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TRUST JESUS TODAY
Target audience:High School College, University students battling with "God's existence" or "evolution."
Did you ever have a strong desire to be seen, heard, and thought well of by others? I once knew someone who stole the limelight by overacting in a dramatic presentation. Did you ever shove junior employees around at work, or, at home, push siblings about so they could know you were in charge?
When I was about twelve and a half, that same desire for self-glory came over me. In a bible class a strong urge drove me to pass off a smart remark and get some attention my way
“How come they’re driving the ship on dry land?” I shouted, raising my hand. Everyone laughed, and I, the loudest.
Our mother had been sending us on Sunday afternoons to Grace Missionary Church Sunday school, then held on the lawn of a large house along Constant Spring Road. We sat on wooden chairs with grass under our feet. Tall coconut trees, leafy mango trees, various garden trees and low-lying bush were scattered across the wide lawn. Sometimes, I pulled a girl’s hair and when she turned around with grimaced face, I rebuked the nearest boy with an innocent look on my face, “Why you troubling the girl?”
That Sunday afternoon, the young lady teaching the class with only a desert scene on flannelgraph, moved a ship with Jesus and the disciples on to the same desert scene. At first, I thought I had escaped with that smart remark. However, after the class she called me aside and began to scold me privately.
“Richard,” she began. I hardly looked up at her. “Disturbing others while I’m telling a story is not very nice, is it?” Suddenly, I felt like a cornered mouse, looking to escape her penetrating eyes. Not answering, I kept looking down on the ground. “And I know you think it’s funny, but with only a desert scene to tell the story of Moses, when I teach about Jesus and His disciples in the ship, everyone has to imagine sea all around. Why did you ask if the ship was driving on sand in the middle of the desert? Everyone is going to laugh and that distracts the whole class!”
What caused me to be disruptive? A need for attention? A need to be loved? No doubt, a need for the deep, deep love of God, the only thing that really could satisfy my heart.
However, I was so embarrassed, from that day I never returned. Thereafter, I felt very deeply convicted of how evil and wicked I was. Remember my wild reputation with Sunday school teachers? Remember the foul language? Remember the lies I told, and the stealing of grapes?
Now, this teacher scolded me after the class. My mind was tormented. I was sure that if I had died right then, I would have gone straight to Hell. I was terrified!
If we had been in Jerusalem when thousands of Jews from various nations had arrived in order to celebrate the Feast of Shavuot, (Pentecost), we would have heard Peter, the apostle’s stern rebuke to that generation.
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know. Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death...Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!”
When they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
I once heard a preacher say, “We don’t need to preach against sin, because people already know that they are sinners!”
According to the apostle Paul, it is the responsibility of every worker in God’s kingdom to “preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching!”
Many are today saying, you need to be more “user-friendly,” or you will drive people away from the gospel. “You cannot be negative! Your message must be positive!” Therefore, many are no longer preaching the truth. The truth is that we have all sinned against a holy God! And that truth is very hurtful and can be extremely embarrassing!
Before leaving His disciples, Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth!”
If the scriptures are not the revelation that God inspired the prophets to write, then every prophet, who presented the negative aspects of our sins before pointing to the positive hope of deliverance through the Messiah, would have been completely out of the will and purposes of God. Jesus Christ Himself would also have been a fraud, since He preached continually against the sins and hypocrisies of His generation.
No-one can ever be led to the Living Christ without the convicting power of the Word of God, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life!”
Promising the Spirit to His disciples, Jesus told them, “When He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more!”
I thank God today for that conscientious Sunday School teacher. Her discipline set a spark in my spirit to look within and helped me to see how sinful I really was before a holy God! Parents or teachers today are often afraid to correct children, but the scriptures instruct us to warn those over whom God has placed us, “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul”
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