Last night, I awoke and found myself in an agitated state. I couldn’t get you off my mind. I was tormented with the thought that some of you would die and never have another moment of anything but anguish for all eternity. I was reminded of the story Jesus told of the rich man who died, went to hell, and was in unceasing torments. A beggar named Lazarus who begged crumbs at the rich man’s table also died and was carried by angels to “Abraham’s bosom.” When the rich man saw Lazarus, he asked Abraham to have the beggar dip his finger in water and put it on the tip of the rich man’s tongue for he was tormented in flames. Abraham told the rich man that it would be impossible to do so because of the great gulf between them. So, the rich man asked if Lazarus could go back to the earth and testify to his five brothers so they would not end up in hell. Abraham told the rich man that those brothers did not believe the scriptures (Bible), so they would not believe Lazarus even though he came back from the dead. I fear there are many of you, my friends, who are just like the rich man and his brothers.
When Jesus was on earth, a man named Nicodemus came to him and asked what he needed to do to be saved. Christ simply told Nicodemus that he must be born again. Jesus told him that there are two births — a physical birth and a spiritual birth. Without that spiritual birth, Nicodemus would never spend eternity in Heaven. It is the same for every one of us. When I was 12 years old, someone told me the same thing that Christ told Nicodemus. This person told me I was a sinner and my only hope was to be born again. Unlike the rich man and his five brothers, I believed what the God of the Bible said was true. So that day, after hearing that all I needed to do to be “born again” was believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, I went straight home. I came through the door of our little house on Second Street, walked quickly up the stairs, knelt by my bed, and began to pray. My prayer went something like this: “Dear God, I know I have done wrong things and could never be good enough to get to heaven. Right now, I’m asking you to save me so that when I die, I will go to heaven.” When I got up off my knees, I knew I was forgiven and saved. I knew my eternal home was Heaven. As the day progressed, something unexpected happened. I felt all the burdens of my young life disappear. I noticed a tolerance and love for others I had never before experienced. I felt lighter than air and happier than I had ever been in my life. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of being indestructible. I had no idea I would have this unexplainable change in my heart. I know now that it was the Holy Spirit coming alive in me, but I didn’t know that then. All I knew was that I felt different than I had ever felt before. The Bible says that when a person gets saved, he is “a new creature in Christ Jesus. Old things are passed away and all things are become new.” I know that’s true because it happened to me on a summer day in the middle of July. I have never forgotten that day. Please, if you have never been born again, do it today and change your life for all of eternity.