Thursday, July 23, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Excuses Have Replaced Hope
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
I want to tell you a story today. It should move us to consider whether or not we have allowed excuses to replace hope in our lives. How do we know if that’s happening? Because we have stopped witnessing to others about the hope we have in Christ. Here’s the story:
Every Sunday afternoon, after the morning service at the church, the Pastor and his eleven-year-old son would go out into their town and hand out Gospel Tracts. This particular Sunday afternoon, as it came time for the Pastor and his son to go to the street with their tracts, it was very cold outside, as well as pouring down rain. The boy bundled up in his warmest and driest clothes and said, “OK, dad, I’m ready.” His Pastor dad asked, “Ready for what?”
“Dad, it’s time we get our tracts together and go out.” Dad responds, “Son, it’s very cold outside and it’s pouring down rain.” The boy gave his dad a surprised look, asking, “But Dad, aren’t people still going to Hell, even though it’s raining?” Dad answered, “Son, I am not going out in this weather.” Despondently, the boy asked, “Dad, can I go? Please?” His father hesitated for a moment and then said, “Son, you can go. Here are the tracts, be careful son.” “Thanks Dad!”
And with that, he was off and out into the rain. This eleven-year-old boy walked the streets of the town going door to door and handing everybody he met a Gospel Tract. After two hours of walking in the rain, he was soaking, bone-chilled wet and down to his last tract. He stopped on a corner and looked for someone to hand it to, but the streets were totally deserted. Then he turned toward the first home he saw and started up the sidewalk to the front door. He rang the doorbell, but nobody answered. So he rang it again and again, but still no one answered. He waited but still no answer.
Finally, this witnessing trooper turned to leave, but something stopped him. He knew he should ring the doorbell again. This time he also knocked loudly with his fist. He waited, something holding him there on the front porch. He rang one more time, and this time the door slowly opened. Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady. She softly asked, “What can I do for you, son?” With radiant eyes and a smile that lit up her world, this little boy said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry if I disturbed you, but I just want to tell you that JESUS REALLY DOES LOVE YOU and I came to give you my very last Gospel Tract which will tell you all about JESUS and His great LOVE.” With that, he handed her his last tract and turned to leave.
She called to him as he departed. “Thank you, son! And God Bless You!”
The following Sunday morning in church Pastor Dad was in the pulpit. As the service began, he asked, “Does anybody have testimony or want to say anything?” Slowly, in the back row of the church, an elderly lady stood to her feet. As she began to speak, a look of glorious radiance came from her face, “No one in this church knows me. I’ve never been here before. You see, before last Sunday I was not a Christian. My husband passed on some time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday, being a particularly cold and rainy day, it was even more so in my heart that I came to the end of the line where I no longer had any hope or will to live. So I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the attic of my home. I fastened the rope securely to a rafter in the roof, then stood on the chair and fastened the other end of the rope around my neck. Standing on that chair, so lonely and brokenhearted I was about to leap off, when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I thought, ‘I’ll wait a minute, and whoever it is will go away.’
I waited and waited, but the ringing doorbell seemed to get louder and more insistent, and then the person ringing also started knocking loudly. I thought to myself again, ‘Who on earth could this be?
Nobody ever rings my bell or comes to see me.’
I loosened the rope from my neck and started for the front door. When I opened the door and looked I could hardly believe my eyes. There on my front porch was the most radiant and angelic little boy I had ever seen in my life. His SMILE, oh, I could never describe it to you!
The words that came from his mouth caused my heart that had long been dead to leap to life as he exclaimed with a cherub-like voice, ‘Ma’am, I just came to tell you that JESUS REALLY DOES LOVE YOU.’ Then he gave me this Gospel Tract that I now hold in my hand.”
“As the little angel disappeared back out into the cold and rain, I closed my door and read slowly every word of this Gospel Tract. Then I went up to my attic to get my rope and chair. I wouldn’t be needing them anymore.
You see—I am now a Happy Child of the KING. Since the address of your church was on the back of this Gospel Tract, I have come here to personally say THANK YOU to God’s little angel who came just in the nick of time and by so doing, spared my soul from an eternity in hell.”
There was not a dry eye in the church. And as shouts of praise and honor to the King resounded off the very rafters of the building, Pastor Dad descended from the pulpit to the front pew where the little angel was seated.
He took his son in his arms and sobbed uncontrollably. Probably no church has had a more glorious moment, and probably this universe has never seen a Papa that was more filled with love & honor for his son… Except for One. Our Heavenly Father also allowed His Son to go out into a cold and dark world to rescue sinners. And now He has seated Him at His right hand in glory waiting for all those who will by faith become His children.
If you are a child of the King, you have an eternal hope that springs from your heart. No more excuses – go and tell someone about Jesus today.