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Lester Roloff was pastor of the People’s Church in Corpus Christi, TX, back in the 70’s and early 80’s. Lester once told the account of an unsaved woman who had heard him speak during one of the old-fashioned tent revivals they had back in those days. The woman had spoken with Pastor Roloff and after speaking with him, told her friend she was going to make an appointment to go to Roloff’s church the following Sunday. As of yet, she was not saved and told her friend that at the end of the service, which would be approximately 12:00 p.m., she was going to give her life to Jesus Christ.
The following Sunday the woman showed up as promised and sat in the third row from the front. Roloff was preaching from Isaiah 53 which is a prophetic chapter in the Bible dealing with the sufferings and death of Christ for the sins of the world. Lester began preaching, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1) About midway through the chapter, Roloff said the woman suddenly laid over in her seat and didn’t get up. There was a medical doctor in the first row and somebody told him what had happened. The doctor examined her and called on four men and they carried her out the door of the church. The doctor came back and said to Roloff, “Brother Roloff, she was dead when she went through the door.” The woman was 45 minutes away from calling on Christ. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t have until 12 o’clock to do it. At 11:15 a.m. on this particular Sunday, a clock stopped ticking in heaven. Below the clock was this woman’s name was written. When the last tick sounded loud in heaven, God took from her the breath of life and she entered into hell.
Was God unmerciful for taking her so close to what she thought was her “appointed time” to receive Christ? Not at all. What about all the other years of her life God had granted her? She could have called on Christ then. She could have called on Christ when she spoke to brother Roloff at the tent meeting the previous week. God, in His mercy, had granted her more than enough time. The mistake she made was to think time was in her hands rather than in the hands of God. She thought tomorrow was promised to her. She thought it was as sure as the sun rising the next day. Yet we are clearly told in the Bible, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1) She took a chance and gambled with God...and lost!
Now listen closely to what the Son of God has to say: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33) This woman denied the Lord Jesus Christ, and as far as anybody knows, wasn’t going to call on Him until after the sermon at 12:00 p.m….she never made it. Now Jesus had to reject her and deny her entrance into heaven, for He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6)
As was mentioned before, brother Roloff was preaching from Isaiah 53 when the woman died. It is quite possible she never heard the following verses, but you will! “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity [sin] of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
We have all wandered off the path in sinning against God. Nobody has stayed on the straight and narrow path of sinless perfection, except for Jesus Christ, who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) This is why God could lay on Him our sins and offer Him up as the perfect sacrifice for those sins. This is what the prophet Isaiah foresaw when he said, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin….” (Isaiah 53:10) Jesus Christ, who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, died in our place and rose from the dead. This opened the gates to heaven for us. All of us have turned away from those gates and instead have chosen the way of sin and the world. As Isaiah has said, “we have turned every one to his own way.” Today you can make a choice to turn away from your sins and turn toward “the way, the truth, and the life”, Jesus Christ. And as you do, you can place your trust in Him and receive Him as your Lord and Savior. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12)
Are you going to take a chance and wait to receive Christ until a more “appropriate time”, just as the woman who went to hear brother Roloff preach? Don’t role the dice with God as this woman did, “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
A clock is ticking in heaven; underneath it your name is written. Eventually it will stop and when it does, your life on this earth will end and you will enter eternity in heaven or hell. You know neither the day nor the hour when this will happen, but now you do know “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
How will your story end? As one who called on the Lord Jesus to be their Savior? Or one who denied Him until a more “appropriate time”? Trust in Him today!