WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Twenty-two years ago this month I sat in a service at Bensalem Baptist Church wrestling with deeper questions than most fifteen year olds might wrestle with.
Over the past number of months, I had come face to face with some startling biblical truths:
- I stood guilty before God because of my sin (Rom 3:23)
- My sin deserved punishment (Rom 6:23)
- God sent Jesus to bear my sin and now offered me eternal life (2 Cor 5:21)
Honestly, I was aware of many of these realities well before I sat in that service in November 1995. But there was a final point that arrested my attention:
- I needed to apply those truths personally to my life (Rom 10:9-13)
In other words: “I needed to do something about it.” As strange as it may sound, there had never come a time in my life when I recognized the need to turn to Jesus Christ by acknowledging my sinfulness and trust Him as my only hope of salvation. Before this point in my life I probably would have said I believed “in” Jesus. In other words, I believed He existed, and I would have even affirmed that He was the Son of God. But I can truthfully say I had never believed “on” Jesus. I had not yet rested my confidence for both this life, and the life to come upon Him. My hope for eternity had not yet been committed to His trust. It was plainly evident that His death ultimately had no bearing on my life. Up to this point I had not yet realized the depth of my sin, nor how it subtly controlled my life. What I would have claimed to “believe in” did not transform who I was or what I did.
But all of that changed in November 1995. I saw clearly (for the first time) that I needed to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I saw my need for Him, but above that, I desired Him to enter my life, cleanse me from sin, make me His child, and lead me from that point forward. I can honestly say it was on that day I began my relationship with God.
I write this post for two reasons.
#1 – I am looking forward to presenting our ministry to the Philippines and preaching at Bensalem Baptist Church this coming Sunday. I count it a great honor to preach in the place where God opened my eyes to see my need for Him. If you are able to be there, I hope you can join us in 11:00 AM Service in the main auditorium.
#2 – I believe there are a lot of people who are in the same state I was prior to November 1995. They believe in God, or believe in Jesus, but that belief has never truly affected their lives. They live without hope, bound by sin, struggling to make sense of this life. Sure, they may be moral people, and they might even attend church, but God is not the all-consuming desire of their lives. If you are in this position, it is at this point that the beauty of the gospel shines the brightest. If you desire Jesus Christ to be your Savior (for forgiveness of sin, a relationship with God and a home in heaven when you die), you simply need to ask Him. When you ask Jesus to be your Savior, understand that you are placing all of your hope upon Him. And for those who ask, we are met with the promise of Romans 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Looking back over these twenty-two years, I am very grateful for the work God has done in my life. I am glad that when I called upon Him, Jesus was there to answer the call. I am far from perfect, but I see the impact the gospel has made in my life. This relationship with God has given me peace, a hunger to know Him more through His Word, and an abiding desire to obey and serve Him. Today, this is what drives me to go to the Philippines in order to teach pastors how to more effectively study God’s Word so they can joyfully obey and serve Him in their own ministries. If you have yet to come to experience this kind of relationship with God that can only come through faith in Christ, I hope you will come to Him and see the gospel make the same impact in your life.