“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24, NIV)
What blessed words! I will not, at the end of human history, be paraded in front of every other human being that has ever lived and suffer through the humiliating recitation of every sin I have ever committed! Those sins are given, erased, gone, forgiven, forgotten.
Hearing + believing = eternal life…..and never to be judged. So what’s the hesitation by all humanity?! Why are churches not overflowing with folks wanting to take advantage of this eternal “deal of a lifetime”?! Why has not the whole world turned to Jesus to receive this new life and the promise of a never ending life of bliss?
It appears that are two reasons: First, people are not hearing His words of eternal life, or second, people don’t believe what they hear.
In both cases, those of us who bear the name “Christian” have to see that we are at least partially at fault if people are perishing without Jesus Christ—-especially those of us who are ministers or are committed to a full-time Christian vocation. If the lost are not hearing it, it’s because we are not preaching, teaching and communicating it. I wonder sometimes if many of us in the pulpit have determined that the good news is not attractive enough for modern man, and so we must dilute the gospel and candy-coat into an “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” format. We seem to say, Come and you” and “Leave unchanged”! Do we teach about Jesus in a manner that would have astounded and riled the first apostles? Do we trust our wits, wisdom, funny stories and histrionics to fill our thirty minutes in the pulpit, or do we truly believe that the Holy Spirit is able to take the message of the gospel, if clearly and honestly presented, and bring about salvation without pandering to the masses?
The second reason people don’t choose to follow Jesus Christ is that they don’t believe. On the one hand, to their eternal despair, it’s their choice; the “plunge of faith” requires courage and even, perhaps, some desperation. Bu the non-believer has to be willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and the one that is presenting the gospel, and then choose to trust God. But those of us who know Jesus Christ have the obligation to manage and conduct our lives, particularly now as the world and our nation appears to be torn apart at its seams, in such a compelling and joyous manner that others would take note, and based upon our transformed and peace-filled lives desire to place their trust in Him. Oh to hear a non-believer, or “seeker”, tell you or me, “I will do whatever it takes to experience the peace, joy and love that you have in your life—-I am choosing to believe because I can see that you believe!”
Our nation needs to see authentic Christians today more than ever….