Saturday, December 23, 2006

Comfort at Christmas

In the carol "O Holy Night" we sing "Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth." My dad loved Christmas. He believed that Jesus was the Savior of the world. He prayed regularly. He followed me around and listened when I preached the gospel. But his soul never "felt its worth." And even though the mild Savior was born to give us second birth, my dad wasn't born again--and according to Jesus Himself my dad would therefore not go to Heaven when he died (see John chapter 3).

I strongly suspected that he wasn't born again because the Bible says that there will be certain "fruit" that will make it clear that someone has been born "from above." If I buy what I think is a peach tree, I have good reason to suspect that it's not if it never has any fruit. To believe in the Savior and not be born again is like a man who believes in a parachute, but doesn't put it on. Such a man will be okay, until he jumps out of the plane.

My dad lacked certain knowledge. He didn't understand that God was nothing like he imagined--that He is holy and perfect and that because of that fact, God's wrath was upon him because of his sins (see John 3:36). Like the rest of us, my dad had broken the Ten Commandments, God was his enemy, and only in Christ can God and sinners be reconciled.

I explained that God had seen the secret sins of his heart, and that if he had as much as lusted after a woman, he had committed adultery in his heart (see Matthew 5:27-28). I also explained that if he had told one lie, he was a liar, and the Bible warns that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. If he had stolen anything, he was a thief, and the Scriptures warn that no thief will inherit the Kingdom of God. There would be no second chance. Because God is perfect and demands perfection (see Matthew 5:48), if my dad died in his sins, even though he professed faith in Jesus, he would go to Hell. Forever.

One day he had a very serious heart attack. Two weeks later he was dead. But sometime during those two weeks he was born again . . . and there was evident fruit. He prayed that God would cast out his sin and enter in. He cried "be born in me today."

It took a heart attack to awaken him to the truth of the gospel. He finally understood why the Savior was born--to suffer for the sin of the world (for his sins), and rise again on the third day, defeating death. Jesus was born that man no more may die, and because of the cross, God can now grant dying humanity the gift of everlasting life. God and sinners can be reconciled. We can be made righteous in the sight of a holy and prefect God by His amazing grace.

In one moment during those two weeks my dad simply repented and surrendered his life to God, and trusted in Jesus alone for his eternal salvation. Have you done that? Will you prepare Him room? Does your soul feel the gospel's worth? Be reconciled to God. I'm concerned that perhaps you haven't repented and trusted the Savior. Why? Because I know that like my dad, millions believe, but there's no biblical fruit. Please, do what the Bible says, "Make your calling and election sure." Pray something like this: "Dear God, I have sinned against you. I have broken your Commandments and if you judge me according to your perfect standard, I will justly end up in Hell forever. Thank you that Jesus once and for all took my punishment. He suffered for me and rose again. I trust in Him alone as my Savior and my Lord. In His wonderful name I pray."

I hope and pray that you have truly repented and been born again. If you have, Christmas will never be the same. If your sins are forgiven, you will find comfort in the Scriptures. You will find comfort through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. And you will have great comfort on your death bed. Instead of death being a terrifying dark door to the unknown, the moment of your passing will become the most incredible moment of your life--the entrance into everlasting joy, and pleasure forevermore.

The Bible says the Kingdom of Heaven is coming to this earth. Can you imagine how wonderful it will be? Actually, you can't. We have never seen or heard or imagined anything as wonderful as what God has in store for those who love Him. Think of the most beautiful rose, the cutest puppy, the most breathtaking sunset, or the magnificence of a snow-covered mountain. Imagine now that you were there before God created those things. There would be no way you could have predicted such a creation; and even though we can see how unspeakably great God is through the creation we see, He says, "Behold, I make all things new." So, never think of Heaven as a kind of spooky home of "departed spirits." It's down to earth, new bodies, utter perfection, and pleasure forevermore. No more pain. No more suffering. No more death. So, feed yourself daily--read your Bible every day without fail. And make sure you obey what you read, and you will never look back. God will keep you in His mighty hand.

Thank you for reading this.

God bless you,
Ray Comfort

3 comments:

Diane said...

I work with a partner ministry of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron called the Great News Network www.thegreatnews.com and lead a team to share the gospel with college students in front of the UGA Arch in downtown Athens every Friday night. You can email me for more details at dlytle@thegreatnews.com and visit my webpage at http://www.GNNathensga.com

Anonymous said...

Nice piece, Wayne. I too lost mt dad to a heart attack, although he was gone before he hit the floor. I especially miss him this time of year. He loved Christmas, and he loved the Eagles, and I miss spending time with him around both of those reasons.

Hope your holidays are blessed with happiness.

- David

QuakerDave said...

Thank last "anonymous" was me.