The most interesting story I ever heard was told me years ago by a man over 80 years of age. We were sitting together on a projecting rock of a mountain in Arkansas. Here is the story:

“I was down in the country during the civil war. Across on the other side yonder, there were hundreds of tents where our soldiers were encamped. Measles broke out and many of the brave lads died. The epidemic got so bad we stretched some tents farther down the valley and moved all the measles patients into these tents. This, of course, was done to protect as far as possible the good soldiers. I was wardmaster in charge of the tents where the measles patients were located.

“One night while I was on the ward I passed a bunk where there was a very sick soldier lad not more than 17 years of age. The boy looked at me with a pathetic expression and said, “Wardmaster, I believe I am going to die. I am not a Christian. My mother isn’t a Christian. My father isn’t a Christian. I never had any Christian training. I never attended church. I did go to Sunday school with a boyfriend just once. A woman taught the Sunday class. She seemed to be such a good woman. She read us something out of the Bible about a man. I think his name was Nicodemus. Anyway, it was about a man who went to see Jesus one night. Jesus told this man he must be born again. The teacher said all people must be born again in order to go to heaven when they die. I have never been born again, and I don’t want to die like this, won’t you please get the Chaplain so he can tell me how to be born again?

The old man hesitated for a moment, “You know, in those days I was an agnostic at least, that is what I called myself. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t anything but an old sinner. So I told the boy, “You don’t need a chaplain, just be quiet now. Don’t worry, you’ll be alright.” I went around the ward and in about an hour I came back to the boy’s bed. He looked at me out of such sad, staring eyes as he said, “Wardmaster, if you won’t get me the chaplain, please get the doctor. I am chocking to death.” Alright, my son, I’ll get the doctor,” I said. So I went off and found the doctor. He came and mopped out the throat of the lad so he could breathe just a little easier. I know the boy was going to die. I had seen many other cases just like this. The boy was so sweet he literally climbed into my heart. He thanked me for my kindness. He thanked the doctor for being so good to him. The doctor and I went away from the bed.

In about an hour I came back expecting to find the boy dead but he was still struggling. He looked up out of his eyes of death and said, “There is no use, wardmaster. I have got to die, and haven’t been born again. Whether you believe it or not, won’t you find the chaplain and let him tell me how to become born again?” I looked at him for a moment and thought about how helpless he was in the grip of death. So I said, “Alright, my son, I will get the chaplain.”

I walked away a few paces and then turned and went back to the boy’s bedside. I said, “My boy, I am not going to get you the chaplain, I am going to tell you what to do myself. Now understand I am an agnostic. I don’t know anything. Yes, I do. I know one good woman. I know if there is a heaven I know she is there. So I will tell you what my mother told me. You can try it and see if it works. Now I am going to teach you a verse of Scripture. The verse is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten …” my mother said that I cannot save myself, but if I will believe in Jesus He will save me.”

I asked the boy to say the verse with me. I started and he followed with a weak and trembling voice, “ ‘For God so loved the world’, ‘For God so loved the world’; He gave His only begotten Son’; ‘He gave his only begotten Son’; ‘that whosoever believeth in Him’; ‘that whosoever believeth in him’; ‘should not perish’; ‘should not perish’; ‘but have everlasting life’; ‘but have everlasting life’. “Now my boy, my mother said if a person will trust Jesus he will not perish but have everlasting life.”

I referred the lad to another verse my mother taught, but he closed his eyes, stretched his hands across his breast and in a whisper he quoted slowly, repeating some of the words several time, ‘For God so loved the world … He gave His only begotten Son . . . that whosoever . . . whoever believeth, believeth in Him.’ Then he stopped and said with a clear voice, ‘Praise God, wardmaster, it works. I believe in Him! I shall not perish! I have everlasting life. I have been born again! Wardmaster, your mother was right. Why don’t you try it? Do what your mother said. It works wardmaster. This thing works! Warmaster before I go I want to ask you to do something for me…. Take a kiss to my mother and tell her what you told me, and tell her that her dying son said, ‘it works.’ I leaned over and kissed him in the mouth and then as he drew his last breath he said, “It works.”

The old man wiping sweat out of his eyes and tears out of the wrinkles of his face, said, ‘The lad was right. It does works. Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but has now everlasting life. It works, I know it works.”

Dear reader, the above is a true story. The gospel still works. Jesus still saves. Will you not now receive the Saviour? Whosoever … whosoever, that means you too. Do it now, for tomorrow might be too late. Do it now wherever you are, the Saviour is nearby. He is knocking at the door of your heart. Open up your heart and He will come in (Rev. 3:20).

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