Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our Last Youth Group

My wife and I have a deep burden for young people. For years we have poured ourselves into young lives in the Central Vermont area. We have been many lives changed over the years and rejoice to have been used by the Lord as a part of that spiritual transformation. Last night we led our last youth group meeting before moving to Connecticut to begin a new ministry. We will miss these young people greatly and they will always hold a special place in our lives.

Last night over 100 teens gathered to laugh, play, fellowship and to hear the Bible taught. They also came to witness the baptism of five young new believers. It was a very special time and I think it was the right thing to do on our last night with this group.

In an effort to make sure all the young people had one more chance to respond to God’s call to salvation, I decided to give the following Gospel presentation.

Revelation 3:20 - Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in . . . .
          Jesus loves each and every person. Jesus wants His chosen children to spend eternity in heaven with Him after we die.
          Jesus is knocking at the door of our hearts trying to get us to let Him in. How often have we felt Jesus trying to get our attention, isn’t it time we listened?

John 3:3 Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
          The reason Jesus is knocking on the door of our hearts is because He really does care about where we spend eternity.
          One day each of us will die, and though we do not like to think about it, death will come to every one of us eventually. This may cause some of us to worry about death. But the best way not to worry about death all the time is to settle the issue of where we will spend eternity once and for all.
          When death finally comes to us, our body will die, but our soul will live on in either heaven or hell.
          Heaven is often referred to in the Bible as the Kingdom of God. Heaven is a wonderful place where there is no sadness, no pain, no fear and lots of rejoicing with family and friends.
          Hell, on the other hand, is a place of pain and agony. There is no partying with friends or family. It is isolated confinement in darkness and dread for all of eternity. That sounds scary to most of us, and it should, because it is!
          We do not talk about hell much because it does not make us feel happy, but not talking about hell does not change the reality of its existence.
          Jesus says the only way to see the Kingdom of God (get into heaven) is to be born again. Being born again means having a time in our lives when we let the “old” sinful self disappear and we let a “new” spiritually transformed self appear. It is a spiritual transformation that happens inside of us and eventually works its way to the surface.

How Can We Be Born Again?
                Romans 10:9 - If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
          Confess means to “admit.” We must admit that we cannot live right on our own and that we need Jesus to be the boss, the ruler, the controller of our lives.
          Once we are ready to allow Jesus to be the boss of our lives, we must also believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. It is the resurrection of Christ that proves that Jesus is everything He claimed to be and it also proves He has power over everything. If Jesus can conquer death, He can conquer any problem that we face in life.

Romans 10:13 - "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
          Being born again does not just happen; we must call upon God to save us.
          Sometimes people refer to this experience as “being converted,” or “becoming a Christian,” or “getting the Spirit” or “finding religion.” It all means the same thing. It is a time in our lives when we admit that we need Jesus to be our Boss and we believe that everything He said was true and we ask Him to forgive our sins and save us. Some people mistakenly think they are too bad to become Christians. But the Bible says that everyone who asks the Lord to save them will be saved.

If we are ready to call upon the Lord and ask Him for salvation, we could pray a sincere prayer something like this:

Dear God, I believe that Jesus came to earth and died on a cross for my sins. I am sorry for my sin and I want to turn from living my way and start living Your way. Right now I ask You to forgive me of my sin and help me be born again. To the best of my ability I promise to let you be the ruler of my life and to follow you always. Amen.

Anyone who sincerely prays that prayer will be been born again and will go to heaven when the time comes for their body to die. They will have a change of attitude and lifestyle that will start inside and work its way to the surface. To help that attitude and outward change come faster, we should pray and read the Bible regularly and come to church as often as we can. In the Bible, people who were born again got baptized by being immersed under water as an outside sign of the inner change they experienced. Those who have been born again should speak to a pastor about being baptized as soon as possible.

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