Pulled into Heaven

Christians are not born; they are born again. No one is a Christian because of lineage, heritage, or parentage. Individuals become Christians when they realize they are sinners with no way of removing their sins, they believe that Jesus willingly accepted the punishment they deserve, and they commit their lives into His loving care.

But to know about Jesus—who He is, what He did, and how He conquered sin and death—often requires an evangelist, someone who proclaims that gospel message loud and clear, up hill and down dale, to anyone who is willing (and sometimes unwilling) to listen.

Dwight Lyman Moody was such a man. Some consider him the greatest evangelist who ever lived, preaching before enormous crowds and seeing God convert thousands to Christ. Before his death at age 62 in 1899, he had, among other things, founded Moody Church and what is today Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.

His closest friend, evangelist R. A. (Reuben Archer) Torrey (1856–1928), whom Moody called to head the Bible institute, was asked in 1923 to preach at a memorial service titled “Why God Used D. L. Moody.” Torrey offered many insights, including the fact that Moody had a “consuming passion” to see people saved:

“On one occasion in Chicago Mr. Moody saw a little girl standing on the street with a pail in her hand. He went up to her and invited her to his Sunday school, telling her what a pleasant place it was. She promised to go the following Sunday, but she did not do so. Mr. Moody watched for her for weeks, and then one day he saw her on the street again, at some distance from him. He started toward her, but she saw him too and started to run away. Mr. Moody followed her.”

Eventually Mr. Moody found her and led her to Christ. “He found that her mother was a widow who had once seen better circumstances but had gone down, until now she was living over this saloon,” Torrey said. “She had several children. Mr. Moody led the mother and all the family to Christ. Several of the children were prominent members of the Moody Church until they moved away, and afterwards became prominent in churches elsewhere.”

Torrey said that, when he was the pastor of the Moody Church, the little girl with the pail was, by then, the wife of one of the most prominent officers in the church.

“Only two or three years ago, as I came out of a ticket office in Memphis, Tennessee, a fine-looking young man followed me. He said, ‘Are you not Dr. Torrey?’

“I said, ‘Yes.’

“He said, ‘I am so and so.’ He was the son of this woman. He was then a traveling man and an officer in the church where he lived.”

When Mr. Moody led that little child to Christ, he pulled an entire family into the Kingdom of God. And, said Dr. Torrey, eternity alone will reveal how many succeeding generations were pulled out of darkness and into the Kingdom of His glorious Son.

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