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(HOW HARD IS IT TO BE SAVED) SCRIPTURE - ST. MATT 11: 28 - 302                                                 MARCH, 2001

Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek, and lowly, and ye shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

SUBJECT - HOW HARD IS IT, TO BE SAVED???

In the subject scripture, Jesus, is imploring those that are down trodden, burdened, without hope, used and abused, and those that are, the gutter trash of society, to come to Him, and He will make things much easier, and better for them.

Looking in to my past life, and the lives of some of those that I associated with, I feel that if anyone can answer the question of how hard is it to be saved, I can.

First, in my past, I was absolutely no good. I was a dog. I was my own man. I felt that anything I felt like doing, I could, and would do.

My life, reflected one thing very clearly, and that is, I was a sinner on his way to hell, and I was doing everything I could, to ensure that when I got there, I would have lived life, to its fullest. I was doing it, in grand style.

Those that I hung out with, were a motley crew of drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, gays, killers, hustlers and you name it. When associating with these types of people, I found out, that even though they said they were my friends, I had to watch what I did, and where I went. When I hooked up with a woman, I had to watch out to see if there was someone waiting to do me in, so they could get her, or because they wanted her back. When gambling, or hustling in general, it was like 'dog eat dog.' If you snooze, you lose.

In general, life was a challenge from morning to night. Either you get over on someone else, or they will get over on you. Either play someone, or get played. I have been on both sides of that fence.

Naturally, dealing with all types of people, that were part of the 'in crowd', I've seen the good and bad that many of you haven't even come close to seeing.

I've seen the junkie, getting their fix, and wondering if they didn't overdose, because the kick was so strong. Laying out in dope dens, on stairwells, and in alleys. I've seen them begging for money to get their fix.

I've seen the homosexual, not the one that stands up and says they are proud to be what they are, but the one that just can't seem to deal with what they are doing, and in some instances have buried themselves in drug abuse, just so they don't have to face reality. Several have abused themselves so much, that they have died.

Then we have the drunks. They prefer the name alcoholics, but the bible calls them drunkards. They, like the drug addicts, go around trying to scrape up enough money to get that pint, of booze, so that they can make it through the day, or in some cases, for the next few hours. A lot of them end up, at night in the alleys, or in bathrooms, tossing their guts up, from the effects of their over indulgence, just so they can come back, and do it all over again.

Then, there is the prostitute, who, working for her pimp, or even for herself, puts her life on the line, every time she goes with a 'trick', not knowing whether this particular individual, will go crazy on her, kill her, or give her some sexually transmitted disease, which will surely make it hard for her to make any money, unless she keeps it a secret, and passes it on to someone else. Then she may have put her life in danger, for sure.

These are but a few of the many cases of people, dealing with the worst of what life has to offer. This is the group of people that I considered myself part of. This group, was my 'family.' During this time of my life, I called myself, really living.

Then, one day, I began to notice something. More and more of my 'friends', were disappearing. Come to find out, they had died, were in jail, or were in the hospital, or psyche ward. And I began to face the realization, that if I continued this lifestyle I was in, I would wind up just like them.

What I came to learn, is that through all of these actions and circumstances, they, like myself, were really seeking something, even though we didn't know what it really was. The drugs didn't get it. The booze didn't get it. The sex didn't get it. Sure, we felt like we were getting it, but it only lasted for a little while, then we found ourselves back in the same boat we were in before.

Constantly pursuing something that always seems to be out of your reach, can leave you so depressed, that you will kill yourself, rather than continue in that way. And that is what all of us, those that I mentioned here, and YOU, are doing every day. Killing yourselves slowly, looking for the answer to that question that has always plagued mankind, 'Who am I, and why am I here??

When I was about to give up on my search for answers to my existence, I found the answer in a place that I hadn't even given a second thought to, and that was the bible.

In the bible, I found out, who I was. I was made in the image of God. Imagine that. Unlike the rest of His creation, which He spoke in to existence, He formed man out of the dust of the earth. Then, He breathed His breath in to man, and man became a living soul.

The reason for us being here, is, to worship, and serve God. That's right. God made us to have fellowship with Him, and to be His servants.

If you will look at Jesus Christ's life, it says He took on the form of a servant. His total purpose, was to do the 'will of the Father.' And, the will of the Father was to deliver man from the bondage of his sin nature, and bring him back to God. That sin nature of man, is what will cause a person to spend eternity in hell. Man inherited that nature from Adam.

When I consider the fact that Christ died for me, to save me from the ultimate penalty of sin, death and hell, and that He gave His life, in obedience to the Father, because without Him, there was no other way for me to escape, then giving my life to Him, so that He can use me to get other people saved, is no problem for me, at all.

Jesus says 'Come unto Me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He is saying, all those problems that I had, trying to find satisfaction and meaning to my life, are unnecessary. Peace and rest, all abide in Him.

It's like a brand new automobile, that has 300 horsepower, and can go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds. The car is meant to run on gasoline. If you use water, it won't move. If you use kerosene, you still have nothing. If you use milk, or pop, or anything other than what the car was designed to run on, you will get zero out of the car. That is what my life used to be like, and what yours is like today. You have all this potential in you, because God designed you with it in you, but you have been running on the wrong fuel. You have been running on your own intellect, and you just can't seem to get on the right track.

If you put gasoline in the car, you will get what it was designed to give you. If you get Christ in your life, you will see the potential that is in you.

When I consider the second part of that statement, where it says take my yoke upon you, right there I had a problem, because that meant a form of slavery.

A yoke, is something that you use, to control an animal, that you want, to move something.

People that have farms, and horses that don't have plows that run by gas, know what I am talking about. In order to plow their fields, they have to use animals to pull the plow, and they attach this big, cumbersome device on the animal's shoulders, and tie it around their necks, and the other end to the plow. Then, when they want to move the plow, they make the animal move, and it drags the plow along the ground, and the field gets plowed. So, that is what a yoke, meant to me.

For me to tell you that if you get saved, everything will be just fine, is a lie.

When I got saved, I was well aware of what was going to be facing me. People were going to be talking about me, making fun of me, trying to discourage me, and trying to destroy me. It was, and is still, a battle.

But, if I consider the fact that before I got saved, people talked about me, made fun of me, and tried to destroy me, then I have already been conditioned to it already.

But, unlike living for myself before Christ, I had someone that proved their love for me by giving their life so that I could live the type of life God intends for all of us to live.

Let me ask you this. How many of your 'so-called friends', would readily give up their lives for you??? How many of them can you trust with your significant other, while you are away somewhere?? How many of them can you depend on to watch over your money, if you have any, and not rip you off??? When you are sick, you may have them come to visit you, but how many of them can heal you??? If you are crippled, how many of them can raise you up to walk again, or if you are blind, return your sight to you??? On and on I could go.

But the final question is, how many of them can deliver you from the penalty of sin, which is hell??? They may tell you that they will always be there for you, but what happens if they get sick or something happens to them and you won't be able to call on them???

Everything that I am telling you, about life before Christ, is designed to let you know one thing, and that is, even though being saved, is no tip toe through the tulips experience, it is a whole lot harder to be unsaved.

When I look at what is going on to day out in the streets, I am suprised that many of you aren't dead or out of your minds already. It is only the grace of God, that has you still moving around on this earth. But, like all things, it will be coming to an end, a lot sooner than some of you think.

When the time comes, you will stand before God, and what will Jesus say about you, to the Father??? Will He claim you as one of His, or will He say, 'Depart from Me, I never knew you, in to everlasting fire and torment!!'

If I were you, I wouldn't wait to jump on board with Jesus. The difference in my life, now that I am saved, versus when I wasn't, is like comparing night, to day. Life has meaning, and I don't find myself searching for some new thing to keep me going. No stress, no fears, no bondage. Victory is all that I experience now.

You too, can have what I have. All you have to do, is pray to God, and ask Him to save you. Just pray, 'Jesus, I am a sinner, and I ask you to forgive me of my sins, Come in to my heart, right now, and be Lord over it. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, and rose again for my justification, and according to Your word. Right now, I am saved.'

With that simple little prayer, you have begun a new life, that will only get better and better, as time goes on. You will begin to kick yourself in the head, for not having done this sooner. It's a whole lot harder to be unsaved, than it is to be saved.

NEXT MONTH'S MESSAGE - THE STORMS OF LIFE
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