Friday, October 13, 2017
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I was traveling to South Africa, and I had this 18-hour flight layover in Rome, and I wanted to see as much of it as I could. A friend of mine picked me up at the airport and we began this whirlwind day by taking me to the Coliseum. As we left, we were surrounded by five or six gypsy children who started talking all at once. My friend actually told me to hang onto my stuff, which I desperately tried to do. I had my wallet in my front pants pocket as a precaution, my passport in my sport jacket, a camera bag, and an umbrella because it was raining. Those kids were good at what they did. They did everything to distract us as they tried to grab something of value. Well, my friend fended them off using his umbrella like a sword, and then we breathed a sigh of relief as we checked to see if we had everything. We had just rounded a corner when I saw this little gypsy girl - maybe five years old or so - running over the hill toward us. She was waving something blue in her hand. It was my passport. Unbeknownst to me, the kids had gotten my passport, and unbeknownst to them, this little girl had brought it back to me. It was a little miracle actually, and it was a good thing. I wasn't about to get into South Africa without my passport!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Passport Imperative."
There's no telling what would have happened without that little girl. There was no way I could go where I wanted to go unless I had my passport. It's the only way of getting into any country in the world. It's the same about getting into heaven when you die. You've got to have your passport!
Jesus spelled that out in very explicit terms in our word for today from the Word of God in John 3:1-3. In light of what He says about who will be in heaven, it's surprising how many think they will be and apparently are wrong. The Bible says, "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, 'Rabbi, we know You are a teacher who has come from God' ... In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again." That's the required passport to get into heaven - being born again.
Well, what is this? Whatever it is, you have no chance of heaven without it. It's the experience that makes it possible for a sinner like you and me to be born into God's family so we can be with Him forever. Now, at what point are you "born again"? Listen to God's Word a couple of chapters earlier: speaking of Jesus it says, "To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). The only way to be born into God's family - to be born again - is to open your heart to Jesus, to tell Him you're done running your life, that you're putting your total trust in Him and His death for your sins on the cross.
The man Jesus said this to was deeply religious, very successful, and he was highly respected. But apparently none of that will get you into heaven. The most religious people still have sin that will keep them out of heaven until they've been to Jesus to get it forgiven. And if you don't know you've done that, I'm guessing you haven't. And you can't possibly get into heaven when you die. The Bible says, "No one can enter unless he is born again."
But Jesus is coming to you with your eternal passport in His hand right now. You want to reach out and take it? You want to belong to Him? Would you tell Him that you want to belong to Him? Say to Him right where you are, "Jesus, I'm yours. Only what You did on the cross for me can pay for my sin and remove it from God's book forever. Jesus, you paid for my life. I give it to You today."
Our website's ANewStory.com. It's really there for a moment like this, for someone like you. I hope you'll go there and find there the information right from God's Word that will lead you right into belonging to Jesus.
Today could be like your birthday - your second birthday. This is the one that gets you into God's family and gets you into heaven. This could be the day that you could be born again.