Summary: America is at a crossroads. Which way will it be. America for Christ or the road to destruction?
REACHING AMERICA FOR CHRIST
INTRO: America stands at a crossroads. Down one road is the possibility of spiritual renewal, a revival of Christianity in our nation, perhaps the third great awakening. It seems closer than it’s been in many years. There’s an awakening of interest in conservative, evangelical Christianity; religion is popular and acceptable once again. Is America on the road to Christ? Possibly.
The other choice is a sudden and opposite reaction to current trends Godward — to continue wandering in the wilderness of spiritual destitution, of loneliness, despair, confusion, and antagonism characteristic of the past two decades.
America is at a crossroads. Which way will it be. America for Christ or the road to destruction? Our nation today is much akin to the situation in Jesus’ day as He spoke in Matt. 9:35-38. What a picture of people in need, They were harassed. The word literally means “mangled,” indicating extreme trouble, distress, They were “helpless,” or literally “laid prostrate.”
ATR (A. T. Robinson) says, “They were bewildered by those who should have taught them; hindered from entering into the kingdom of heaven, laden with the burdens which the Pharisees laid upon them.”
The masses were in a state of mental dejection. They were seeking God but not finding Him in the religion of the Pharisees. They were at a crossroads without a signpost. IS THIS HAPPENING IN AMERICA TODAY? IN OUR CHURCHES?
Jesus Christ is the signpost pointing the way to God. In these verses He called for workers to reach the lost multitudes in love. If America is reached for Christ we must answer Jesus’ call and work to reach our lost nation by God’s love. There are three principles involved in “Reaching America for Christ.”
I. THE PEOPLE MUST BE SEEN.
Jesus saw the crowds who followed Him in a way others didn’t. He saw them with eyes of compassion, that combination of divine love and pity that leads to response. He didn’t see them critically as the Pharisees saw them.
What do you see when you look at America? a Christian nation? pagans? We must see all people we meet with compassion, like Jesus saw people.
We must see their greatest need — salvation. And we must see their needs — shoes and shots, food and faith, Bibles and bread, coats and counseling. If we reach America for Christ we must see people and needs with His eyes of compassion. What do you see when you look around you?
II. THE PEOPLE MUST BE LOVED.
You can feel the heart of love Jesus opened to the people as you read the text. He was moved with compassion by their helplessness and aimlessness. He had empathy for them, felt with them in their lonely hurt. The word “compassion” is used only of Jesus in the N.T. It testifies of His unique love. The Pharisees saw the crowds as chaff to be chastened. Jesus saw them as a harvest to be reaped. In pride the Pharisees looked for the destruction of sinners. In love Jesus looked for the salvation of sinners.
We must love people to the Lord. Love is the sickle to reap a spiritual harvest in our land. It must be wielded by us, through the church, in Jesus’ name. One means of extending love is through Home Missions. Love must be the motive for wanting America for Christ, not denominational pride or statistics. We can love people we’ll never see or know if we give in love so others can go in love.
III. THE PEOPLE MUST BE REACHED.
Seeing and loving aren’t enough. The harvest is never reaped unless there are reapers. People are ready for the good news and need it. The problem is that more workers are needed. So what’s new? Laborers in the Lord’s work are always few. It’s always been a problem. The solution? “Pray therefore.” Pray to move people, because the gospel will never be heard unless people tell people. To reach our country for Christ we must be the reachers.
CONC: The verb in the last sentence “ekballa” really means to drive out, to push out, to draw out. How seldom do we pray for more preachers or laborers!