Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Youngest Christian there was Ninety-three

This past week when I was in Michigan an announcement was made about a ninety-three year-old lady who was attending the lectureship who was recently baptized into Christ. The speaker went on to say that she was "our youngest Christian in attendance." That thought led me to some other ideas that I think may be important for us to remember.

1. When a person obeys the gospel, they are truly starting over. (2 Cor. 5:17) - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." The Bible tells us that baptism allows us to put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). Once we have made that decision, what a joy it is to begin our lives over in fellowship with God and with the blessings of continual forgiveness through the blood of Christ!

2. When a person obeys the gospel, they are still spiritually immature. While we all may have a different amount of experience and knowledge depending on our age, when we first come into Christ we still have much to learn. If we have just gained enough information to properly answer the call to salvation, chances are we still have need of a good and steady supply of the Christian doctrine. New Christians desperately need to keep studying. (1 Pet. 2:2) - "as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby."

3. When a person obeys the gospel, they need encouragement. New Christians especially need help from other Christians to avoid the possibility of falling back into the world. Young people need older people to mentor them in Christ. Those in their middle years need responsibilities in kingdom work and plenty of people to praise them while they are sacrificing their time and energy. Elderly Christians need to be remembered and visited when they become feeble and cannot always attend as they would like. I recently visited a lady who is almost ninety who told me she had never had a preacher come to her home before! People need to know that they are not alone as they walk this life in Christ. We are told, concerning Satan, "Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (1 Pet. 5:9).

4. Don't ever give up on anyone who has never obeyed. I have been privileged to baptize people in their 80's on several occasions. Sometimes, days before their death. Sometimes, we had to pick them up out of a bed or wheel chair in order to help them to get in and out of the water. Many of these people had refused the Lord's invitation literally thousands of times. When an elderly person obeys the gospel, we are reminded of the power of the Word to break even the hardest of hearts. There is a point at which the love of Christ constrains us (2 Cor. 5:14) to submit to the only perfect love that men will ever know, displayed in the cross of our Savior.

She may have been the oldest person in attendance, but she was the youngest Christian. What a blessing to be a child of God! At any age, it is the greatest honor any of us will ever know!

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" ~ 1 John 3:1

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