Friday, July 21, 2006

The Messenger - Saved From Hell

Joseph's eyes were already opened when he at once began to see through them. The harmonic sound of a wonderful worship song filled his ears and immediately he was acclimated to his surroundings, he was in the middle of a Sunday morning church service and they were singing "Worthy is the Lamb" as an offering of praise to Jesus. Suddenly all the hours, days, months, and years of torture came up before him and he was overwhelmed with a sense of the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Himself who had just moments before delivered him, saved him, and placed him among this gathering of believers. The song went along, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" and as he sung that chorus over and over he began to enter further into an uncontrollable gratefulness which led him to start to openly and loudly shout "halleluiah's" toward heaven and directed at the Lord Jesus Himself. Images like an out of control slide show were passing through his mind and heart - the darkness of hell against the light of heaven; the hideousness of Satan against the beauty of Jesus; pain indescribable against joy unspeakable; eternal damnation against eternal life; despair, despair, despair verses hope, hope, hope. He fell to his knees in the church aisle just as the ushers reached him, and as they attempted to escort him from the service he just kept shouting "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for me! Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for me!".
It was like a blur as he ended up being led into the parking lot. But every time Joseph tried to regain some composure the open torture of the Lamb of God on the cross would again crystallize in his heart and mind and he would fall to his knees beside his car crying out in brokenness and adoration, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for me!". As the ushers threatened to call for an ambulance he finally assured them he was alright, it is just that "You wouldn't understand". As he drove away he pulled around the corner, parked the car, and began to sob uncontrollable tears of joy and freedom. Only he could ever know what he was experiencing having been set free from the deepest and darkest captivity a soul could ever know. A Scripture burst into his heart, "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing, then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them". Through tear filled eyes he lifted his head and sang "Praise God from whom all blessing flow, Praise Him all people here below, Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost".
It took about two hours before Joseph finally could calm down and stop shouting praises to his Savior, but after all didn't the heathen once shout, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians" for two hours? This was no dumb idol, this was the King of Kings! The Lord had arranged everything for Joseph and he somehow knew where his house was and who his friends were. It was if he had stepped back into a life he knew even though it was brand new. As he entered his living room he fell to his knees again in prayer, begging and entreating God for divine direction as he set out to be nothing more and nothing less than God's messenger. He had a personal testimony that would be between him and the Lord, but by God's grace he had some personal experience which God would use to resurrect the eternal truths of His Word that had grown dead and stale to even God's people. As he labored in prayer it became clear that even though he had experienced the fires of hell, he was just beginning his relationship with the Lord Jesus. He had a lot to learn and much studying to do in God's Word in order for him to be most effective and glorify his Deliverer on earth. Fasting and prayer, fasting and prayer, and as the day closed Joseph put his head on his pillow and drifted off into a much needed rest.
In the morning, as Joseph opened his eyes, he again acquainted himself with the Spiritual reality of his escape from hell and the message he wanted desperately to spread as quickly as possible. He once again spent some time in prayer and adoration, and he felt led to start memorizing this Word. It was Monday morning, where should he begin to share the unction he had burning inside him? The church, that's where he would begin. As he pulled up to the same parking lot he had left just yesterday he noticed several cars already there. They must be here for prayer, he thought, but as he walked toward the office doors he could see some activity inside the church building.
"Good morning", said the cheery receptionist. "Hello, I would like to see the Pastor".
"Oh, I'm sorry, the Pastor usually doesn't come in on Mondays, is there something I could help you with? Perhaps the Associate Pastor?"
"Sure, OK. Thank you".
Joseph was led down the hall to the Associate's office and he introduced himself. He was very friendly and even recognized Joseph as the man that had to be escorted from yesterday's service.
"Well, I'm sorry about that but you have to understand I just became overwhelmed with praise for the Savior that has saved me from hell. Do you really understand what hell is and the everlasting punishment that is taking place as we speak?".
"Of course", said the Associate.
"Well excuse me for saying this but how can you be so subdued if you really know what Jesus delivered you from and what others are facing? Is the burning building across the street more real than hell to you and me, and if it is, how do we know we really believe it?
"Well", said the Pastor, "I believe the Bible teaches it, it is clear from the New Testament".
"You know what, sir", observed Joseph, "I believe you do believe the Bible teaches it. But do YOU believe it?"
"Yes, I do".
"Then prove it to me. Prove it by your actions that you believe that there is a literal, burning hell where people right this second are being tortured beyond our ability to fully comprehend, and that there are people, friends, relatives, and strangers all over this town that are on their way to that place forever - FOREVER - never able to escape. Now what have you done this past week that someone could say your behavior approaches substantiating your belief in that place?"
"I witnessed once", he replied almost apologetically.
"You witnesses once, that's it? So if the burning building across the street still had six people inside you would feel that telling one of them in a calm, systematic, and non-confrontational approach would prove you believed that house was on fire and there were precious people inside who needed to run for their lives, after all, you shared that with one of them? And do you think that kind of behavior would convince those inside who were still unaware of their predicament that what you said was true?"
"I guess not, if you put that way".
"Well how else should I put it? There is no other way to put it! Don't you see, the millions of Christians that stream into worship centers like yours DON'T ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT EITHER - AND IT IS HORRIBLY - HORRIBLY TRUE!! My advice to you, sir, is take your Bible, get alone with God, and ask Him to light a fire of true faith that will actually show the glory of God in your life. Don't let Him go until HE CHANGES YOU!!!"

TO BE CONTINUED...

2 comments:

luvvom said...

...and if we really loved God the way we should we would spread His Gospel this way for His glorification.

Anonymous said...

This IS very true.. Thats why we have to Work out our own Salvation with Fear and trembling!!