On Easter Sunday in 2009 Central Park welcomed our new Pastor, Bro. Jackie Kay. In just a few weeks – on Easter Sunday – he will close out his nine years of ministry here, retiring and moving on to new adventures.
The thing I remember most of that first Sunday with Bro. Jackie was not his sermon, or the great crowd that showed up. What I remember, and what thrilled me most, was the public profession of faith by Katie Robertson. “Miss” Katie was in her mid-80’s and had been a church member since childhood. The week prior to that Easter service, Katie came by my office and she shared with me how that long ago she had responded to the altar call during a revival and was baptized. She had been bothered often since then, not feeling any sense of certainty about her salvation. A few weeks prior to our conversation she had attended a revival where Phil Waldrep was preaching, and he spoke on the issue that many church members have never truly accepted God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. They may have “walked the aisle” as an emotional response to the invitation, or for some other invalid reason. As a result, they probably think they are a Christian, but may be deceived by a misunderstanding of what repentance and accepting Christ is all about. This is what Katie discovered about herself.
When Katie shared these doubts and concerns with me, I must admit that you have knocked me over with a feather. She is such a sweet woman, and probably as good a person as any. But, we know from reading God’s Word, being good is not a qualification for eternal life, for only One man was ever “good enough.” That was Jesus! After talking and weeping together, Katie and I prayed. She confessed to the Lord that she had never asked His forgiveness for her sins, and that she wanted Jesus to be her Savior and Lord. Afterwards, she and I wept again as she realized a tremendous relief from the burden she had carried for so long. Needless to say, the waterworks returned that Easter morning as I related this story to the congregation. I’m not ashamed to say that I often cry when I hear of or am part of someone’s salvation experience.
I have shared this story from almost nine years ago with this important question in mind. Do you know with a certainty that when you die you will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven? Too many people would say “I hope so” or “I guess I will.” There is no need to be uncertain as the Bible tells us that we can know without any doubt. John, the beloved disciple, wrote this to the church in his first epistle: “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John:5:13).
Friend, this is too important an issue to allow your pride to stand in the way. If you have doubts, or if you cannot point to a very specific time that you repented (turn away from) your sins and asked Jesus to be your Savior, then please talk with someone. If you know me, give me a call or come by. If you don’t know me personally and you don’t know someone to talk to about this, e-mail your phone number to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to call you and help you deal with this issue. This is too important of a decision to put off till later!