God’s Long Reach

God’s Long Reach

Today we take up the topic of conversion. This is a much neglected subject today. Even the term “conversion” seems a bit out of date because we hear it so infrequently. Even so, we remember the Lord Jesus, Himself, said in Matthew 18:3:

“…unless you be converted and become as little children you will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus teaches us that we must have a conversion story or we will not make our home in Heaven. The history of the church is loaded with some really fantastic conversion stories.

Mel Trotter was a barber by profession and a drunkard by perversion. He was so debauched that when his young daughter died he stole that she was buried in and pawned them in order to buy more alcohol. One night he staggered into The Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and he was marvelously, miraculously changed, saved, and converted. He began to be burdened for other men on Skid Row so he opened a rescue mission in Grand Rapids, MI, and from there he continued to do his work and he opened sixty more rescue missions throughout the United States, stringing from Boston to San Francisco. That was Mel Trotter’s story.

Another occurred in August, 386. There was a professor of rhetoric named Aurelius Augustine who sat despondently in his garden. He had been raised by a Christian mother and had heard the Gospel, but he abandoned his mother’s faith in favor of a pagan, Persian religion. He then took on a mistress with whom he lived with for thirteen years. Finally, it was through the teaching and instruction of a kindly man by the name of Ambrose that he became convinced of the Truth of Christianity, but only intellectually so. He was unable to shed the enslavement to sin that had attached itself to his life, particularly the sin of sexual immorality. In the midst of his struggle, knowing with his mind that Christianity is true, and yet with his heart being unchanged, he heard a child’s voice singing in Latin one day as he was sitting, thinking about these things. That child’s voice said: “Take up and read, take up and read.” Listen to his own words as he describes his conversion: “I stem my flood of tears and I stood up, telling myself, ‘This could only be a Divine command to open up my book of Scripture and to read the first passage which my eyes fell upon.’ So, I hurried back to the place where my friend, Alphaeus, was sitting, for when I stood up to move away I put down the book containing Paul’s Epistles. I seized it and I opened it and in silence I read the first passage that my eyes fell upon.(Romans 13:13) ‘…not in reveling and drunkenness, not in lust, not in quarrels and rivalries. Rather, arm yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. Spend no more thought on nature and nature’s appetites.’ I had no wish to read more and no need to do so, for the instant I came to the end of the sentence, it was as though a light of confidence flooded into my heart and all darkness of doubt was dispelled.” Augustine was converted and delivered from a life of sin and confusion. He went on to become one of the greatest theologians of the church, if not the greatest outside of the Apostle Paul.

We could fill a whole library of these stories, such as these two: Mel Trotter and Aurelius Augustine, two true-life transformations. Indeed, we could spend weeks on end telling stories in this sanctuary, but here, we are going to turn our attention another conversion story, the amazing story of Saul of Tarsus’ conversion.

Saul’s conversion is one of the most important events in all the history of the Christian church. In fact, from a human standpoint, we might agree that Bethany Baptist Church, or any church in this region, might not exist were it not for Saul’s conversion; that you and I might not be believers, from a human standpoint, were it not for Saul’s conversion, for Saul, once he was brought to the Gospel became the missionary to the Gentiles. He brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentile world, of which most of us are. This conversion is so important that God moves Luke to record it, not just once in Acts, not just two times in Acts, but in this book Saul’s conversion is recorded in great detail three times so that we wouldn’t miss the importance of what took place that day as Saul was traveling to Tarsus in pursuit Christians to persecute.

Someone, as they are listening, has grown unsettled and may say, “Pastor, I heard you declare that without a conversion story we have no hope for a home in Heaven.” Indeed, that is truly what Jesus teaches. Unless you are converted, even as a little child, you cannot and you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Perhaps, you may be thinking, “I don’t have a story like Saul’s or like Mel Trotter’s or like Augustine’s.

My story is much more plain and less engaging to the common ear.” In answer, I tell you, I rejoice that God reached me before I knew the full weight of slavery to sin. I was a four or five year old boy when God reached me and converted me from my natural condition into a precious child of His. My story, too, is much plainer than Saul’s, but none-the-less, it is very much like Saul’s in that God had to transform my heart. God had to turn me from my self-directed way, from my natural, condition, to follow a Sovereign Savior who died in my place. I had to be converted, even as Saul did.

Webster defines the verb “converted” as: to turn around, to transform. That is what God must miraculously do in each one of our hearts if we are to be fit to walk with God and be fit to enter God’s Holy Heaven.

In Acts 9:1-19, we entertain the Doctrine of Conversion. We seek in this study to answer two specific questions. The first question is: why is it necessary for me to be converted. The second question we seek to answer is: what does it mean for me to be converted.

We take up the first question, which is of first importance: why is it necessary for me to be converted. The answer, of course, is that our heart is corrupt in its natural condition; it is not fit to fellowship with God or to be in His presence.

We are not like Saul in all of his specific points of sin and rebellion and transgression against God, but we are very much like him in the basic heart condition that he had before his conversion. Saul’s life offers a mirror into our soul and from this story, in Acts 9, we learn three characteristics about our life before we were converted. Theses three characteristics are true of each one of us and we must discover them to be true or we won’t be converted.

The first characteristic of an unconverted man or an unconverted woman is: we believe in ourselves. That is what we do before we come to Christ. We actually believe in ourselves; in our own righteousness, in our goodness, and in our own merit before a Holy God. This is certainly where Saul was. We read in Verses 1 and 2:

1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

Every breath he took, he was threatening the church, wanting to destroy the Lord’s disciples. In fact, he went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus. Damascus is a large city and it is estimated that there would be more than thirty synagogues in the city, with many believers that were there, and that is the mission he is on.

Damascus is about 150 miles away from Jerusalem and Saul is more than eager to take that trip. That distance today is a nice, pleasant ride on a Sunday afternoon, but in Saul’s day it would take six days to travel this distance. Saul’s journey is one of great intensity because we find that he is still walking at noon and that is not something that is done in 1st Century, ancient, near-Eastern culture. In that culture, that was the hottest part of the day so people took a siesta and they rested in the shade tree, and later in the day they would complete their trip. But, Saul had no such time for rest. He was on a “mission” and he wanted to get to Damascus as quickly as he could; so angry was he with the Lord’s disciples. Why was he so angry? One of the reasons was that these disciples challenged Saul’s present standing with God.

It was very clear in the first eight chapters of Acts that the message of Christianity is one of repentance, and these disciples of Jesus preached a message that called Saul to repent of his sin; the sin of unbelief, of spiritual pride, of self-righteousness, and of a self-directed life, and then, in repentance, to call out to Jesus to save him from his sin against God. This was completely unacceptable to the natural heart of Saul because Saul believed in himself. Saul had a great estimation of who he was before God. Saul had a great idea of who he was. If we asked him, at that moment, to write down his character and his qualifications before God he would say, “I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews. As for touching the Law, I am a Pharisee,” and then he would have gone on to tell of his countless good works; of his fastings and his prayers. He would have finished with this line, “Concerning zeal, I am persecuting the church of Jesus Christ.”

He was far to great, in his own estimation, to become a disciple of Jesus. After all, how could a respected rabbi, who sat underneath Gamaliel, one of the greatest educators of the day, turn now and sit underneath the feet of a despised Galilean? “Poor men and women, peasants, may follow Him but not me as an aristocrat, an education man,” he would say. This reason that kept Saul from seeing Christ is the same reason that many people cannot see the beauties of Jesus today. They do not come to Him that they might have life mainly because they think that they have life already. They are so great in their own esteem. They believe in themselves. We all do before coming to Christ in some way and in some form. When Saul mounted his horse to be on his way to Damascus it was a very high horse upon which he rode. I wonder if any of us are still riding that high horse. “Believe in the doctrine of humanism. Believe in yourself,” that is the essence of life, when indeed the Gospel calls us to something just the opposite. It calls for us to humble ourselves.

Do you believe in yourself? You cannot be converted as long as you do.

The second characteristic of an unconverted life is this: we are blind to God’s Truth. Saul thought that the Truth of God in the Gospel was a lie. It was not as though he had never heard the Gospel, but he was blind to it. That is why he was so zealous to snuff it out and he is described as breathing out murderous threats. The darkness of Saul’s mind is due to his ignorance and his blindness to the Truth that Jesus is God’s Son, God come in the flesh. He is the Messiah, the Savior, the King, and the Lord. Saul had erected a very caricature of Jesus in his own mind and he rejected that. It is very easy to reject a caricature, isn’t it? Saul was informed of Jesus through the consensus of opinions from the guys that he hung around with and as he listened to the other religious leaders talk about Jesus, of course, it was easy to set Jesus aside and set the Truth of Jesus aside and say, “He is not the Messiah. He is not God come in the flesh; it is a ridicule of that notion.” But, Saul had never closely studied Jesus’ character nor had he studied Jesus’ claims, so he thought these opinions of these other respectable men around him were “unchallengeable facts,” just the truth, and he never investigated for himself, so he was blind to the Truth.

If he would have known who Jesus is he would not have destroyed homes or imprisoned faithful men and virtuous women. Please notice this as we consider this characteristic of an unconverted life; that an unconverted life is blind to the Truth of Jesus. And, that such deep ignorance is found in one of the most educated and learned men of the day. This is not an ignorance that comes from a lack of education. In fact, it is often an ignorance that is fueled by education itself. Many today are still very much like Saul – very educated, very knowledgeable in a great many things, but ignorant and blind to the one thing that truly matters; knowing millions of facts, but blind to the Truth. This is always a characteristic of an unconverted life, and that unconverted life believes in himself or herself. An unconverted life is blind to the Truth.

The third characteristic that we observe from Saul today is that an unconverted life is resistant to God’s initiative. It is not as though Saul had been completely unexposed to the Gospel. He had heard Stephen preach that great sermon in Acts 7. He had listened as Stephen prayed (Acts 7:60), “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” He watched as he saw Stephen die this horrible death by stoning, and yet, he saw that Stephen had a calmness, a serenity, a confidence surrounding his death that was unmatched by any he had seen before. And yet, Saul refused to believe. He was resistant to God’s initiative in his live. He remained sturdy in his unbelief: “I will not be moved!” Even as a fencepost deeply dug and cemented in, Saul’s heart resisted any movement toward God. If you are unconverted today, I wonder if that does not describe your life.

It is not as though forces of God, from the Scripture, or God’s people, or even God’s Spirit Himself haven’t come against your life, but in your unconverted state you continue to resist the Truth.

In this account of Saul’s conversion in Acts 26 (Verse 14), Saul is asked the question: “Why is it that you persist in kicking against the goads?” That is a great word picture. A goad is a stick with a sharp end on it and it was used to move oxen along. It is picture that says, “You are a stubborn ox. You are resisting the will of the Master.” The will of the Master has to come along with these goads. Saul had been stuck many times, but rather than going ahead and moving in the direction that he was being “goaded” by God toward life, he was kicking against it and he was causing himself more injury and pain. He refuses to respond in the right way, and instead, he continued to resist the Divine Grace of God as God was coming to him through Stephen, in particular, in his message, and in his prayer, and the confidence of his entrance into eternity.

God graciously reveals Truth to us and yet the unconverted man and the unconverted woman resists God’s kindness; “I do not want it. I am fine the way I am. I do not want to be transformed. I do not wish to be changed. I want to stay exactly the way I am!” This is the picture of Saul’s soul, but more importantly, this is the picture of our soul before conversion in each one of us and before turning our hearts with a dramatic inward change as a result of God’s Grace.

Do you see now why conversion is so absolutely necessary to fit us for Heaven and fit us for a walk with God from this point in our lives onward? Without conversion we still believe in ourselves and we will never trust in God as long as we are believing in ourselves. Without conversion we are still blind to God’s Truth; truth that we need, and without conversion we resist God’s Grace and God’s initiative.

Saul describes himself in Ephesians 2, as he describes his unconverted state. He says this, as he is talking to the Ephesian church,

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Up to this point, he was saying, “You, you, you,” but then he looks back and considers his own life before he was converted and says,

3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

That is our unconverted state and that was Saul.

If you are converted, cannot we rejoice at this moment that we have been radically changed so that we are no longer resisting God’s initiative and we are no longer blinded to God’s Truth and we no longer believe in ourselves? We have someone much greater than ourselves to believe in. Praise God that this is so.

The second question that we are going to address is: what does it mean for me to be converted? It is a strange term to the modern ear because it is so seldom mentioned. What does it really mean to be converted? From Saul’s story we see four essential elements behind everyone who has been converted that are undilutable; we can’t remove a single one of them and still have a true conversion.

The first element is: the converted life is a life called by God. Conversion always begins on the basis of God’s initiative and not ours. We notice in the story (Verse 3) that as Saul

…neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Of course, God does not always call us with the same methodology. I know very few people who can testify, “I was on the road to Damascus when I saw a great light.” In fact, I know very few people who were on any road when they saw a great light and they were blinded and were blinded by that light. The methodology of God’s call, of course, is unique to the individual. In fact, very few are called by anything close to the matter in which Saul was, but if you are converted, it is because you have been called by God. What first strikes us in this story is that God is imposing His Sovereign Grace upon Saul. Saul is not seeking after God, it is God hunting down and pursuing Saul. In salvation, God always makes the first move; He must make the first move because our unconverted soul would never make the first move toward God, for after all our unconverted soul is resistant to God’s Grace and blind to the Truth.

Paul will later write in Ephesians 2, that I mentioned earlier,

3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

We read of this further, in Verse 15,

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument…”

In the first chapter of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul would write of each one of us (Ephesians 1:4),

He chose us…before the foundation of the world…

Conversion always begins with God. It never begins with us. Saul did not decide first for Christ. Christ first decided for Saul. Remember what Saul was deciding to do at this very moment? It wasn’t to become softer towards God. It wasn’t to become open to the consideration of Christianity. Not at all! He wanted to ramp up his persecution. That was his mind. That was his mood. That was his thinking. This was a man who was in no mood at all to listen to the Gospel, in fact, if someone had come along the road at that very moment and said, “Saul, let me tell you about Jesus,” Saul would immediately have thrown him in chains and dragged him to Jerusalem to be put into prison and perhaps put to death.

That was Saul’s mindset, yet God took the initiative to soften his heart and this is always true in a believer’s salvation; it is always true of a person’s conversion. Salvation is all of grace and none of us, not even our choosing, is rightly to be said of ours. There is nothing to boast in.

A Sunday school teacher asked the young students this question, “What part did you play in your salvation?” One little girl raised her hand and said, “I did my half and God did His half.” This very orthodox Sunday school teacher began to be a little concerned by the little girl’s answer, so he probed further, “Tell me, what was your half and what was God’s half?” The little girl responded, “My half was the sinning and His half was the saving.”

Do you know what part you play in your own salvation? It is the sinning part and a converted man recognizes this: that we are saved by Grace; that God’s Sovereign initiative reached us even when we would have never turned our necks in His direction apart from His Amazing Grace that John Newton would write.
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians (1:15), would describe his conversion this way:

But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles…

C.S. Lewis uses a number of great analogies to help our minds grasp the work of God in his salvation, he says, in his sensing of God’s relentless pursuit of him, as an atheist, he says, “He is like the great Angler playing His fish. He is like a cat chasing a mouse. He is like a pack of hounds closing in on a fox. He is a Divine chess player, maneuvering him into the most disadvantageous position, until in the end, he concedes, ‘Checkmate!’”

In Philippians 3:12, Saul looks back upon his life by saying,

…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

The King James Version says, “…for which Christ apprehended me…”
I cannot help to think that he even used that word, because he remembers what the mission was at the point at which God initiated His Grace in his life – he was at the point of wanting to arrest believers, but instead of arresting believers he was arrested by God. God apprehended him. He took hold of him.

Do not misunderstand that the Bible teaches that God crashes through the gates of our will in such a way as to bend us against our will. God does not turn us into robots. He does not put a drug-induced trance upon us in order to seek control of us by hypnosis. What is described in the Scripture is that God acts so that our wills are changed so that we bend joyfully towards Him. Our wills would never bend joyfully toward Him apart from God’s Divine Grace and initiative.

Have you been brought to the end of your own resources? Have you been completely helpless as the Lord intervenes? Have you given into God’s gracious pursuit of your life? As we read this and we see Saul transformed we are so encouraged to know that no one is out of the reach of God’s long arm. I wasn’t as a four or five year old boy and the neighbor who blasphemes God and seems to have no care for Him is not out of God’s long reach either.

God converted Saul! Not even the church could believe that at that time. We read of that in Ananias’ response later in this story, “God converted Saul and no one then is out of reach of God’s long arm.”

The second element of conversion is that we are convicted of sin. The converted life is always convicted of sin. That is why it is so dangerous for the church, or believers, to remove the Doctrine of Sin from the Gospel because conviction of sin must happen. In Verse 4, Saul

…fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

For the first time he is confronted with own rebellion against and is finally convicted of it. He is convicted that his assault against the followers of Jesus Christ is really an assault against God and is a rebellion against the Creator of the universe and for the first time he comes face-to-face with the horror of his own sin. He discovers that he is a deep sinner and he stands in the danger of the judgment of God.

Saul had never been convicted before his point. In fact, he was quite comfortable in his sin and he thought he was serving God through his sin. It is possible to believe that God is very pleased with our lives and be terrifyingly wrong. Saul came to understand that all of his good works and his religious duties, his fastings, his prayers, and his attempts to please God through obeying the law, if he added them all up what did they accomplish? He said that he put all of them in one heap and that they were nothing but a pile of “manure”. We might say that that is pretty strong, but Saul says that that is what it says about himself. If we read Philippians 3:6-8, he says,

6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish…

Rubbish is a Greek word for horse manure. That was all they were. Worthless! Thrown out! Scattered on a field!

There is no conversion without conviction of sin. A person may ask, “How can I become convicted of my sin?” If we are to be convicted of our sin we must listen to what Jesus about our sin. The problem is that we listen to everyone else’s appraisal of our lives and of sin instead of Jesus. Everyone else thinks it is a small matter to take the Lord’s name in vain. Everyone else thinks it is a small matter to covet things at the mall. Everyone else thinks it is a small thing to tell white lies, to sleep with a guy or gal before marriage, in fact, “you are crazy if you don’t”. Everyone else says that it is right to believe in yourself and to put yourself first and it is wrong to think that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. That is what everyone else says, but the Bible of Jesus teaches that everyone else is wrong. The greatest sin, of course, is mentioned here and that is to love Jesus, to believe in Jesus, and to follow Jesus and that is exactly the sin that Saul was steeped in.

Now Saul is crushed to the ground by the realization of his own sin and I wonder are you? As people who are converted, we never get over the enormity of our own sin. The only thing that salves the grief over our sin is the Grace of Christ that we rush into daily and rejoice in because we know the immensity of the darkness of our soul.

The third element of a true conversion is that we must confess Christ. In Verse 5, it says that Saul asked the question, “Who are you, Lord?”

And He replies, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…,”

Saul now knows that Jesus is alive. He thought that he was a dead Messiah, a person who had been hung upon the cross as a result of the Old Testament Law because He was cursed. So, here is this cursed man that people are following saying that He is God, and that is blasphemy! But now, he suddenly knows different. He is convinced of the Truth in regards to Jesus’ person and in regards to Jesus’ accomplishments. Jesus is alive. He is risen from the dead and he is now convinced that Jesus is who He claims to be and that He accomplished what He claimed to accomplish, namely that Jesus is God come in the flesh, He is God’s Son, He did die upon the cross as a sacrifice for sin, that He arose from the dead and He ascended into Heaven, and now He is King of kings and He is Lord of lords. He is God almighty and he is convinced of that.

Until a person is convinced of the truth about Jesus and confesses Jesus they cannot be converted. “Who are you, Lord?” Saul was once resistant to the question, but is now eager to be taught and he is eager for Jesus to instruct him.

Saul asked the question, “Who are you, Lord?” This question never grows tedious for the converted man or the converted woman. It is a question that we rise to each morning: “Who are you, Lord? We want to know more. We know much and we rejoice in that much, but we want to know more. We are hungry. Who are you, Lord?” Saul is on the front edge of learning, but he will not stop there at that front edge. He wants to deep.

Does this question profoundly influence your life? Do you know who Jesus is? No one can teach you who Jesus is except Jesus Himself and we have far more than a vision upon the road to know of Jesus. We have Jesus’ book so we must read it. That is why we read it, not in order of a “things to do” list to say that we are good Christians, but because we want to know more of Jesus. This is the window that God has given us so that we might see Christ. But, much more than that even, is that it is a living and an active book because there is a Holy Spirit who interprets and illumines this book for us so that we can understand it and know more of God through it.

If you are a chef and you are reading a cook book and all the lights in the room go off, that cook book may be a wonderful tool and full of knowledge, but if you are not able to see the pages it will be of no use to you, what-so-ever. This is a wonderful book that tells us much about God, but if the lights are off and we are unable to see the text, it won’t do us a lot of good. What we need is God’s Holy Spirit. That is why we pray before we open up the Word of God or before listening to a sermon. We recognize that God must give light to the text and give light to His Words for us to understand it. The good news is this: who is Jesus? He is accessible to you. That is who He is. He loves you. He is the Savior of the world and He wants to be you Savior, your Lord, and your King, and He is accessible.

The last element that we will look at is that the converted life is committed to following Jesus. We read in Verse 6, and we also see this in Chapter 22’s account, when Saul asks, “What would you like me to do?” In response to that, Jesus says,

“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Saul is obedient, and in Verse 11 we read:

“Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.

Saul is praying and he is committed and in communion with God through prayer. Then we read in Verse 15:

“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.

God knows that there is a heart change and that Saul is committed and ready to serve. Then in Verses 17 through 20, it says:

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

Saul was committed to fellowship and to discipleship and to learning more. True conversion always leads to a changed life and that is the picture that we are getting here of Saul. Saul does not remain Saul in his old manner of life. He is changed. Conversion is not an emotional experience, although it may include an emotional experience, but conversion is a transformation. That is its definition. It is the question that is changed from, “What do I want to do with my life?” to “What does Jesus want me to do?”

I charge every man, woman, and child here, as they are converted to take hold of this Bible and ask this question each and every day: “Lord, what do you want me to do? My life is your agenda; it is your call.” It is vital that this change happens.

We close by asking the question: “Am I converted like Saul?” No, you don’t have to have a vision, you don’t have to be blinded, you don’t have to be taken to the street and have your sight returned, but, you have to be called by God and you have to be convicted of your sin. You have to confess Jesus as the Savior and Lord of your life. You have to be committed to living for Him, for Jesus said: “Unless you are converted, like a little child, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

I know that many of you are converted and if so, is not this a great cause of praise knowing God’s gracious initiative in our life? Is this a cause to serve Him fully, not half-heartedly, not limping along in this world, but to run in joy of our commitment and service to God Himself? Is not this a cause to walk in obedience and holiness before Him?

Praise God that we have been converted and transformed. Let us live to His glory.