Are You Ready?
How important is this question? I’d like to share a story that God allowed me to experience firsthand in the city of Fall River.
Two weeks ago a friend of mine, evangelist Tommy Waltz of Gospel of God ministries, based in Raleigh, North Carolina came to Fall River for two days. We went out and shared the gospel on street corners but we also went down to city hall and proclaimed the gospel in front of the court house. This day two incredible events took place. One man lost his life, and one man gained it.
I met Tommy in seminary (he was my next door neighbor for a season) and we also went to the same church (Open Door Baptist) in North Raleigh. Both of us had aspirations to declare the gospel publicly and yet neither of us had entered into this phase of ministry during that season.
In the past three years, God has seen fit to allow us both to preach the word publicly. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is doing great things to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ
This particular day we started doing what is called “open air preaching”. Tony Miano defines open air preaching as “the public proclamation of a religious message. It is often accomplished with a voice louder than that used in conversation”. You might also here it referred to as “street preaching” which combines both the proclamation of the law of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Included in this proclamation is the reading of a portion of God’s word.
On this busy Friday as Sean one GGM’s team members was proclaiming the message of hope, a gentleman walking down South Main Street stopped in his tracks and began to listen. He claimed, “God turned me around”. He listened intently, and then Tommy began talking with him individually. After a detailed conversation, he wanted to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
This man repented of his sinful life, chose Jesus and entered into a new realm of experience. He gained eternal life (Romans 6:23) and no longer has to fear dying. This gentleman came to our church the next Sunday and shared with me “I was feeling hopeless that day and was considering ending my life”.
At the same time another man walked by us and went a little further down the road, crossed to the other side and dropped to the ground. Within 30 minutes he entered into eternity. He heard the gospel when he passed by us, and yet we do not know if he was a believer or in his last moments received Jesus as Lord and Savior. This day the question “Are You Ready” had eternal relevance and consequences for both these men.
It begs me to ask YOU, are you ready to meet God? The scriptures remind us that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. That many of us are so consumed with planning for our temporal future, that we have no time to deal with our eternal future that we all know is coming? The latter is guaranteed, while the former is not.
James the half-brother of Jesus asked this question in the book of James “come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:13-14).
That’s right when we measure our lives not by 70-80 years but from an eternal standpoint, two things stand out. First, our time on earth is really short and it is the measuring rod by which everything else is determined. Second eternity is a long time and while many reject it, ONLY Jesus knows what it is like to die and rise from the grave NEVER to die again.
Jesus once asked this question “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:36-38).
Are you ashamed of Jesus? Are you ashamed of God’s word? I know many pass by me in my street corner evangelism and mock and pass judgment on the bible. Let me warn you friend, you don’t stand in judgment over the bible, BUT it stands in judgment over you.
God is doing some great things through the proclamation of the gospel. Our church Redemption Fellowship is reaching people. For the first time in our short existence (2+ years) we had over 100 people come to service on a Sunday. Addicts are fighting against strongholds, angry people are learning to forgive, and complacent people are boldly proclaiming the gospel. Lives are being transformed. The gospel has relevance!
Jim Elliot a famous Christian missionary once penned these words “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Are you ready? Will you turn from your selfish life and give yourself to Jesus? Eternity waits for no man!