A Life Changing Experience

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  13 : 5
Subject: Salvation; Life, Change of; Repentance; Faith in Jesus
Introduction

A radio listener wrote, "My father was the pastor of a Satanist church, and he died. My husband became the pastor, and in a little while he died. I was depressed, lonely and sad. I didn't want to live. So I decided to kill myself. I bought some pills, turned the lights down low, and tuned in some beautiful music. Just as I was about to swallow the pills you came on with your kind voice, saying, Jesus said, 'Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'."

She continued, "You touched my heart. That's what I wanted - rest. That's what I needed. I put down the pills, I dropped to my knees, and for the first time in my life I prayed to the Lord Jesus. Doing as you suggested I prayed, "Lord Jesus, I open the door of my heart. Please come in. I now receive Thee as my Savior. Save me, forgive me, and give me rest.' He came in. He saved me. He gave me rest. I've had a life changing experience."

Wouldn't you like to have a life changing experience too? Here's how!

I. Wise Up!

If your body aches, you go to a physician. If your tooth hurts, you go to a dentist. If your animal is sick, you go to a veterinarian. Now that your soul aches, why don't you go to the great Physician of souls?

If you're thirsty, you turn to water. If you're hungry, you turn to bread. If you're naked, you turn to   clothing. Christ is heaven's water for earth's thirst, heaven's bread for earth's' hunger, heaven's dress for earth's nakedness, heaven's light for earth's darkness, heaven's gain for earth's loss, heaven's salvation for earth's damnation. Why don't you turn to Him?

If your shirt is dirty, you go to the launderer. If your suit is stained, you go to the cleaners. If your hands are soiled, you go to the cleanser. Now that your soul is stained by sin, why don't you turn to the One whose blood can wash away each stain?

You wouldn't go to a hen's nest for wool, or to a garbage truck for dinner, or to an ice plant for warmth. Why do you turn to Satan for satisfaction, or to transgressions for a thrill, or to sin for salvation? Turn to the Lord Jesus.

There's fullness of riches in Him, draw from Him. There's fullness of strength in Him, lean on Him.

There's fullness of peace in Him, trust in Him. There's fullness of joy in Him, delight in Him. There's fullness of comfort in Him, come to Him.

Thomas Dorsey was playing for a convention, and he received word that his wife had died during childbirth. He hurried home. As he was walking up the steps to his home, he was told that his baby had died. Grief-stricken, Dorsey walked out onto a lonely country road and turned anew to the Lord with all his heart. Hurrying home he went to the piano and started to sing and play,

“Precious Lord, take my hand,

Lead me on, let me stand;

I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;

Through the storm, through the night,

Lead me on to the light;

Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me home.”

II. Check Up!

A boy asked a druggist, "May I use your phone?" "Yes," he said. He heard the boy ask, "Do you need a delivery boy? You have one? You're pleased with him? Good." As he hung up the druggist said, "Son, I'm sorry you didn't get the job." The boy said, "I have the job, I was just checking up on myself."

That's what the Living Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ's presence more and more within you? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren't at all?"

Look at the word "Christian." Its spelled Christ-i-a-n. If you take Christ out of Christian, you have i-a-n. That signifies:

i. I = I

ii. A = Am

iii. N = Nothing

Without Christ, you're not a Christian.

Suppose I want to be a ballplayer. I go to the locker and put on the team's rich royal blue uniform, a visored baseball cap, and soft leather shoes. I walk briskly to the batter's box, waiting anxiously to knock a home run. The pitcher pitches, the catcher catches, and I strike out. Why? I'm not a ball player. I had on the right uniform. I was standing in the right place. But that doesn't make me a ball player. And neither does joining the church and being baptized make one a Christian. That's simply putting on the uniform.

Suppose Hall of Famer, the late Mickey Mantle, speaks to me. So I say, "Mickey, come into me." He comes in. He holds the bat with my hands, he watches the ball with my eyes, he swings with my body, and he hits one of his major 565 league home runs. Then I'm a genuine ball player.

But he can't come into me, so I'll never be a great ball player. But to be a Christian, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, must come into me. One night I prayed, "Lord Jesus, come into my heart." He came in. He loves with my heart, works with my hands, walks with my feet, thinks with my mind, and talks with my lips. He lives in me. That makes me a Christian. Are you a Christian? Check up on yourselves. Do you feel His presence more and more within you? Or are you pretending to be a Christian when actually you aren't at all?

III. Give Up!

Give up what? Give up sin!

A father came home from work one evening and found his little girl making mud pies. She was covered with mud from the top of her head to the tip of her toes. "My," he exclaimed, "you're pretty dirty." She said, "Yea, but I'm prettier clean." How true!

Sin delights but it dirties;

It fascinates, but it fastens;

It solicits, but it soils;

It thrills but it taints;

It woos, but it wounds.

The Bible talks about the pleasures of sin, but with the pleasures come the pains. There are thrills to sin, but after a while the “t-h-r” is dropped and all you have is “i-l-l-s,” the ills.

Before I became a Christian I had a dance band. But when the Lord saved me I left the orchestra pit for the pulpit. And I did my best to lead the boys of my band to the Lord Jesus. Some received Him, but the pianist did not, saying, "I'm young, Guido. I'm going to enjoy life. I'm getting a kick out of life. “Let me alone, look out!" I replied. "You're getting a kick out of life today. But one day you'll get a kickback."

Years later Mrs. Guido and I were conducting a service in a prison in Texas. Audrey was a professional magician who used hundreds of dollars of custom-built effects to present “Magic With A Message.” While she was thrilling the audience with her tricks, the warden whispered to me, "I've just been told that you have a good voice. Will you please sing a solo just before you preach?" I protested, " But, I don't have any music." He replied, "No problem, my pianist can play anything. You hum and he'll play it." I hurried over to the pianist whose back was turned toward me, and I whispered, “The warden insists I sing. But I don't have any music. He said you can play anything by ear. Listen while I hum this." I started to hum a song. But suddenly he jumped to his feet, threw his arms around me and said, "Guido, remember me? I'm you're old piano player. Wow! You're a preacher, and I'm a prisoner," and we cried.

Looking deeply into my eyes he said, "Do you remember the last time we were together? You asked me to become a Christian, but I refused to come to Jesus. I told you that I wanted a kick out of life. But you said I'd get a kickback! Well, that's what I've gotten. If only I had become a Christian on that night."

I sang, preached and gave the invitation. Many, many men came to the Lord Jesus Christ. And my old piano player was the first to receive and confess Him that day. O, give up sin, and give up sin right now!

IV. Show up!

There was a boy who was going to the dogs faster than a flea, but he got converted. He hurried home to tell his family. He came rushing into the house, shouting, "I went to church tonight and got a new heart." His little sister said, "Show me!" And that's what the world is saying to you and me.

Doctor Luke tells about a man who was demon-possessed. Homeless and tameless, he lived in a cemetery, tearing himself and terrorizing everybody else. But Jesus cured and changed him. When the crowd came they found him calm, not crazy; dressed, not denuded; in control of himself, not cutting himself. They were astounded. When the Lord Jesus said, "Go back to your family, and tell them what a wonderful thing God has done for you." There you have it. Show up!

Our Lord had that in mind when He said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven." Is your light shining where you live and labor?

Yesterday we recorded a song for a broadcast. It said, "Let the Son shine in." I couldn't help but wish the author had penned a second stanza to say, "Let the Son shine out."

Years ago a raging storm blew into a lighthouse off the coast of Florida. It smashed one of the panes of the lantern that guided the vessels into the harbor. That night, a ship running for shelter, missed the light and was wrecked. Why? The lighthouse was there. The lights were there, except for one light. The keeper had no glass to replace the one that the storm had broken. So he put in a sheet of tin. The lantern had just one dark part; and because of that the ship was destroyed. If just one of you doesn't show up, if just one of you doesn't let his light shine, someone, somewhere may perish.

V. Take Up!

Take up what? Your cross. Our Lord said in Mark 8:34, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."

First, your must turn down. What? Self. You must say No to self and yes to the Savior; no to the world and yes to the Lord; no to self-indulgence and yes to self-control. It's a supreme submission to the Savior and the Scriptures. Dare you deny yourself?

Second, you must turn on. To what? Following the Lord. We have a beautiful Norwegian Elkhound. We named her GEA, after Guido Evangelistic Association. She went to an obedience school and her trainer bought her home in his plane. We were thrilled with the training. Some friends visited us and asked, "May we see Gea perform?" We went out to our garden. "Gea, sit!" And she sat. "Gea, heel!" And she heeled. Suddenly a butterfly came along. Away she went, chasing butterflies; not following me. Are there times in your life when you chase butterflies of materialism instead of following the Master?

Third, you must take up. What? The cross. There's a cross for the Christian as well as Christ. And what does it mean? Putting Christ ahead of a career, your heavenly Father ahead of your earthly father, the Savior ahead of silver. It signifies a spread our surrender; a surrender to the Savior that covers all your desires, all your deeds, and all your days.

Conclusion

Immediately after my conversion I was asked to sing a solo in a little country church. We had finished dinner; and my mother, father, sisters, brother and I were sitting around the table, enjoying each other. Turning to my father, I said, "Pa, I've been asked to sing a solo in a little country church. You don't care if I go, do you?" Jumping to his feet he said, "Tonight you must decide between your new-found faith and your father. If you go to the church to sing you can't come home. I'll disown you!" Looking to my mother, who was a Christlike Christian, I asked, "Shall I go?" She said, "Son, "put the Lord Jesus first in your life; before your mother or your father. Put Him first!" Whereupon my father doubled up his fist and hit her in the nose. As the blood ran down her face and she fell to the floor, I rushed to help her. But my father stopped me, saying, "Your faith or your father. Which?"

Looking at my father, and then at my mother, I slipped on my coat and left the house singing:

“Jesus, I my cross have taken,

All to leave and follow Thee;

Destitute, despised, forsaken,

Thou from hence my all shall be;

Perish every fond ambition,

All I've sought, and hoped and known;

Yet how rich is my condition,

God and heav'n are all my own.”

Will you now deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus?