Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Living Proof"

By Glenn and David Sargent
    Vittorio Vitalone is a medical doctor in Rome, Italy who became a Christian years ago after learning the truth of the Gospel from Charles Moore, a missionary from the U.S., who was preaching there at the time.  Vittorio is now the regular preacher for the Viale Jonio Church of Christ, in addition to continuing his medical practice at a large hospital in Rome.  He recently sent an e-mail message to Charles (now living in Frisco, Texas), telling a thrilling story of the power of the Word of God.
    “A lady came to the door of the auditorium at church and asked, ‘May I come in to worship?’”  Vittorio responded, “Of course!  You are always welcome in the Church of Christ.”  Vittorio continued his account to Charles: “She told me an interesting story that I want to share with you.  She said, ‘In about 1970 I used to come to the services of the church here.  I studied the Bible with Bill Burton and Charles Moore for a long time.  I will never forget those studies.  Carolyn, the wife of Charles, gave me my first Bible.  I still have it and treasure it.  I attended the worship services of the church on Sunday, and Bible study on Wednesday night for a long time and we all became good friends.”  Then the lady, whose name is Ina, showed Vittorio some pictures from those earlier years of several missionaries and their wives whom she had known.
    Then Ina told Vittorio, “Unfortunately, I drifted away from some reason or other.  Almost fifty years have passed, and I am back again.  I want to study the Bible again and worship with you.”
    “I am studying with her now each week and she is attending all the services of the church.  I pray that she will obey the Gospel soon.  It seems like she is picking up where she left off 45 years ago.”
    On February 5, 2013, Charles Moore sent out an e-mail containing “Some Special News from Rome”: “I received an e-mail yesterday from Vittorio Vitaloni in Rome, telling me that the sweet lady named Ina, the lady we contacted about 45 years ago, and studied with for two months, was baptized Sunday at Viale Jonio.  We are so happy.  MAY GOD BE PRAISED.”
    In light of this wonderful news, Charles Moore wrote, “I have lived by faith all these years, believing that ‘good seed planted in good soil will produce good fruit.’  [Ina’s] baptism is "living proof"  that this is true.”
    It IS true!  The Good News – “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) – continues to transform lives.  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” – Romans 1:16.
    The BAD NEWS is that sin – of which we are ALL guilty – condemns us to eternal destruction (Romans 3:23; 6:23).  The GOOD NEWS is that God loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we might have forgiveness and eternal life (John 3:16).
    We accept His offer of salvation on His terms by obeying the Gospel: placing our faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed)INTO Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  Then, as we continue to walk in the light of His word, the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us from all of our sin (1 John 1:7).
    Even if it takes 45 YEARS to produce fruit, the Gospel STILL works....
when we receive it into good soil (good, honest hearts) and accept it through our trusting obedience.
    And remember... No matter how far you may “drift away” from God, He is always only ONE STEP back!
    Won’t YOU allow the Gospel to change your life, too?

- Glenn and David Sargent; David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

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