It’s been 2000 Years, But It Still Happens Today

Over 2000 years ago a man who spent all his time and energy trying to prove that Jesus was not God, went through a life changing experience and began to preach Christ as Lord.

Let’s see how Paul describes it himself as we read about it in Acts 22:

Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’

“ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

10 “ ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.

“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.

12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.

14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’ [1]

[1]The New International Version. (2011). (Ac 22:2–16). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

 

Praise God, that same kind of life turnaround is still happening today. Read Amala’s story (in his own words)

My name is Amala Rani, I am in grade 8. I have two other younger sisters. This summer in May, my sisters and myself attended 5 days of camp. We went there because there was free lunch at the camp. My parents are atheists, so they don’t encourage us to pray to any gods. My dad usually argues with Christians and tries to prove that Jesus is not a God. I have seen few times arguing with Christians and other religious people. One day myself and my sisters got free New Testament from Gideon’s at our school. When my dad saw those New Testaments, he put them in garbage. He said that Christians are trying to convert ignorant people in our country. He had bad opinion towards Christian religion.  Because of the free meal and sports, my parents sent us to the 5 day camp. There we got many good friends. We wanted to meet our friends regularly, so we pleaded our parents to take us to Sunday church. Now we have been attending an evangelical church in our village for last 3 months. My parents also got good friends at the church. So now my parents also interested in attending regular Sunday service and house bible study. My parents accepted Jesus as God and personal saviour now. Hopefully they will get baptism in few months. One day my dad threw the bible in garbage, but now he holds bible in his hand and goes to church. Even neighbours look this as strange. Before he used to argue against Jesus Christ, but now he tries his best to prove that Jesus Christ is Lord and saviour to his friends. He will bring others to Jesus Christ. All this happened because of the Summer camp “ Prayer Brings Victory”

Told By Amala Rani – Written by Pastor. Mahimairaj – Thiruvarur District

Amala’s father may not have had the same dramatic conversion that Saul did. Saul was stunned by the voice and blinded by the light that flashed around him on the road to Damascus, and he crumpled to the ground. And his world crumpled too. Everything that Saul had believed was suddenly revealed to be completely in conflict with the truth he now knew.

Even without the flash of light and the blindness, Amala’s father came to the same understanding, that his worldview was twisted and he had to flip it around 180 degrees.

Many of us wish we had a more ‘dramatic’ testimony to share with others but it is not the flash of light that is important it is the 180 degree turn, from not following God, to following Him. For some it can be as simple finding some good friends at church.

Amala’s father came to know Christ the same way most of us have come to know him.

  • Someone prayed for him. Note Amala’s last words “Prayer brings victory.”
  • He was invited to church.
  • He made good friends there.
  • Someone shared the Good News with him.

It can be hard to pray for someone who argues with us that Jesus cannot be God and that we must be ignorant to believe that. However, it is only by prayer that their spiritual blindness can be removed.

We need to keep praying

Very few people come out to church without an invitation. It is our job to invite them. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association did a survey and found that over 80% of those who came forward at one of their events had come on a church bus or van.

We need to keep inviting.

If a newcomer to church does not make a few good friends in the first several weeks of attending, they are likely to stop coming out. I once saw a pastor who had a 90 second rule. He instructed us to find someone new and speak with them within the first 90 seconds after the service was finished. Our friends would wait but the newcomers would be gone if we talked to out friends first.

We need to keep making new friends at church.

It is obvious that every pre-Christian needs to have the Gospel clearly explained. I know so many people who claim that they cannot be a part of the Great Commission because they are not ‘gifted’ in evangelism. That has nothing to do with the command. The command is to make disciples, whether you are gifted or not. This is not an optional part of our Christian life. It is the core of it.

We need to keep sharing the Good News.

Are you doing all four? Some may have to answer that they are not doing even one of these. It is not a good idea to feel guilty about this. It is time to change it.

Pray               Invite               Make Friends               Share the Good News

 

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