I woke up this morning in my bed, and as I lay there a terrible thought came very forcefully to my mind, and accused me of my own wretched ungodliness. The thought was overwhelming at first, and then became fixed and steady, demanding that I go downstairs and begin to write it as a remembrance to me and a challenge to others. “To hold back from sharing the gospel, knowing that the lost shall be damned to a horrible existence in eternal punishment, separated from God, makes Christians more vile and evil than the most profligate wretch to ever live” the thought said. It continued reminding me that eternity is an everlasting continuum that has no dependence on time, and all souls dying without Christ will be in a place from which there is no return and that horrible existence will never end for them. There is no way to reverse the consequences of an existence without Christ.
Do we believe the Bible to be true? Are its pronouncements fixed in our hearts to the extent that they work in us to obey God in all things? Do we fully understand our purpose for living? What are we doing with what we know? Are we convinced that there is no greater purpose in life than God’s purpose? Do we even know what God’s purpose in allowing us to live for a season really is? What are we doing with this knowledge if we have it? What will Christ say to us on the day when all men will stand before him in judgment? Will he say, Why do you call me Lord and yet refuse to do the things that I tell you, or will he say, Well done good and faithful servant?
The next thought came quickly. It asked the question, Was there ever anyone who lived
out a life of obedience to God? Immediately after that thought a scripture came to mind;
Mark 10:45, which states, “For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many.” Yes, there was one who lived without
thinking of himself, and set the example for us to follow as scripture clearly informs us in
1 Peter 2:21 - 25 and as Christ himself proclaimed, “I do always those things that please the father.”
His was a life of sacrifice for the sake of all humanity, and we who would follow him should live as he lived. This then is the highest call in life that will do the most good that can be done for ourselves and all who come within our sphere of influence both now and also throughout the vast ages of eternity! Grasping this fully will expose all our excuses for what they are – lies that have warped our thinking and made us a pitiful self-indulgent lot in a world where the true preaching of the gospel has all but vanished, and much preaching unworthy of our Lord is common fare. It has robbed many Christians of a life filled with joyful service while keeping millions satisfied with religion and millions of others unfulfilled as they seek to find happiness in a world that offers cheap and tawdry excesses devoid of peace. It has made so-called Christian living a thing of ease that frees us to come to church week after week soaking up the blessings of God and never being satisfied. It has made us believe that all God wants to do is bless us while never, ever challenging us to be deeply concerned about the sloth and indifference in our lives to those who perish across the globe and under our very noses. We are content to come to God’s house and raise our hands in worship, to feel the “holy goose bumps” of carnal religion, devoid of power and real life, and lacking in the power that brings unholy men to their knees in the presence of a holy and righteous God! We claim manifestations of the power of the Holy Spirit moving in our midst while we stumble blindly on ignorant of what God has commanded us to do. Do you deem this assessment to be uncharitable or are you among those who are tired of living in hypocrisy without shame, with a powerless Christianity that influences few if any, and prayer that could never move the hand of God except for his boundless mercy and grace toward his disobedient children?
I write with a heavy heart, and find myself wishing somehow that the passion of Christ might burn within me to the total extinction of every hindrance in me to doing God's will as my Savior did! I am ashamed of my lack of being able to be ashamed for so long!
I am highly grieved that in spite of the knowledge gained in over 42 years as a Christian,
my heart seems cold and dead and unfruitful considering what it should be! I am filled with great wonder at how much of the word of God is in me and how little of it flows out from me to those who are lost and without hope around me and around the world! I am just amazed that there are no tears coming to my eyes as I walk day after day in a world dead in sin and watch so many people struggling for some purpose and meaning in life! I cry out to God because I cannot seem to weep for them as my Savior wept over Jerusalem or as the prophet Jeremiah did over the sins of his people! I ask God, “Oh, how can my heart be so hard and cold that tears don’t run down from my eyes like a river over the needless suffering around me?” There is no answer! Even though I have prayed this prayer many times, it seems that my words say one thing, but my heart says another, and I find myself going on with my life of little prayer and little power to obey God and crucify my flesh for the sake of others.
It is for those of you who feel this longing but yet seem unable to penetrate the seemingly unconquerable void filling your very soul that this has been written. I must believe that there are many more of you who are tired of playing church while the world is approaching eternity in absolute ignorance of what awaits them! I must believe that some of you must be burdened by those who are Christians in name only and are content to proclaim a weak and insipid gospel to a dying world that is desperately in need of a clarion call to repentance and faith in God. To believe anything else would be a chilling indictment against God’s people and leave the lost to die alone with few, if any, prophets, teachers or preachers to warn them of their impending doom!
Where are you my brothers and sisters? Are you my next door neighbor, my friend, my employer, or perhaps a government official? Are you my barber, my insurance provider, my banker, my grocer, or perhaps the mechanic who repairs my vehicle? Are you a preacher, a schoolteacher, a mother or father, aunt or uncle, grandpa or grandma? Are you a butcher, a farmer, a soldier, an actor, a librarian, or maybe a shy, quiet person who believes you have nothing to say and would not venture to say anything for fear of ridicule? What is your status in life? Are you rich, poor, or in between? Are you well respected? Do you even care what others think of you? Well, it is clear that whoever you are or whatever you conceive yourself to be; if the burden Christ bore has come to you, we are all of one mind and one accord, and need to obey God implicitly in what he calls us to do with that burden at whatever cost! To fail in this is to reject the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and will cost many an eternity of suffering that could have been avoided if we would have obeyed the call of God on our lives!
Oh dear Christian, I plead with you to hear and Obey God above all else! Our lives are only a vapor that will appear for a little time and then be gone! We could accomplish so much if we would yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and discipline our lives to do what our flesh cries out against! Will we continue on in our self-indulgent ways while the lost go out into eternity without warning and unprepared?
Oh God, please deliver us from ourselves and strike an undying fire within our souls for the sake of others! We cannot do it ourselves, and so we turn to you, our only hope, and trust you will take our weakness and manifest yourself through us, and in spite of us, that others may be delivered from darkness and Christ will receive the reward of his suffering! Help us, O' God we pray! In Jesus Precious Name, Amen!
If this message has spoken to your heart then go straight to God and pray that he will help
you to stop living the way you are and yield in absolute surrender to whatever he would call you to do. The greatest joy in life in loving and serving him and reaching out to the world around us to bring hope where there is none. So many precious souls are waiting for the gospel to be delivered to them. What will we do?
2. Would you be smiling as you were sent off to jail for sharing your faith?
3. Would you give the same reply that Jerry Romprey gave when asked about what they were doing?
Finally, do you believe the report about these young people "loitering and grabbing people to listen?" If you believe it -- why? If you don't believe it -- why? If you have no opinion one way or the other -- why?
I was there when this happened and also in Decatur, IL.
Below is the brief story of what actually happened with a link to a poem written in Decatur.
A store manager falsely accused members of our group of lying in the aisles of his store and grabbing people and forcing them to listen. The store manager lied and the judge was ready to issue fines based on lies. The young people in the group never grabbed anyone or laid in the store aisles to get them to listen. They were all very polite and unobtrusive. The devil lost this battle! The young people who were jailed were able to lead two men charged with murder to Christ.
While the young people were in jail they worshiped the Lord and held Bible studies
and sang praises in the cells, catwalks and finally they were put in with the felons. Many lives were touched from the prison staff to the prisoners they interacted with on a daily basis. These young people left the prison in better condition than they found it
cleaning everything they could. I know because I was one of them. We were arrested
in Decatur, IL also. Click the link below for a poem that I wrote about this experience.