Centennial News • Rev. Terry Hopkins
Columnist: “What must I do to be saved?”
I believe this is the most important question anyone, anywhere, could ever ask. Let's make it even simpler. What if I asked the question, "How would you like to go to Heaven?" I thank God someone cared enough about me to ask that question.
I thought to myself, “Oh no, an insurance salesman.” Introducing himself, he said he was from the church my children attended. I was quick to tell him that if I wanted to go to church I had a brand new truck and knew how to get there.
His reply was, “Mr. Hopkins, church won’t help you.” Well, I was offended and asked, “What do you mean ‘church won’t help me?’” He said, “If you will give me just five minutes of your time I will explain.” He had my attention!
He first asked me to read one verse from the Bible. The verse was 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.’”
He then asked who had said that.
“What did He say you must do?”
“Be born again.”
“To go where?”
“To the Kingdom of God.”
“You think that is heaven?”
“Mr. Hopkins, when is your birthday?”
“July the fourth.”
“When were you born again?”
“Mister, I was born July the fourth. I have not been born again.”
“Then you have not done what Jesus said you must do to go to heaven.”
I had always heard the story of Jesus. How he came and died on the cross and rose from the grave, but it had nothing to do with me.
He continued, “Mr. Hopkins, Jesus has done his part. Now you need to do your part. Do you believe you are a sinner?”
I knew I was. “Yes.”
"Do you believe Jesus died on the cross and paid for our sins?”
“Would you repent; believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; and by faith, accept Him as your Saviour?”
“No.” I wanted my rum and my sinful life style.
He prayed and left. But the Lord did not leave me. What had been said that day would go through my mind hundreds of times over the next three months as our lives continued to spiral downward.
On Sunday morning, July 18, 1982, Betty got up and went to church, something we never did. That morning she was gloriously saved! Throughout the day she told me of her salvation experience over and over again. She went back to church that night. I would not go. I knew I needed to be saved, I wanted to be saved; but I thought it was too late for me. I had gone too far.
Later that night, sitting on the couch I told God, “I can’t make you any promises. If I promise I won’t drink anymore, I'm lying! I can’t promise you I’ll go to church. I would be lying.” Then I heard the greatest news I could ever hear. God spoke to me and said, “I don't want your promises. I want you!”
Holding my hand, Betty asked, “Are you alright?”
“No, I am not all right!”
Then I looked her in the eyes and said, “I am not fighting God any more. I accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour.” It was like all of hell went out of my life and all of heaven came in. I WAS SAVED!
That was over 30 years ago. The Bible says, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.” God radically changed everything in my life. Now my prayer is that you too would repent, believe, and by faith, accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
Centennial Baptist Church is located at 5321 Brownwood Road, Rutledge, GA 30663. Visit centennialbaptist.org or call 706-557-2120.
Printed in the January 24, 2013 edition.