Back in 1983 a religious music artist released a song titled “Friends” in which the first line of the corus read, “And friends are friends forever; If the Lord’s the lord of them.” Friends and readers, this seems to me to agree with scripture at least as far as the idea that we will be recognizable as ourselves in the life to come (1 Samuel 28:8-17, 2 Samuel 12:23; Matthew 17:3-4). However, though it seems that we will be recognizable in our life after this one, our friends will only remain our “friends” in that life if as the song lyrics go, “the Lord’s the lord of them.” And by friends I mean godly friendships between people with whom we share a common bond which mutually builds the other up in some way.
As a person who seeks to emulate my Lord’s love for souls, I find reports about what others are allowing God to do through them for the good of people’s souls extremely encouraging and motivating. Since beginning this blog I continue inviting brethren to share with me their experiences in reaching out to souls in their lives with the saving message of Jesus. And when they do, I ask if I may post it here as an encouragement to my readers. Seeing the value of such sharing, though hindered by the sometimes daunting task of putting one’s experiences into words to be read by all, once in awhile brethren send me their experiences to post. They do so not to boast about or take credit unto themselves, but to boast of the works of God in their lives and the lives of the lost they come to love (1 Corinthians 1:31, 2 Corinthians 10:17,18, 1 Peter 2:9). They do so in hopes of encouraging and motivating YOU to follow their example (Philippians 3:17).
Sister Kristie Morton Nevinski recently shared the following evangelistic experiences with me:
“Hi Jeff, I had been meaning to message you about some exciting ways God has been working and to thank you for the encouragement you have given me.
I’m in a bible study with people of all different christian backgrounds and a while back the topic of “once saved always saved” arose. I brought it up with my friend Kate from the study afterwards while we were outside letting the kids play. Although she attends a different church, I was encouraged by her perspective and we seemed to be on the same page. I’ll admit it was uncomfortable for me because I worry I will not say the right thing or that a question will be presented that I don’t know the answer to, but I’m so glad God gave me the courage to bring it up.
A week or so later, another friend and I got to talking about faith, works, and salvation. I mentioned that although baptism without belief means nothing, that I believed that the bible taught baptism played an important role in salvation. We were distracted by the kids and the conversation changed course, but in my heart I wondered, has Kate been baptized? In the past I had somewhat assumed that she had been, but I honestly didn’t know. Again, it was a little awkward but I went back to that topic a while later, referring to my comment and asked if she had been baptized. She answered that no she had not been but felt that she should and had wanted to be for three years! She wan’t making excuses but said that although she had believed in Jesus for years that at her church you had to take a class first and she just hadn’t done it. When I told her she could be baptized at anytime she wanted…like this afternoon…she almost cried and was just so excited. She talked to her husband about it and also wanted to give her out of town family time to plan to attend. This was a very good thing because we really needed some time to stop and look at the scriptures. My husband leads a bible study in our neighborhood which Kate’s husband attends so it was nice that relationship was already established. Kate and her family all came over for dinner and then my husband led us in a conversation/study about what the bible says about baptism. After reading about what baptism is and a few examples from Acts (ending on the Ethiopian Eunuch), Kate and her husband both seemed a little taken aback and realized that water baptism played more of a vital role than they realized. That’s the short version, but she was immersed the next evening at our church and many of her extended family members attended. I feel so humbled because what we did was so little, but God did BIG things with it!
Another friend that I would appreciate prayers for is Julie. She is from overseas but has lived here several years. The church they attend is due to family ties on her husband’s side. Julie believes baptism is important but doesn’t want to upset the family by not joining that church and not getting baptized there. Just bringing it up to them has caused quite a stir. She feels her family was more accepting of her faith before she even knew about Jesus than they are now. I hope to study the bible with her to help her develop a more personal interest in study the truth, and to help give her courage to be immersed despite her family situation.”
Kristie’s example is wothy of emulation. Allow this sister’s example move us to urgency and courage in engaging our friends and acquintances in conversation about salvation in our Lord Jesus!
Is the Lord, the Lord of your friends? I pray He will become so today!