As a former Roman Catholic I can honestly say that it was the precious word of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit that opened my eyes, and set me free. I was born again of the Spirit in 1989 and that is when I came to know the REAL Jesus Christ of the scriptures. It was the Holy Spirit who opened my eyes and pointed me to Jesus Christ. As a Roman Catholic I would attend Mass every week, and I would recite the apostles creed every week along with everyone else, but it was as dead as a doornail for me inside my heart. There was absolutely no spiritual life there at all, and that is because the Lord was not in it. I was sitting under false teaching my whole life and I did not even know it. I prayed my Hail Mary prayers on my Rosary Beads just like any other Roman Catholic. I lit my candles and I knelt down before statues (graven images) just like any other Roman Catholic. I can remember going to a local Catholic Church to light a candle, and they had the modern electronic candles for safety reasons. I inserted a quarter and there must have been an electrical malfunction because all of the other candles went out the instant the quarter dropped inside. I felt responsible for interrupting the prayers of all the others who lit candles for reasons unknown. I was in religious bondage but I did not know it at the time. I prayed for the souls in purgatory and purchased Mass Cards for the sake of the deceased just like any other Roman Catholic. The bottom line was that I was in need of salvation and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ just like any other Roman Catholic.
Each and very person in the world must be born again if they have any desire to see the inside of Heaven! If a person has never been born again of the Spirit of the living God, then that same person is as lost as the most vile and wicked person in the world. How do I know that? Because the Bible tells me so!
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye MUST be BORN AGAIN. (John 3:6-7)
As a Roman Catholic I had absolutely no idea what it meant to be born again. The Catholic teaching is that a person is born again at Baptism, which is certainly not true. I was baptized as an infant, and I had my head sprinkled with water by a Catholic priest but I did not enter into the Kingdom of God at that time. Millions of Roman Catholics are still in the same deception that I was in, and that is why they need to have the true gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. After I was truly born again I immediately knew that I had been in a lost and unsaved condition up until that time, and I would have ended up in Hell. I was awestruck by the patience of the Lord because I did not get saved until I was 36 years old. I knew that I deserved Hell, but the Lord showed me his grace and mercy. I could have died in my sins at any moment in my life, but the Lord allowed me to live and learn of his great salvation. I heard a preacher say that the Lord will follow a person all the way to the graveyard, which means that it is never too late for a person to come to know the Lord.
It was the pure word of God that delivered me from the false gospel of Rome with its Mary worship, the Catholic Mass and all of the other man-made traditions that go along with that. I instantly knew that I did not need to pray to Mary or any other Catholic Saint because I knew the creator of ALL things as my mediator! How did I know that? Because the Bible tells me so!
For there is one God, and ONE mediator between God and men, the man CHRIST JESUS; (1 Timothy 2:5)
Jesus is the only one who shed his blood for my sins and I knew that. I knew that I was justified by the blood of Jesus and saved from wrath of God. How? Because the Bible tells me so.
But GOD commendeth his LOVE toward US, in that, while WE were yet SINNERS, CHRIST died for us. Much more then, being now justified by HIS BLOOD, we shall be SAVED from wrath THROUGH HIM. (Romans 5:8-9)
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not REDEEMED with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious BLOOD of CHRIST, as of a LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH and WITHOUT SPOT: (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Is that not enough for me to sing songs about the power of the blood of Jesus? Yes it most certainly is, and if you have been truly saved and redeemed by the blood of Jesus and regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit then you know what I am talking about.
That is why it is so important to preach the unadulterated word of God any way we can to anybody we can while there is still time. I have two separate items taped to the inside cover of my Bible to serve as a reminder to the power and authority of God’s Word. In my early years as a Christian, I used to receive a newsletter from a Christian tract ministry which was operated by a man along with his wife. They published different tracts including one which dealt with the new birth (becoming born again). The Newsletter included a “letters column” which contained letters from all over the world, with wonderful testimonies of what happened after people read their tracts. There was one particular letter that was written to that ministry from somebody from the West Indies, that absolutely melted my heart and brought me to tears. I have that letter taped to the inside of my Bible for many years now:
“Several years ago my oldest brother was shot and killed at the age of twenty-seven while in America. After the funeral, I began to read his diary, and the last thing that was written in it was an encounter he had with a woman who sat next to him while riding the subway. He wrote where she gave him a tract on salvation, which he read and responded to and pinned it to the page. When he got off the subway, he was mugged and killed. Up to years later we had no idea what this meant as none of our family knew what it meant to be born again. Now my mother and sister and myself have come to know the Lord Jesus as our Saviour . . . I thank you for giving my brother and countless others a chance for eternal life in Christ Jesus. (JL, West Indies)
That is an amazing testimony of the power of the word of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit in using a woman to bring the gospel to a man who was soon to die. I am sure that the woman who gave the Gospel tract to that man had no idea what happened to that man afterwards, but I AM SURE that the Lord knew that was coming and moved upon that woman to do just that. Not only that, but the Lord used the man who was killed to evangelize his loved ones by testifying in his diary about his receiving the Lord! I thank the Lord for saving each and every one of them. The woman who gave out that simple tract on salvation was one of numerous “unsung heroes” in my book, because she got the word of God out to people in a very simple Bible tract.
I can remember a young African-American woman who used to stand at a particular subway stop in Queens, NYC holding an old beat up red Bible, and all she did was read the pure word of God. She held the Bible in one hand, and she held a tract in the other hand as she preached the word of God. You could feel the power of God as she would simply read the word. Street ministry can be lonely at times, and I waited one day in between her preaching and I said “Praise the Lord sister!” That woman lit up like a light bulb after I said that, and she was already wearing a smile from ear to ear! You never know what a word of encouragement will do to a person.
Many years ago I was handing out tracts in Times Square, NYC and a tall businessman walking super fast grabbed a tract from my hand and looked me in the eye, and spoke two words, “Keep Going” and I must tell you that those words went right through me. I think it was just as much the sincere look on the man’s face as he spoke that ministered to me.
The other item that I have taped to the inside cover of my Bible is from a Christian History magazine from at least 20 years ago. It tells the story of a man named John Thorpe who was a mocker of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The following words were written under an illustration of John Thorpe and his friends gathered at a tavern, after hearing evangelist George Whitfield preach:
“Mocker No More. After hearing Whitfield preach in May 1750, John Thorpe and three friends went to a tavern and began mimicking Whitfield. At Thorpe’s turn, he grabbed a Bible, jumped on the table, and shouted. “I will beat you all!” But his eyes fell on “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Thorpe was suddenly struck by his sinfulness, and he stopped the charade and began preaching in earnest. Two years later, he became one of John Wesley’s itinerant preachers.”
Once again we can see the absolute power of the word of God to save a man’s soul. The Holy Spirit grabbed hold of the scriptures and drilled it right into the center of that man’s heart! Here was a guy all set to have a good time as he was ready to give the best imitation of the preacher Whitfield, and the Lord showed John Thorpe that he was a lost man who needed to repent! That my friends is what the Christian preacher is called to do. If we hold back the gospel from any group of people for the sake of pleasing them then we ought not to be in the pulpit at all! The man who was sitting on the subway needed the truth about his lost condition and he received it in the form of a Gospel tract! He would have died in his sins and gone to Hell without Jesus Christ if he did not turn to him. The man John Thorpe was dead in his sins and on the way to Hell, but the Lord was able to use the scriptures that he held in his hand.
If a person claims to be a Christian and they are involved in any so called “interfaith meetings or gatherings” then I can tell you that they are probably not a real Christian. The Lord allows people in our lives for a reason, and we do have a responsibility to let them know that they are lost and hell-bound without Jesus Christ. A person cannot be saved any other way then through Jesus Christ. That is Christianity 101, and if a person has their faith anywhere else then they will never see Heaven. A person who has truly been saved and born again of God’s Spirit MUST know that there is absolutely NO OTHER WAY to be saved. How do I know that? Because the Bible tells me so!
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of ISRAEL, that by the name of JESUS CHRIST of Nazareth, WHOM YE CRUCIFIED, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there SALVATION in any other: for there is NONE other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be SAVED. (Acts 4:10-12)
JESUS saith unto him, I AM the way, the truth, and the life: NO MAN cometh unto the Father, BUT BY ME. (John 14:6)
The Jewish apostle Paul prophesied about a time when people would not endure (put up with) sound doctrine (teaching) and we are right in the center of that time:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; PREACH THE WORD; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)