John Brandon

April 14, 2017 on

Have you ever heard a firsthand account by someone whose life was saved by another person? I read a story recently about a woman in Oklahoma who suffered a heart attack in the middle of the night. Her husband drove her to the hospital but halfway there her heart stopped and she went unconscious. A nearby officer rushed over to perform CPR. Her heart started beating again. The doctors at the hospital said if it weren't for the officer, she would have surely died. Months later when she was interviewed what struck me was the unbelievable outpouring of gratitude. Not only does she regularly visit and write to the officer to thank him, but she can't seem to shut up about it with everyone she meets. You can't spend more than 3 minutes with her without hearing the story about how she was once going to die but then someone stepped in and saved their life. Wouldn't it be cool if we all had a heroic story like that to tell? Well, guess what, we do.

Like the woman in the story, we are all born with a heart issue. Scripture tells us that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). It goes on to say that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). In other words, because I have sinned, a just and righteous God has every right to punish me for it. But what about the good people? What happens to them? Unfortunately, scripture also tells us that "no one is righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10) and that if you're guilty of just one point of the law, then you're guilty of it all (James 2:10). God's standard for "good" is perfection. And because he created objective morality (right from wrong), he has to judge us based on his standard. In other words, I can't do more good to outweigh the bad which means that every single person on the earth will be found guilty. And scripture clearly defines the punishment for the guilty as separation from God.

The situation sounds grim, but good news...God did something incredible! And it's the greatest story of a hero saving a life that has ever been told! God couldn't change the fact that death was the punishment for sin. Changing that would be to change his mind and render him unjust. So check this out....God decided to die himself!! When you step back and think about it, it's really quite extraordinary. God loved us so much that he came down to earth as a man and took on the punishment that we deserve so that we may have life (John 3:16). He took on our sin and he gave us his righteousness. That means that when we stand in front of God one day, those who have trusted in Jesus will be found completely innocent! Like the woman in Oklahoma, I was going to die. But like the police officer, Jesus came to my rescue and saved my life. If she feels the need to express gratitude and tell people about someone who prolonged her life on this earth, why in the world would I not be excited to express gratitude and tell people about someone who not only gives me abundant life on this earth but eternal life with God in his Kingdom?!

I'm grateful. So I ask the Lord, "what is the best way that I can express my gratitude to you and show you that I'm thankful?" His response, "Go, tell others what I have done for you." In the 5th chapter of Mark, Jesus heals a man who was possessed by demons. When Jesus had cast the demons out, the man was so grateful that he begged Jesus to go with him. The man desired to be around the guy who had saved his life. But Jesus's response was "no." Instead, Jesus said, "Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." This man was the very first missionary commissioned by Jesus! Jesus said the best way to thank him was to tell others about what he had done for him. But does that just apply to this story? No. As believers, we are all commanded by the Lord to tell others about him. It's not a suggestion, it's not a recommendation, it's a command. In Matthew 28 Jesus says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

I've heard it said that Christian shouldn't "wear their faith on the sleeve." I've also heard it said that you just have to live out your faith and that should be enough. There's this false quote from St. Francis of Assisi going around that says "Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words." First, there is no evidence that St. Francis ever said that. Second, it contradicts our command and calling in scripture. Romans 10:13-14 says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord with be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone telling them." I firmly believe that we should live out good works as the evidence of our faith (James 2:17). But I equally assert that if we aren't telling people how Jesus rescued us and how he offers the same to anyone who believes in him, then we are doing them a grave disservice.

So I am unashamed of the Gospel. I can't seem to shut up about it. I have personally experienced the life-changing power of the cross of Jesus Christ. And because of that, I felt the need to live out the command to tell others. After all, why wouldn't I want them to have the same hope I have? Wouldn't it be cruel not to tell them? One of the first people I told was my business partner, Ismael. On Thursday March 12th, 2015, Ismael prayed to receive Christ as his Savior. Afterwards, his mother and niece came to know Jesus. I was in their apartment in New York recently and saw the Spirit at work in each of their lives. They were different people than before. Know this: Jesus changes lives. I've seen it happen. When you see someone lay down their life to Christ and see Jesus begin to shape them and mold them, it's addicting. So yes, I'm unashamed and addicted to the Gospel. It's goes way beyond just wearing it on my sleeve.

Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave himself for me." Not only is Jesus on my sleeve, he is in me, and flowing through me. In fact, I no longer exist. 2 Corinthians 2:15 says, "For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ." When people encounter me, they should encounter Christ. Every decision and every movement I make is influenced by Jesus. THAT'S why I can't separate my faith from my work. I bring Jesus into the office because I can't NOT bring Jesus into the office. My workplace is my mission field and I will proclaim Christ unashamedly until he calls me elsewhere.

Romans 1:16 says, "For I am unashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes." I am unashamed....not so people will think I'm better than they are. I am unashamed...not because I'm trying to manipulate people. I am unashamed...not because I'm a religious fanatic. I am unashamed...because is it the POWER of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. And because I love Jesus and am grateful for his mercy, I'll continue telling others.