Summary: A lecture sermon on the Parable trilogy of the Losts.
CLC-wide Youth Leadership & Evangelism Seminar
March 14-15, 2009
Wilma’s Resort Florida Blanca, Pampanga
Reaching Out to the Inactive Members
Prepared by: Reylourd Reyes
Church Pastor- Angeles Worship Center
While it is true, that the Bible warns us that one of the signs of the end-times will be a great apostasy (falling away from the faith) (2 Thess.2:3), we should also look on the possibilities to reclaim the fallen and inactive members. Born and raised inside an Adventist family, I have seen many people walking out of the church and never came back. Many of my contemporaries, who used to be visible in all the church’s activities, are now lost and gone weary in their faith. When my eyes were opened on the reality that our church has been losing more members each year, questions begun to linger on my head. Why do members leave the church? Do they come to doubt its doctrines and teachings? Is it because of conflict with other members? Do they feel neglected? What can we do to reclaim them? And what should we do best to prevent them from going out?
This presentation seeks to answer all of these questions and be able to help our young people to be aware of this situation our church is in right now.
I. Four Types of Lost Members (Based on Luke 15)
Jesus spoke about four types of lost members in the three parables in Luke 15 - represented by the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost younger son and the lost elder son
a. The Lost Sheep And Lack Of Fellowship
The lost sheep is a picture of a born-again believer who backslid. He went astray because he lacked fellowship. Perhaps he was alone in a place where there was no good church. Not having a strong enough relationship with the Lord, he was dragged down by his surroundings. Or perhaps, he did not value fellowship with other believers sufficiently, and thus went astray. If he had stayed in the midst of the church, he would have been safe. But perhaps he was self-confident and thus went astray.
The Lord describes His flock in this parable as consisting of "righteous persons WHO NEED NO REPENTANCE" (Lk.15:7). The reason they don’t need any repentance is because they are judging themselves all the time and striving at all times to have a conscience without offence towards God and men. They are quick to confess the slightest sinful thought and attitude to God, and equally quick to confess the slightest sinful word and deed to men. Thus they live each day as those who need no repentance - because they repent constantly. The lost sheep did not have this attitude - and so it backslid.
b. The Lost Silver Coin And A Careless Church
The lost coin was lost due to very different reasons. It was lost because of the failure of the woman. The woman is a picture of a church. She was careless in taking care of her coins.
The coin was a silver coin - and silver was used to redeem the firstborn children of Israel in the Old Testament (Numbers 18:16). So the silver coin speaks of a redeemed child of God (once saved) who is now lost. But this believer backslid primarily due to the failure of his church. His church was perhaps a dead church where the standards of God’s Word were not preached and so they did not care for his eternal soul.
c. The Lost Younger Son And A Spirit Of Independence And Rebellion
The younger son represents yet another type of backslider. He was one who was impatient to launch out on his own - before God’s time. He sought his own, loved money, rebelled against his father and finally left his home. Here is a believer who wants to receive everything he can, from God and from his elder brothers. But after he has received everything, he leaves them.
This son is a picture of a believer who doesn’t want the discipline of being subject to God-appointed authority (his father). God’s purpose in all discipline is to break His children, so that He can commit spiritual authority to them one day. But many like this younger son, frustrate God’s purposes for them, and end up with "the pigs"!
d. The Lost Elder Son And Spirit Of Comparison And Pride
The elder son is a picture of a believer who does not look like a backslider. He is a proud, self-righteous believer who compares himself with others and who feels that he has lived a better life and produced better results in his ministry than others. Instead of humbly acknowledging these blessings as the undeserved mercy of God, he becomes proud of what he thinks he has accomplished. Therefore God resists him and very soon Satan is able to knock him down.