Ex-convict leads those imprisoned by material circumstances to freedom in Christ

leonjacobsLeon Jacobs was rescued from a life of crime, gangs, alcohol and drug abuse when he accepted Jesus Christ as his saviour.

Today, he is committed to spreading the Good News of salvation as an ambassador of Jesus Christ.

Jacobs’ testimony is a powerful example for all people, but especially the youth, gang-members and communities of the Cape flats and Mitchell’s Plain where he was born and bred.

He is a messenger of the Good News that no matter the sins and crimes that one has committed, by accepting Jesus as your Saviour and Son of God, your sins will be washed clean by His innocent blood.

This is a compelling and liberating message for those enslaved by poverty, addictions, violence and criminality, who often see no way of escape, yet are liberated when they realise that true freedom comes through none of our own efforts, but by the grace of God.

No favourites
Jacobs has a strong calling to spread the Good News that in Christ, God has no favourites, for we are all offenders without merit, only reconciled with God through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for which we are all equally responsible, whether from wealthy or poor backgrounds, clerics or crooks.

We have all been raised from the same gutters of sin and we have nothing to boast of except Jesus Christ in whom we are all equally loved by our Holy Father.

“I can truly say that it is by God’s grace that my life is changed. For six years I have been free from drug addiction and a life of smuggling, prison and underworld structures.

“For six years my life has been Christ and I am grateful,” says Jacobs.

His is a latter-day, living example of Paul’s words to the Galatians and Corinthians: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in this body I live by faith: faith in the Son of God who loved me and who sacrificed Himself for my sake” (Galatians 2:20). “For it is not ourselves that we are preaching, but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corinthians 4:5).

Jacobs counts himself privileged to have led not only his wife, who was previously a drug merchant, but also a number of gang members to Jesus in whom they found salvation and are all serving together with Jacobs today.

“I am merely a messenger, salvation is through Christ by the grace of God.”

Jacobs is a full-time evangelist preaching in prisons and in the community, at schools, among the youth, and interceding between parents and children who are either suffering the effects of addiction or criminality. He recently gave his testimony at the Newlands youth gathering at which Angus Buchan preached.

Biggest joy
“The biggest joy for me is to see people saved by the Lord from suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction. To see them, months later, healthy and restored with their families, brings so much joy as a witness to their salvation and encourages me to continue.

“I don’t deserve what the Lord is busy doing in my life and the manner in which he is using me, but I am grateful for His grace and love,” says Jacobs.

However, all is not plain sailing, particularly financially.

“When I was selling drugs I always had money, but now it is a season of financial difficulty, which has been a challenge, because the devil has tempted me saying: ‘You know the easy way, turn around and go to the easy way’.

“But there is a great reward for faithfulness and saying no to the enemy. It makes you strong in both your ministry and dependence on the Lord.”

Jacobs believes the gospel of Jesus Christ is particularly relevant and liberating to people in circumstances of poverty, lack, addictions and criminality, because many have reached a point of despair and God’s word tells us that no matter the material circumstances, in Jesus Christ is peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Writing while imprisoned, the Apostle Paul emphasises this point when he writes in Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Spiritual happiness in Christ
Jacobs teaches that material happiness is temporary, because circumstances can change in an instant, while spiritual happiness in Christ is lasting as it is not based on material circumstances, but inner peace, which is an expression of Christ in us not of the external conditions that we are experiencing in the world.

Material reality falls apart, crumbles, rusts, disintegrates and disappears, however, the reality of spirit is eternal.

Paul says in Colossians 3:1-5 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

“For people who have struggled, because of being brought-up in conditions of poverty and unemployment, where crime and violence is rife, Jesus’ Good News is truly a message of hope that can liberate them, not only spiritually and in thought and word, but in lived experience,” says Jacobs.

He emphasises that our relationship with the Lord is not determined by financial or material circumstances, but by the time we spend in fellowship and worship of Him.

“It is my sacrifice that I bring to the prayer altar that has enriched and matured my relationship with our Holy Father through Jesus Christ.

“I am at the Lord’s feet in prayer early in the morning and at night I intercede for my community, for people who are ill, for safety on the roads, and for both servants of the Lord and drug dealers and prostitutes, which keeps my connection with the Lord active.

“I believe the more you kneel before God, the easier it is to stand before any person or human authority.

“Although the Lord is Spirit, I have a real, material relationship with Him; I am aware of His presence and talk with Him throughout the day. He leads me at all times and in all ways.

“I believe obedience to the Lord gives birth to blessing. It is important to rely on the Lord totally. I can say like Paul said: ‘My life is Christ’.

“I don’t take anything on if the Lord does not confirm it. My trust is in the Lord,” says Jacobs.

Jacobs can be contacted at: 076 104 3538, email leonjacobs2014@gmail.com or on facebook – evangelist Leon Jacobs.

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