IT NEVER GETS OLD Andy Hollifield 8-23-17
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gift——(1) something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor to someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present (2) something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned
A gift of God from God. He manufactured it and then gave it to whosoever will. If you want it, come and accept it, it really is that easy. It doesn’t require a parent or guardian, there isn’t an age limit, and doesn’t require a preacher being present. But it does require you hearing the word, being convicted of your sins by the Holy Ghost of God, and submitting yourself to his mercy and asking for forgiveness of your sins. Just you and God. That is what it comes down to. It is somewhat of a contract between you and God. He brokers the deal and does all of the giving and you do all of the receiving. He, by his own choice, gets the short end of the deal and you walk away being a joint heir with his son; a king that is heir to everything God owns. He gives it all even though you have nothing of any value to give. Yep, it is definitely a deal that no real business man would dream of making where he gives all and gains nothing. But that is exactly what God done when he saved each of us. I had no money, no position of power, no social status, no great ability or talents, no incredible good looks, not an intellectual genius, not very strong, fast, athletic, or tall, or anything else that the world would put great value on.
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” Boy aren’t you glad that God sees us different than anyone else does. He knows our downsitting and our uprising, understands our thoughts, knows our words before we speak them (Psalms 139) and even knew us before we were formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5). He knew and seen all of that and wanted us anyway. Peter declared in John 21:7 that Jesus knows all things. He knew what he was getting and traded for it anyway. One of the few times in history that anyone set out to come out on the losing end of the deal. Why would he do that? Because “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Hebrews 9:22 says in part that “without shedding of blood is no remission.” We didn’t stand a chance of surviving because of our sin. But now, we are thriving because of his gift. Ephesians 4:8 says that Jesus “when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”
October 3rd, 1973 was when I received this free gift of salvation. Salvation is simply the act of being saved or protected from harm, risk, loss, or destruction. “The wages of sin is death” according to Romans 6:23. I was guilty of sin and had received the death penalty, but Jesus volunteered to die in my place although he had done nothing wrong.
As a young boy only eight years old, I was in church regular at New Hope Baptist Church in Barnardsville, NC and had even started singing solos in front of the church. I walked outside of my house before church one Sunday morning and laid the church hymnal I had borrowed from the church, on a stack of cinder blocks. I was fixing to start practicing a song or two when the Lord spoke to my heart and said “there’s more to it than what you have.” That’s all I remember. Later on that year in October, my Pastor Bruce West was preaching a revival with Preacher Horace Honeycutt. It was at Pisgah Forest FWB Church in Barnardsville. I think my pastor had preached that night and about 8:45 or so on that Tuesday night, when the altar call was given, I went to pray. I don’t know what I said to God or what he said to me, but I got what I went for. He saved my soul that night and although I still can’t understand it or explain it, I still have the results of it. It has kept me from sin and no doubt changed the direction of what my life could have been. As far as all of those things I didn’t have that night; God has given me some of them and so much more.
By this point, I hope that you have let your mind drift back to the time that you accepted the Lord as your Savior. Maybe reading the story of when the Lord saved me has been a blessing to you and I really hope that it has. I also enjoy hearing other people’s testimonies of when they got saved. But, the fact of the matter is that there is nothing more encouraging to me than remembering the night I got saved. I am sure it is the same for you. I hope you have taken a few minutes and made a trip back in your mind to your place and your day. Look at where you were then and how far God has brought you. That should be more encouraging to you than anything I could ever say.
If you don’t have that place and time in your life, it is because you have never accepted Jesus as your personal Savior. It is not vitally important that you remember the date or anything like that. But, if you can’t go back to a place in your heart and mind where the Holy Spirit dealt with your heart and you repented and asked the Lord to save you; you are still lost. Jesus said you must be born again. That is the only way to heaven. Jesus hung on a cross in your place as well as mine. The good news is that if God speaks to your soul and you repent of your sins and accept him, you will be saved. As I was writing this it occurred to me that I also wrote this at the start of this article. It’s amazing how God brings things full circle. God will be merciful and forgive you because in Romans 10:13 the bible says “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That means anybody and that means you! If you get born again by repenting and accepting God’s gift of salvation, you will have a story to tell that will always encourage you and a story, that never gets old. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!