Thoughts and Reflections
|Posted by WebMaster on March 9, 2011 at 5:18 PM|
It was late in December, 1996. A large family gathered in Los Angeles for the joyous occasion of wrapping Christmas presents. It was a big family because it was the product of two marriages. There were so many gathered that night, five of the children slept in the garage. It was a converted structure, kept warm during the cold night by an electric heater which sat by the door.
During the early hours of the morning, the heater suddenly burst into flames, blocking the doorway. In seconds the room became a blazing inferno. The frantic 911 call revealed the unspeakable terror of the moment. One of the children could be heard screaming, "I'm on fire!" The distraught father vainly rushed into the flames to try and save his beloved children. He received burns to 50% of his body. Tragically, all five of the children burned to death. They died because steel bars on the windows of the garage thwarted their escape. There was only one door, and that was stopped by the flames.
You are back in time. It's minutes before the heater burst into flames. You peer through the darkness at the peaceful sight of five sleeping youngsters.You know that at any moment the room is going to erupt into an inferno and burn the flesh of horrified children. Can you in good conscience walk away? No! You must awaken them, and warn them to run from that death trap!
The world sleeps peacefully in the darkness of ignorance. There is only one Door by which they may escape death. The steel bars of sin prevent their salvation, and at the same time call for the flames of Eternal Justice. What a fearful thing Judgment Day will be! The fires of the wrath of Almighty God will burn for eternity. The Church has been entrusted with the task of awakening them before it's too late. We cannot turn our backs and walk away in complacency. Think of how the father ran into the flames. His love knew no bounds, and our devotion to the sober task that God has given us will be indirect proportion to our love for the lost. There are only a few who run headlong into the flames to warn them to flee (Luke 10:2). Please be one of them. We really have no choice. The Apostle Paul said, "Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16).
It was the "Prince of Preachers," Charles Spurgeon, who said thewords, "Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not savedyourself. Be sure of that." A Christian cannot be apathetic about thesalvation of the world. The love of God in him will motivate him to seek andsave that which is lost.
You probably have a limited amount of time after your conversion to impactyour unsaved friends and family with the Gospel. After the initial shock ofyour conversion, they will put you in a neat little ribbon-tied box, and keepyou at arm's length. So it's important that you take advantage of the shorttime you have while you still have their ears.
Here's some advice that will save you a great deal of grief. As a newChristian, a friend of mine did almost irreparable damage by acting like a wildbull in a crystal showroom. He bullied his mom, his dad, and many of hisfriends into making a "decision for Christ". He was sincere, zealous,loving, kind, and stupid. He didn't understand that salvation doesn't comethrough making a "decision," but through repentance, and repentanceis God-given (see 2 Timothy 2:25). The Bible teaches that no one can come tothe Son unless God "draws" him. If you are able to get a decision butthey have no conviction of sin, you will almost certainly end up with astill-born on your hands.
In his"zeal without knowledge" he actually inoculated the veryones he was so desperately trying to reach. There is nothing more important toyou than the salvation of your loved ones, and you don't want to blow it. Ifyou do, you may find that you don't have a second chance. Fervently pray forthem, thanking God for their salvation. Let them see your faith. Let them feelyour kindness, your genuine love, and your gentleness. Buy gifts for no reason.Do chores when you are not asked to. Go the extra mile. Put yourself in theirposition. You know that you have found everlasting life. Death has lost itssting! Your joy is unspeakable -- but as far as they are concerned, you havebeen brain-washed. You have become part of a weird sect. So your loving actionswill speak more loudly than ten thousand eloquent sermons.
It is because of these thoughts that you should hold back from verbalconfrontation until you have knowledge that will guide your zeal. Pray for wisdomand for a sensitivity to God's timing. You may have only one shot, so make itcount. Keep your cool. If you don't, you may end up with a lifetime of regret.Believe me. It is better to hear a loved one or a close friend say, "Tellme about your faith in Jesus Christ," rather than you saying, "Sitdown. I want to talk to you."
It is important to realize that we should share our faith with otherswhenever we can. The Bible says that there are only two times we should do this-- "in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2). The Apostle Paulpleaded for prayer for his own personal witness. He said, ". . . thatutterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known themystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I mayspeak boldly, as I ought to speak," (Ephesians 6:19-20).
Remember that you have the sobering responsibility of speaking to otherpeoples' loved ones. Many times when you open your mouth for the Gospel, youmay be the answer to the earnest prayer of another Christian. Perhaps he hascried out to God that He would use a faithful witness to speak to his belovedmom or dad, and you are that answer to prayer. You are that true and faithfulwitness that God wants to use.
Never lose sight of the world and all its pains. Keep the fate of theungodly before your eyes. Too many of us settle down on a padded pew and becomeintroverted. Our world becomes a monastery without walls. Our friends areconfined solely to those within the Church, when Jesus was the "friend ofsinners." So take the time to deliberately befriend them for the sake oftheir salvation. Remember that each and every person who dies in their sins hasan appointment with the Judge of the Universe. Hell opens wide its terriblejaws. There is no more sobering task than to be entrusted with the Gospel of Salvation -- working with God for the eternal well-being of dying humanity.
Categories: A Teacher's Advice