1. Friend, I put my TESTIMONY of Jesus Christ with you, trusting God you will share the GOOD NEWS with others, to the glory of God. You will recall I formally became a CHRISTIAN through BAPTISM when I was seven years old, by SPRINKLING. I have since realized the word CHRISTIAN was coined by men who were neither DISCIPLES nor believed in the grace of God, for “… disciples were CALLED CHRISTIANS FIRST IN ANTIOCH” [Acts 11:26] Jesus Christ called us WITNESSES, saying: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and YE SHALL BE WITNESSES UNTO ME … unto the uttermost part of the earth” [Acts 1:8] I write to you, therefore, as a LIVING WITNESS of “That which was FROM THE BEGINNING, which we HAVE HEARD, which we HAVE SEEN with our eyes, which we have LOOKED UPON, and our hands HAVE HANDLED, of the WORD OF LIFE”, which is Jesus Christ [1 John 1:1]
2. Friend, I am sure you like to know how I died on Saturday, 31st December 1994! That Saturday evening, I went out with the boys to DRINK but refused to go along to a nearby Church to usher the new year with fireworks. I walked home, alone, and had to pass through a dark lonely stretch of road. I was not halfway through, when I heard running footsteps and voices of a mob chasing a burglar. As soon as the thief was in view, an angry mob descended on him. I may not have taken more than three steps away from the tumult, when shouts of “HAPPY NEW YEAR” rent the air from churches nearby. Almost immediately, I heard the “STILL SMALL VOICE” tugging at my heart to GIVE IT UP [1 Kings 19:12] My dear Friend, there were no angels with flapping wings, no thunders or lightning, but the VOICE asking me what would have happened if the mob mistook me for the thief; I was drunk and had wraps of marijuana in my pocket! I died on that dark lonely road, GAVE IT UP, that is, my life; yet I live, not of MYSELF but Jesus Christ LIVES in me, “I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST: NEVERTHELESS I LIVE; YET NOT I, BUT CHRIST liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” [Galatians 2:20] Does it sound strange; trust me it is true.
3. Friend, in that I DIED and yet I LIVE, it is the MYSTERY OF GODLINESS, “And without controversy GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, … “ [1 Timothy 3:16] God was manifest in Jesus Christ, to pay the WAGES of our SIN, “For the WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH; but the GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord” [Romans 6:23] We were SINNERS from the womb, not of choice but by inheritance through Adam and Eve, but “… GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, that he gave his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE” [John 3:16] Jesus Christ DIED and rose from the DEAD, so did I when I GAVE UP my OLD LIFE. I DIED on that dark and lonely stretch of road, and was BORN AGAIN, a NEW CREATURE in the image of Jesus Christ, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; behold, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW” [1 Corinthians 5:17] My dear Friend, I did not pay a dime to any man for my SALVATION but GAVE UP everything I ever wanted to be to become what God wants me to be, “… and I count ALL THINGS BUT LOSS for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS, and do count them but dung, THAT I MAY WIN CHRIST” [Philippians 3:8]
4. Friend, if it seems I am so far away from you, it is not so. I have never loved you more than I do today; sharing with you the HOPE of NEW LIFE in Christ and of a far better world at His Coming, for “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” [1 Corinthians 15:19]Believe me, I do not write as one who is free of the common afflictions of this dying world; I am TEMPTED as you and SUFFER many things, “But I KEEP UNDER MY BODY and BRING IT TO SUBJECTION: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” [1 Corinthians 9:27] I am always praying for you to HEAR that STILL SMALL VOICE and escape the LIES and HYPOCRISES of those who merchandize the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ for material GAIN. Friend, His VOICE is tugging at your heart, “… To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS” [Hebrews 4:7] I must not fail to tell you, of the imminent appearance of the Lord, when “… the DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST: Then WE WHICH ARE ALIVE and remain SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17] How I wish you and I shall be caught up with Him at His appearance.
5. Friend, I plead with you to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and share the GOOD NEWS with others, amen