Religion by itself does not save – Jesus saves, Jesus lives

I was in a Roman Catholic Chapel today. This chapel is open during the week for prayer and meditation. I was a regular at this chapel week days when I was living in the city and that was not too long ago. But when I now come in to the city on occasion from the suburbs I might still retreat to this chapel. I am at this chapel today. Before I went in to the chapel there was Shawn (not his real name); he as usual was sitting on the front steps of the chapel. I have seen Shawn on many a occasion on the chapel steps. Shawn has taken to now and then entering the chapel and sitting for a short time in the pews. When I first knew Shawn he was never seen by me in the chapel. I have spoken to Shawn outside the chapel maybe say 12 times, a few minutes at a time. Shawn never asks me for money. Shawn is friendly and is not intimidating at all. Shawn is maybe in his late 20’s or early 30’s. He is Anglo Saxon and he tells me his family is in the UK. I wonder about his family been so far away and how Shawn has no contact with them.

Today I sat in the pew and soaked up the silence. I just love silence; it seems my head has every Tom, Dick, and Harry trying to get in to my head, never mind every Gloria, Julie and Shirley trying to do the same. My head and heart seems to be a draw card for every one around. To be in a chapel I would expect silence and respect for my heart, soul, and body but this is not always the case.

I waved to Shawn. Shawn saw me and came over and sat next to me. I shook his hand as a sign of friendship. Shawn looked despondent, his clothes looked unclean and he looked as if he was uncomfortable with me not because he disliked me but I think he thought he was not good enough to be with me in chapel. I spoke quietly to him I showed him my ipad and showed him some of my photos. His uncomfortableness increased he looked shy and reserved, he left and went to a pew by himself. I left him at it for a short while then I went over and sat by him. I said “Shawn you won’t be saved by religion. Religion does not save only Jesus Christ saves”. I then smelt the alcohol but this did not desist me from explaining the truth to him. “Jesus saves” I said “and only Jesus”. It was then that I looked around the chapel. I saw a Catholic Priest and a few other people and thought that these people avoid and reject Shawn. I wanted to say more to Shawn but chapel is supposed to be quiet and a place for prayer and meditation so I left Shawn and went my way. I left the chapel thinking about what I said and what else I wanted to say.

As I was walking I thought Shawn would be better going to an evangelical church. (Before I forget I must mention that when I went over to Shawn he had a bible open on his lap). So now I thought as I was walking away I thought maybe Shawn should go to a Pentecostal Church, such churches are known to be very evangelical. Shawn needs the gospel message of salvation and it explained to him in a simple down to earth fashion, no church dogma no church doctrine, something very simple. The Roman Catholic Church is definitely not evangelical. It was evangelical many years ago but not now. Shawn is just rejected by the Catholics and even by their priests. Shawn was not after their money. Here’s Shawn in a Catholic chapel trying to make sense out of the Bible and he was being ignored. Oh yes Shawn was in dirty clothes, he smelt of alcohol but he was being denied salvation (not wholly the Catholic Church’s fault as I will explain).

The true church should be leading people the unsaved especially to Jesus Christ and Jesus will lead them to the Father God. The Catholic Church maybe is just the trunk of the tree and the branches the traditional church off shoots and the Pentecostals the twigs. The twigs are the new life the new saved. Twigs reach out they have the fruit (maybe spiritual fruit), twigs are the fringe churches, the modern churches where the younger people worship. Being a trunk of the tree is not bad and being twigs of a tree is not bad. You need the trunk to be a tree. And a tree without twigs and branches is not much of a tree. The tree to grow has to get new life. Shawn is that new life, Shawn can be added on to the tree but not on the trunk but on a twig. The church needs the likes of Shawn a dirty sinner for the church to grow.

So religion does not save, saying Hail Mary no matter how many times will not save, taking the mass, the bread and the wine will not save, confessing to a priest won’t save; all won’t save the soul. We must lead people to Jesus Christ. Only Jesus saves. Jesus LIVES. Jesus is alive now, He died on the cross but came back to life. Pray to Jesus; get the heart to believe that Jesus lives now, and believe in a heaven up there and that by speaking out to Jesus that Jesus will hear you. But one (Shawn) has to know the gospel message, someone has to tell them (Shawn) this message, and then one (Shawn) has to believe this message and pray, talk, speak to God and believe that Jesus is listening. So it’s an act of faith to believe in a Jesus above that you can not see or hear. The act of faith in believing the gospel message will save you. Pentecostals do lead souls to Jesus. But Pentecostals are very militant and pushy and they can be bigoted in their beliefs. Pentecostals are mostly the younger people they like their noisy worship services; meditation and reflection are like alien to them. I love my reflection and meditation and the Catholic Church is quieter and more reflective. Pentecostals are as religious as the traditional churches but in a different way. But the Pentecostals are the new off spring of the main church. The Pentecostals are the fringe of the main church.

A lot of the salvation message is for the heart. True spiritual wisdom comes in to the heart. No man or woman can save a soul only Jesus saves; God sends His Holy Spirit to save but one has to by an act of faith believe before the Holy Spirit is sent (by God) in to the heart of the new believer.

Yours Sincerely; Lester John Murray.


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