How I Met Jesus
Have you ever been asked to share your testimony? I was asked to share how I met Jesus for our church’s website about a year and a half ago. I thought I would share it again on Faith over Fifty. New listeners might like to hear my story, and hearing it might encourage you to share your own testimony with someone. Afterwards, I’ll also explain why it’s important to become a follower of Jesus and then share that decision with others. There’s actually nothing more important in this life than believing in Jesus and spreading the Gospel. In fact, it’s a matter of life and death!
In the past I hesitated to share my testimony of how I became a Christian because it’s not a flashy, exciting story. But I’ve grown to understand that most people who grew up going to church like I did, have a similar story and it’s actually awesome to think of how many people God has saved from problems that they might have experienced all because they were added to His Kingdom as children. The Holy Spirit within us gives much needed guidance and protection as we grow up in a dangerous and sinful world. I’m so thankful that I grew up in church and was saved at an early age so that I’ve been able to have that protection and comfort with me for almost my entire life. I sometimes wonder if that’s why Jesus told the disciples to “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Children can hear the gospel and trust Jesus so easily. If we wait to share the gospel with people after the age of 9, the statistics tell us that their chances of being saved drop every year.
I was blessed to grow up living near my very godly grandmother. Since she couldn’t drive, my parents had to take her to church every Sunday – she didn’t miss Sunday school or church! And since they were driving her, they could also get the children ready and let them go with her – pretty sneaky, huh? I remember many times when my grandmother bought me and my brothers Sunday clothes and Sunday shoes so my parents wouldn’t have an excuse for not sending us to church. Later, my parents both were saved and became active in church as well – no doubt because of Grandma’s influence. Anyway, I grew up learning about Jesus my whole life, beginning in the nursery eating Bugles off my fingers at snack time – do y’all remember Bugles corn chips? We used to pretend they were fingernails and then we would eat them off of our fingers. I can’t believe that’s the earliest memory I have of going to church!
When I was 9 years old we had a revival with Homer Martinez as the evangelist. I became convicted that I needed to be saved. Several of my school friends had gotten saved and we had all talked about it at school. I remember being terrified that if I died I wouldn’t go to heaven. I know that’s probably not the motivation we should use when sharing the gospel with kids, but that is what motivated me! I didn’t want God to be angry with me and send me to hell because I wasn’t a Christian. I prayed during every service and a few times after that, just to be safe, for God to save me, but I was so shy I just couldn’t bring myself to walk down in front of the church and make it public. However, I had a peace that Jesus was my Savior, even though I knew I needed to “join the church,” (as my Grandmother would constantly tell me), and make my decision public and follow Jesus in baptism. When I was 12, my pastor talked to me about my salvation and convinced me that I could walk down front and make my decision public and be baptized. I finally drummed up enough courage, after lots of prayer, to walk up front and make my decision public. The next week, I was baptized.
I was one of those kids who was a pleaser. I wanted to please my parents and my teachers. I was obedient and made straight A’s in school. Just as I wanted to please the adults in my life, I wanted to please God as well – even more so. I never got into serious trouble as a teenager, which I always thought made my testimony kind of boring. But as I said earlier, it’s not boring, it’s amazing – because God has been faithful and good to save me from trouble and the heartache caused by sin and rebellion.
My sweet grandmother that I mentioned earlier, lived to be 95 years old. Right at the end of her life, after she had a heart attack from which she never fully recovered, I went to see her for what turned out to be the last time. She was very weak and could hardly talk, but she was trying urgently to tell me something important. I leaned down with my ear close to her mouth and she said, “Always serve the Lord.” She said it over and over. It was important to her for me to hear and assure her that I would do that. That ended up being the last thing that she ever said to me. What a wonderful message to leave with your grandchild. What a perfect message to leave with anyone. Come to Christ as soon as you can, and then always serve the Lord!
The Bible tells us “to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15) So I’m going to start from the beginning and explain what the Bible teaches about why we need a savior and why I believe that savior is none other than Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Since someone who is not a Christian might happen upon this blog or podcast, it’s important to start from the beginning with the basics.
First, you need to know that the Bible is reliable and true. There are many evidences that point to this, and I could spend lots of time on each point. One good article about this that you could check out is at Bible Info.com. I can tell you from my own personal experience that I have studied the Scriptures for many years and have been totally convinced that the Bible is a supernatural message from God to us about where we came from and what happened to cause our need for a savior. Another good resource for people seeking to learn more about God and our Bible is anything by Chuck Missler at Koinonia House. His briefing pack series on The Creator is an excellent resource. His book How We Got Our Bible is also a good resource. Chuck Missler's teaching will bless you whether you are a new Christian or have been a Christian for many years.
In the very first book of the Bible, we’re told that Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. As a result, all of the human race inherited the curse of sin, which is death. In Genesis 3:15, however, God tells the serpent (the devil) who tempted and deceived Eve that he would be punished for what he had done and that one of Eve’s descendants would “crush” his head. God then killed a lamb and made clothes to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness before He drove them out of the garden. This was a picture of what Eve’s descendant, none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would do when He offered His body as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Jesus would one day, thousands of years later, come to earth and pay the price to have our sins forgiven. The Bible says that there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood. Adam and Eve couldn’t fix things with the fig leaf aprons they tried to put together for coverings. It was the blood of that innocent lamb that covered them and many other innocent lambs through the years that would be used to cover sins until the real Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world would come. When John the Baptist introduced Jesus, those are the very words he used to describe Him. He was destined to die for us from the very beginning. And by His death, He would reverse all that Satan did in the beginning to try to destroy us. He will also one day cast Satan into the lake of fire and crush his head just as the prophecy foretells.
The whole Bible is the story of the coming Messiah. From Genesis 3 to the Gospels of the New Testament we see prophecy after prophecy of the coming One who would rescue us from sin and death. Jesus fulfilled all of those prophecies exactly as they predicted He would. God wrote about Jesus and gave us precise prophecies concerning His birth, life, death, and resurrection so that when Jesus came and perfectly matched with the Old Testament Scriptures, we would know without doubt that He was indeed the promised Son of God who would take away our sins and bring us into His kingdom.
There are even more prophecies concerning His second coming to be our King and set up a kingdom on earth for 1000 years that haven’t yet been fulfilled. Since the prophecies about His first coming were fulfilled literally with Jesus coming 2000 years ago, we can fully expect that the prophecies of His second coming will also be fulfilled literally one day. And when we look at the signs surrounding His second coming in Scripture, we see that we may be very near to that event. That is why it is so urgent that people be saved from their sins by believing in faith that Jesus died for them and is indeed the Son of God who can and will save them. We need to be sure that all of the people we are able to reach hear the explanation of the Gospel and have a chance to respond in faith to the call of God to repent and be saved.
In the book of Romans, Paul tells us exactly what to do in order to be saved from our sins and reconciled to God. Christians call these verses the Roman Road to salvation. They are:
1. Romans 1:18-20 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Everyone can know that there is a God because of the creation. Men and women are without excuse for not believing in Him.
2. Romans 2:14-15 – For when gentiles who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thought accuse or ever excuse them. All people have a sense of what is right and wrong even if they have never read the Bible.
3. Romans 5:6-8 – For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die, but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
4. Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. These two verses explain that the only way to have our sins forgiven and be reconciled to God is through Jesus.
5. Romans 10: 9-11, 13 – Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. We are saved by believing in faith that Jesus is exactly who He claims to be – the Son of God – and that He died for us and His death will save us. We must also confess that out loud and tell others the good news of our salvation and the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Of course this is just a very brief overview of the Gospel. There is so much more in the Bible and it has been my joy and favorite pastime over that years to dig and find new insights into the treasure of God’s Word that He so graciously gifted to us. Knowing and understanding how the Scripture fits together to showcase Jesus and teach us how to live for our good and loving God is the greatest blessing of my life. It’s why I can’t help but share the things I’ve learned with others. I hope you’ll keep checking back as I add content and Bible studies to Faith over Fifty so that you can share in the joy of growing in the grace and knowledge of our precious Lord Jesus Christ. I challenge you to go tell someone how you met Jesus! God bless you as you go and I pray you will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.