Because We Love And We Care: Who Is Going To Go Looking?
9/17/2000 Psalm 24:1-6, Luke 15:1-10
Suppose for a moment that you were at a bus stop, and a friend came by and gave you a small bag and said, "I no longer need this, it’s yours." You take the bag and get on the bus. When you get off at your next stop, as the bus pulls away you, realize that you left the small bag on the bus. You wave at the bus, but its too late.
You go on about your business the rest of the day, barely thinking off what was in that bag. A couple of years later, you run into your friend. Your friend asks you, "so what did you do with the diamond ring I gave you." You say, "you’re kidding. What diamond ring are you talking about." The ring that was in the bag, I gave you 2 years ago was a $10,000 ring. What did you do with it?
All of sudden you realize that you have lost something very valuable, and there is virtually no way to recover the item now. If you had of known then, what you know now, you would have done a much more intensive search. Instead of waving at the bus, you would have ran after the bus. If you didn’t catch it, you’d try to flag down a ride to catch up with the bus.
You’d be calling RTA to see if they could get in contact with the driver enroute to see if he could go and check for the bag. You might have even offered a reward to anyone finding the bag and turning it in. But no, when you had the opportunity to recover it, you let it slide because you did not know the value of what had been lost.
If something is lost who will go looking for it. If I said, "I lost a quarter in the grass out on the lawn today", I guarantee you that one or two little kids will be out there trying to find that quarter." If I said, "I lost a rolled up hundred dollar bill out in the grass and whoever finds it can have it, many of you would not be here for the end of this sermon, because you will feel a leading of the Spirit to go and find that bill." The value we place on the thing which was lost, will determine who is willing to go looking for it.
In our Old Testament reading, there was a profound truth stated that we often so miss about God. It says the earth is the Lord’s, and everything it it, the world and all who live in it. This verse says that God has a claim on everybody’s life, because they belong to Him.
It does not matter how old we are, smart we are, color we are, bad we are, tough we are, cool we are, sick we are, messed up we are or anything else. We are property belonging to God. Every cow, cat cheetah chipmunk and all other animals belong to God. Every piece of gold, silver, diamond, and any other kind of wealth belongs to God. Everybody that you see belongs to God. This means that God will ultimately do what He wants to do with His property.
But of all the things God owns in the earth, only one category of items is described by God as being lost. That category is people. In our New Testament reading, Jesus was criticized for eating and hanging out with some pretty low-down people. People that would rip you off and laugh in your face. People that wouldn’t darken the doors of a church with their shadow. People who did not know God and had little intention of wanting to know him. They were people who believed they were having a good time with life. By their standards and by some of ours, they were having a good time. There was plenty of money and plenty of partying going on in their circle. They had the cigars, the foul language, and the wild lifestyle.
But Jesus went over to this group. He told his critics three stories. One about a shepherd who lost one of a 100 sheep. One about a woman who lost one of ten coins. One about a father who lost one of two sons. The shepherd didn’t say, "what’s the big deal. 99 out of a 100 is a pretty good average to me. No the shepherd left the 99 and diligently searched for the one.
The lady who lost the coin, didn’t say, "My bag, but hey I can make it by on the other nine." No she tore the house up cleaning in every nook and cranny until she found it. In the story of the son who asked for his inheritance so he could go do his own thing, the father didn’t say, "That boy always was making stupid decisions. I’ll just put all my effort in my other son." No that Father looked for his son, until the day the son made it back home.
In each case, the person knew something of value had been lost, and it demanded an all out search. When God says people are lost it means they are out of relationship with Him. They are not able to receive His blessings in the way He wants to give them, because they are not in the right place to receive them. When Jesus spoke of Judas as being lost, he said of Judas, "It would have been better for him to never have been born."
People who are lost, do not have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life which will be read at the final judgment. The Bible teaches in Revelations 20:15, "if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." No one dies in the lake of fire. It is a place of eternal pain and suffering without any hope of escape. This is the pay back for the wrong and sins that we do and our refusal to accept God’s plan for us to escape.
God sees people as lost, and that’s why He initiated an all out search to go and find His property so that it might be rightly reclaimed. That search had two major phases. The first phase involved Jesus. The Scriptures tell us that God loved us so much, He sent Jesus from heaven into the world to find us, so that if any of us were willing to believe on Jesus, and live for Him, we would no longer be lost, but restored to our rightful place with God. After God sent Jesus, before Jesus left, Jesus told the church, now I am sending you to find those who are lost that they too can found.
Who is going to go looking for God’s property. Only those who put the same premium on people’s soul as God does. God says there is nothing in this world, that a person should be willing to give in exchange for his or her soul. But many people have no idea of how valuable their soul is. They treat their souls the same way, as the person with the bag with the diamond ring on the bus who left the bag on the bus. They do not have a clue that their soul is going to live forever, and unfortunately that forever is going to be spent in pain and suffering because they are lost.
Suppose you were in a fire in your home and you were the only one to survive. What would you think of a friend who came by to comfort you who said something like this. "I am so glad to see you made it. I saw the fire when it was first starting on the side of the house, but I knew you needed your sleep and didn’t like to be waken up early before going to work. I was hoping you’d get up in time, and I see you did." You’d probably say, "you call yourself a friend, knew I was in danger, and you were concerned about me getting a little upset over being woke up early. Do you realize what all I lost because of you not taking any action."
You may say, who would be dumb enough to do something like that. But let’s be honest. Have we not done the same thing on a spiritual level. We know that some of our friends if they were to die today, would wake up in hell before night and we have never once told them how they could escape. We know that Aunt Susie is a wonderful aunt and fun to be with. The truth is she is lost. My best friend can make me laugh. The truth is that friend is lost. That lady at the store is really mean. The truth is she is lost. Granddaddy has some good stories. The truth is he is lost. The neighbor keeps their lawn spotless. The truth is, he is lost. Our co-workers have been on the job for 5 years. The truth is they are lost.
We have all been at a family member’s, or friend’s funeral and wanted to say nice things about them. But the truth is, "they were lost." In some instances we never attempted to tell them about Jesus Christ. When we say "we love and we care" it has to include loving and caring about souls. If we do not value people’s souls, we will not go looking for them. If we will not go looking, then we cannot fulfill our purpose which is to bring people into a right relationship with God. If we will not fulfill our purpose, then what good are we to God.
People are valuable in the eyes of God. People’s souls are of the greatest value to God, because God created us to live with Him now and forever. Each one of us is more important in the eyes of God than we think we are. God placed you in your family, because He intended to use you to impact people in your family. He placed you on your job, because that’s part of his strategy to find lost souls at that company. He placed you in your school, because there are souls there you can reach for Him, if you want to do it.
The power of life found in Christ lives inside of you as a Christian. The life that Jesus offers is available to others through you. Don’t try to put yourself down in what you have to give to those who are hurting. Yes you can make a difference. Christ’s life within you is more than sufficient to meet every human need. When people run into you, they run into the Christ that is in you. You may not know all the answers, but you have someone inside of you who does. The light of Christ that is inside of you, should provide some hope for the lives of your friends, your co-workers and family members. This does not mean all of them will get saved, but it does mean all of them will at least have a ray of hope.
Not everybody Jesus witnessed to and demonstrated his life upon got saved. Just as there were those who resisted the truth Jesus had to offer them, there will be those who will resist our message on his behalf. We share the message because we love and we care. We can be thankful that God chooses to express Himself through us, by giving light and life to those around us.
Our New Life Center is not about a building. It’s about new life for people in everyday circumstances and new life in being in touch with God’s plan for their lives. When God called us, He already had a plan in mind for how He intended to use us as part of a great army to go after than which was lost. What should motivate us to try to reach those we love as well as those God sends across our path.
First we have a confidence in heaven. We know that there is going to be an after life and that heaven is going to be the place everybody is going to want to hang. We know we’re going there not because of our goodness, but because of our faith in the work of Jesus Christ. We are the only ones with the tickets. If we do not pass out the tickets, the people who are lost cannot take the journey. Don’t you want the approval of people when you get to heaven and to hear them say, "if you had not offered me this ticket, I might not be here today."
Second, we should strive to please Jesus Christ. Lost people matter to God and Jesus was willing to give his life for them. The reality is, we are often to embarrassed to share our faith, because of what others may think of us. Maybe we will not get asked to be a part of this group if they knew we were "religious." Everyday we must decide whether or lives will be spent pleasing God or seeking to please people. If we seek to please people, in the end we will have betrayed them in the worse possible manner. Jesus tells us to go and tell others the good news about Him. How can we be pleasing in His sight, and not help those He wants to help.
Third, we should recognize we have been giving an official position as ambassador’s of Jesus Christ. Our message is one of peace. God has paid the price for sin; God is not at war with sinners; sinners can now believe and be saved. No one needs to fear the message of the gospel, because it simply tells the truth about what is to come and how you can be on the winning side.
Consider some facts about ambassadors.
(1) Ambassadors are chosen. Jesus Christ chose you to be His representative. When you got saved, you accepted his commission. You no longer represented yourself, but rather Christ. Your aim in coming to Christ was to please Christ and be faithful to the task given to you.
(2) Ambassadors are protected. An ambassador must be a citizen of the nation that he/she represents. You are a citizen of heaven The nation supplies their ambassadors’ every need and stands ready to protect them. Likewise Christ supplies your needs and will stand with you in every crisis. When someone rejects the message of the ambassador, its not the ambassador that’s being rejected, but rather the one whom the ambassador represents.
(3) Ambassadors are held accountable. Ambassadors represent their countries and say what they are instructed to say. They know that they must one day give an account of their work. As Ambassadors of Christ, we are not free to just do what everybody else is doing, or to keep our mouths shut, because we do not want to offend anyone with the message. Our love for people should make us want to be honest with them.
(4) Ambassadors know when to be quiet. There mission is to simply make known the message. Not to force someone to accept it. Not to harass someone with it. Not to feel guilt or shame because someone laughed at it or at them.
All believers are ambassadors, whether we accept the commission or not. “As the Father has sent me, also I send you,” said Christ. Because we love and we care, who is willing to go looking for those to whom Christ is sending us. There are a lot of people who are lost who God wants to use us to find them. Our first goal in building the New Life Center, should be to view ourselves as new life centers being sent by Christ to bring to those who are lost back into a right relationship with God.
As our first pledge for the New Life Center, let us ask God, God how many people can I win for you and walk with into the New Life Center three years from now. The number of souls we bring in, will always be of greater value than the number of dollars that we can give. Start identifying people in your family, your friends, at school, and at work and start praying for them by name, that God would use you to reach out and touch their lives. Then wait for the Lord to give you various opportunities to do so. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and the people who live in it. Lost people matter to God. Therefore let us be willing to go and to find them and bring them back home.
6) Official Positions As Ambassadors
7) Message--peace, God Paid The Price, God Not At War, Sinners Can Be Saved, No Need To Fear
The Nature Of An Ambassador
1) Ambassadors Are Chosen-- Not Self Appointed--Jesus Chose Us
2) Ambassadors Are Protected--A Citizen First--Protected By Home Country
3) Ambassadors Are Held Accountable--Not Free To Do As They Please
4) Ambassadors Know When To Be Quiet--No Need To Force
1) All Believers Are Sent---"As The Father Sent Me So I Send you" ---Jesus
2) We Love & Care So We Go
3) Becoming A New Life Center First --Bringing Back Others
4) Pledge To Win The Lost For Christ.
5) Identifying People For Christ
6) Lord Please Use Me
7) The Earth’s Is The Lords
8) Finding The Lost And Bringing Them Home
Sermon Outline Pastor Rick
Because We Love And We Care:
Who Is Going To Go Looking?
9/17/2000 Psalm 24:1-6 Luke 15:1-10
An Encounter At The Bus Stop
1) The Bag From A Friend
2) Oops I Left it, Stop The Bus
3) Two Years Later & The $10,000 Ring
4) If I Knew Then, What I Know Now
5) Run, Flag Down, Call, Reward
A Pastor Loses Some Money
1) The Quarter & The Reaction
2) The Rolled Up $100 Bill
3) Value Determines Who Will Go Looking
A Truth About God
1) The Earth & All In It-
2) Universal Claim-- Smart, Color, Tough, Cool, Sick, Messed Up
3) Cow, Cat Cheetah, Chipmunk
4) Gold, Silver Diamond
5) One Item Or Category Is Lost
Jesus And Lost People
1) Hanging With The Wrong Crowd
2) Low Down, Riff Off, No Church, No God
3) Just Having A Good Time, Cigars, Wild Style
4) Shepherd 1-100, Woman 1-10, Father 1-2
5) 99 of 100 not bad, 1-10 my bag, 1-2 bad stupid decisions
What Does God Mean By Lost
1) Out Of Relationship With Him
2) Not Able To Receive Blessings Desired
3) Jesus=Judas Better Not To Have Been Born
4) Name Missing From Book Of Life
5) Rev. 20:15 And The Lake Of Fire
6) Payment For Sin & Rejection Of Offer
God’s Response To His Lost Property
1) All Out Search Initiated By Jesus
2) John 3:16--All Willing To Believe & Trust Could Be Found
3) Second Phase Of Search Involves Believers
4) The World Is Not As Valuable As Soul
People Misunderstanding Their Loss
1) Unaware Of The Value Of A Soul
2) Like The Bag On The Bus
3) No Clue As To Eternity And How It Will Be
4) Suppose You Were The Sole Survivor In A Fire
5) A Friend Comes To Comfort You
6) No Warning Given, So As Not To Disturb
The Truth About Us And About People
1) Failure To Warn, So As Not To Disturb
2) Aunt Susie, Good Friend, Uncle Joe, My Cousin Sally, My Granddad, My Next Door Neighbor, The Co-Workers Of Give Years, My Team mate, My Classmate
3) Family’s or Friends Funeral--Nice Things But
4) We Love And We Care Must Include Souls
5) Must Go Looking To Complete Our Purpose
God’s View Of People & Souls
1) Valuable--They Last Forever
2) Placed You In Family, Job, School, Gang
3) You Can Make A Difference If
4) Christ’s Power In You
5) Sufficient To Meet Needs
6) Do Not Underestimate What’s In You
7) Provide Hope For Friends, Co-Workers, Family
Responses To The Gospel
1) Not all Will Be Saved --But Ray Of Hope
2) Jesus Was Resisted, We Can Expect It
3) Thank God For Being A Vessel
New Life Center
1) Reaching People In Everyday Life--Not Building
2) God Enlisted Us Into His Army To Go Get His Property Back
What Motivates The Army
1) Confidence In Heaven-- Place To Be
2) We Have The Tickets For The Loss
3) Desire To Please Jesus Christ
4) Lost People Matter---Dealing With Our Embarrassment & Fear
5) Who Are We Gong To Want To Please