D]. DOING something about it. [Not just believing but acting on that belief.] [NOTE 4]
It is 9pm on New Year’s Eve 1958. I am sitting reading a booklet in a rented flat on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, on a street named appropriately, Boundary Street. I am thinking of stepping over a border. Not a border fence, though there is a low timber and wire one about 30 metres away. No, this was a much more significant border; the border between unbelief and belief; the border between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light; the border between my rule over my life and Christ’s rule over my life. It appears at this moment, to be the biggest decision of my life.
The noise level outside is getting louder and louder as tens of thousands gather in the Tweed Heads [NSW] and Coolangatta [QLD] area. I make a decision. To walk among normal folk gathering in the streets to see out the old year and to welcome the New Year of 1959. For about 2 hours I walk among the happy revellers caught up in their joy and excitement, but feeling alone [not lonely] but as though I am an individual in the sight of God. There is nowhere to hide, even among thousands of people. I return to the less noisy flat and read again the prayer at the end of the John Stott booklet I have been reading. It had a simple Prayer of Commitment based on the letters ABCD. It suggests that if I want to commit my life to the Lord, I have to A= Admit I am a sinner in the sight of God; B= Believe that Christ had come and died for the sins of the world; C= Consider the cost of becoming a Christian. But it was D that makes me think more deeply about the ramifications of undergoing a drastic change in my life at only 23 years of age. I actually have to Do something if I want to cross all those borders and enter into God’s family and Kingdom. There is no going back once the decision is made. I have obviously done what is suggested in A, B and C. But D?
So what do I have to D = do?
- Inviting Christ to come into our lives as our Saviour from sin. Rev 3:20
The booklet suggests asking Christ into my life through prayer. I read the verse from Revelation 3:20 to realise that the risen Christ is standing at the door of my life and asking me to open the door to let Him in. Am I ready for that? It is now 11.45pm and the New Year is about to arrive. Another decision is made! I kneel down beside my bed and begin to pray the ABCD prayer. I tell God that I Admit I am a sinner in His sight; that I now Believe that Christ had come from heaven to die on the cross for sinners like me; that I had Considered the cost of becoming a Christian and that I was now Doing something, in opening the door of my life to the Risen Christ.
As I finished the prayer, the noise outside erupted as bells tolled, car horns honked and people screamed out in joy. I realised that it wasn’t for me, but the New Year was being welcomed in. Only later did I read that, at that moment, the angels in heaven were rejoicing that a lost sinner had come home. That was the beginning of a new life for me as a Christian believer.
From that night some 61 years ago I have been grateful for the simplicity of the ABCD approach to Christianity. It works! I know personally that it does! And so do dozens of others whom I have led in the same prayer of commitment over all those years!
However commitment needs to become a TOTAL commitment.
- Inviting Christ to come into every area of our lives to be our Lord and Master.
I knew what it meant to allow Christ into every area of my life, so that He could deal with the past and bring healing, correct my beliefs and behaviours in the present and guide me in establishing my plans for the future in living for Him.
Later I came across a very helpful booklet written by Robert Munger, with the title “My Heart. Christ’s Home.” I was able to point others to it as a means of helping them to become more open to God. Its basic theme is that when we invite Christ into our hearts, we can treat him as an honoured guest. But He is meant to be the Lord of every person’s heart. So we respond to His presence in us, by opening all the doors in our hearts to Him, so He can enter every room of our lives and exercise His control in each room. The booklet ends with the home-owner handing over the title deeds of the home to Christ so that He becomes the Master of the home enabling His will can be done in and through the totally committed person.
- Inviting Him to fill us with His Spirit so that we can know His will and do it.
It is sad that in many evangelical churches there is a resistance to the term “being filled the Spirit” or the term “Spirit filled.” One can understand that, when one comes across some extremes of Pentecostal teaching. But God commands us to “keep on being filled with the Spirit“ which is a true translation of Eph 5:18. It may be helpful to see what the consequences of being filled with the Holy Spirit look like, as you look at one of my previous articles, No. 340.
Another term is ‘full of the Spirit” which is used of Jesus in Luke 4:1, and as a requirement for the 7 deacons to be chosen in Acts 6. “Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.” Acts 6:3. Luke the writer goes on to show that one of those men was Stephen, whom he described as being “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” It is the same Stephen who was later martyred for his faith, but as he was being stoned to death, he was still full of the Spirit, “But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55. Barnabas was also described as being full of the Spirit, “for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” Acts 11:24. It would seem that those who are “full of the Spirit” are those who habitually allowed themselves to keep on being filled with the Spirit.
The term then, “Spirit-filled” should be the default position of every believer, because we are all commanded to “keep on being filled the Spirit.” It is not just a term to be used of so-called “high-flyers”, the supposed elite, in the church, but of every individual. Jesus taught His followers to ask Him for what they needed, and made a promise to those who did so, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13. I believe it delights the heart of God when His children ask Him to fill them with His Holy Spirit.
That brings to a close this short series of an ABCD approach to Christianity. It is a simple approach but profound. As I mentioned in a previous article, it can become the basis on which you can build your own testimony. The great advantage is that you don’t have to start by memorizing huge numbers of Bible passages or fairly complicated diagrams. You begin by memorizing just 4 letters ABCD and the 4 words Admitting, Believing, Considering and Doing. They are the building blocks on which you can build your own Bible verses to help explain what Christianity is all about, AND on which you can formulate your own personal testimony for sharing with others, to the glory of God.
Blog No.346 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Friday 17th January 2020.