Thursday, February 12, 2015
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My friend was an executive at a Bible distribution society, and he told me about one of their workers in Zimbabwe. His name was Gabriel. What a great name for a man distributing Bibles, huh? Their policy was to sell their Bibles for a small price so people would value them. The problem they encountered was that some people were actually using the thin paper of those Bibles to make cigarettes! In fact, one potential customer actually said to Gabriel, "I'll take one of your Bibles, but if I do, I'll smoke it."
Gabriel gave an angelic response. He said, "That's OK, if you promise to read it before you smoke it." The man promised. When Gabriel saw the man several months later, he asked him about the Bible. The man said, "Well, I read Matthew, and I smoked it. I read Mark - smoked it. I read Luke, and I smoked it. And then I read John 3:16, and I haven't smoked since!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Power to Really Change Things."
John 3:16, of course, is that wonderful revelation that "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." And that simple Gospel of God's love and the sacrifice of His Son for our sins has transformed so many people's lives over the years, including mine; including that man in Africa.
By the way, if you've never experienced that love for yourself, that life-changing power of Jesus, that's why our website is there. And I would encourage you to just... You don't even have to listen to the rest of the program. Go there and meet me there and let me explain to you how this could happen for you; this dramatic change from the inside out. That's ANewStory.com.
You and I are living at a time and in a world where there are a lot of battles to fight: pornography, abortion, media violence, racism, false religions and spiritualities, things that threaten the family, all kinds of sinful lifestyles. The list goes on and on. And it's important to stand for God's standards, God's values, and God's boundaries no matter what the culture is saying. But it's important to do it lovingly.
We need to remember, though, that there is only one weapon that really changes things, that changes people, that changes a culture. God talks about it in our word for today from the Word of God from Romans 1, in some verses that begin in verse 9. Paul talks about "God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the Gospel of His Son... I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation
of everyone who believes... for in the Gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith. "
Now, God says His salvation, His righteousness - the only transformers that really change things - come through "the preaching of the Gospel." Just look at Gabriel's African friend. He didn't stop smoking because of a campaign against smoking; he was changed by coming face-to-face with Jesus Christ! That Gospel is still, along with prayer, the most powerful life-changing, family-changing, marriage-changing, world-changing force on earth! Because it changes people from the inside out!
The early Christians knew the power was in the Gospel. Their culture was more depraved than ours, and their weapon of choice was not politics or programs or protests. It was presenting Jesus' cross and His empty tomb! Dictators across the centuries have known the power that's in the Gospel. That's why they have done everything in their power to shut it down. They understand its power to undermine the most powerful forces of darkness on earth.
Now, complacency in an ever-darkening world is unacceptable. We need to take a stand in love. But we need to lead with the only weapon that really has the power to change things - the explosive story of Jesus Christ and His cross and His resurrection. That's where the power is. That's where the change will come from. It's the only weapon of which the Bible says, "It is the power of God." The Gospel of Jesus Christ! And it's yours to share with people you love.
Spend yourself; spend what you have to get that life-giving message into the hearts of the dying men and women you know!