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Listen while you read: "Jesus Saves"1 (Lyrics)
Revelation 2:17b – To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (KJV)
John 3:16b – That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (KJV)
For seven years before I immigrated to Canada, I served in my church's outreach to the Bantu. This involved a trip each Sunday morning to one of the so-called Bantu locations or townships where there was a small church hall and a manse for the resident black pastor. I served in the Sunday School, which was attended by some seventy to eighty Bantu children. For each child's first six weeks, their attendance was recorded on a temporary red card. After that, a medallion was awarded with the inscription, "Bantu Baptist Sunday School", and below that, the student's number. Because the Bantu children had both a Bantu and what was then referred to as a Christian name, on arrival the children passed through the attendance process, which meant that the number on the medallion was recorded. Outside was a signboard which read "Sons of the Redeemer". Today, it would have read, "Children of the Redeemer".
Each year the Sunday School had three main special events for the children. The most exciting one was the trip in a double-decker bus to the Johannesburg Zoo in the upscale northern suburb of Parktown. The ladies of the home church prepared the lunches while the Sunday School leader brewed up a barrel of ginger beer. At noon, the children would sit in class groups to enjoy a sumptuous lunch with an ample dessert of ice cream. The second event was the Christmas celebration, and the year-end party was the third.
It was a rule that in order to attend any of these three occasions, students had to have a medallion or at least three entries on their red cards. Naturally, some children came, hoping to be let in, but the rule was strictly applied. It was during one year-end party that a student, Gladman Mabuya, happily munching on some cake, remarked as he watched the children outside, "Brother, is this not just like what heaven is going to be? We will be inside feasting, but the others who would not come to Sunday School will be out there starving."
That little vignette has remained with me ever since. It was to me a classic example of "out of the mouths of babes …"
When one considers how very simple the gospel of salvation is and how easily it can be rejected, the words of Gladman are very true. They require no further elaboration. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31 KJV). No medallion or red card stamped three times will be required. As Hugh Stowell puts it in his children's hymn, "Jesus is our Shepherd":
- Then on each he setteth His own secret sign:
"They that have my Spirit, these," saith He, "are mine."
Instead of a tin medallion, God will give each saved person His personal welcome and a white stone on which is written God's own special secret name for that person. The glorious anticipation of that alone should be incentive enough for anyone to accept salvation.
Prayer: Loving Father, keep ever fresh in our minds the wondrous prospect of Your welcome to us when by Your grace and the sacrifice of Jesus our Saviour we may enter into the realms of glory. Amen.
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