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John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
In October 2012, the Lord gave me an opportunity to go to Italy for a week long mission trip. During the trip, I had given many gospel tracts and pens that contained the following verse: Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. I stopped at nearly all autogrills up and down the Adriatic coast passing out tracts and pens to everyone that I came in contact with. I remember two female employees laughing at this verse and mocking God. My heart sunk and I became really sad in spirit.
You see, that trip was self funded, and not represented by a religous organization. God loves the Italians so much, he directed me to reach Italians starting from Vicenza in Veneto to San Severo in Puglia. The only motivation that I had was to express the love of Jesus Christ to the Italians, to lead them into a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The seriousness of Salvation is quite urgent because once a person dies, it is too late to repent and trust God.
Romans 1:15 , So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Paul was sent to Rome to preach the Gospel, the reformation took place in Italy, and some of the Roman Soldiers who participated in crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ trusted in him after the crucification. As you can see, God loved the people of Italy, and God wants Italians to know who he is. Italians have a tendancy to associate themselves as being Catholics, but in reality how many are actually practicing Catholicism? In Italy, many of the younger generation has "forsaken" the Catholic faith, or at least "forsaken" going to church. However, 95% of the country claims to be Catholic, with about 20% attending any services at all. At 95%, how many are truly born again. It is a somber reality, that one day we will die, and come face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ. The seriousness of this matter needs to be addressed before one goes into eternity.
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandements of men.
The above verse has brought many questions to my mind. Is my heart far from God, or do I only honor God with my lips? The reason I think about this verse is it reminds me of the Pharisee's in the bible. They were righteous in their own eyes, yet they were responsible for having my Lord Jesus Christ crucified. Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Throughout the world, each human has the tendancy to believe what they were taught by their parents, friends and culture in which this can influence our belief patterns. When speaking to people about the Lord Jesus Christ, I notice how strong the influence of the Italian culture is on individuals. On one hand, I see that Italians have a passion in defending their religious beliefs and I ofter wonder, once born-again will they defend Jesus Christ the same way they defend their church. On another hand, I see that their passion is so strong for their own belief system, will the people be able to hear and understand the truth according to God's word? I believe according to the bible that God wants everyone to be saved, so I believe it is my duty to use my ability to communicate with Italians and to witness to them.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish , but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemend already because he hat not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God
This is probably the most used verse in the bible, but this verse makes it clear, whoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ will not perish and will have eternal life. All the religious rhetoric for the world religions will not save a person. The only way a person can be saved is by repenting to God and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let's examine the verses of the bible that deal with salvation issues: I've already talked about John 3, so here are more verses to demonstrate what God wants from each person:
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 10:9-11 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
The bible says faith in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. This is very important to understand for salvation. Salvation is from the Lord, I have already discussed that God is not willing for anyone to perish, he is asking you only to believe and trust in him. This is very simple, even a child understands this. But we must first see our brokeness without him, we must realize that we need a Saviour, and we must confess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus Christ died and resurrected. If you feel the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart, or if you feel that you are in need of a Saviour, you can ask the Lord Jesus Christ to save your souls. You can do this now, wherever you may be. May the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you.