The second thing I can tell you today, the older I get the more I realize this. I could not live with myself because of what I know is in here, if I were not certain as a fact of history that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins that I might be forgiven. Apart from that I could not live with myself. Well, you’re sitting there thinking that’s wonderful, that’s Chuck Colson’s experience. Somebody who goes from the White House to prison. I can understand they would reach out and cry out for God. But that hasn’t happened to me your saying to yourself. It’s true. Everyone’s experience is different.
We have a home in Florida. I see people retire. They come to retire and they lose their purpose for living and you watch them shrivel up and they might as well die and they do. You see we’re made to be purposeful creatures which presupposes that there’s a purposeful creed. C.S. Lewis’s book, that was so powerful in my life, demonstrates so brilliantly, that the very nature of our contrivance proves that there is a God who puts that plan into our life. Think about the alternative. Is really possible to be an atheist if you think about the alternative? Did we really come out of nothing but the primordial slime, eons ago? I mean if so, you and I are nothing but grownup germs.
But we know better. We know there’s a moral purpose in life and therefore there’s a moral force that brings us into being. I’m a lawyer. When I first became a Christian the first thing I did was take out this book and decide to read and study it from cover to cover. Could it possibly be what it says it is? The Word of God? I thought no. This is fables and legends. I studied it exactly the way I would prepare to argue a case in court. I studied all of the early connotical counsels that prepared the book. I studied all of the archaeological evidence that has been accumulated over the centuries and came to the most extraordinary conclusion. This book is exactly what it represents itself to be.
It’s true. Historically validated every single time they find a new discovery. Paul Johnson, the great British historian, said,” It’s no longer the skeptics who have to wait for further discoveries, its the men of faith who now can rest assured because the further discoveries are simply reinforcing the historical truth of the scripture.” What it really turns on is whether, in fact, historically Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the Dead. One of the things I told Mike Wallace during that interview was I know that to be a fact and Watergate helped to prove that. How do I know it? The evidence is that twelve men were with Jesus. Twelve men testified that they had seen him bodily raised from the dead. They were with him. They touched him. They doubted. They put the finger in the whole in his side to see if he was who he said he was. After He ascended to heaven they went about the sands of the Holy land for forty years proclaiming that Jesus Christ had been bodily raised from the dead. Never once denying it. Every single one of them beaten, tortured, stoned, and put in prison. Could they have done that if it weren’t true.
I was in the Watergate. There were twelve of the most powerful men of the world sitting around the desk of the president of the United States. All of you will not remember all of these details, but just for the quick summary it was in march of 1973 that John Dean of the president’s counsel walked in his office one day said, “Mr. President there’s a cancer on your presidency”. Told him what was going on. That was the first time we really knew it was a criminal conspiracy. In less than three weeks John Dean writes in his book that he walked into the prosecutors to make a deal to bargain, as he put it in his book, to save his own skin he offered to testify against the President. The moment he did that everybody went flying in to make a deal with the prosecutors. Twelve of the most powerful men in the world couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re going to tell me that those twelve apostles for forty years would go about the sands of the Holy Land proclaiming they’d seen Jesus raised from the dead. Absolutely impossible. Apostle Peter would have turned states evidence he have already done it. No way. You see the truth is that people will give their lives for something they believe to be true. They will never give their lives for something they know to be false.
I was always a guy who was always in a hurry to get things done. Tomorrow’s business deal was the biggest deal going. Tomorrow’s political deal was the most important thing in the world. After my conversion I discovered there was some things that were far more important. My relationship with my family, children, my wife and my relationship with others. The man who’d been my bitterest political enemy was the first man who came and embraced me and said, “Now you’re my brother in Christ”. When I was in prison a man who was part of my prayer group who was a congressman called one day because I was having difficulties. One of my sons had gotten in trouble and had been arrested for marijuana possession. My dad had died, my mother was alone, and the other Watergate guys had gotten out because they’d been sentenced by another judge and I was alone in prison.
This man called up and said he was going down the next day to see the President of the United States because he was going to ask, as a congressman if he could come in and serve the rest of my prison sentence so I could be free with my family. Do you know anybody that would do that for you? Only someone who’s following Jesus Christ who said, “No greater love is this, that a man will lay his life down for his brother.” What you think is important, that big deal next week, that decision you’re making in your business, it is not. It does not compare to the importance of knowing the creator of this Universe, of being at peace with God and being at peace with your family and your fellow man. Nothing can compare.
Pray with me as we join together in prayer.
Father God, let each of us now examine our own hearts. Maybe for some in this room, this is the first time in a long time we can be honest with ourselves. And we find inside, like the night in my friend’s driveway, we’re not happy or maybe something’s not right in our relationships or our homes but we know that you are the great healer. Father, we ask you to take us just as we are. Amen
Now any one who has never prayed to receive Christ or maybe is not sure of your salvation. Pray this prayer with me right now:
Father God, we thank you for your son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sin. Forgive me my sin. Lord Jesus, come into my life and make me the person you want me to be. Thank you for those who prayed that prayer. We thank you for those who are searching for you but your Holy Spirit is convicting and touching this very moment. We thank you for your grace and your healing ministry in our lives. Bind us together Lord. Forgive our wounds, our sins our hurts, heal us, bring us to peace with you, and to peace with one another. We come to you as little children to call you Father and to know you. As we can know you because of your Son. It’s in His name the mighty and powerful name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
I hope that you’ve been challenged by the story of my own of experience with Jesus Christ and what he has done in my life. Let me take just a few minutes to share with you how you can continue on in your own spiritual journey. What you’ve heard is one man’s experience. God deals with each of us in a different way. He may be dealing with you right now by raising questions in you mind about what is the purpose of life, what is the object of all that I do and see around me. Where am going? What am I doing? What’s meaningful to me? What’s important?
Let me just tell you that the single most important question anyone ever has to answer ever in life is “Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? Is there a God? Is it possible to know him personally.” I want to tell you it’s been twenty years and,, as you heard me say in the talk, I’ve come over those twenty years to grow closer and closer in my relationship to the living Christ. I know that He lives. He lives in me. I’ve seen Him work in my life and in the lives of thousands of people around me. Only a fool would doubt the reality of God.
The question is how do we grow closer to him? How do we really come to know Him? If you prayed the prayer then you’re on the first step of the journey. But it’s a journey. Conversion is a life long process. Getting to know God is a lifelong process and where you begin is to read God’s word every day. I’d start with the gospel of John. Read the other gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke. Get into the Romans. It’s hard. It’s theologically tough but it contains, really, the heart of the gospel message. Then begin to read the letters in the New Testament and then go back and read Genesis and the beginning of the Universe and how God created the universe. It’s such a beautiful story, so beautifully told in Genesis. If you’d like a New Testament portion of the Bible in modern English.
The second most important thing and, in some ways, I think the first, because historically it’s been the first act of discipleship for a new believer to become part of a church. Christianity can not be lived alone. It is not a solitary religion. You’re part of a new family now and you’re going to discover new relationships you never knew were possible before. You’re going to discover a love for other people you never thought you had. You’re going to discover a love for them, but you get it in the communion of believers. You get it in that institution which God has ordained to be His body on earth, the church. You need to do is seek out a church which is teaching the Bible and where you feel warmly received and where you can grow as a Christian and become a disciple and where you can become equipped to live the Christian life in the world.
The third thing I would say is it is important for you every day to open some time to speak to God. I’m not one who hears God speak in an audible way but there are times when I’m alone in prayer and deep communion with God when I just feel a burning conviction and I know that God is telling me something about my life. He will penetrate our conscienceness, providing we don’t get so caught up in the things of this world day to day, that we forget to spend that quiet time that we need alone with God. If you’ve made a commitment to listen to this recording you’re going to discover that your life will begin to change in a marvelous way. It doesn’t happen over night I think back on when I gave my life to Christ and I felt that sudden wonderful peace and that cleansing but then over a period of months, I struggled. I was trying to learn. I was trying to find what it was all about. So don’t be impatient with yourself. It does take time.
If you didn’t make a commitment, I challenge you to read the New Testament. Talk to others who have had an experience with Jesus Christ as I have. I can tell you I could not live with myself today if I did not know for certain that Jesus Christ had died on the cross for my sins. The transformation in my life has made the last twenty years the most joyous years of my life. I guess the worst day of these twenty years, and that includes the cancer, are better than the greatest days of the forty years that preceded that. It is real. It is true. If God is touching your heart take this moment to give your life to Him and then serve Him and get to know him better each day as you grow in your relationship with Him. God bless you in your spiritual journey.