A young man named Luis came to our city from Chile. He comes from an evangelical culture, but he never knew the gospel. One day, he found our church, “Family of Grace,” when he was walking to his girlfriend’s apartment, which is right behind our church building. As time passed, they both began attending our church.
The exposition of the word broke his hardened heard and he was convinced of his needy situation before the Lord. He had never really known the Lord, but as he heard the “message of truth, the gospel of your salvation,” he repented and experienced the reality of God in his soul. The changes were immediately evident; he now loves the word of God and he has the power to live in accordance with it.
By the mercy of the Lord, he was able to get a job with a transportation business. He began to share the gospel openly within the company, including the married couple that owns it, who came from the province of Mendoza. Both of them were involved with a church where the “gospel” that was preached was merely about personal success and economic prosperity.
Luis’ testimony was surprising to them, even to the point that in a short time it made them question whether or not they were really saved, if they really did know God and had been born again. The arguments that Luis made from the Scriptures were tearing down their wrong understanding of the gospel. Eventually, they contacted me personally, affected by Luis’ testimony and needing answers to their many questions. They were both very wounded by the bad teaching they had received, realizing that their understanding of God and the gospel did not come from the Scriptures. Put simply, their lives had been destroyed by sin and false religion.
Slowly, we began studying the gospel, clearing away the fog that their false religion had created in their minds. We carefully studied each word, each concept, in the light of the Scripture. The little light that they began to receive, they immediately began to share with people they know. And that’s how the mother of this couple began to be awakened to the gospel, as well.
Since the company is a family business, the mother often visits her daughter and son-in-law in Rosario. While visiting, she came into contact with Luis, who also shared the gospel with her. She began to be affected by the word. She listened to her daughter and son-in-law talk about the Lord, and she was simply amazed at all that was happening. In reality, she had never before heard the biblical gospel.
After a few months, and after listening to sermons that were recommended to her, she decided to travel again to Rosario, with the purpose of visiting our church for the first time in order for us to explain the Scriptures to her and clear up her doubts. She came and she was moved by the exposition of the word and the praise of the people. One of the first things she realized was how important the word of God is for our church, and how everything we do revolves around the Bible.
After the service, I sat and talked with her. She had many questions. I knew that what she needed was a right understanding of the gospel. So, patiently, I began to confront her from the Scriptures with her primary problem: the sin in her heart. Every passage we read was like a shot to her pride and self-righteousness, until finally the wall came tumbling down. “I never imagined that I was like that!”, she told me with tears in her eyes. “I had never seen who God really is!” With agony of conscience because of the conviction of her sin, she asked me, “How can this be fixed? Is there hope?”
How these questions filled my heart with joy! We began to look at the life, work, death and resurrection of Christ. Both of our eyes were now filled with tears as we read that Christ was forsaken of God and crushed for our sins, that the chastening for our well-being fell on Him. We rejoiced with gratefulness over Romans 5:1: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Using an illustration from John Bunyan, she left our church that day convinced that she must flee from the City of Destruction, and she now held the scroll in her hand. We found out later that she went home that evening and repented of her sins, confessing them before the Lord and putting her confidence in the righteousness of Christ. She also began to make things right with people she had offended in her past, and she sought out her daughter to ask for forgiveness for the sins she’d committed as a mother (before, her pride didn’t allow her to acknowledge her errors). Our Lord is truly wonderful!
I was reminded through these events of the importance of the gospel being preached in all times and all places. Only the Lord knows if the land will be fertile. Each person must fulfill his or her responsibility in the Great Commission. Some may sow and others reap, but both are trusting in the growth that God gives. How lovely is the body of Christ, and how lovely it is to consider the ways he uses each of the gifts in His church when we each fulfill our responsibility!