Living in secret
Some of you are in a country where the Christian faith is not tolerated very well if at all. People who hate Christianity and Christians do not understand the basic teachings of the Christian faith.
For example, the Bible teaches: “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The Bible also teaches that: “But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything” (1 Corinthians 8:6).
You may be a Somali Christian who is living in a land where “those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God” (John 16:2). Such a time was predicted by the prophets of God and that time is upon us.
So for you, those of you in countries where it is illegal and dangerous to be a Christian, God is your refuge; God is your place of hiding; God is your secret hiding place you can keep you safe from all harm. God is in your heart and no one can take Him away from you.
Jesus says: “I give them eternal life, and they will never lose it, and no one will take them out of my hand” (John 10:28). You salvation is secure in Christ; Jesus has given you eternal life, and no one can take it away from you.
Some of you have criminal pasts; some of you have done some very bad things that you are really sorry for and God has forgiven you. The Bible teaches us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God forgives all our sins – every single one of them – even murder. Saul in the New Testament was a murderer and God forgave Him and used Him to reach many people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some of you are dealing with things and situations that are a result of things that you did in the past. But remember, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are a new man or a new woman. The sins that you committed in the past have been forgiven. You have been given the Spirit of God and your are now living a new life with new desires and new power, power that you never had before; power to live the life you want to live.
And God is leading. God is your Father. God is speaking to you and leading you. Stop and listen to His voice. The only way to stop is to pray and read the Bible – there really is no other way. So as the Bible says, “do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:25).
Keep going to church brother or sister, keep going to pray meetings; they are your lifeline, your oxygen mask, your hospital intravenous that is keeping you alive.
Some of you are still seeking God; or you have had dreams and visions about Him. You are already on your way to receive eternal life, and you may have already received it without knowing it. The Bible teaches us: “But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” (John 3:21).
Things are starting to work out better for you because you have started to read the Bible and are interested in the things of God; you are hungry for the Word and that is sign that you are getting saved. The Bible teaches us: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28).
So keep on seeking God and living for Him; keep seeking holiness and righteousness; because by following the Lord you will save your soul and receive eternal life.
Those who are lost
And then there are those of you who are completely lost: you have rejected God and are living a life of sin and don’t care anymore what happens to you. Don’t worry. I’ve been there. I’ve wanted to commit suicide or drink myself and take drugs to the point of passing out. I remember on a school trip in Grade 10 or so, I was 16 years old, and I got so drunk and high that I passed out under a tree – and nobody cared. I lay there for hours and somehow made it onto the bus to come back to school. No one said a word – no body cared.
But I knew that if there was a God out there He did care; because only God could love a human being like no one else could. If there was a God He loved me and He made a way for me to escape my addictions, fears, and suicidal thoughts.
So one day I cried out to Him and asked Him: “If you are there take me now or I am going to die.” And I knew that I was going to. I was headed to either death by some kind of car accident or other stupid behaviour; or I was going to take my own life; or I was going to overdose on drugs that I did once but miraculously survived without blowing out my brains and turning into a vegetable.
Life without God can be very dark and sad; and the devil will put his boot in your face and grind you into the dirt and try to get you to kill yourself; the Bible teaches us: “The thief (Satan) comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: but Jesus came that we might have life – and eternal life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).