CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) — "Christianity is an expression of gratitude because of all the Lord has done for us," said Evangelist Jerry Spencer at Truett-McConnell College's Nov. 17 chapel service.
Preaching from Colossians 1, Spencer highlighted Paul's rejoicing in his suffering, saying Christians should "spend [their] entire life as a chorus unto [God]," thanking Him for salvation.
"Though I could never pay him back, I want to do all that I can to express by my lifestyle the gratitude that I feel in my heart for his redemption," Spencer said, adding that Paul's mission was to "share this mystery of redemption."
Paul preached and admitted that the task was bigger than he was, therefore the Lord energized him, Spencer noted.
"Make sure you have Christ living in you, and that you spend all your life as a poured purpose making Christ known to others that they also might have the Lord Jesus Christ," Spencer said.
"The only way you can be saved is by receiving Jesus because it's Christ in you, the hope of glory," said Spencer, who added that "if Christ is not in you, you have no hope whatsoever" and what is left is self-righteousness, which God considers filthy rags.
"When Christ comes in, you are baptized into the body of Christ," Spencer said, highlighting John 17 where Christ "reveals to us that God the father is in God the son, and God the son is in God the father. God the father is in the believer and the believer is in God the father."
"You don't have to continue to try to be saved; you simply receive the Lord Jesus Christ and he continues forever to work that miracle in you because now you have become a new creation in Christ," Spencer said.
In a world that is "moving to a culture that is not only secular but anti-Christ," Spencer said believers "are called as salt and light. We're called to take a stand. We're called to hold up a standard and we always need to remember that the apex of that standard is the redeeming grace of the Lord Jesus Christ."
"If Christ is in you and if he is energizing you and if he is living his life through you, then it is possible for you to do anything and everything that the Lord has ever called you to do," Spencer said.
Reflecting on the joy of salvation, Spencer recalled preaching is a soccer stadium in Malawi. Hundreds of people ran and committed their life to Christ, he said.
"The gospel is the power of God under salvation; it's always relevant," Spencer said. "It doesn't matter if you're speaking to the intellectual or the totally uneducated person in some foreign place. Christ is the hope of glory, and people are interested in receiving the Lord Jesus Christ."
Knowing Christ grips you and makes you a new creation, said Spencer, who added that once a believer is constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit, he or she becomes completely committed to Christ.
Spencer urged the audience to "move a step higher," and become more passionate about their faith. He recounted the story of an interpreter he met in Ethiopia, who suddenly began to weep as Spencer preached. Later, the interpreter told Spencer that years ago he was a communist. One day, he sat at the back of the same auditorium and watched communist officers bring 10 pastors up front. They forced the pastors to undress in front of the crowd and dumped buckets of urine on them. When the pastors refused to recant their Christianity, they were decapitated.
During a service, the Holy Spirit dealt with the interpreter about his involvement in communism. In that same auditorium, he committed his life to Christ.
Believers must meditate on the truth that Jesus Christ "was crucified and he shed his blood," Spencer said, emphasizing that Christianity is "not just another philosophy. People all around the world have not heard the Gospel."
Reminding the audience that hell exists, Spencer advised believers to lean their heart "against the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ and let his heart beat in harmony with your heart, or your heart beat in harmony with his."
Spencer narrated the story of a man he met in India. The 72-year-old scholar spoke to Spencer, who just finished a sermon about the simplicity of the Gospel. The Indian man, who held three doctorates, said he previously read the Bible and tried to find God. A follower of Gandhi, he was still empty with no hope. He was shocked at the simplicity of Spencer's message about receiving Christ and went home to ponder the subjects of Jesus' resurrection and the eternal life Christ offers. The old man fell on his knees and asked Christ to come into his life. The next day, he returned shouting, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah, brother!" to Spencer.
While speaking to Spencer, he revealed some poison he'd planned to use to commit suicide and to kill his family the night before, hoping they would come back in a different Karma. He came to listen to Spencer speak as his last hope, and found hope.
After his conversion, he woke up the following morning nervous to tell his wife about his experience, but he did. Unbeknownst to him, his wife and his son had accepted Christ 40 days previous, and they had fasting and praying that he would receive Christ. He was converted on the 40th day of their fast.
"Don't you think it's worth it for one person, because of your witness, to come to Jesus Christ?" said Spencer, recounting a Bible college he helped establish in India 40 years ago.
A pastor from the college went to share the Gospel in a small village near Burma. Though the village threatened believers with death, the pastor decide to go. A few days later, a group of young men went to search for him and found his head mounted on a stick. During the pastor's funeral service, 22 of those men stood around the casket and vowed to return to the village. They prayed and fasted and went to preach the Gospel. Now, they are 300 churches in that area and entire tribes have been converted.
"Whatever God leads you to do, I want you to have it as the core purpose of your life to live for Jesus Christ, let him live his life through you, and to make known the Gospel," Spencer said.
For booking information, contact Jerry Spencer Ministries at www.jerryspencer.org
Vicky Kaniaru is senior staff writer at Truett-McConnell College.