One hundred and twenty years before the flood, God said to Noah: “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” (Gen. 6:3 KJV).In these few words to Noah, God has given us four important points to remember in our work of evangelizing the people of this generation. First, we must understand that all is of grace and without the work of the Holy Spirit all is in vain. Second, God has set a time for that striving, and it is not for us to decide when or where – that is God’s prerogative. Third, humans are spiritually dead, and only the Spirit of God can break the barriers of ignorance and Satanic confusion. Fourth, though God is very patient (2 Pet. 3:9), He may at any time stop speaking to a person, group or even a nation – and what follows is judgment. How earnestly we must pray for the lost among our friends and neighbors and even our nation. The Lord Jesus clearly explained the work of the Holy Spirit to the disciples: “When He (the Holy Spirit) is come He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn. 16:8). There are critical moments in our lives when God deals with us and leads us to a choice and a time of decision. Such is the case with two of my friends.
A Gypsy Revival
My friend David had been in Ireland for three years. While there, he bought a Bible and read it from cover to cover. Returning to England, he visited a Christian couple who had witnessed to him for years. At the same time two French Gypsy evangelists were also visiting this couple. David planned to return to Ireland the next day, but on that one day, years of witnessing finally bore fruit when one evangelist told him, “You must swap your religion for Jesus Christ.” From that meeting a great revival sprang up among the English Gypsies, part of a greater movement that is now spreading all over the world.
It has to be emphasized that we are but servants, instruments in God’s hands. It is God who, at the beginning, said, “Let there be light” (Gen.1:3). Jesus also said, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). So it is that by grace the light dawns in the hearts of men and women. It is not by our doing, but God graciously allows us to participate in His work.
We who live in the world are not only flesh but also subject to Satan who, “blinds the minds of those who believe not” (2 Cor. 4:4). Think of that prison in Philippi and of the terrified jailer who “called for a light” and instead received light from God and believed (Acts 16:27-31).
A Criminal Turned Evangelist
Another friend of mine named John was the leader of a teenage gang. Embittered after a car crash which robbed him of the ability to play football because of injuries, he turned to a life of violent crime. He did not care whether he lived or died. He took part in armed robberies and nearly killed men who crossed him. According to police records, he was one of the 20 most violent criminals in Britain.
But for the past 25 years, John has been preaching the gospel of peace and love – all because of a young lady who invited him to a gospel meeting in Dumfries, Scotland, his home town. John professed to be saved, but it took time for him to get free from the hold Satan had on his life through drink and drugs. When he finally reached rock bottom, he gave his wasted life to God, who now uses him as an evangelist in prisons, universities and at football matches and other public events.
A criminal turned evangelist. A Gypsy revival because one man who read his Bible had a chance meeting with an outspoken foreign evangelist. How great is the God we adore! Let us never give up.
By Roger Penney
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org