PART OF GOD’S PROCESS IN SAVING SOULS
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:3-8 ESV)
In the preface of the Bible summary, I shared my conversion experience. I was raised in a non-Christian family and therefore was clueless to who Jesus was. By the time I was in high school, I was spiritually dead, blind, and utterly confused. No different than Zeus, God was another myth to me.
When God’s time was right, God, by His sovereign grace and mercy, touched my soul one summer night in 1977 when I was partying and watching a motorcycle race in Owego, NY. I was floored inside out! I clearly knew that God existed and that there was a spiritual world. With this new perception, I was NOT the same. Dramatically changed, I felt drawn to find out more who this Presence was.
A few months later, I noticed the only unread book that sat for years on my childhood bookshelf. I didn’t read it because I didn’t understand the title: “The Story of Salvation”. The book turned out to be a summary of the Bible. For the first time in my life, I learned why God created the world, how He has been and will be directing human history to its very end, and why I needed Jesus Christ. I remember how the fear of going to hell gripped me. I wanted to be saved, yet I didn’t know how.
A couple years later in January 1980 I moved to California, got a job, and attended night school to get my 4-year degree. God was dealing with me; I had no peace inside. I was restless. By God’s providence, I was invited to a church filled with hippies from the “Jesus Movement” in the 1970’s. After months of attending the church, it became clear that I needed to fully repent from being my own god and to commit my entire life to follow Jesus. It was then I began to experience an incredible peace and joy deep within my being. My soul finally found its rest in God. I was later baptized and with God’s help I have been following Christ ever since.
As J.I. Packer points out in his book “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” (see button below), the gospel is a complex message. It needs to be taught. Only when a person understands who Jesus is, including the cost of following Him, can they be invited to pray, repent, receive forgiveness from Christ and start their new life with Him. Some accept the invitation; some don’t. Either way, as our Lord commanded, we have been given the duty to share the gospel. If we do not share the gospel, as Packer says in his book, we are “not playing the part of a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.”
The gospel message is to be spread throughout the world; seeds need to be scattered. Looking back, the Bible summary that sat unread for over 15 years on my bookshelf turned out to be the seed God used to be planted in my God-prepared fertile heart. After reading the book, it still took a period of time for the truth to germinate within me. Nonetheless, it started with that seed. We plant, we water, but God gives the increase. Whoever gave that book placed on my bookshelf certainly did their duty. Thank you whoever that was!!
I wrote this summary with the purpose to be scattered into anyone’s hands. When the summary has been placed into someone’s hands, the mission of scattering the seed has been accomplished. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are more than capable to take it from there. Just as God was faithful to work through his servant vessels on earth to save you and me, he will be faithful to work through us to save others. Amen?