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'I feel like I've been lied to my whole life'

Bill is Jewish and raised in a liberal, Reformed Jewish home. So, when bill fell in love with Ellen, a Gentile, it was not a big issue. But God had plans for Bill, as Stephen Atkinson recently discovered...

Recently I was invited to a church in Ohio to preach and share about the ministry of Christian Witness to Israel. As is often the case, I had scheduled my visit about four months in advance but about a month before I was due to speak at the church, the pastor called to tell me that a Jewish man had just begun attending the fellowship.

Bill, the Jewish man the pastor told me about, was the husband of a believer called Ellen. They had previously been experiencing some marital issues and had separated but as they started reading the Bible together, God started not only doing a work in their marriage but also in Bill’s heart. The issues they were going through in their marriage ultimately drove Bill to prayer. Initially Bill didn’t really know how to pray but soon found himself crying out to the Lord. One day as he and Ellen were praying together, as Bill describes it, ‘it was as if a gauze had been removed from my eyes.’

They were not attending church at the time but while driving home from a movie one Saturday night Ellen told Bill she felt the Lord wanted her to start going to the church I would later visit. The next morning they were at the service, found the
pastor’s sermon ‘to be incredibly meaningful’ and have been attending ever since.

On the Sunday morning I visited, I spoke from 2 Corinthians 3-4 on the surpassing glory of the New Covenant with
particular reference to 3:16: ‘When one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.’

After the service, as the pastor and I were talking in the foyer, Bill came over to us: ‘Did you guys set me up this morning?’

‘No, Bill,’ said the pastor. ‘We had this service arranged months before you started coming to church.’ Bill has since told me that the message I delivered was a demonstration of the Lord’s providence and gave him answers to many of the questions he had at the time.

I recently visited that same area and met Bill again. He told me, ‘You know I feel I’ve been lied to my whole life. I am learning so much from this pastor, as he shows me the gospel from the Old and New Testaments.’

Bill’s mother lives in the second largest Jewish community in the United States; South Florida. When Bill told her of his new faith in Jesus she told him that it wasn’t a good idea and that, in her opinion, the accounts of the Jewish forefathers
contained in the Old Testament were simply made up stories. Now in her eighties, she lives a secular life without hope. Please pray for Bill as he grows in his new faith. Pray also that his mother might begin to grow jealous of his faith and come to know the God who sought and found her son.

To listen to the sermon Stephen preached on 2 Corinthians 3-4 at Grace Presbyterian Church visit the audio downloads page on the CWI website www.cwi.org.uk

This article was first published in the Summer Herald 2015

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