King James Version (KJV)
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
When we were kids growing up in the cotton mill village of Tuxedo religion was an important part of the lives of the people who lived in the village and surrounding areas. Most were good fundamental Baptists and cottage prayer meetings were held almost every week in various homes in our village often led by the Reverend Bricie Morgan and there was always singing, testimonies, an abundance of prayer and of course some good old fashioned preaching. We had 10 churches within a 10 mile radius from the center of Tuxedo, give or take a mile and each church was well attended by those within the community where it had been built. The churches had been established during the days when mobility was limited to horse and carriage and for the convenience of those worshippers would wanted to attend church on foot. Mountain Page in the lower part of Henderson County was established in 1789 and most others during the mid to early 1800’s.
In those days, church was held only once each month. I find it interesting the church elders met with the Pastor on Saturday before the Sunday meetings to determine if the church body was in fellowship and that the worship of God by the saints would be unhindered by trivial mudane matters. The founding fathers sought for and demanded unity of the church believing that true worship and all that it involves to be experienced by the congregation; there must of necessity be order. They felt a sense of harmony must prevail among the brethren. This unity of spirit was necessary for their spiritual well being, discipleship of new beleivers, and evangelizing the community.. If there was some internal conflict or discension among the brethren, those issues were addressed and resolved before the congregation met to worship. Issues sometimes arose like cutting a tree on anothers property line or even a cross word, look or drunkeness by a church member were icommonly recorded in church minutes as issues that were detrimental sand obstacles to worship. Most were successfully resolved before the intinerant preacher who often was Pastor at several churches, took to the pulpit to preach the Word of God.
No one ever had to tell me it was Sunday morning. The radio in our house was tuned to WHKP and area ministers had broadcasts as evangelical outreaches. One minister, the Reverend Bill Tinsley, still has a broadcast (The Message of Hope) which has been airing locally for over 50 years. As a boy I would listen to those sermons and I realized that I was a sinner. What? Could a young boy die and go to hell if he did not repent of his sins and ask Christ into his heart. The reality was that it was definitely a possiblilty It wasn’t until later I understood the meaning of “conviction.” The internal struggle of my spirit and that of a higher Holy One beginning a work of travail that affected my soul and its eternal destiny. which now was at the age of accountablility. Some of my friends at school had gotten saved and shared their experience. It’s hard not to share something so wonderful as Christ coming into your heart and by sharing their personal experience, my own heart was convicted even more.
I was very timid and alter calls made me nervous. At the close of the morning sermons an alter call was given for those who wanted to come forward and receive Christ. I knew I was lost but it wasn’t until I was 12 years old did I step out of my pew and go forward. It was at a revival meeting and during the alter call the evangelist came to me and ask me if I wanted Jesus to come into my heart. I told him I wanted Jesus more than anything I could ever want. Just as I stepped into the aisle to make my way to the alter, something miraculous happened to me. It seemed I was walking on air as I continued my way to the alter where I was met by a church deacon who prayed with me as I invited Jesus into my heart. I became a new creation that night.
It has been over 50 years since that night and I have learned so many things about my faith. Everyone’s salvation experience is different but it is the same Holy Spirit that births all into the family of God. Have I failed in living out my faith? Many times and those who would be honest would readily agree to their own shortcomings. It was a happy day in my life when I learned the truths of 1 John 1:9 which state,”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us form ALL unrighteousness.” I like the word “all” in this verse which in the Greek means all. Just as the priests in the Old testament serving in the Tabernacle were required to come by the way of the laver so they could wash themselves, it is when in our daily prayers and confession of our failures, we are able to stand clean before God having been cleansed of His precious blood.
I believe in the eternal security of the believer and the acid test is the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit Who gives us assurance we have been redeemed. Jesus Christ is our High Priest and knows the limitations of our frame and stands as our Advocate. For your consideration I have listed some of my favorite scriptures.
King James Version (KJV)
14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.