Ed Baldwin gave this address at Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida on September 27, 1992. In over 35 years of public speaking he had spoken to crowds as small as one or two to great gatherings numbering in the thousands. Mr. Baldwin was 85 years of age when he delivered this speech. It was his last public address.
What I have to say is especially to you folks that raised your hands. I drove over 900 miles down here to express myself to you from my heart to your heart, you folks who raised your hands. This is my program that I’m presenting to you.
As Chuck told you, I was a hopeless alcoholic. I was a confirmed alcoholic before I was out of my teens. And by the time I was 39 years old I had long since lost my first wife and my two precious little girls. My folks had all given up on me. And I became so sick and tired and so depressed that I couldn’t see anything in life worth living for. And I attempted suicide. And they stripped me naked and put me in the state hospital insane asylum in Little Rock, Arkansas in the strong room. I woke up out of delirious tremors laying on an old filthy mattress. And it was shortly after that, several days after that, the Alcoholics Anonymous people came and they took me out of that institution and they took me down to the AA club room there at 121 1/2 Main Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. I lived in that club room for six weeks endeavoring to take the Twelve Steps of the AA program. And it was in this third step of the AA program that brought me to Jesus. And not only brought me to Jesus but brought me to complete sobriety and complete peace and joy and happiness and all the good things of life for all of these years since that time.
This third step of the AA program says, “We decided to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understand Him.” Now bless your hearts folks, I didn’t understand God and I had no idea how to turn my will and life over to Him. I was intelligent enough though to realize that I couldn’t understand God by calling Him the “old man upstairs” or the “old man with long whiskers” or calling Him the “force” or a “totem pole”. I heard a lady up there in La Porte in the AA group who said that Charlie Brown in the comic strip was her God. I just couldn’t grasp God as a Charlie Brown comic strip.
And so as I continued to think and dwell upon it, wondering how to turn my will and life over to Him I realized that there was only one way to understand God and that is how He presents Himself in His Holy Word and in the Living Word, the Holy Word – the Bible and the Living Word – the Lord Jesus Christ. And there’s no other way that I could understand Him and I come to realize that.
And so I decided that I would try this Jesus. I didn’t have anything to lose. And I figured He couldn’t goof my life up any worse than I have. And so, like a little kid, I just opened my heart. I came to Jesus like this, I said, “Lord Jesus I don’t understand how you could ever love anyone like me. But if you do love me come into my heart and my life and be my Savior, my Lord and take over my life.” And bless God, He took me at my word and He came in. And man, oh man He brought that “ole bubbly, bubbly” and it’s been bubbling ever since and I haven’t been able to keep my mouth shut since.
But for you folks that raised your hand, I ‘d like to emphasize this. You know I personally believe that God raised up AA. I believe God raised up AA. The churches had failed the alcoholics so much that I believe God raised up AA to help the alcoholic.
But coming back to that third step, I want to emphasize this. I believe Jesus spoke in the gospel of John, the 14th chapter, the 6th verse. I believe that Jesus spoke the most important words that was ever spoken on the face of this earth. And Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man (priest, preacher or prisoner) cometh unto the Father, but by me.” And dear folks, I don’t believe your going to reach God, you want to turn your will and your life over to the care of God. If you can reach God any other way except through His Son, then Jesus is a liar. Because He says, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” That’s the only way.
If you are tired of the load of your sin
let Jesus come into your heart.
If you desire a new life to begin
let Jesus come into your heart.
Just now your doubtings give ‘or,
just now reject Him no more.
Right now throw open the door
and let Jesus come into your heart.
I pray you will.