As I write this today I’m constrained to address the issue of salvation and sharing it. The Gospel is “good news” it’s as a song writer said, “it’s the best news ever”. It broadcasts a call to an acknowledgment and recognition of its profound implications. The message of gospels makes demands upon all with associated and phenomenal rewards/penalties for its rejection and neglect.
It’s hardly surprising really because – the Gospel is not simply an expression of Gods Power it is in essence the Power of God released to run freely into the World.
Anyone who has been preaching for any length of time, and I have been doing so for 51yrs knows how exhilarating it is to spend time in prayer and study and hear from God. The challenge however, that follows is a weighty one because it involves how to bring forth the expression of Gods heart, mind and intention. This is especially the case when preaching the gospel because it is both – simple and inexplicable – at the same time.
The challenge is to utilise words to explain the infinite, the heavenly and humanly speaking the unknowable. All this whilst trying to be engaging, powerful, motivating, encouraging, accurate, practical and spiritual at the same time.
I’m a fairly outspoken kind of guy. I tend to say things as they are and yet I’m guarded in respect of what I say and to whom. It’s a truth that cannot avoided that – Words spoken can only be forgiven not forgotten. I recognise that words have weight because something once said cannot be unsaid. Drop a stone into a pool of water and the ripples of the stone cast are ever widening and non-ending. It’s impossible to know what back wash or decisions of others will result.
We are right in our declaration of “God is Love” it’s true that it’s an essential element of His essence but and it’s a very serious but – He is more than love. He is Judgement, He is Justice, He is Wrath, and these are all perfectly intertwined with a synergy beyond our understanding all balanced and perfectly aligned to one another.
We form gods in our own thinking and usually we are those gods and as the many philosophers say it is with the intention of becoming demi-gods. However, it’s a serious mistake to carry this over into the reality of our lives and especially so when eternal destinies are at stake.
It’s an undeniable truth that there is a God we want and a God who is and we need to be clear that the two are not the same.
Let me pose a question.
- “If God chooses sovereignly to bestow His Grace on some sinners and withhold His Grace from other sinners, is there any violation of justice in this?” My response to this is – Of course not!
Already we see the God we want and a God who is are not the same because naturally speaking we want a total pouring out of His Grace without exception – “it ain’t gonna happen!”
Let me pose a second question.
- “If God allows some sinners to perish is He treating them unjustly?” My response again is – Of course not!
Why to both questions? – One group receive Grace the other receive Justice. None of us in the final analysis are in ourselves worthy of anything but Gods Justice.
We ought not confuse Gods mercy with His approval
To be plain and blunt today in all truth and honesty there are only two kinds of people: –
- Those in the Kingdom of Darkness or those in the Kingdom of Light.
- Those in the Broad Path to Destruction or the Narrow Pathway to Life.
- Those in the process and journey to heaven or the journey to hell.
- Those whose Father is either the Devil or God.
The Gospels declaration is – Choose – and acknowledge Christ’s sovereignty.
The World is the closest unbelievers will ever know and the closest to hell Gods children will ever know.
There is a saying that says, “What I do today is important because I am paying a day of my life for it. What I accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is so valuable.”
So, in light of these things let me ask you with truly a heart’s desire to see you enter into God’s Blessing.
- Perishing people hate the gospel (Do you hate the good news of the Gospel?)
- Perishing people reject the gospel (Do you today reject the good news of the Gospel?)
- Perishing people refuse to believe (Do you today refuse to love Christ?)
What characterises Perishing People – I’ll tell you: –
- Perishing People take pleasure in wickedness.
- Perishing People love sin.
- Perishing People will not believe the truth.
- Perishing People believe lies.
- Perishing People will not follow God.
As Christians: – We ought to be the happiest people on the planet. We ought to be the most hopeful. We ought to be the most joyful. We ought to have no anxieties. We ought to have no fears. WHY? – Because we have been chosen in eternity past for eternal future glory.
The apostle Paul says: – “Believe while you can. Believe while it is day. Believe while you may, because judgment will come when you have rejected Christ so long that you no longer can receive Him as a divine judgment.”
The story is told of a person who had gone through First Aid Training. One day right in front of their house there was a serious car accident. Someone was driving and lost control, mounted the footpath and hit a head-on. The driver was thrown from the car and in a terrible state with blood everywhere. The First Aider was on the scene and the first one there. All they could remember was “if I put my head between my knees I wouldn’t faint.” In many respects the Church is like that today. In a World full of sorrow, full of pain, full of anguish, and trouble, the Church is going around with its head between its knees and singing.
My fellow believer, God has anointed and empowered us to lead people to His Son so they may hear salvation’s story.
In the words of Fanny Crosby, we are to: – Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
We Must Rescue the Perishing – Paul said, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” – “2 Corinthians 4:3-4“
Child of God we must reach out and rescue those who are perishing and dying in sin! Many are drowning in the sea of iniquity. They are in desperate need of the gospel lifeline.
Will you, will I throw it to them? Jesus said: “..I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” – “Luke 13:3”
Why should we bother well! Because to rescue the perishing is Gods will “because it is not the Lord’s desire that a single soul perish in sin” – “Ezekiel 33:11” and because as “Romans 6:23” tells us – “The wages of sin is death” and “The soul that sins is the soul that dies” – “Ezekiel 18:20”
If you or I were cooking a steak and it fell in the barbecue we would pull it out, even if it were a hamburger we would pull it from the fire wouldn’t we? If we were to see a house in flames we would on hearing the pleas from those trapped and attempt to rescue them wouldn’t we? Even so, in a far worst situation stand those we work with, study with, live next door to, meet whilst out shopping or playing the sport we love – can we be so calloused and fail to snatch men and women in pity from sin and its terrible consequences?
Peter said, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” – “2 Peter 3:9”
So, we must rescue the perishing because we fear they will be eternally lost “2 Thessalonians 1:8-9” and we should want to do this because we have compassion on them.
All around us we are faced with those who have fallen under life’s crushing loads. We ought to help bear these burdens There are those who fallen captive to temptation and have been overcome by it and are now held captive. Along with them every day we come face to face with those who have become discouraged and have fallen.
These folks need to be restored “Galatians 6:1”. We are called upon to be ready to lift up the hands that hang down and give strength to the feeble knees “Hebrews 12:12”. So many have through the deceit of sin and the enemy wandered from the truth, and we are called upon to do our best to turn them around and bring them back “James 5:19-20”.
How often do we weep over a lost and dying world? What about some individual, friend or loved one? Does it really bother us? I am afraid that we may only shed a few tears because we are not totally convinced that the world is really lost. We just do not see clearly the lostness of this world. Perhaps we do not understand the exceeding sinfulness of sin!
If we have any heart for evangelism and witnessing for Christ we will only be truly successful in rescuing the perishing if we are filled with compassion and tears. The Psalmist said, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” – “Psalm 126: 5-6”.
There was a day when Jesus reached down and pulled us out of the muck and mire of sin. He now lightens the crushing loads of life. He gives us rest and peace. Therefore, the Christian can say: “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me” – “Philippians 4:13”. Yes, the Lord proved Himself mighty to save and He is “therefore able to save completely (to the uttermost), those who come to God, through him” – “Hebrews 7:25”.
The Poet, James Whitcomb Riley, aptly said in respect of reflecting upon God’s grace in our lives: – “When over the fair frame of friend or foe, the shadow of disgrace shall fall, instead of words of blame, or proof of so and so, let something good be said. Forget not that no fellow human being yet, may fall so low but that love may lift its head; even when the cheek of shame with tears is wet, if something good be said. No generous heart may vainly turn aside in ways of sympathy; no soul so dead but may awaken strong and glorified, if something good be said. And so, I charge ye, by the thorny crown, and by the cross on which the Saviour bled, and by your own soul’s hope of fair renown, let something good be said.”
If you are reading this meditation and have never given your life to Jesus Christ you are perishing? And my plea with you right now, is to reach out and grab hold of Christ and his Gospel. Obey him today by faith, repentance, confessing Him as God’s Son, and being baptized in water, for the remission of your sins – “John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 8:37; Acts 2:38”.
If you are a Child of God do you feel any obligation to rescue the perishing? When you see those who are not Christians, do you see them as perishing in sin? Do you pray for them? How many who perish in sin now, would be led to the Lord, if all were like you? Have you been praying to God that He will find a way to use you to rescue the perishing, and have you, yourself, sought such opportunities?
Prayer: – Lead me to some soul today, Oh, teach me, Lord, just what to say; Friends of mine are lost in sin, and cannot find their way. Few there are who seem to care, and few there are who pray; melt my heart and fill my life, give me one soul today.