Friday, October 1, 2021

Almost Persuaded - Almost But Lost

Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’” – Acts 26:28

This week we have had two family members pass – a sister and sister-in-law. (In know the first was a Christian and suspect the second might have been) As tragic as their deaths are, there is something that is more tragic than their mortal death – a mortal death with no hope for life. As a Christian you are very aware that your faith has value during your mortal life. But there is also a life beyond that lies beyond the grave. I have heard pastors say that the most difficult funeral service is for families who have lost a loved one with no hope for life with the Creator God. You are very familiar with John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God ” – John 3:16-18

Saved to what? Everlasting life. Saved from what? Not having everlasting life. I will avoid a discussion of what being condemned to apart from God for eternity means.  Suffice it to say – it is not a good thing. Perhaps the understatement of all time – but a spiritual truth that will not be fully understood until we face that day – that moment – when our heart beats its last beat – when our brain thinks its last thought – when our mortal body is but a lump of clay with no life in it.

Have you ever felt desperation for someone that was lost – most likely a family member – but perhaps others you may or may not know? Do you feel helpless to do anything about it.  What you be surprised to know that your responsibility is not to save them? You can’t you know – save them that is. You can’t argue them into heaven.  Salvation is a spiritual transaction that takes place between the individual and the Creator God.  So, when I share the Gospel with someone – I have fulfilled my responsibility toward them – spiritually speaking. Well mostly – I also have the responsibility to live the Christian life as a testimony to the transforming power of faith in Jesus and the power of the Spirit in me. When I pray for that the person it is that the Spirit will bring conviction and they will yield their life to the Spirit? And so the reference to Paul speaking to King Agrippa. Agrippa was almost persuaded. I think Paul did what Paul was asked by God to do – share the Gospel. Perhaps Agrippa felt the conviction of the Spirit but then rejected it – quenched the Spirit like putting out the light of a candle. 

When I was in Vietnam in 1969, I started receiving letters from home – from my mom – and she was sharing about faith in Jesus.  I had my doubts because I knew my mom and being mom a Christian was hard to imagine.  When I returned home from Vietnam, I found a home that was strange to me – it was not the home I had left. My folks shared their lives and the Gospel with me for 7 more years – to no avail – but then one day I heard the Gospel one more time and my heart was convicted by the Spirit and I surrendered by faith. My point is that you should not give up – even while knowing that some and not all will be saved. It is a particularly difficult thing when the person that is almost persuaded is a loved on. Be faithful to your part – speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)

There was a popular singer by the name of Tennessee Ernie Ford who sang a song – “Almost Persuaded”.

Almost persuaded now to believe; Almost persuaded Christ to receive; Seems now some soul to say, Go, Spirit, go Thy way, Some more convenient day On Thee I’ll call.

Almost persuaded, come, come today; Almost persuaded, turn not away; Jesus invites you here, Angels are ling’ring near, Prayers rise from hearts so dear; O wand’rer, come!

Almost persuaded, harvest is past! Almost persuaded, doom comes at last! Almost cannot avail; Almost is but to fail! Sad, sad, that bitter wail— Almost, but lost! – Philip P. Bass Public Domain

Do not bear the burden of someone else rejecting faith in Jesus – but let that thought be your motivation to be found faithful in what you do, say, and pray.

“…. by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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