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The Time Is Now!

Section 6, Chapter 7

Converted Ex-Convict

By Jim Hunt

Back to Chapter 6, Chapter 8

We knocked on the door of a Hispanic young man by the name of Jose. We introduced ourselves and explained to Jose that we were taking a community religious survey and wondered if we could take a few minutes of his time and get his honest opinion on some questions. Jose replied Yes and invited us in.

Jim: Does your household attend Church?

Jose: No

Jim: Can you share why?

Jose: I just got out of jail and my parents church and my in-laws church is too far away to attend.

Jim: If a new Church were to start in your neighborhood, would you consider going to this Church?

Jose: Yes

Jim: Who is Jesus Christ according to your understanding?

Jose: God, somebody people believe in.

Jim: If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure whether or not you would go to heaven?

Jose: No

Jim: If someone were to come up to you and say, "I want to go to heaven! What must I do to go there?" What would be your answer to him?

Jose: Go to a minister and confess your sins.

Jim: If you could know for sure how to go to heaven and have eternal life would you be interested in knowing how?

Jose: Yes

Jim: Jose, this completes the survey. The purpose of the survey is to understand people's needs spiritually so that we can know better how to serve our community.

In response to your last statement, however, we have a presentation which explains how to know for certain that you will go to heaven and have eternal life. Would you allow us ten minutes of your time to share this with you?

Jose: Yes

I was sharing with him from the salvation tract called What Is Eternal Life? (WEL). After going over page 2, which talks about the significance of Jesusí Resurrection, Jose expressed that he was not completely understanding points 4 and 5, so we explained to him:

Jim: Jose, the Bible tells us that all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment before God (Is 64:6). We cannot gain God's forgiveness by being good enough, by helping old ladies across the street, or by going to church every day. The only thing that God accepts as payment for our sins is death, which means eternal separation from God. This is God's Justice.

But God is also a God of love. He did not create us to be separated from Him, so he sent his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross, to pay sin's penalty, in our place. You see, Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus had no sin, therefore he did not need to pay sins penalty. The Bible tells us that he paid it in our place for us on the cross.

Romans 5:8 further expresses to us that not only did Jesus die for your and my sins past, present and future, but he did this even while the people around the cross were mocking Him and spitting upon him and saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, then come down off the cross!"

At this point Jose expressed understanding. I then finished points 5 and 6 and continued sharing WEL. After sharing p. 6 which talks about what it means to receive Jesus as Savior, Jose again said:

Jose: I do not understand?

Jim: Jose, in the Old Testament man tried to gain favor and salvation through obedience to the Law. The Bible tells us however that in order to be saved through obedience to the Law you must obey it perfectly without sin. Once you sin the requirement of the Law is then death: eternal separation from God. Jesus paid sinís penalty for us by dying on the cross. Once a person dies physically or through Jesusí death by accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord, that person is freed from the Law. The law can no longer make claims over him.

If you receive Jesus and His death becomes your death, and thus you fulfill the requirement of sinís penalty, death, through Jesusí death, you are freed from the Law, it can no longer make claims over you. Further, once you die in Jesus, you are forever freed from trying to attain salvation through obedience to the Law. This is because when you die in Jesus, you are saved through Jesus. You no longer have to try and gain Godís favor through obedience to the Law since you have already gained the Fatherís favor through Jesusí death on the cross.

Jose: Now I understand.

I continued reading WEL. When I got to the two kinds of people (Self-Controlled verses Christ-Controlled) on page 11, he said he was the self-controlled life. When I asked him which of these two people he would like to be his life, he said the Christ-controlled life. I went over the prayer and asked him if he would like to pray and ask Jesus into his heart. He said, "I think so." I then asked him if he understood everything. He said he understood most of it. Pastor Kruse reiterated a few points and emphasized:

Dale: Jesus is the only religious leader who ever lived who came back from the dead to prove to us that His claims about Himself and what he said are true. Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius and Darwin are still in the gave. When Jesus was asked what proof He would give to his claims about Himself, He literally said John 2:18-22 "Kill me and I will come back from the dead three days later." They did kill Him and three days later He did come back from the dead. Because this is true, we can know for sure that when we pray and ask Jesus to come into our hearts as Savior and Lord, we can know He does come in because He promised He would in Revelation 3:20.

We also explained to him that Jesus promised us in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us. Because this is true, when we receive Jesus, we have eternal life because God the Father promised us in 1 John 5:11-12 that he who has the Son has eternal life. He was then ready to receive Jesus, so we led him in prayer and Jose prayed and received Jesus into his heart as Savior and Lord.

Jim: Did you pray and receive Jesus into your heart?

Jose: Yes

Jim: If you did, then according to Jesusí promise in Revelation 3:20, where is He right now in relation to you?

Jose: In my Heart.

I then went on to give him assurance of Salvation and finished reading to him the rest of WEL. We then gave our books on discipleship which would help him to grow in Jesus and set up an appointment to go over them with him. We also invited him to come to our church if he did not already have one. He seemed very eager about that.

Chapter 8
Bibliography & Notes
Section 6 Chapters

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