One of the best Christian books ever written is Pilgrams Progess written by John Bunyan in 1678. Every Christian should read this book. In its time it was the 2nd most read and translated English book, the first was the Bible. It pictures the life and path of a person from the first realization of sin to salvation and finally to eternity.
The book starts out with the main character, miserable, disturbed, with a doom crowding out his thoughts. He has read a book and the reading of it has set his anxiety on fire. He is under conviction; but he does not know who or where to go to get remedy or relief. He bumps into a man who points him towards a very dim light and pilgrim takes off towards it. It is so dim that he almost imagines he sees it, yet he takes off desperate to get relief from the tortured miserable state that he is in.
Reading the laws of God shows to us just how poorly we keep them. We finally realize we are in trouble; we in ourselves cannot make it right with a Holy God with such very high standards. How can we make peace and be accepted by this Holy God with these impossible standards. Our conscience continually scolds us and reminds us they we face doom and sure judgment.
The first part of this book points out one very important fact. Before a person will reach out for a Savior, he first must know that he is a desperate sinner.
It is very interesting to note that before the active ministry of Jesus Christ began, John the Baptizer showed up on the scene with his ministry. What was the purpose of John the Baptist? It was to prepare the way for the coming of the Christ, the Anointed One. What did John the Baptist do? He went around baptizing people when they confessed their sins. In other words he made them aware that they were sinners, he showed them from the Old Testament that they had broken the rules and laws of God.
Then Jesus Christ started his 3 years of active ministry. The people had been prepared by John the Baptist that a special anointed one was coming who would save them from their sins. Do you remember what the very first words Jesus spoke as he began His ministry? Let me help you out it was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
The word repentance is an interesting word. If you pick up any Bible Dictionary and read you see that it comes from the combination of two words that means – a change of soul, a sorrow that leads to turning away from sin. Repentance is always combined with faith. Faith is believing to the point where you take action, it spurs you on to move.
Over in John Chapter 16 verse 8, one of the attributes of the Holy Spirit is to bring about conviction. When this conviction comes upon a person, it is a very uncomfortable position. People can do one of two things. They can turn to Christ and ask for help, or they can refuse to yield to the conviction, which gradually hardens a person’s heart. Some people for different reasons refuse to give up their disobedient life style. They want to do life as the song says “I did it my way”.
People should be thankful that they are under conviction, because the Holy Spirit is trying to get their attention. Conviction is the first step leading to Salvation.
John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
45 It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
Psalm 51:16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Praying for people is so important. Holding people before Gods throne in prayer and continually asking for mercy assures that person will continue to be convicted by the Holy Spirit. But God allows everyone free choice. We were not created as robots; we have the power to choose. We can choose to follow Christ, or reject and ignore him.
Just think; we were created in the first place to have a relationship and worship the Supreme Being. But the majority of people reject or ignore this fellowship with God. Many of the scholars with multiple degrees of learning, still rarely give the Bible a glance. Even most Christians do not seem to grasp the weight of what could be if they would submit to the discipline of worship. Most Christians have not read completely through the Bible! What gold nuggets of truth lie in wait just waiting to be uncovered? God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. When we follow him, we experience satisfaction, fulfillment, and purpose for our lives.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Our culture today does not have familiarity with the Bible as older generations have. How will they know that they are sinners? How will they know that they need a savior and who He is?
Luke 18:8 “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Roman 10:13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
Have you told those who you love, those who are your friends and those who you work and hang out with? Jesus Christ loves sinners, hates sin, and can change anyone who turns to him from the inside out.
In our own strength we cannot change our lives, or save ourselves. When we trust in God and ask for his help he gives us power and strength to follow him. Then we really change.
Hebrews 4:7 "…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
Mark 8: 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JESUS CHRIST?