Sent to the Gentiles

Acts 28:28 – Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles and they will listen.

Paul was a Jew. He had been one of the leaders in the church in Jerusalem. He persecuted Christians before Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. Jesus saved Paul even though he was killing other believers. From that time on, Paul preached the gospel to anyone who would listen. He knew the truth and wanted others to know it also.

At the end of Acts, Paul is released from prison, where he had languished for many years because of his faith. He gathered the Jewish leaders and told them a final time what Jesus was offering them. Many of them did not listen so he quoted from the book of Isaiah who prophesied that very fact. Then Paul said that God’s message had been sent to the gentiles and they would listen.

Throughout history, there are numerous stories of how God offered Salvation to anyone who would listen…everyone has been given a chance to hear…and yet many perish and join the ranks of the suffering in hell. Salvation is a choice, a person, and the only way we can be redeemed and protected from the enemy of God’s people is to slide on the helmet of Salvation.

Beth slipped through the door leading to the great hall. The church was not crowded today so she walked forward, sliding into a pew about halfway to the front. A tall man, wearing a white robe, spoke to anyone who wanted to listen.

Beth looked around. One woman was actually reading a romance novel. A man sat with his eyes closed, his breathing rhythmic as it would be if he were sleeping. A young boy was coloring in a book beside his mother. Why did these people come here if they didn’t intend to listen?

Beth struggled to understand what the man was saying. “Jesus Christ loved the world so much that he willingly walked…stumbled…down the streets in Jerusalem, to the cross on a hill called Golgotha.” How could someone love that much…to die by choice…for someone He didn’t know? Why would He?

She sat up straighter. Did that mean…was she the someone He loved? Did He die for her? Beth looked at her dirty fingernails. She smoothed the creases in her soiled jeans and tried to close the gaping holes where her knees peeked through. That can’t be true.

Beth thought about all the things she’d done. She remembered the money she’d stolen from that woman’s purse last Sunday in this very room. Then she remembered that she’d killed her unborn baby. He…Jesus…couldn’t love someone as ugly inside as she was. She began to get up. She wanted it to be true for her too but she just knew…she hung her head; a lone tear trickled down her cheek. If only…

Then the man in the white robe spoke as if he spoke just to her. “Jesus did not come to redeem…to save the righteous…people who thought they were good enough already. He came to save people like you and me…who know they are not perfect…who know they are sinners…and want to be better. He came to save people who want to ask Him to forgive them…who recognize that they need His forgiveness.”

Beth almost raised her hand like she did when she went to school. Inside she cried, “I do…I do.” The man in white invited them to pray with him, to ask Jesus into their heart. Beth bowed her head. Then she looked out of one eye at the people around her. Her heart was singing but they paid no attention. They had not even stopped to listen…once.

Our churches are filled with people who don’t hear the invitation…people who think they have it all together and don’t need saving. The Bible is very clear. Salvation is our helmet of protection and without it we are all headed for eternity filled with gnashing teeth and night terrors. Jesus walked this earth for everyone…and not one of us meets God’s standards of perfection. We are all in need of saving.

Father, Thank You for sending Your Son to offer us a way off the trail to hell. Thank You that You came…that You loved…that You save. Give us Your helmet of protection so that the enemy can’t throw darts of self-doubt and self-recrimination our way. We can be and are forgiven. Thank You Lord. Amen.

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