Friday, November 28, 2014

Now is the Day of Salvation

On Sunday, October 26th, 2014, my wife and I had shared Jesus with a man down the street at a run-down, old house we passed by frequently.  That day as we were heading out in the van to evangelize to our community, we initially drove by his house as we were heading to another place, where we had usually evangelized.  But the Holy Spirit had me pull over, pray for guidance, and then turn around and go back to the old, run-down house. We had stood out there on the porch, knocking several times and heard his wife inside on the telephone, who even walked by the front door without answering our knocks. Through the open window on the porch, we could see the owner of the house sitting on the couch, smoking a cigarette, watching television. Finally the man, whose name we found out was Eddie, came to the front door and we introduced ourselves to him as new neighbors from down the street. He apologized that his wife had not answered, since she was on the phone. He said he was not feeling well, which is why he had not answered sooner.

We stood there for a while, getting acquainted with each other.  Somewhat further into the conversation, I asked if he had any spiritual beliefs, and he indicated he was a Christian.  So I asked him who Jesus is to him, and he said that He was his Lord. When I asked him where he would go if he died that very day, he said he hoped he would go to heaven. Although he claimed Jesus as his Lord, he was smoking and watching secular TV on Sunday. When I asked him why he thought God would let him into heaven, he replied it was because he helps people and does good.  I asked whether he would want to know the truth, if he found out that what he believed were not true, and he said he would want to know. So I offered to open the Bible and share some Scriptures with him, but since he was not feeling well that day, he said it would not be a good time for that.

Seeing that I would not have a chance to open the Scriptures with Him, I then simply preached the gospel to him, telling him we need to repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. I reminded him that we cannot trust in our own good works to save us, and that it is only by repenting from our sin and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ that we can be saved.  I told him it is only by trusting in the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross, accepting his free gift of salvation, and having a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that we can be saved. I reminded him that it is a narrow road to heaven, so we must strive to enter through the narrow gate, and that if we claim Him as our Lord, we cannot go on in sin, for example, smoking cigarettes, watching secular TV, and failing to keep Sundays holy, and think we are going to heaven.  If He is our Lord, we must obey Him. I probably told him, as I often tell people, not to put off repenting for later, but to do it today. With his permission, we then prayed for him to be healed of the flu like symptoms he had been having for the past few days prior to that, and prayed for his knees, which were bothering him from many years of working as an auto mechanic. We said goodbye and planned to go back at a later time to share the Scriptures with him.

That was nearly five weeks ago.  Now that I am back from my trip to Hungary, I was thinking about how we need to go back and share the Scriptures with Eddie.  However, during the past few days, I noticed there was a sign in front of Eddie’s home, advising motorists to please go slowly due to a recent death in the family.  As soon as I saw that sign, I became concerned that Eddie may have died.  I noticed an awning over a fresh grave at the cemetery near his home.  But when I checked the name on the grave, it was John and not Eddie.  I was thinking I needed to stop by Eddie’s home and give my condolences and find out who died.  But today (November 29th) when we drove by the cemetery, we saw another awning over a second new grave, and this awning had the name of the same Smith Funeral Home printed on it that was on the sign in front of Eddie’s house.  So I stopped and checked the grave, but it was so fresh that no name was on it yet.

Then I stopped by Eddie’s house with my youngest daughter and paid a visit.  An old lady answered, named Therry, who was either his mother or mother-in-law visiting from out of state.  I mentioned the signs out in front of the house indicating a recent death in the family. She said that Eddie had just died on Monday (November 24th), and they had just buried him today.  I was shocked.  She said that on Monday he collapsed dead on the couch, supposedly of a heart attack, and the emergency personnel were unable to resuscitate him. He was only sixty years old!

We don't know what happened to Eddie, whether he repented of his sin before he died.  Our Father knows, but we do not. We can only hope Eddie repented fully of all his sins, and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ before he died, because mercy is only available while we are on earth. Hell is full of people who wish they could come back to earth for just one minute, so that they could repent.  Most people who once gave their life to Jesus and then returned to living in sin or went back to the world, don't heed our warnings when we try to tell them to repent and return to Jesus.  We find they usually just continue living as they were before we spoke to them.  They don't realize that tomorrow isn't certain.  All they have is today, and tomorrow they could be dead.  In the case of Eddie, he died only four weeks and one day after we preached the gospel to him.

I believe we were successful in sharing Jesus with him, because we did our part.  Even if he did not repent, our sharing the gospel with him will be for his judgment.  Our success is not based on his response.  It's based on our obedience to God.  It is the duty of every Christian to evangelize.  Don't neglect to evangelize, because you never know if it will be the person's last opportunity to repent.  Your voice may be last one they ever hear.  As the Scripture says, "'In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.' I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor 6:2).  If you are not living for Jesus and serving Him, then don't delay another day!  The time has come. Repent for the kingdom of God is near.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading Life is Short. Eternity is Not, Drifting Away, Is Obedience Optional?, Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Rachael Mushala Testimony of Hell, Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, Zipporah Mushala’s Third Testimony of Hell, Keeping Sundays Holy - Part I, Keeping Sundays Holy - Part II, and Ask for the Ancient Paths. You are invited to visit the Home page of this blog, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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