Bible Students' Lives Changed by The Story of Hope
It began as just the next lesson in The Story of Hope. For several weeks, Pastor Dennis Nkosi of Crossroads Community of Christ Church in Durban, South Africa, had been teaching a group of sixteen students, including two pastors. That Monday night, the group studied the event of the bronze serpent in the wilderness. The Israelites had rebelled in unbelief against God, and He punished them in judgment with deadly serpent bites. When the people confessed their sin and Moses prayed for deliverance, God provided a way to be saved from death. They needed to look and respond to God in faith in order to be restored. During the lesson, there was a palpable tension in the room. The students left the room that night clearly troubled.
On Wednesday night as class resumed and Pastor Dennis prepared to start the next lesson, the students shared that they needed some answers before they continued. Several of them explained they believed that if a deacon or man of God prayed over you, then you became a believer. It is very common in African churches to have an elder say a prayer over someone and then tell them they are saved. Also, some of them understood that once you are saved you will not sin again. Both teachings are common in many African churches. The lesson of the bronze serpent had confused them and raised doubts.
Pastor Dennis carefully explained and emphasized to them that each person must understand that he is a sinner before God and repent of their sin and false beliefs about God, themselves, and how to have restored relationship with Him. At the same time, they must, in a faith response, trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, as the only hope and remedy for salvation. Without this repentance and trust in Jesus, we have not yet passed from spiritual death to spiritual life. The class again left that night visibly distressed.
Several of the students drive to class and on their return home that night, two of the cars had to pull over to the side of the road. What they had heard that evening had really challenged them. One of the men said, “Up until tonight, I would have told you with confidence that I am saved and have been for years. Now I don’t know what to think.” After much discussion, six of them that night responded by confessing their sins to God and trusting in Christ alone for their salvation!
Pastor Dennis has for a while now been teaching the central story of God’s redemption and the essential truths of the gospel to pastors and bible students in South Africa using The Story of Hope. He has been used mightily of God to correct and bring a true understanding of the gospel message to many. Pray for him and his ABWE colleagues, Darin & Kathy Ishler, as they continue to strive together in Durban, South Africa.