It is 12:30 am in Nashville, Tennessee, on the first night of my fourth round of chemotherapy. So where am I? Of course, on the computer, writing.
Thank you God, for clarity of thought. Thank you steroids for keeping me awake to write those thoughts.
Tonight I’m convicted.
I’m so convicted I just might possibly write two different journal entries with all these thoughts.
Tonight I’m convicted by Trent’s sermon Sunday morning: that we are either saved or lost. Almost saved is as impossible as almost pregnant.
I’m convicted by my three year old, my precious Scott. My precious Scott who mentions “baby Anna” every few days and often asks when do we get to go to heaven?
Who asks, “Can we go to heaven on Friday and see Anna?”
Shame on me for not having this longing. This strong belief.
For Scott, heaven is as real as Nana and Papa’s house. As real as Chattanooga. As real as the zoo. And he wants to be there. ASAP. Do I?
I think part of my hesitancy is that I know people who haven’t been saved.
“And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2
Do I decide who is saved and who isn’t? No, that’s not my job. God decides, but the above scripture is pretty clear. Like Trent said, if people are saved, then they must be saved from something. Something that people who don’t call on the name of the Lord will not be saved from.
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warnedthem; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
From Matthew 24:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
I’m not the only one to be recently convicted by these passages. I’ve had several of you mention them to me. I think that means something. God is putting it in several hearts.
Have you seen billows of smoke lately on the news? Have we had a few earthquakes? Are there some nations rising against nations?
Do I mean to scare you tonight? Oh no, definitely not. But does God? I’m not sure.
I’m not afraid. I know many of you who will read this are also not afraid.
In the Matthew passage, Jesus also says, “but see to it that you are not alarmed.”
I John says: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. And also: In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
And in Romans: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
I know that most people who will read this journal already have that confidence! Most people who I know and dearly love have this longing for heaven. But I believe there may be those who read who are struck with fear. Who in the depths of their hearts know that they are not in Christ Jesus. You know.
Should you come to Jesus simply because of the fear of condemnation? Why not?
It surely does seem like those folks in Acts 2 were pretty afraid.
They asked, “What do we do?!?!?!?!”
Peter said, “Go study your Bible and decide if baptism is really important. Once you figure that out, find a church whose worship style you like, see if you can get comfy there, and then respond to Jesus, if you feel like it.”
No wait, he said, “Join a Bible study, go to church, learn as much as you can about Jesus and the church, and once you have a much better understanding and motivation beyond fear, then get back to me. We’ll schedule your baptism for a few weeks from now.”
(PLEASE know I am not trying to step on toes. I’m not trying to convert anyone to the “Church of Christ”. I’m not trying to sell baptism. Because that can be just getting wet. I’m trying to “sell” salvation – because I’m just not sure how much time we have left here. )
Acts 2 : “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Even more convicting: Jesus said, in his LAST instructions to his disciples before he ascended to heaven: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you to the very end of the age.”
Well, I think that’s as clear as it gets. Make disciples (help them to believe!), baptize, and then teach them to obey.
I plead with you, as Peter pleaded, don’t wait another day. You just may not get it. Find Jesus now. His gift is free, if we believe. If you believe, you’ll do what he asks. And then you can learn all the beautiful things about Jesus and rest in his assurances, his promises. Then a grand and glorious thing can happen: what may have begun as fear will be transformed into beautiful gratitude and love. For perfect love casts out fear. (I John)
Please hear the love in my voice. Don’t wait another minute, and if you don’t need to read this but someone you know does – don’t wait another minute.
I love you and I love Jesus. God take us to our home and do it quickly!