Six weeks ago, a man called dropped by the church and asked if he could speak with me. He had grown up as a Catholic, believing that he was a good person (better than all those hypocrites at the church) and would certainly find a place in heaven. Well, after years of wandering from any kind of church atmosphere, he ended up on our doorstep. He asked permission to come to our church, and I assured him that he was always welcome. He began to visit and ask questions. We spoke about salvation, and he said he had heard "all this stuff" before coming to Alta Loma.
A week and a half ago, he came to my Sunday School class, connected with some of our young couples and adults, and studied the Bible with us. He's been in our services faithfully when he's been in town. I got a call from him yesterday, and he asked if I could sit down with him and tell him how to be saved. I said...how's tonight? It wasn't good, so he came by today. In fact, he just left my office.
We talked, and he talked about the changes he's experienced in his heart the last few weeks. He has found himself avoiding sin and loving God's Word. He has found a new peace with the Lord. We talked some more, and he kept getting hung up on whether he was "worthy" to be saved. I told him that, in and of himself, he could never be worthy of salvation. However, Jesus Christ is our worthy, atoning sacrifice...dying to make us righteous. He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). I told him that when you belong to Jesus, you ARE worthy. Still, not because of you, but because of who you belong to. Jesus Christ makes us worthy of salvation, heaven, and eternal life. We "become the righteousness of God," and therefore, we find favor with God for all eternity.
After a couple of stories and analogies, I asked him, "Are you forgiven of your sin?" He replied, "I hope so." I told him that 1 John 5:13 says that we can know we have eternal life; we don't just have to hope so. He had brought a tract with him...one he had received at a friend's church earlier in the week. It was "Steps to Peace with God." I turned him to the salvation prayer at the back and asked him to read it out loud. Then, I asked him, "Does that prayer reflect what's in your heart?" He said, "That's exactly where I am!" I asked about him being a sinner...yes. I asked about needing forgiveness...yes. I asked if he believed Jesus died for him and was raised on the third day...yes. I asked if he wanted to turn from his sins and trust Christ...yes. I asked if he would follow the Lord for the rest of his life...yes. Then, I told him that, based on the authority of Scripture, he is saved. Not my authority or the church's authority, but on the authority of God's Word (I thought that was important because of his Catholic background). You should have seen the relief that came over him...it was as if he just wanted to know that trusting in Christ was really all that he needed to do.
It never gets old...seeing someone trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. Though I believe his faith had already been awakened before he came to my office, it was amazing to see the confidence he had in Christ as he left. Stay faithful at the task of evangelism...sometimes it takes six weeks...sometimes it takes six months...sometimes it takes six years. Jesus told us to compel people to come in, and my friend did. No longer is he just a friend...he's a brother. Praise the Lord!