- From the Editor -
“ There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:3-7)
Notice about this man, Nicodemus, that it says a lot of good things about him in the context. He was a Pharisee, a very religious man, and the Pharisees were the conservatives in Judaism. The Sadducees would have been the Liberals who didn’t believe in the resurrection, who didn’t believe in angels, who didn’t believe much at all in the supernatural. They just had some religious ritual, but the Pharisees were those who were the conservatives in Judaism, and he was part of that group.
The Bible tells us that he was a ruler of the Jews. That is part of the Sanhedrin, the ruling or governing body in that nation, and he had to be a good family man and a good citizen to hold that office, that position.
Not only was he somebody who was religious and moral and respected, but he also had a high opinion of Jesus. It tells us that he said, “We know that thou are the man that come from God.” The Bible tells us he believed that Jesus had come from God. He believed that what Jesus was doing was of God.
Furthermore, the Bible declares that he was a master of Israel. You say, “Well, what does that mean?” It means that he was a teacher in the Synagogue. This guy was not only conservative and religious and a good moral family man, and a good citizen, not just somebody that believed there is a God, but the Bible tells us that he was religiously active in Judaism and practicing it and teaching others, and he had a high opinion of the Lord Jesus. The Bible tells us all these things about him in the first two verses.
Jesus responded to this good man who came to him at night and said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus told him, “If you don’t get born again, you won’t even get a glimpse of Heaven. It doesn’t matter about your Judaism, it doesn’t matter about your morality without Christ, without salvation. Even someone as religious and moral as you, Nicodemus, YOU must be born again.”
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) You can’t bypass the Lord Jesus Christ and get to Heaven. He is the way. He is not the best way, He is not the Baptist way, He is not my way, He is the ONLY way according to the word of God, and there is no other. Jesus told Nicodemus “Ye must be born again.”
Now that confused Nicodemus. Nicodemus said, “How can a man be born when he is old?” This made no sense to a lost, religious man. “Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” When he asked that question, Jesus clarified some things for him. He told him, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” Jesus said, I am not talking about a second physical birth. He said that you have to have one physical birth to be part of the human family. You have to have a spiritual birth to be part of a spirit family.
Now, if I were to ask you, “How many ways are there to get into the human family?” I think that you know the answer. There aren’t three ways. There are not two ways. There is one only way! Everybody that is here got here the same way, physical birth, and there is no other way. Then, let me ask you a question. Why would it shock you that the only way into a spirit family would be a spirit birth, if the only way into a flesh and blood family is a physical birth? It shouldn’t shock you that in order to be part of God’s family, you must be born spiritually, and that takes place when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) Jesus made it clear that He was not talking about having a second physical birth, but rather one physical birth that made Nicodemus part of the human family and a second birth, a spirit birth, that makes him part of the family of God.
“Well, how does that happen, Preacher?” “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12) Please listen to me folks, if I was already a son of God at physical birth, I would not have to become one at some later date. It’s when I receive Him that I become a child of God. “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13) According to verse 12, that spirit birth takes place when I receive Jesus Christ by faith as my personal Saviour.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) That is not talking about some generalized prayer. The context tells us that I need to believe in my heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, call upon Him for salvation and receive Him as my only hope of Heaven.
You say, “Well, I’m Catholic, I’m Baptist, I’m Lutheran, I’m Presbyterian, I’m Episcopalian.” Folks, I hate to tell you this, but on the way up all the name tags are going to drop off. On the way down, they are all going to burn off. God is not impressed with our denominational name tags. He said that He sent His Son to die for us, because without a perfect Saviour, religion could not save us. We could not save ourselves. The only hope that we have is in Jesus Christ. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:22)
With this coronavirus scare and all the media attention and panic, people are thinking more about the possibility of dying. I want you to understand, death is a fact of life. It is coming. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) I don’t know when I am going to die, I don’t know where I am going to die, I don’t know how I am going to die, but death is not just a distant possibility. Death is a certainty!
By the way, that happens to be the ultimate in statistics -- that one out of every one dies. I am not going to prevent death. I am going to die sooner or later. I need to make sure that I am ready to die, because my appointment could be today. We are as likely to die in a car accident as we are any other means of death, and we drive every day and never stop to think about the jeopardy.
I can actually understand lost people, those who do not know where they are headed when they die, I certainly understand them being afraid. Job described death from the perspective of a lost man, as the “King of Terrors.” It terrifies people to consider their departure from this life.
But in II Timothy 4, Paul was looking into the face of death, and he was not terrified. He was prepared because he could go back to Acts 9 on the road to Damascus, to a day in time when he received Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and got born into the family of God. “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (II Timothy 1:12)
The real question is this: Have you ever committed the care of your soul to Christ? Have you ever put it in His hands? Have you ever trusted Him and made that spiritual deposit? If you go to the bank and make a deposit, are you trying to get rid of that money? Or are you just trusting somebody else to look after it for you? I guess you are not trying to get rid of it. You expect it to be there when you want to draw on it, but first you make a deposit, then you have something to draw on. But how many of you would go to the bank and try to make a withdrawal when you never opened an account or deposited any money? (They put people like that in jail!) If you never first made a deposit, then you have nothing to draw on.
The Bible tells us that there has got to be a time and place and that we not only intellectually believe the facts, but that we commit the care of our soul to Christ and we receive Him by faith and we entrust Him with our soul’s salvation and getting us to Heaven, since He is the only one who can get me there. This church can’t get me to Heaven. Baptism can’t get me to Heaven. Catechism can’t get me to Heaven! No other church can get me to Heaven! No preacher can get me to Heaven! If any of those could have accomplished it, Jesus would never have had to die as your Substitute and mine. We have to come to the place where we stop trusting what we can do and just trust what He did for us, and receive him by faith. When we do that, we are putting the care of our eternal soul in His hands. The Bible makes it clear that there has got to be a definite time when I settle that.
Several years ago, I was on an airplane and I witnessed to a man. When I talked to him about the Lord Jesus, I asked, “Have you ever been saved?”
He said, “Oh yes! I have been saved all of my life.”
I said, “Really?”
He said, “Oh yeah, I have been saved all of my life.”
I said, “You know, that is wonderful. I have been married all my life. I was born married.” He looked at me with a strange expression, and I said, “Well, I don’t believe you either!” (And he did get saved that day!)
Listen to me folks, if you have never been lost, then you have never been saved. There has got to be a time when I see myself as a hopeless hell-bound sinner. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This does not have to do with religion or denomination. It has to do with a problem that is universal. We all have a sin problem, and the only cure there is according to Ephesians 1:7 is the cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ, that redemption in His blood. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” But the only way that it will ever take place is if there is a time and a place that I receive Him as my personal Saviour.
Remember we likened salvation to making a deposit, trusting your eternal soul to the care and keeping of Christ. Let me illustrate what I am talking about. Suppose you took $1,000 and put it in a tin can and buried it in the backyard. What if somebody found out that you had it buried there, and while you were gone they dug it up and stole it? When you came home and found it missing, would you go to the bank and file a complaint? Oh no, you wouldn’t complain to the bank. It is not their responsibility to protect what you never put in their care. I don’t know why everybody seems to think that God is obligated to get everybody to Heaven when they have refused to receive His Son. They have never made the deposit and placed the keeping of their eternal soul in His care and keeping. Paul said he trusted God to keep that which he had committed unto Him. Have you?
You know, God already supplied everything that we need. He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. But hear me my friend, God does not take hostages to Heaven; it is ‘whosoever will’ that may come and take of that water of life freely. The Lord Jesus clarified the situation and said that you had to be born of water. You say, “Does that mean baptism?” No, it is talking about the breaking of water of physical birth, the same thing the next verse is talking about. Two thirds of the human body is made of water.
He said that you have to be born of the spirit. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13) Born spiritually and born of God. I get born in the spirit when I receive Jesus Christ into my heart as my personal Saviour, but He warns as that if I only belong to the human family, Adam’s family, then I will die. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:22) Being born spiritually into God’s family is what gives me eternal life.
Hear me, the first time that I was born, I was born into the human family. Adam is the head of the human family. God is the Creator, but Adam is at the head of the human family. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12) Did you get that part? We are sinners by nature because we are Adam’s descendants. We are sinners by practice because we have done what came natural to sinners, and practiced sin.
Everybody has broken the holy law of God. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) Have you ever noticed that you don’t have to break every law on the books to have the whole Police Department pursuing you? You don’t have to murder and rob and commit 47 other crimes. If you commit one of those offenses, the whole law is against you. There must be a time and place that we take care of the problem of our sin nature, and the only one that can cure it is the Lord Jesus Christ. We must, we must, we must be born again!
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15) Did you get that? It didn’t say, “Whosoever lived an awful life, whosoever was an atheist, whosoever was a murderer...” Certainly it would include those people, but it is not limited to those people. Notice again who will be cast into hell. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Let me ask you a question. When did they start recording your name in this world? It was when you were... what? When you were born. That takes place at birth. So, if you had never been born, your name would never have been recorded in this world, correct? And if you don’t get born spiritually, if you never receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and experience the miracle of the new birth, your name never gets recorded into the “Lamb’s Book of Life” in Heaven.
If you remember in Matthew 7, Jesus warned, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23) Did you get that? Those were religious people who thought their religion would get them to Heaven, and that is why Cain died in his sin. His brother, Abel, came to God the prescribed way, and Cain brought the fruit of the ground. He decided to bring his own choice of offering instead of what God required -- the blood of a spotless lamb.
I hate to tell you this folks, but you can’t live good enough to earn Heaven. You can’t live good enough to erase your sin, and we have all sinned! I said “we” not “you”; this preacher included, we have all sinned and come short of the Glory of God, the wages of sin is a second death in hell, and everyone whose name is not recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life will die in their sin and end up spending their eternity in a literal burning Hell.
“Well, I don’t think a loving God would send a sinner to Hell.” He doesn’t! God sent His only begotten Son to die as your Substitute, and if you are not willing to receive Him, it is not God’s fault if you reject His Gift paid for by the blood of Christ. The choice is yours. God has done everything to make it possible for your sins to be paid in full and forgiven, but He leaves the choice with you. If you won’t make the deposit of your soul, place it in the care and keeping of the Lord, and trust Christ to do what He and only He can do, it is not God’s fault.
Look, if somebody steals your money, it is not the bank’s fault when you had it buried in the backyard. You have to place it in their care if you expect them to be responsible for it. Friend, if you die in your sin and end up in a literal Hell, it is not God’s fault. He sent His Son so you would have an option and you would have a choice. He won’t force anybody into the Family of God. He invites us and tenderly compels us to come through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Let me say that I don’t have any fear of viruses, or death in general. “Why?” Because I know where I am going when I die. First of all, folks, I know I am going to die. I have an appointment with death and you have one too. It is appointed unto men once to die. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) That appointment is set. You and I don’t know the time and location and circumstances of that appointment, but God does. We just need to make sure that we are ready to die, and we have been born again as God’s child.
There is nothing you can do to avoid or postpone that appointment. If I live in a bubble, I am still going to die in my bubble when it is time to die. “And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” (Deuteronomy 34:7) That means that, at 120 years old, he was still healthy and strong, and God took him up on to the mountain and said, “It is time for you to come home.” The truth is that whether I am healthy or unhealthy, whether it is a disease or a car wreck, I am going to depart from this world when the time comes. At my age, it is going to be sooner rather than later, and I need to be prepared. For the one who is trusting in Christ for salvation and Heaven and a spiritual birth into God’s family, death is simply a dark shadow to pass through. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
If you have never trusted in Christ to save you, friend, you have no idea what you have been missing! Do you understand that when you get born into the family of God, you have the peace that passes all understanding? You have available to you a joy unspeakable and full of glory. You have a hope that is sure and steadfast, an anchor for the soul. You have the indwelling Holy Spirit who is described in John 16 as “the Comforter” the One that I can lean upon and rest upon, the One that gives me comfort in troublesome times. You can know that you are a child of the eternal Heavenly Father who loves and cares for His own, who hears and answers prayer, who invites us to come to Him with every need and problem and heartache. Look, there has got to be a specific time, an event, a time you remember when you received Christ and settled the transaction, when you experienced the new birth.
You say, “Well preacher, I am already saved.” I am glad to hear that, but do you have any family members that are not saved, or you are unsure about? Do you have anybody that you love and care about, and by the way, you can believe what you want, the Rapture is imminent. There is no sign pointing to the Rapture, but everything that we see in the world today would imply the soon coming of the Lord Jesus. The things that point to the revelation of Christ that will take place at the end of the tribulation instead of before it, those signs are in place, and if that is reality, maybe we need to get more urgent instead of more lax and inactive. Maybe we need to get more involved in serving God and spreading the Gospel good news instead of less involved. Maybe we need to be more zealous than ever in these days than we have ever been, realizing these two things my friend.
Number one, our time is running out to do what we are going to do. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4) That time will come, the night of death, the night of poor health. The night cometh when no man can work, so while I can, I better give it everything I have instead of saying “Would God I had!” Maybe I need to live in such a way so that when the Lord comes or when I go, I can say, “Thank God I did!” instead of “Would God I had!” “I wish I would have done this.” I wish I would have spoken to that person about salvation.” “I wish I would have served.” “I wish I would have given.” “I wish I had been more involved.” “I wish I had made a bigger difference for the cause of Christ while I had the chance.” Don’t live with regrets and die with regrets or stand at His presence at the Judgment Seat of Christ after the Rapture with regrets. Give it everything that you have now.
Paul said just before his death in II Timothy 4:6. “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” He said, “I am now ready to be offered.” He was likening himself to an Old Testament sacrifice that had to die when it was offered. He said, “I am not talking about something that is way down the road -- I am looking in the face of death in hours or maybe days, when I am going to be beheaded by Nero. I am looking in the face of death, and I am now ready, and the time of my departure is at hand.”
Then he said this, “I have fought a good fight.” Are you even in the fight as a believer? You say, “I am saved.” Are you in the fight as a soldier of Christ, or are you on the sidelines criticizing those that are fighting? I have fought a good fight.
“I have finished my course.” He said, “I didn’t change courses. I didn’t stop short of the finish line. I didn’t turn to the right hand or the left. I didn’t try to run somebody else’s course.” “I have finished my course.” For Paul, II Corinthians 11 says it was an obstacle course. He had been shipwrecked twice, beaten with rods, he had been scourged. I mean multiple things, betrayed by false brethren, imprisoned, and the Bible tells us that it never got his attention off the finish line. He never wavered. He said, “I finished my course.”
Then he said, “I have kept the faith.” He said, “I have finished without compromise. I am still preaching out of the same Bible, the old King James. I still have the same standards and convictions, still going the right direction, I haven’t changed my direction, or my doctrine, or my standards” he said.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:7-8) Can I say to you that I always loved my dad, but when I was a boy, I did not always love his appearing. There were times when he showed up and I was not anticipating it, and he caught me in violation of the rules, and I was in trouble. I had to face him and give an account. He was still my dad, and he still loved me when I was in trouble, but he was not pleased with me, and I did not have his smile of favor at that moment.
You say, “Well, I love God.” Yes, I know, but are you going to love His appearing? Now, if you are here or you are listening and you have never been born again, I plead with you, bow your head where you are right now, while I am preaching, and pray a simple prayer, something like this; this is not a magical prayer, but it is a matter of you acknowledging your sinfulness and receiving Christ as your only hope to Heaven, Pray something like this: “Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I know that I deserve to go to Hell, but I am sorry for my sin right now, and the best I know how I turn to You and open my heart. Please come into my heart and save me, forgive my sin, and take me to Heaven when I die. I am trusting what You did on the cross, and what You did only to get me to Heaven.”
You say, “Preacher, will He save me if I do that?” I guarantee He will, because he said, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and what God says, God does! When I got saved January 15, 1975, some of you know a little bit of my testimony, I was a bouncer in a barroom in central Pennsylvania. My dad got saved after he had a very bad heart attack, and it got his attention. He got saved two weeks later. My mother got saved, and they began to pray for me and witness to me. They weren’t trying to get me to join the church or convince me to get religion, they knew Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and it was all brand-new to them, but it was real. They were trying to get me to put my trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.
I saw the transformation in their lives. Salvation is real folks. We are not talking about some mystical thing that you don’t understand anything about, or it has no impact. We are not going through some ritual; we are talking about truly establishing a relationship with Christ by receiving Him as your personal Saviour at a definite time and a definite place.
Now I had just gone to church on a Sunday night with no intention of getting saved. I just wanted to get them off my back, because they had been witnessing and praying for me day and night, and I was miserable under conviction, even though I didn’t even know what conviction was. I just knew I was miserable and couldn’t enjoy my sin anymore, and I was angry and getting into fights everywhere I went. But when that preacher got up and preached, the Holy Spirit used that Bible message and got a hold of my heart, and He wouldn’t let go. After a somewhat weak invitation (which I have never been accused of!) I escaped and got into my car and let out a big sigh of relief.
Think about how stupid that was! Here I am, still guilty and under conviction and in danger of going to hell, and I’m running away from the only hope there is and relieved that I think I’ve escaped without getting saved! But that’s what I did. I got in my car, but little did I know that the Holy Spirit got into the car with me. I pulled up to a little T intersection, and sat there thinking, probably only for seconds, but it seemed like a long time. I could make a right and go to the Afterdark, the nightclub where I was the bouncer. Or I could make a left and go home.
There was a light snow falling, and I thought, “No matter how careful I drive, another driver could skid on a patch of ice and come across that center line and I could die before I ever get there.” I didn’t hear a voice or see a vision, but the Lord spoke to my heart just as clear as if I had, and said, “It’s now or never.”
Now I was running, wanting to hang on to my sin, and I didn’t really want it to be now. But I knew that what had happened to my parents was real. I knew that God had saved them and they were brand new creatures in Christ, old things were passed away and all things become new. I knew the Gospel message I had just heard and what my parents had been telling me every single day was the truth, and that I needed to repent of my sin and receive the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart and life. Sitting there at that intersection, I made the decision that no matter how much I had loved my sin, there was nothing in my life that was worth going to hell for. I made a left and drove home, went into my bedroom, and got on my knees and asked the Lord to save me.
The same night that I got saved, I called the place where I was a bouncer, and told them I wouldn’t be back. When I said that, the guy said, “Why?”
I said, “Well, I got saved.”
He said, “From what?”
I didn’t know what to answer him, so I just said, “I got religion,” even though I didn’t get religion, I got saved, but I didn’t know what else to tell him.
He said, “You?”
I said, “Yeah, me.”
From that very night my life began to change dramatically. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) Salvation does something that religion never can. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” (II Corinthians 5:18) The only reconciliation there is between a sinner and a Holy God, is by God’s Son, Jesus Christ. If you have never received Him, you don’t have to pray that prayer word perfect, but if I were you, I would receive Him today and ask Him to save me.
Can I say to those of you that have been saved, let me urge you to enjoy the peace of God and the joy unspeakable and full of glory, and the hope that is sure and steadfast, and make sure that you are living with all of your might for the glory of God in these last days and hours before the coming of the Lord Jesus.
When I was in Bible college in Louisville, Kentucky, I went and witnessed to a guy whose daughter had asked me to go see him. She was a little girl who came on the Sunday School bus, and she loved her daddy and just adored him. She said, “Please Brother Corle.” She came to me crying. “Please go talk to my daddy. My daddy is not saved.” I went by there numerous times, and I couldn’t catch him.
One day, I came by and there was an old, beat-up blue Ford in the front yard. I knocked on the door, and a big old, muscled up, rough-looking guy came to the door and said, “Yeah, what do you want?”
I said, “I am the preacher that picks your daughter up for Sunday School every week, and she has been asking me if I would come by and visit with you, and I promised her I would.” I said, “Would you let me come in and talk to you for a few minutes?”
“Yeah, I guess.” He was very rough spoken. I sat down and started talking to him, and I went through the plan of salvation. About halfway through, God broke his heart. That big old muscled up, rough, tough guy began to sob. I got finished showing him how to be saved, and I said, “Ed are you willing to receive Christ as your Saviour?”
He said, “I am.” We got on our knees, and he prayed a simple prayer like the one I gave you a little bit ago. He asked the Lord to come into his heart to save him and to forgive him. I showed him some verses. “...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5) “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (I John 5:12) I gave him assurance, showed him what the Bible says about believer’s baptism, and he promised me that he would come to church with me the next day.
On Sunday morning I was telling my bus driver, “Hurry up, LG, I don’t want to be one minute late!” We went by, and he was standing out on the curb beside his little girl waiting for the bus with a big old family Bible tucked under his arm, and we picked them up and brought them to church.
Dr. Tom Wallace preached that morning at Beth Haven Baptist Church. When he gave the invitation, I elbowed Ed, and said, “Ed, did you mean business yesterday?”
He said, “I did.” I said, “You are not ashamed of Jesus are you?”
He said, “No, I am not.”
I said, “It is time to make it public and let people know that you have been saved.” I stepped out and walked down the aisle with him. A personal worker filled out a card and they gave the card to Dr. Wallace. In those days, Dr. Wallace would stand at the pulpit at the end of the service and acknowledge the decisions that were made, and he would have those that made decisions stand at the front row. He said, “Ed Stump, would you stand, please?” Ed stood up with that big family Bible tucked under his arm. Dr. Wallace asked, “Ed, have you trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour?”
He said, “I have.”
He said, “Ed, you do want to follow the Lord Jesus in believer’s baptism and live your life for Him, don’t you?”
I will never forget what he said. He looked straight up at Dr. Wallace, and said, “Preacher, I want to get all of it. I want to get all of it!” By the way, he got baptized that day, and he got into church faithfully. I left there just a few months after that when I graduated from Bible college and launched out in my ministry.
Two years after I was gone, Tom Wallace called me and said, “Denny, I wish you could be here to see Ed.”
I said, “Why? What is going on?”
He said, “Ed still comes every service. He still brings that family Bible, and he usually has visitors. I bet we have had 25 people that have received Christ as a result of Ed bringing them since you left.”
Why is that? I thought that if you led them to Christ, you were supposed to have to pick them up for six months and nurture them and make them come. Can I tell you something folks, the reason Ed Stump was there two years later and actually getting people saved is because when he got saved himself, he decided, ‘I don’t want the bare minimum, I want to give it all for God. I want to get all of it!”
I don’t know about you, and I don’t claim to have all of it, but I sure want to get all of it. I want to be everything that God wants me to be. I want to do everything that God wants me to do.
Right now, you and I need to decide first, “Do you know for sure that if you died you would go to Heaven?” Can you go back to a time and a place that you got born again?”
You say, “Well, I don’t know for sure when it was.” So, you don’t have birthday parties physically, right? Because you don’t know when you were born. You ought to know as much about when you got saved as when you were physically born. The Bible tells us that there has got to be a time and place when we get this thing settled, and there has got to be a “birthday” a time when we get it settled. May God help us to settle that today.
If you are saved, let me urge you to decide this day that you want to get all of it. I am not going to do the bare minimum. I am not going to be just a nominal, average Christian. I am going to live the abundant life and enjoy the peace of God that passes all understanding and the joy unspeakable and full of glory, the hope that is sure and steadfast as an anchor for the soul. Not only am I going to enjoy that, I am going to serve God and make sure that I am going to take everybody with me that I can.
I will be honest with you folks, I don’t think it is going to be long until the Lord Jesus says, “Come up hither”, and you and I need to be ready personally like Paul was, and we need to get everybody that we can ready to meet Him.
If you have prayed and trusted in Christ to save you through reading this message, please let us know. We would love to send you a free copy of Growing Up In God’s Family and Living Up To Your Name.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 814-239-2813.