We Are Changed

May 16, 2020

Matthew 11:28

28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Jesus is in the life-changing business. From the very beginning, there was a strange thing. People would come to Him, sometimes satisfied people, sometimes messed-up people, sometimes lepers and injured people, forgotten people, despised people, prostitutes, tax collectors, admired people, wealthy people, religious leaders.

There was something about this man, Jesus, which made their hearts break and surrender to his way of life and follow him.

A proud, vindictive, violent, arrogant, self-preoccupied, religious leader named Saul of Tarsus was going down the road, and then suddenly Jesus appeared to him in a great light. As a matter of historical record, he became Paul—a man whose mind, whose writings, whose love for people, whose self-sacrificial gift of his life to the world was so compelling that it fascinates human minds to this day 2000 years later. People devote their lives to studying what it was that he wrote. How did that life get changed?

The evidence of lives changed by Jesus is so abundant that the full story can never be told. It can never be matched—not by any culture, by any book, by any program, by any hero.

But Jesus has been doing that for 2000 years.

A debauched, despicable, despised slave owner named John Newton meets Jesus one day. Overwhelmed by grace, he writes the song that we sing to this day: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

A sixty two-year-old dad, who’s been an alcoholic for forty years, one day invites Jesus into his life and is given the power to let it go.

A guy by the name of Bill Moore grew up in poverty, got drunk one time and shot a man over $5000. He ended up on Death Row. A couple of guys go into prison (because God prompts people to go into prisons), and they tell him… Bill, there is a man, Jesus, who loves you, and He gave His life on a cross. He died for you. He went to Death Row for you. Nobody had ever told Bill about Jesus before.

Bill turned his life over to Jesus, and it changed him so much, changed the darkness and bitterness and hatred inside him so much that other people began to be drawn to him. People started meeting Jesus through this guy on Death Row.

Bill became known as “The Peacemaker.” His cellblock was the safest place in the penitentiary, because so many people were coming to Christ through Bill Moore.

Churches found out about this, and when people needed counseling, no kidding, churches started sending people to the penitentiary to get counseling from Bill Moore.

Can you imagine calling our church to ask for a referral and hearing, “I want you to go over to Death Row. There’s an inmate there…” Who does that? Jesus does that.

Bill Moore was changed so much that he won the love of the family of the man that he killed. It changed him so much over the sixteen-year period that all kinds of people wrote letters for him. Eventually, the authorities not only cancelled his death sentence—they not only commuted his sentence, which was unprecedented—they paroled him.

“Bill, what in the world turned your life around? Was it a new medication? Was it some kind of rehab program? Was it a new approach to counseling?”

Bill said, “No, it wasn’t any of that stuff. It was Jesus Christ.”

Atheism really has nothing to say to a guy on death row, but Jesus does.

Atheism really has nothing to say to a human being lying on a deathbed, but Jesus does.

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

If you have never made this decision, if you’ve never made this commitment before, here is the invitation that’s been changing lives for 2000 years. Jesus comes to you right now and says, would you try me? You may have questions. You may have doubts, I know, but you have this one life, and you’ve got to build it on something. Will you build it on me?

 


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