pushed the lever, and the heavy bridge crushed the life out of his son. He buried his head in his arms as grief tore through his body. He looked up and saw people through the windows of the passing train. They were playing card games and laughing. They had no idea of the sacrifice that made it possible for them to remain alive. They laughed and played while a father's heart lay torn in shreds beside the line. My friend, if you could climb a ladder to the gates of heaven and ask an angel, “How much does God love the world?” the angel would answer just one thing: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gave His Son to die for His enemies (YOU).
Even sinners who are religious and go to church are lawbreakers and enemies of God.
In Mathew 19:17 Jesus states : “...there is none good...” Romans 5:6 states: In Hebrews 2:9 we read that Jesus tasted death for every man. " For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly!" Jesus, God the Son, who created the world, came down and became man. He lived a sinless life and then allowed Himself to be murdered on a cross. He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set him free, but He died instead, for you and me. God is holy and must punish sin! Jesus suffered the punishment for every sin when He died. God the Father made His own Son to be sin (2 Co. 5:21) for us. Every sin which YOU did Jesus took upon himself. He was punished for it in your place. The Bible says that “it pleased God the father to bruise Him” (His own Son). When Jesus became your sin, God the Father's awful WRATH (for YOUR sins) was poured out upon His Son. This happened at Calvary in Israel where Jesus died. Jesus suffered much from man. He was whipped; soldiers spat upon Him; He was nailed to a cross. All this was nothing compared to the wrath of God He had to face for your sin. This was the only way God could make it possible for you to be forgiven for breaking His law. Jesus had to face that wrath in your place, else God could never forgive you. On the third day Jesus rose again, defeating death and hell (the punishment for sin), and He ascended up to heaven until an appointed day when He is coming again to judge the living and the dead!
“Jesus tasted death for every man,” (Heb. 2:9) YOU TOO. This does not mean everyone is on the way to heaven. Many believe the above facts (in their heads) and will find themselves in the flames of hell after death! "...the devils also believe and tremble"-- James 2:19.
Thirdly: What must YOU DO TO BE SAVED from God's judgment?
The following verses tell us how we can become Christians. It is the message God commanded to be preached after His Son died for our sins.
Mark 1:15 “Repent ye and believe the gospel.”
Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.”
Luke 24:46 "And he(Jesus) said unto them, Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: v. 47 And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
The last of the above verses basically states that after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His followers are commanded to go everywhere preaching two things to lost sinners. These are: firstly, repent; and secondly, believe the Gospel (receiving forgiveness through Christ Jesus.) Read on to see how this message can become part of your life.
A) YOU MUST BE REPENTANT:
Many people think that they are Christians and ready for heaven because they have asked Jesus in their heart. The question for them is: "Have you repented?" Without repentance God will never forgive you, and Jesus is not in your life. The following true story illustrates this:
In America in the 1800's there were two brothers. The one was a hero and the other a villain. The one was honored for his bravery and service to the state. The other was in jail. He was so bad that he was sentenced to death. The hero brother was heart-broken. He loved his brother and did not want him to die . He went to see the governor of the state. He begged him to grant a free pardon to his brother. The governor thought of all that the man before him had done. He took out a pen and paper and wrote out a free pardon, which he signed. The good brother was excited. He hurried to the jail and was given entrance to his brothers cell. He did something strange, however. He did not announce his brother's free pardon. He did not even mention it. Instead, he asked this question: “Brother, if you received a free pardon, what would you do with it?” The bad brother did not think it was possible to gain a pardon and answered, “The first thing I would do is kill the person who told on me, and the second is kill the person who gave me the sentence.” The hero stood up and walked out. His brother never knew that there was a free pardon. He was hanged. Just so, Jesus loves us very much. He longs to give us a free pardon for our sins. He died to make it possible, but he will stand up and walk out (even if we pray for forgiveness) if we do not sorrow over and turn from our life of sin. Many people only want to obey half the gospel. They want to accept Jesus into their lives. They want to believe Jesus died for their sins so as to be forgiven and one day get into heaven, but they do not want to repent (confess and forsake their life of sin)! They want heaven without the narrow way; they want "Jesus" and the pleasures of sin. They do not "choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." (Heb11:25) "They profess (say) that they know God , but in works they deny him," (Titus1:16)
Almost exactly the same thing happened in the Bible. A man came to Jesus seeking eternal life, and the Bible says Jesus loved him. However, the man soon walked sadly away, without eternal life! The reason?-- God had shown him his sin. The man had another god, the love of money. He was not willing to repent of his sin, thus even though Jesus loved him, the man walked away without forgiveness of sins. If that man died, he would go to the place of fire, because he was not willing to give up his sin. Many people pray to "accept Jesus" without truly repenting, and on the judgment day they will hear the words, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (lawlessness).” Math 7:23
WHAT IS REPENTANCE?:
You do not have to become perfect to accept Jesus, BUT you do have to be sick and sorry about your sin. Repentance is not reformation (i.e. trying to start living a good life and running around trying to do things to earn forgiveness --Jesus has earned our forgiveness on the cross). We can try and do good works for ever and it will never take away the times we broke God's law or change our sinful, spiritually dead hearts. Repentance is a change of attitude towards sin (and towards God). As we realize our sin is primarily against God, a sorrow springs up in our hearts as we start to hate the sin that separates us from a living and real relationship with God. To someone who is repentant, sin is no longer a small thing. The Bible talks of two sorts of sorrow -- godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow is sorrow over sin and leads to repentance. Worldly sorrow is not sorrow over sin, but merely over the consequences of sin. A person with worldly sorrow may be sorry about hell, or that he/she has been caught, etc. On their own, these are wrong motives to become a Christian and will not lead to forgiveness or eternal life. If you are humbled over your sin, God will not reject your cry for mercy! Receiving Jesus without repentance is like trying to get on a train with a torn-in-half ticket.
It is possible that someone is reading this booklet who thinks there is some sin which is too hard to give up. Think of this! There was a ship which sank. As a result of too few life boats, many drowned in the cruel waves. One man swam towards a lifeboat filled with men. They shouted to him to back off, as the boat could not hold any more people. He refused and swam on. He came to the life boat and put his one hand on the side of the boat. A man took an ax and cut his hand off. He put his other hand out and they cut it off too. In desperation he lunged forward and bit the side of the boat with his teeth. This time the sailors pulled him on board the boat. On Judgment Day we will realize that nothing is worth missing Christ. He is the only lifeboat for our soul. He is worth giving up anything.
Some are not willing to give up a life of sin. Others are not willing to give up their “good” life, by admitting it does not make them good. Paul lived a good life before his conversion, but after naming the good things he did, he said, “I . . . do count them but dung, that I might win Christ.” Until we come to God with nothing but our sin (not trusting in our good works, our life or our miraculous spiritual experiences), God cannot save us. Remember no man can repent in his own strength. The Bible say no man seeks after God.
If you start to feel godly sorrow over your sin and long for forgiveness, then know that God is working in your heart. Ask Him to truly humble you and make you sick and tired of being a spiritually dead sinner. Ask him to make you repentant. "...Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee." If you feel humbled, know that you are drawn to God by God because He loves you. This should be a huge ray of hope to any sinner who believes he cannot be forgiven.
B) YOU CAN BE FORGIVEN:
The only reason God will accept your repentance is because Jesus died for you! This must be your only plea! "...even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."(Eph. 4:32) "For by grace ye are saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (Eph. 2:8)
Mercy is not receiving what you deserve (i.e. .God does not send us to hell). Grace is receiving what we don't deserve (i.e. God gives us Jesus and makes us His children with all in Jesus that we do not deserve). To illustrate how a sinner who is humbled and repentant can be forgiven, read the following: In the 1800's there was a man ( Charles Spurgeon) who felt his need to have his sins forgiven. For 10 years he tried to earn forgiveness by keeping God's law as best as he could, but he was never certain of His salvation. In fact he was miserable. This carried on for nine years. One day he went to a meeting in an old building where a lay preacher gave a talk about the Bible. He preached from the text “ Look unto me all ye ends of the earth and be ye saved.” The preacher looked at the man who had come to listen and said. “Young man you are miserable (about your sin).” He continued and said, “ This text says look!! Look to who ?-- Jesus! Who can look?-- You do not have to be clever to look. Anyone can look. Even a unlearned person can look. Look, look and be saved.“ At that moment it struck the young man, “Anyone can look.” In a moment he looked to Jesus, and something wonderful happened. Something that 9 years of law-keeping and good works could never do. He was saved; he was forgiven; he was made alive. He became a great preacher and lived to tell others that Jesus has done everything. All repentant sinners (people sick and sorry about their sins) have to do to become good is look to Jesus and be saved!
Only God can save! This is so simple, but every word is true. God cannot lie. He did not lie when He said He would give His son to die in our place, and He did not lie when He said that repentant sinners can be saved by faith. You see, by faith God forgives us when we receive Jesus into our lives.
The second thing that must happen for us to be saved from God's Judgment is accepting Christ Jesus into our lives. You cannot save yourself. As soon as you receive Jesus (He is the gift of eternal life), you are forgiven of your sins and are given the “power to become the sons of God!" (John1:12) Some people receive Jesus when they look to God in faith to forgive them. Others receive Jesus by praying and asking him to forgive them and enter their lives.
In the Bible we never read of God running, except when we read of Him running to forgive and hug a repentant sinner coming to Him for forgiveness. This is a real story in the Bible. You can read it in Luke 15:11-24.
The cross proves God's love for us. When we receive Jesus into our lives, He makes us spiritually alive. (We were dead because of sin.) We become "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." (Eph2:10) Jesus is our forgiveness, new nature, eternal life, and guarantee of heaven. God wants to give us Jesus, and therefore when we ask , our feelings are not important. Feelings change --God never will. If a son asked his father for bread and then ran away shouting, “I don't have a wonderful feeling, therefore I do not believe that Father will give me bread,”-- he would be a fool! He who gave His Son to die for you will never lie to you! Simply accept Jesus into your life. Christianity is not a mere religion. It is a person, Jesus Christ. Jesus said to religious people, ”ye search the scriptures (the Bible) for in them ye think ye have eternal life, but ye will not come unto me (Jesus) that ye might have life.” We can come unto Jesus in prayer to be made Spiritually alive.
Pandita Ramabai, the noted Christian leader from India, said that she had followed the religion of her country (Hinduism) all through her childhood days and right up until after she was married; and it had never satisfied her. One day she heard of Christianity, and she said, “That is what I want. Christianity will satisfy the longings of my heart. I will embrace the Christian religion.” She made the grave mistake of swapping her Hindu religion for Christianity as a religion. She was baptized and later confirmed. She went to England and attended a church for eight years. She lived an exemplary Christian life. She did all this, yet was still a dead sinner on her way to hell! This is her testimony in her own words: “I 'had' found the Christian religion,” she said, “but did not find the Christ (Jesus) of religion.” You see for ten years she had embraced Christianity as a religion (doing a lot of good Christian rules and rituals), but had never accepted Jesus Christ. This all changed the moment Jesus entered her life! One day she listened to a message on the new birth (i.e. a message telling how we can be made alive when Jesus enters into us). Never before had she been told that she must be born from above (see John 3:3). She was convicted and right there she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour, and passed out of death into life.
When we are humbled over our sins, Jesus stands at the door of our hearts, waiting for us to open so that He may enter in. He is ready, willing, and able to forgive us and make us God's Children. 1 John 3:1 states: “ Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we might be called the sons of God . . . .” We do not become God's Children again every night when we say our prayers. There is a moment when we are changed from being a spiritually dead sinner to being an alive child of God. That moment is when Jesus enters your life. You do not change from a sinner to a child of God gradually over many years. It is not something you have because you were born in a Christian home, got baptized, or went to church. It is not something you received as a bonus when a miracle happened in your life (such as healing or an answer to prayer). All these things might happen to you, and you can still be a dead sinner. The real miracle happens when Jesus comes into a repentant sinner's life. And the proof will be a change of life. There will be fruit. The Bible will start to make a great deal more sense as God in you opens it up. You will experience love in your heart for God that you did not have before, love that obeys. When Jesus comes in, He does the miracle. That is why we must count all but dung that we might win Jesus Christ.
MY OWN TESTEMONY (HOW IT HAPPENED TO ME)!:
I used to read the Bible, but I did not know the God of the Bible. I read and sang of Jesus, but I had never met Him. I became very zealous and did much for God, but continued being spiritually dead. I even went to Bible school and tried to be a humble, zealous student for God. As a young person, I prayed several times, accepting Jesus Christ into my life, but little happened inside! The problem was that I was not sorry about my sin, but merely scared of hell. Somewhere about seven years back, God's Holy Spirit showed me that I was not very good. I knelt, repenting of my sins, in a little room in Cape Town. For the first time, I truly believed I was a sinner and deserved hell. I was willing to give up anything for a real relationship with God. I asked Jesus to come live in me and to wash away all my sins through His blood. I did not say the perfect words, but that did not matter! In a moment I was a different person. God changed my nature, and I knew my sins were as far from me as the east is from the west. I suddenly loved God and wanted to obey Him, and gradually the Bible started to make sense as God opened it up to me. God had changed me from the inside out -- Hallelujah! Before I had worked for God, but now Jesus lives through me! I am no longer merely religious, but alive! Life has not been easy. People have mocked, and the devil has tempted me. Money was not always at hand; I have failed at times, but I have Jesus, and in Him, eternal life! With Paul I can say I am not "ashamed of the gospel (i.e. good news) of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;..." (Rom. 1:16) A powerful work was done in me when Jesus entered in. I was free! He pardoned every sin. He changed me from the inside out, and now I love him more than I love my father or mother or anything else on earth.
Fourthly: What is going to happen if you don't obey God's message?
Many people think this message is not important. They either think they can wait till later to worry about it, or they don't worry at all. Remember, death is like a fish that got caught in a net. The fish was happy, swimming, swimming all day long. Suddenly it got caught in a net. Then it is all over. You do not know when death will come. Oh sinner, I beg you -- Prepare to meet THY GOD! The gospel is not an option. It must be obeyed!
The following Bible verses show the awful fate of those who die without Jesus, the fate of those who did not obey God's gospel message:
1Peter4:17: ". . . , what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God ?" In Revation 20, the Bible shows us the fate of those who do not obey the gospel of God. All sinners will stand before God and hear whether their names are in the book of life. Only those who know Jesus will be safe on that day, “ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away and there was found no place for them, And I saw the dead , small and great , stand before God; and the books were opened, and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire"-- Rev20:11, 12, 15
On that awful day many who thought they were Christians will find out they never knew God, as the following Bible verses prove:
“Many will say unto me (Jesus) in that day, Lord , Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me , ye that work iniquity.”-- Mathew 7:22-23
Oh sinner, forget about your good works; forget about singing in church; forget about the miracles that make you feel spiritual. If your body experiences a miraculous healing or an emotional experience, it does not mean that your sins are forgiven. Even if you cast out demons in Jesus's name, that does not prove your sins are forgiven. You have to repent and receive Jesus. There must be fruit. Do you love Him? Singing on Sunday does not prove that. Experiences do not prove that. Love wants to do God's will. Love wants to honor Jesus. Love wants to map it's life according to what Jesus wants for our lives. Love does not follow men and the experiences or rules they offer. Love follows Jesus and keeps His commandments as revealed in the New Testament! The Bible states: "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him"-- 1 John 3:4 Keep means to cherish and protect. It means you map out your life according to Jesus Christ's commandments. We do not have to keep all the Old Testament laws, (sacrifices and never ending special days and feasts), but we do have to do all that Jesus tells us to do in the New Testament. We are followers of Jesus, because we love Him, and we can only love Him when He enters in and changes our lives.
Fifthly: What do those people have who obey the gospel by repenting and receiving Jesus?
If we obey the Gospel in simple faith, we have Jesus! "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the son of God hath not life" (1John 5:12) Jesus is our forgiveness of sins; He is our eternal life! Without Him we can do nothing (see John15:5), yet through Him we can grow in leaps and bounds and live a victorious Christian life. Jesus said, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."(John 7:38) He will strengthen us to go through trials; He will never leave us nor forsake us! In Him we can approach the throne of God with boldness to fellowship with God -- irrespective of feelings! Jesus allowed his disciple to lean upon his breast. He wants to have a special relationship with his children. Truly He is Emmanuel, God with us! We must realize we can speak to Him without ceasing, because whether we feel his presence or not, He is there! This is the secret to a life consumed in prayer.
What YOU SHOULD DO after accepting Jesus:
If you have come in honest repentance to receive Jesus, I would like to name some practical helps:
A) Trust God to forgive you for individual failures immediately. Although no-one has the right to sin, if YOU do fail as a Christian, you should confess (BY PRAYING) and trust God to forgive you.-- NB! Jesus is near to help you if you fall, i.e. "My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate (person near to help in time of need) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1John2:1) Don't crucify yourself after failures! Don't give up, get up!
B) To grow more like Jesus you should read the Bible, pray, and praise. You should discipline yourself to find time to be alone with God (known as the daily quiet-time). S .L. Brengle once gave a talk to some young Christians on the Bible. He said, “Some of them caught the inspiratin, and carried Bibles in their pockets after that and spent all the spare time they had in reading and praying, and we could fairly see them grow, until they became powers for God, and some of them are spiritual giants to this day.”
Beware of Christian music which has a worldly beat, as it is a tool of Satan to hurt you spiritually! See www.prayerclub.net and download the “How music affects Christians” Mp3 sermon by Roy Daniel.
C) Do something for lost souls: pray for their salvation; give them copies of this booklet; speak to them in love. Do not be discouraged by rejection or persecution, for Jesus was often rejected. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but overcoming fear. It is natural to feel nervous before talking to others of Jesus, but we can overcome that through Jesus. Just say hello and start talking about normal things, and then at some point swing the conversation to Jesus and true salvation.
D) Remember the devil hates Jesus and you! He will tell you things are sin when they are not, e.g. he may tell you it is wrong to laugh or to buy a cool drink or tell you that you must keep to a million rules! On the other hand, he may tell you that sin is okay! or that you can do things that will hurt you spiritually, e.g. going to discos or dances, lying, pornography, rock-music (that satanists use) or having an intimate worldly friend whose ways rub off on you (Rom. 12:1, 2). We should beware of both extremes.
The devil may also try to make you think that faith and feelings are the same thing, and that God is not there when you feel down or struggle! You should link your faith to God's word, NOT to your feelings. Pray to God for wisdom daily (James1:5). Allow Jesus to daily live His life out through you. Obey Christ's commandments in the new Testament as you read them prayerfully (whatever any man may say to oppose you)! Remember, Jesus is coming soon, and we should be living for that moment, a shining light for Him! Beware of pride and seek to be clothed in humility in Christ Jesus and for Christ Jesus! Always be encouraged by the fact that “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”