Sermons

Summary: We can help those who are missing in action and help bring them home by applying three principles from scripture to our lives.

S-ubject: Apostasy

C-entral Theme: Teens who leave Jesus

O-bjective: We can help those who are missing in action and help bring them home by applying three principles from scripture to our lives.

R-ationale:

#1: OBSERVE YOUR ENVIROMENT

#2: SEARCH AND RESCUE

#3: RESTORE PEOPLE

R-esources: Intro: "I knew you’d come" (Fresh Ideas c1997 Gospel Light pg 39)

#1: "The Mirror" (Hot Illustrations c1996 Youth Specialties)

#2: "Great Answers but no Help" (Hot Illustrations c1996 Youth Specialties)

#3: "Breaking out of Prison" (Fresh Ideas c1997 Gospel Light)

Con: "Whose Duty is it?" (Fresh Ideas c1997 Gospel Light)

E-valuation:

INTRODUCTION: "I KNEW YOU’D COME"

There were two friends who served together during World War I. They spent much of the war involved

in trench warfare, suffering from terible living conditions and being constantly under fire. The closeness of the trenches and the terror of the war drew these two friends closer and closer together. They talked about life, their families, their hopes and about their future---when and if they returned home.

During one battle when the troops had left their trenches and charged the enemy, Jim was severely wounded and fell on the battlefield. Bill made it back to the trench. As the enemy’s shelling continued, Jim lay suffering, all alone, in the no-man’s land between the trenches.

As the shelling continued, Bill wanted to go to his friend so he could comfort him and encourage him as only a friend could do, but the officere in charege refused to let Bill leave the trench because it was too danger ous. But when the officer turned his back, Bill left the trench and began to make his way toward his friend. Shells exploded all around him, but he continued. Finally he made it to Jim.

He managed to drag Jim back to the trench, but it was too late. His friend died in his arms. The officer, seeing that he had died, looked at Bill and said, "Well, was it worth the risk?"

Without hesitation Bill said, "Yes, sir, it was. My friend’s last words made it more than worth it. He looked up at me and said, ’I knew you would come.’"

Application: Do you and I have friends that are MIA and need someone to come rescue them? And are we willing to do whatever it take to rescue them even if it cost us personally?

SCRIPTURE TEXT:

Matthew 18:12-14 (NIV)

12"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.

14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

I. OBSERVE YOUR ENVIROMENT

A. PAY ATTENTION

1. In order to see young people who have strayed away from God come home we are going to have to pay attention to those that are around us. Focus on others and not on yourself.

2. The world’s philosophy has been "look out for yourself because no one else will", but God says to consider (think about, ponder, hold in high esteem) others better than ourselves.

3. We must look outside ourselves and pay attention to those that are around us. Remember it is not about you and what you want. Selfishness is the main factor in the church forgetting about MIAs. We are so involved in ourselves that we don’t pay attention to anything or anyone else.

4. Look around you and observe your environment. Look for key signs that people are straying away and do whatever it takes to keep them from becoming MIAs. It would be better for people to hate you now and love you later than for them to love you now and hate your later, once we all stand before God.

B. MY LITTLE WORLD

1. The world in which you live in is bigger than you! It encompasses more than just your wishes, wants, whims, and dreams. I hold the rest of humanity. Get beyond your little world.

Illustration: "The Mirror"

Once there was an old rich man with a cranky, miserable attitude. He visited a rabbi one day to see if the rabbi might be able to help him discover what was wrong with his life.

After the two men talked together for a while, the rabbi thought of a good way to illustrate to the rich man the problem with his life. Taking the man by the hand, he led him over to the window. He asked him to look out the window and tell him what he saw. The man stood there a moment before saying, "I see some men and women and a few children."

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