|Volume 24 Number 12 December 2022
I do hope you will consider me as your friend. I write this letter in the spirit of love and friendship. Jesus was known as a friend of all people. His enemies, though, criticized Him for being “a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19). If I follow in the footsteps of Jesus, I too must be a friend of sinners, and I am one myself. The Lord’s church is composed of sinners saved by the grace of God. It’s not to be made up of self-righteous individuals who think they are better than others. There is too much prejudice and hypocritical-type living. Jesus condemned both of these strongly (Matthew 23; see also Acts 10:34-48; James 2:1-13).
I am vitally concerned about the souls of the approximately 8 billion persons on the face of the earth. Studying the Bible with some of these, who may be thousands of miles away, is a privilege that’s a part of our modern world. Traveling to distant places with the Gospel of Jesus is a great blessing as well. Jesus was concerned about the masses. He fed 5,000 men plus women and children (Matthew 14:13-21). Another time, our Lord fed more than 4,000 (Matthew 15:32-39). He had compassion toward them because they were like sheep having no shepherd (Matthew 9:36). I’m confident Jesus is just as concerned today for billions of souls.
Our Lord, though, not only saw the masses but the individuals. He said one soul is worth more than all the world. He asked the great question, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NKJV).
Jesus dealt one-on-one with individuals like the Samaritan woman in John 4. He was more concerned about teaching her than He was about his next meal. We need to have that same interest in our neighbors and those we casually meet from day to day. Somehow, I have come in contact with you (at least through this letter), and I want to share with you the greatest news in the world. Someone died and left you a fortune! That someone was Jesus, and the fortune is eternal life. It can begin on this earth when you become a child of God and then continue in Heaven for all eternity.
You might say, “I’ve heard that all my life; that’s not news to me.” Well, the Gospel is the “good news,” whether we’ve heard it once or all our lives. One famous man said the most profound truth is “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Most of us sang that when we were children, but it’s still the greatest love story in all the world. Jesus suffered the physical pains of His trials and crucifixion so that I might live in a place where there will be no pain. He suffered emotional pain when one of His disciples betrayed Him, another denied Him and others forsook Him. Our Lord suffered spiritual pain and anguish when He was made to be sin for us and died (2 Corinthians 5:21), evidently separated from God because of those sins. Matthew 27:46 tell us of His cry of anguish, “…My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Why did he have to die? The answer is, in order to take our place. What great and magnificent love – more than we can understand (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Surely, we want to love the Lord in return for all He’s done for us. Surely, we want to believe and trust Him to save us. Surely, our conscience wants to be clean by having our sins washed away in His blood (Revelation 1:5; 1 Peter 3:21). Then, we must meet the conditions that the Lord left us. The great question – “What must I do to be saved” – needs to be asked, answered and obeyed today (Acts 16:30). We can be saved like first century people about whom we read in the Bible were saved. I challenge you to find out how they were saved on Pentecost (Acts 2:36-47), in Samaria (Acts 8:4-12) and how the Ethiopian treasurer was saved (Acts 8:26-39). Compare how they were saved with your perception of salvation. We can become Christians like Saul (Acts 9:1-10; 22:1-16) and Cornelius (Acts 10-11). A godly woman named Lydia was saved in Acts 16:14-15, and the same chapter (16:25-34) informs us that the Philippian Jailer was baptized at midnight.
What are the common ingredients in these examples of conversion? They believed in God and the Lord Jesus Christ (John 8:24) and confessed their faith (Acts 8:37). They repented of their sins or changed their lives (Luke 13:3). Then, they were obedient to the Lord’s command to be baptized or immersed for the remission or the removal of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). When their sins were washed away in Christ’s blood and by His grace, then of course, they were saved.
To truly be saved, we must be saved the Bible way, rather than attempting to be saved by a denominational or manmade way. The risen Lord automatically adds the truly saved to His church, like He did on Pentecost (Acts 2:47). You might be asking, “What church?” It’s Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18; Romans 16:16). However, that’s another question. Can we save that for another time? Please call or write to me if you are interested in studying the Bible through the mail or online: Perry Taylor, 218 Jefferson Pike, Lavergne, TN 37086 or email@example.com or 615-854-1515. Please don’t delay. Also, remember that I am your friend, and I want you, along with your family and friends, to go to Heaven when you die or when Jesus returns (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).