Hearing the Gospel’s call

August 16, 2013

West Main Baptist Church
Alexandria, Tenn.
Ben Simpson, pastor

Like most any child, 8-year-old Maggie enjoys playing in her kiddie pool. On a recent Saturday, as she was splashing around, Maggie felt the Lord saying to her, “Maggie, it’s time to trust Jesus as your Savior.” The calling from the Lord to salvation was so clear and compelling that she immediately got out of the pool, knelt down beside it, and all by herself surrendered her life in faith and love to Jesus. She then ran inside to tell her mommy what had just happened. Maggie had heard the gospel numerous times over the years from her parents, teachers, and pastor, but on this particular day, she received it.

As she testified to me just before Sunday School the next morning about the experience, her little voice cracked with emotion as she was overwhelmed by the grace of God. What a sweet and fitting thing it was when later, at the end of the preaching service, she came forward during the invitation as the congregation sang “Speak to My Heart” to unashamedly tell the world what God had done for her. He did indeed speak to her heart. Lord willing, we’ll baptize her soon.

West Main Baptist Church takes seriously the evangelization of the children God has given our congregation. In fact, we have what we call our “Watchcare List,” which cites the names of the children of our active church members who have not yet trusted Christ. We regularly pray for their salvation and make the gospel a central point of our children’s and youth ministries. If this is not the practice at your church, I would encourage you to start such a watchcare list, and to regularly pray for the salvation of church members’ children.

 

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Norm Miller

Thank you, Ben, for your submission of this report. And thank you for the example of praying for the salvation of children. — Norm

dr. james willingham

Interestingly enough, I was preaching a revival in 1977, and, in this case, preaching on Roms.9:13, as an invitation to be saved. We had several professions that night, but after the service one small fellow ran up and wanted to talk to me, my son. I said I would talk to him later as I was talking with some adults. He immediately began crying. After we got home, he told us that the Lord had touched his heart. We were not altogether sure what he meant at that time as he was only 5-6 years old. Two and a half years later we found out for sure what he meant. Mhis mother showed me a drawing with his comments on it about what Easter meant to him for this third grade class (something that I reckon would hardly be allowed these days). In any case, he like the Easter bunny, the candy and eggs, but what Easter meant to him was (in his words) “Jesus dying on the cross for my sins.” I then talked with him about it, and he said, “That was what I was trying to tell you back during the revival.” That was what he had meant by “The Lord touched my heart.” After the candidates for baptism class, I baptized him and his sister who also indicated that she believed (she is nine years older than him). My text Roms.9:13 bore the title, “The Hardest Text in The Bible,” and it involved the theme that this text is an invitation to receive God. It had three points, You are invited to receive, 1)God who does not think like we do, 2) Who does not love like we do, and 3) Who does not act like we do. The first point was based on the part of the text, “As it is written,” God just lets it all hang out; He tells things like they are. The really big problem is how could he love a wretch like Jacob. Third, how did He treat Esau. Esau could have said, “With an enemy like that who needs any friends.” God made him the First-born, a highly meaningful blessing in the Jewish tradition. He made him, in essence, the head of the family, the priestly type head, if you please. He also gave him more than enough. He is the one man who said, “I have enough,” and then he received more. Hence, more than enough. Esau’s response to all of this good treat, these spiritual and material blessings, he was a profane man, he trampled them underfoot. As one scholar declared, “God treated Esau so well, that no one in his right mind would condemn God for sending him to Hell.” As I said, there were other conversions that night, but the one who said, “The Lord touched my heart,” is now our pastor, our son.

Max

Praise God that the Gospel is simple enough for a child to understand and that He can reach into a heart at play in a backyard or at a tear-stained altar. May we pray for all the children in our communities to hear and respond.

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