Do You Believe and Have This Life?
What happens when you preach the gospel from the Gospels to lost sinners? Does it work any more? I mean does the gospel impact lives like it did in the world of Christ and the Apostles?
Sometimes it seems that the Roman World of Bible times that Jesus and Paul lived in 20 centuries ago -- is so far removed from us. And we may think that our sins today, and the power of the world is stronger. Whenever I have those thoughts, especially when I see folks unwilling to turn from their sins and see the freedom Christ offers - I stop and look back again at our recent history.
Modern history testifies to what will happen to those who hear the Bible preached. To illustrate that go back with me just 70 years ago to a living legend named CT Studd. After serving 15 years in China and 6 in India, he invested his final 21 in the heart of Africa's vast, dark jungles among the fierce, cannibal, head-hunting pygmies.
Once a lean and fit professional athlete, C.T. is now gaunt and emaciated. He is hunched over, halting with each step. But in July 1931 he is surrounded by thousands of glistening black bodies wearing banana leaves. The pygmies of the heart of Africa's jungles have come to hear their beloved Bwana for the last time. He speaks to them only after over two hours of singing the songs he had so lovingly taught them: "Wounded for me, wounded for me, there on the cross He was wounded for me, gone my transgressions and now I can sing, all because Jesus was wounded for me!"
There in front of his cot sit 5,000 former headhunters.
- Once their bodies were the habitation of dark, foul fiends from the pit - now they are temples of the Living God.
- Once they were naked and grossly immoral lovers of darkness, now they are not only clothed in Christ but also modestly clothed in banana leaves.
- Once they lived as a continuation of generations of murderer, years of darkness, and lives of savagery - now before their beloved father in the faith they sit in an immense sea of white-toothed smiles.
- Once they were all mortal enemies, never without the weapons of war. But no weapons of war are left, only the bond of love. With faces turned heavenward these former enemies sit shoulder to shoulder, singing of the sweet by and by and that beautiful shore they will someday see.
That congregation of saints were converted and transformed by the Lord through the simple, passionate preaching of the truth of God's Word in the Bible. Why have believers all through the ages seen lives transformed by the preaching of the gospel? Because they simply obeyed what Jesus left them and us to do.
The Master's Message In John is watching Jesus, the One who sent us to go and preach the gospel, through the eyes and ears of the Apostle John. Jesus is the best One to summarize the message He wants us to share in His name. What is the Gospel? Christ Jesus answers through the eyes and ears of the Apostle that He loved - John.
The overcoming, or victorious Christian life is nothing more than a series of new beginnings. The blessed privilege Christ's grace offers us is to be able to start over -- clean and fresh and new, each time we run to Jesus and simply take what He offers!
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