BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

MAY 23, 2024

TOPIC: BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

BY T. O. BANSO

Someone asked him, ‘Will only a few be saved?’ And he replied, The door to heaven is narrow. Work hard to get in, for the truth is that many will try to enter but when the head of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. Then if you stand outside knocking, and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us,’ he will reply, ‘I do not know you’” (Luke 13:23-25 Living Bible).

The New Year’s Eve Service had started when Alexson (not his real name) came into the church with his friend. They were familiar faces to the pastor. They were drunk but behaved well throughout the remaining part of the service. The pastor made the altar call after the sermon but neither came forward to give their lives to Christ. They entered the New Year without Jesus in their lives.

They left after the service for their homes or returned to their drinking joint. The pastor saw Alexson after that and talked with him. Alexson went to church as a child but had stopped for many years. He had a policy not to discuss religion with anyone.

His presence at the New Year’s Eve Service was out of respect for his flatmate. Alexson was an activist and his passion was how to change society.

A few days into the New Year, the pastor received a knock on his door on a Sunday morning. It was an emergency. The pastor hurriedly followed the man who ran to his house. He met some people gathered in a room. Lying on the bed with the fan blowing on him was Alexson.

One would think he was sleeping. There was nothing strange to show that he had died. But he had died in his sleep. The posture did not show any sign of struggle. One could easily have tapped him to wake up but alas, it was his lifeless body that lay on the bed while the fan continued to blow and the book he was reading was sitting on his chest.

The pastor stood there speechless. He was thinking about when Alexson came for the New Year’s Eve Service. He was also thinking about the opportunity that night to give his life to Jesus that he didn’t utilize and on the previous occasions he had rejected attempts to preach the Word of God to him. It was painful.

Alexson died just a few days into the New Year. He still had parents and wasn’t married. It was a lady, a neighbour, whom he had promised to go with to church that Sunday morning that raised the alarm. He had told the lady to come and fetch him whenever she was ready to go.

When she came, she asked Alexson’s flatmate if he had woken up. He directed her to his room. She got there and called him but he didn’t respond. She first thought it was a joke until she touched him and returned to alert the flatmate. It was this flatmate who invited Alexson to the New Year’s Eve Service and ran to the pastor’s house when he discovered he had died.

What you’ve read is a true-life story. The pastor in this story preached at Alexson’s wake, inviting his friends and sympathizers to give their lives to Jesus before it was too late. Everybody said Alexson was a good man. The pastor could testify to this, having known him for some years. But salvation is more than that.

Nobody’s good deeds are good enough to save him. People are saved when they put their faith in Jesus Christ and His work of redemption on the cross. This is called grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 New King James Version).

Nobody is going to live forever here on earth. Everybody will die one day. Nobody knows when. But after death, where will you spend your eternity? With God or in hellfire? “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV).

Luke 13:23-25 says, Someone asked him, ‘Will only a few be saved?’ And he replied, The door to heaven is narrow. Work hard to get in, for the truth is that many will try to enter but when the head of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. Then if you stand outside knocking, and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us,’ he will reply, ‘I do not know you’” (Living Bible).

Note, in those words of Jesus, the phrase “It will be too late.” After death, salvation will be impossible, and nobody knows when he will die. Give your life to Jesus, if you haven’t before it is too late. Enter the kingdom of heaven now before it is too late.

Alexson died and as much as everybody knew, he never accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Only those saved have their names written in the Book of Life. “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15 New King James Version). Hell is a terrible place to be. The Bible says the worm there never dies and the fire never goes out (Mark 9:44-48).

Maybe you were born inside the church! You could have been going to church since you were born. Perhaps your father or husband/wife is a pastor. You could even be bearing a name in the Bible. But these are not the same as salvation. Are you born again? In other words, have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour? Have you invited Jesus into your heart? Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ?

No religion saves anyone. Mere church membership does not save anybody. Going to church without being born again does not guarantee anyone spending eternity with God when he dies. Jesus told Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Council (the Sanhedrin) Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3b New King James Version).

Nicodemus showed ignorance about what Jesus was saying, and Jesus asked him, Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” (Verse 10 New King James Version). But the good news is that Nicodemus eventually believed in Jesus Christ. The Bible says he became a secret disciple of Jesus because he feared the Jewish leaders (John 19:38). Jesus told Nicodemus,Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5 New King James Version).

You could be a pastor, deacon, deaconess, church worker, etc., and not be born again. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and the teacher of Israel, didn’t even understand the meaning until Jesus explained it to him. You must be born again. Church membership, baptismal name, church title/position, and so on can never save you. Only Jesus Christ saves. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6b).

Don’t postpone your salvation. In the latter part of 2 Corinthians 6:2, Paul says now is the day of salvation. Alexson never knew he would die the night he did and would not be able to go to church as he had promised his neighbour. I don’t pray that you die soon but reconcile with your Maker now. Now is the only time you are sure of.

Salvation is impossible after someone is dead. There is no repentance in the grave. The dead only wait for judgment. Prayer cannot help anyone after death. Help yourself now by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Also, Jesus Christ is coming back soon to take from this earth those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Saviour and lived for Him. Give your life to Jesus now before it is too late. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31). “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 New King James Version).

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! Please join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to continue living in a way that gives meaning to my salvation. I pray that every one yet to give his or her life to Jesus will do so before it is too late. They will accept Him as their Lord and Saviour now.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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