Many times when sharing the gospel people say, “If that works for you that’s good but I have my own beliefs about God”. This is a polite way of saying, I don’t want to accept what you’re saying and I’m comfortable with what I believe. Then when I ask them what they believe I get everything from I’m a good Christian to I go to church every Sunday or I’m a good person and I believe in God. You may think this is acceptable but according to the Holy Bible, the word of God (Timothy 3:16-17) we must know God personally and have a relationship with him through his son Jesus Christ to enter the Kingdom of Heavon. (John 14:6)
The best way I can illustrate this to you is to describe what happened the other day when I was cycling and I stopped at a food stand along the highway to buy some water. I was standing close to the counter to get out of the scorching sun and the lady who served me asked where I was cycling from and how far was I going. I told her the details and how I got into this cycling ministry with the purpose of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to those I came across. She told me that she was a Catholic and went to church regularly and had certain beliefs about God. When I asked her what those beliefs were she said, “I don’t believe in what you’re doing?” “Oh! And what is that?” I asked puzzled. “I don’t believe you should go around telling people about God because they might get upset.” I explained to her that sometimes when people get upset it is because there is a built in offense to the gospel. The bible describes it when Jesus said, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. (John 7:7). “If the world hates you, you know that it hates Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) In other words if a Christian witnesses to someone about God and that person gets upset then we know that the gospel is getting through. The Holy Spirit leads a person to repentance of sin and to salvation in Jesus Christ. (John 10:9-10)
I can remember back long before I got saved. (What is Salvation? Read Rom.10.9-10) I believed in God because I came from a family with a Christian upbringing and heritage. We never went to church regularly except on special days like Thanksgiving or Christmas. My grand parents who lived in Germany were true believers and prayed for our family daily. (So I found out later on.) My belief in God was simply that he existed and was responsible for creating the world and everything around me. I used to think that if I appreciated nature and was good to my fellow neighbour, then I was a good Christian. My earliest memories of church was when I was about 12 years old and going weekly to a Lutheran church to be confirmed. I recall how much I didn’t like going because the minister used to raise his voice and yell. Church had no place in my life at that time. And no one told me about Jesus.
It wasn’t until my late thirties that my spiritual eyes of understanding were opened (Ephesians 1:17-19) I remember that very day I was led through the sinner’s prayer by an old retired Mennonite Pastor who took an interest to my mother and I as we came to visit the building he lived in. He told me about Jesus and how he could set me free from all my troubles and sorrows. At that time I could remember the challenges I had with my mother living with me ’cause my father had just died. I can remember back to the long and troubled relationship I was having with a man that I just couldn’t get out of. I felt helpless and had no hope.
I became to trust my old Pastor friend through the few brief visits I had. Mom and I visited the senior’s building as a prospect for my mother to live. Pastor Ed had asked me several times if I wanted to know Jesus. I didn’t put up much of a fuss the first few times he asked me though. I just remember telling him what many people tell me now, “Well if it works for you that is good. I have my own beliefs.” I wasn’t willing to accept God or Jesus into my heart. I didn’t know what to expect or what he meant by accepting Jesus into my heart. Secretly I really wanted to belief but it sounded all to good to be true.
Weeks had passed until finally one day I agreed only because I wanted to get Pastor Ed to stop asking me! The Pastor graciously laid his hand upon me and led me through the sinner’s prayer right there in the lobby of the building! I repeated that I believed in Jesus and that he died on the cross for my sins. I asked for forgiveness of my sins and asked Jesus to come into my heart as my Savior and Lord. Then the miracle happened… After the prayer, I somehow felt different I didn’t know how. I just remember a really good feeling coming over me and I cracked a little smile as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
I wanted to know Jesus better so I began attending a bible believing, spirit filled church where the miracles were happening! With Jesus’s help I was able to turn my back on that harmful relationship that I couldn’t shake for years and my mother (who also got saved) found a new home to live. Many thanks to the faithfulness and persistence of Pastor Ed, my new found belief in God led me into a personal, talking relationship with Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Lord, who had changed my life forever! Thank you Jesus!
Scriptures to read:
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (a right relationship with him), and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)