My high school graduating class had its twentieth year reunion. I got a
book, with contributions from some class members, telling "what's
happened in my life". As I looked through, a great weight hit me. One
told of becoming a Christian. A few others mentioned their church
involvement. Most told of their careers, family and where they'd been
around the world. Some told of who they'd met as their life's
I felt such grief. The majority gave no indication of having a
relationship with God through Christ as a highlight of their life. I
think back to those years in high school. It seemed like I was so old
then. That world seemed about all there was. Then I graduated, and that
world faded into the past and almost seems like a contrived, artificial
I remember my fellow classmates, twenty years later. For most in my
class, we're likely, at least, halfway through our lives. For another
good portion, two-thirds of the way through our lives. A few had
already died. Time is swiftly ticking away, yet so many still haven't
wakened up to a vital relationship with God. For most, life will
totally pass, and the most important thing in life had never been so
much as a serious thought.
I thought that if I had the opportunity to address my aging class, I
would beg of them to commit their remaining lives to God.
The greatest purpose, the greatest joy, the greatest relationship is
theirs for the asking. The great sorrow is that they can't see it. They
think this "religious" way is boring ceremonial stuff. No life, no fun.
With such a misconception, they'll never come out of darkness.
For the moment, I want to try and open up and let the dark eyes see
what light I am beholding in Christ. It's like I'm holding a great
light that I can see, while so many others grope in darkness (Matthew
5:14; Luke 11:33-36). They're totally blind. They can't comprehend the
slightest of this light I'm telling them about. They have little desire
to experience it. If only I could make them see, before it's too late.
For this moment, I'll try and be a lighthouse to shine that light
outwardly. I might not be able to address my class, but I can address
To start with, I'm talking about a relationship. True Christianity is
so very sweet. It's not like being a member of a fraternity. In a
fraternity you may make friends and have fun, but there's no abiding
presence, no strength that is not of yourself. In Christ, you find His
very person joining with your spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17). If you've
never experienced Christ, you can't really understand it, for you have
nothing to compare it to.
Allow me to attempt to express it in a poem:
Lord, your touch is so deep,
Your beauty so rare.
I see You understand me,
Before You, all things are bare.
You see my pride,
My independent self-will.
You see my weaknesses,
My regrets, my halting still.
Through all this,
You reach through, are there.
You join and You shape,
You set me free by the load You bear!
This freedom is not alone,
For Your Spirit fills my soul.
Your joy bubbles up inside,
Its fulness foretold in a scroll.
The voice of the prophets,
They knew it would be.
Even now, with such richness,
The best is yet to see.
Oh, let me share this
This life-giving flow.
Let me pour out the truth,
So that others may know.
As I walk on in life,
With Your presence, so sweet.
Let Your essence show forth,
Let it be You that they meet.
I was thinking about how I could help others to see what this
relationship is like. I came up with this: When we deal with other
people, we can communicate our feelings to them through words or
expressions. We can also hide our feelings from others. With Christ,
it's deeper. Both His feelings and my feelings aren't necessarily
communicated in such a fashion. I might hear a sermon that Christ uses
to speak to me, but in hand with such messages, or totally apart,
Christ communicates with me in a much deeper way. I don't have to see
His expression to know how He's feeling. I sense it in my spirit. In a
sense, I feel it too. When I have some feelings, I don't have to tell
Him, although I do express it in prayer. He is there sharing these
feelings with me. It is a kind of fellowship. A drawing of strength
from His love.
Jesus told us of this union that was to come. He said:
20 At that day ye shall
know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and
I in you.
A verse one of the apostles wrote, shows this quite forcefully:
26 And whether one member
suffer, all the members suffer with it; or
one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
1 Corinthians 12:26
Primarily, the apostle was talking about how each
member of Christ
relates to the others. The verse says something deeper that's usually
missed. Notice it says . . . all the members suffer with it; and all
the members rejoice with it. It doesn't say all the member should
suffer or rejoice. It says they do. It's not a matter of mental
decision to mourn or rejoice. The fellowship is in the Spirit, and
natural responses of joy or sorrow automatically flow in this special
Not What You Expected
As I said in my poem, "Let it be You that they meet." We all have our
concepts of what Jesus is like. Most of them are wrong. Let me put it
to you another way. Don't you imagine Jesus as being so distinct, that
all who saw Him could not doubt that He was God the Father manifest
(John 5:19; 6:57; 10:38; 14:8-11)? We tend to think of a big
sugar-daddy giving out gifts and oozing love. Now look at reality.
Jesus' own family watched Him grow up, and were ignorant of who He was
(John 7:3-5). Even when they were told, they couldn't see (Matthew
13:54-58). Yes, Jesus was filled with love, and yes, He gave plenty. I
want you to go a step further, our concept of love is different to that
of a holy God. We think of how love behaves, then fill it with our
preconceived notions. We pin that onto our image of Jesus. Love is much
more than that. It is more sacrificing than we can ever imagine, yet
can be more stern that we personally choose.
If you truly come to Christ, you'll find He won't be what you expected,
but He will be "out of this world". (No pun intended.)
"I beg of you!", goes two ways. The first is to God. "Please God, I beg
of you, help them to see You!" The second goes to you, "I beg of you,
for your own sakes, be honest with God!" I've heard people refuse to
consider becoming a Christian, because they've 'seen such hypocrisy'.
That 'excuse' is a crock. When we each stand before God, do you
honestly think that will wash? He might very easily say, "I didn't ask
what they did, I asked what you did. I wanted to know you. I paid an
incredible price to make that possible. I called you, but because of
what some did who 'claimed' to know me, you wouldn't give me the time
of day. Sorry, this is between Me and you, not Me and them and you. I
did what I could, your guilt remains, depart from me ye that work
iniquity into everlasting torments." (Matthew 7:23; 25:41,46; John
Believe me, if you were about to face a firing squad, you wouldn't let
any excuse keep you from appealing for any available help. You'd see
the matter as serious and make your safety #1 priority. Where you will
spend eternity should be no less important a matter.
Now let's just assume you're thinking, "I know Christ calls for
repentance, and I'm not ready to change. I can't see pretending, to get
my fire insurance, and not really changing. Besides, God will know if
I'm sincere or not, and I'm not." Go to God in prayer anyway. Tell Him
that. Be honest. Even if you don't believe in God, you can approach Him
in this manner with something like, "God, I don't know if you're there,
so I may be wasting my time, but if you are there, please show me. If
You hear this, and if the New Testament is telling the truth about You
and Jesus, show me that too." Know this, that He can and will hear
these prayers, if they come from honest hearts.
God can, and will, give you the heart of repentance. If you tell Him,
"God, I enjoy the pleasures of my life that You call sinful. I don't
want to stop, couldn't anyway, but God I want to somehow know You.
Please make it possible, please change me." If you're honest in such a
prayer, I believe you will get up off your knees changed. God wants
your honesty, not sincerity, but honesty. You come with honesty, He'll
bring the ability (Ephesians 2:8,9). You may not believe me now, but go
ahead and prove Him.
I said to seek God's face in honesty. That means you have to consider
if you're willing to face the consequences of finding out what you've
avoided all these years. If you're ready for the possible consequences,
then you're ready to get down on your knees.
In the previous section, I referred to the consequences of hell.
I was told this story: There was a couple at this church that had an
old car covered with Christian bumper stickers. Amongst those stickers
was one reading, "Where are you going when you die, Heaven or Hell?"
One day they got a note slipped under their wiper saying, "You
shouldn't be preaching about hell. I'm a Christian and you will never
win people to Christ scaring them with hell. You need to tell them of
God's love, not hell." The writer was so infuriated, he attached his
e-mail address so they could e-mail him. That writer was drastically
wrong. For starters, hell is a reality that Jesus warned about (Matthew
5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33; Luke 12:5). If He preached on it, we
can do no less. The first sermons of the early church were definitely
referring to the consequences for not becoming a Christian. (Acts
2:32-40; 3:14-26). A good start for the church era. The apostle Peter
also held up the judgment of this world with fire, as a motivation
point for those who already had become Christians in 2 Peter 3:10-12.
What's more, I became a Christian myself BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF HELL.
My conversion is sound. I love God with all my heart, and I know He
loves me. In fact, the person who told me the bumper-sticker story
admitted that the fear of Hell was what had won her to Christ, also.
Preaching about hell must continue. Ignorance is no blessing. God
warned us for a reason.
What You Treasure Now
I've seen God passed up for celluloid and magnetic dust. The soul for
ounces of plastic and make-believe stories - video tapes. Christ was
passed up because doing so would mean a change in one's life. The
movies that Christ would take no delight in couldn't be sacrificed. For
this, Christ was put off.
This takes place all the time. People's hearts are enslaved by their
pals, possessions, passions, pleasures and positions. The thought of
loss in any one of these areas, is enough to keep many out of heaven.
They see the temporal things of the flesh, and freeze up from what true
glory might have been (1 John 2:15-17).
Jesus put it in a nutshell:
21 For where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Don't be so shallow and turn away from all that's in Christ for the
trinkets of this world. These trinkets are lies. Flee them like the
fires of hell, for if they keep you from Christ, that's their cost.
The years of our lives pass amazingly fast. The end might be before
tomorrow morning. We never know. The decision to know Christ is too
important to put off any longer. This is not only for the sake of where
you'll spend eternity, but for the sake of real peace and joy now. I
can't imagine life without Christ. Don't waste, or risk, another day.
Make this your number #1 priority now. He will meet you at whatever
point you're able to come to Him. Just come as you are.