My father, in his old age, one day asked us to take him to the place where he was saved. It was a few hours drive away from where he lived, but we decided to take him there one Saturday. He was saved at the age of sixteen, and now, in his eighties, he was still grateful for what happened that day many years earlier.
He found the little stone church building on a farm without any problem even though the landscape had changed through the years. Only the walls remained, the roof and the rest of the building were long claimed by the effects of time. When we arrived he stepped inside and pointed with his walking stick to a spot on the floor, now covered by grass, to the place where he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was a sacred moment!
The little church could probably seat about fifty people, with a door at the back and another one near the front at one side. My dad stood there in front and showed us where the pianist sat, how everything was arranged and explained how the services were held.
In those days, he said, some people, when they were convicted of their sin, could not believe that Jesus would forgive them and receive them as His own as they saw themselves too vile for Him to love. It had to be explained to them that salvation is a gift from God to everyone who believes. Once they understood that they only had to believe in Him, their joy knew no end. No wonder my dad remained humbly grateful for his salvation after so many years. The hard times of life could do nothing to diminish the joy of his salvation.
Pointing to the door at the back of the church, he told us how one day, as on the Day of Pentecost, the wind of the Holy Spirit came rushing into the building and out by the door in front. Everyone in the building was baptized in the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues.
Several church leaders, true men of God of unquestionable character, found salvation in that small church on a farm far from town.
Outside, a hundred or so meters from the church, was a hollow in the ground where there used to be a pond where many of those early believers were baptized.
There was nothing fancy and no worship band in that rustic building, but the work that was done in the lives of people lasted a lifetime. As far as those simple saints were concerned they did not accept Jesus as much as they were accepted by Him – they were not doing Him a favour but instead they enjoyed the undeserved favour of God that they received in the gift of His saving grace.
While only ruins remained of that little church building, the work that was done there in the lives of people lasted a lifetime and into eternity. What matters is not how attractive the church building is, but how attractive the church body is to the Holy Spirit.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:1-9