499) The Story Behind the Song “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”

     This story is from the book Why God, Why? by Dr. Peramangalam Job.  Dr. Job (1945-2012) was an internationally known evangelist.  He has been called the “Billy Graham of India,” preaching in 129 countries, sometimes to crowds of 500,000 people.  He also became a global voice for persecuted Christians in Muslim and Communist nations.  The story below speaks of faithfulness in the face of severe persecution, persecution which Dr. Job himself faced.  Hindu militants in India failed in an attempt on Job’s life in 1999, but in June of that year they killed his 21-year old son, Michael, by running him down with a car near the medical school where he was studying to become a doctor.  Job died of a heart attack in August of 2012 while on a preaching mission in Hungary.

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     About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales, England.  As a result of this, many missionaries came from England to northeast India to spread the Gospel.  The region was known as Assam and comprised hundreds of tribes.  The tribal communities were quite primitive and aggressive.  The tribesmen were also called head-hunters because of a social custom which required the male members of the community to collect as many heads as possible.  A man’s strength and ability to protect his wife was assessed by the number of heads he had collected.  Therefore, a youth of marriageable age would try and collect as many heads as possible and hang them on the walls of his house.  The more heads a man had, the more eligible he was considered.  Into this hostile and aggressive community, came a group of Welsh missionaries spreading the message of love, peace, and hope of Jesus Christ.  Naturally, they were not welcomed.  One Welsh missionary finally succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children.  This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity.  Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers.  He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution.  Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man sung his reply, “I have decided to follow Jesus.  No turning back.”

     Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children.  As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith?  You have lost both your children.  You will lose your wife too.”

     But the man replied, again singing, “Though none go with me, still I will follow.  No turning back.”

     The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down.  In a moment she joined her two children in death.  Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”

     In the face of death the man sung, “The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back.  No turning back.”

     He was shot dead like the rest of his family.  But with their deaths, a miracle took place.  The chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man.  He wondered, “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago?  There must be some supernatural power behind the family, and I too want that supernatural power.”

     In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!”  When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.

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Joshua 24:14-15  —  (Joshua said),  “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.  Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites,in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

John 6:68  —  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

2 Corinthians 4:11-13  —  To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.  We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;  when we are slandered, we answer kindly.  We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

Revelation 14:13  —  Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this:  Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”  “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

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I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS

I have decided to follow Jesus (3x)
No turning back, no turning back

Though none go with me, still I will follow (3x)
No turning back, no turning back

The world behind me, the cross before me (3x)
No turning back, no turning back.

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To hear this on youtube go to:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypi4jz2_sHk

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