Summary: Surrounded by Christians all her life - and no one has ever urged her or even suggested that she accept Christ as her Savior and her Lord! What a tragedy! But is it possible that there are others like her? (Powerpoint Available - #220)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoint slides used with this message are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request - #220.)
TEXT: Acts 16:22 34
ILL. A few years ago in Brownsville a young lady whom I had never met called & asked if she could talk with me that afternoon. She seemed rather anxious, so I told her “Yes,” & we arranged to meet in my office right after she got off work.
Well, it turned out that she was getting married, & she & her fiancé had been making their wedding plans. The two have different church backgrounds & had asked each of their preachers to participate in a joint wedding ceremony.
His preacher said “Yes,” but her preacher said “No.” Well, she was hurt by that because she had gone to that church all her life, & had even attended a church college. But she accepted his decision.
Then, a few days later he called & told her that he had changed his mind & would take part in the wedding after all because she was not a Christian. But if she had been a Christian, he would have had to say “No.” And that is when she called me.
Here she was, a young lady in her mid-20’s, who had always attended church regularly, even while away at college, & she wasn’t a Christian. Her mother is a very devout member of their church, & all the children attended regularly.
But this young lady had never become a Christian. And now she didn’t dare become a Christian before her wedding or her preacher wouldn’t take part in the ceremony.
As we talked about it, I asked her why she had never become a Christian. She told me, “Nobody ever asked me. I guess I was a kind of an unruly girl or something, so maybe they didn’t want me. And I attended a church college, too. But nobody ever said a word to me about becoming a Christian & being baptized. So I never did.”
It was hard for me to imagine that what she was saying was correct. So I told her a little about our services & my sermons. I said that the purpose of the church is two-fold: #1 – to seek to win people to Christ; & then, #2 - to help them grow & mature as Christians.
Therefore, even though the majority of people present at our services are already Christians, we always include an invitation, & urge those who are not yet Christians to accept Christ as their Savior.
“No,” she said, “they don’t do that at our church. Maybe they do it sometimes at some of the seminars. But they never do it at the regular church service. In my whole life, nobody has ever suggested that I become a Christian.”
A. Folks, if she was correct - & I have no right to doubt what she said – what an indictment! Surrounded by Christians all her life - & no one had ever urged her or even suggested that she accept Christ as her Savior & her Lord! What a tragedy!
But wait a minute! Is it possible that there are others like her? I mean, is it possible there is someone here this morning who feels the same way she did?
O, I hope not! But if there is, please let me apologize to you, & then let’s correct it. We don’t want anyone ever to think that we’re not concerned about you & your relationship with God.
The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that “The Lord…is not willing that any should perish…” And in Mark 16:15-16 Jesus told us, “Go into all the world & preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes & is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
B. There are several simple questions I would like to ask you this morning. #1, “Are you a Christian?” #2, "Would you like to go to heaven?" & #3, "Do you know how to get there?"
I'm convinced that most of us want to go to heaven maybe not right now, but someday, anyway. So it is important to know how to get there. And for 3 weeks I will be preaching on this subject. Today is Part 1.
ILL. Calvin & Hobbes are among my favorite cartoon characters Calvin, the hyper active little boy with a wild & vivid imagination, & his companion, Hobbes, a tiger. Are you familiar with them?
Well, in one cartoon Calvin & Hobbes were lying in the shade of a tree on a summer afternoon discussing the important things of life. Calvin says, "What if there is no heaven? What if this is all we get?"