Summary: Although this is a sermon for the Memorial Day Weekend, it can be adapted for any time.
Winning The Lost To Jesus
15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 1
This is the Memorial Day Weekend.
The purpose of this holiday is to pause and remember those
who died serving our country.
However, the title of my message today
is “Winning The Lost To Jesus”.
I will tell you the true story of two men who fought in World War II.
Mitsuo Fuchida grew up loving Japan
and hating the United States.
Fuchida joined Japan's Naval Air Force, and by 1941,
with 10,000 flying hours behind him,
had established himself as Japan's top fighter pilot.
When Japanese military leaders needed someone
to command a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor,
they chose Fuchida.
In the morning hours of December 7, 1941,
Fuchida ordered his torpedo bombers
to destroy the American Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor.
When he and the others flew away,
U.S. ships lay capsized, sunk or damaged,
and 2,117 U.S. servicemen died.
Fuchida was the voice that sent his aircraft carrier
the message "Tora! Tora! Tora!"
indicating the success of the surprise mission.
Of the 70 officers who participated in the raid,
he was the only one who returned alive.
More of that story a little later!
Point #1. Jesus wants everyone to be saved.
15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
Those 2 verses were written by Paul.
The Book of Acts tells us much about his life.
He grew up as a devout Jew with the name Saul.
Acts chapter 9 indicates Saul hated Christians.
He thought Jesus was a fraud.
Saul was committed to persecuting followers of Jesus.
One day while he was traveling to Damascus
to "arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem"
the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a great light.
He was converted to Christianity.
His name was changed to Paul
and he began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth
is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God.
Some of us have loved ones and friends
who have not been saved.
They have no desire to become a Christian.
Remember that God can change lives.
He is capable of saving even the least likely individuals.
Don't ever think someone you know is so bad,
or so resistant that the Sovereign God of the universe
can't get to him or her.
Let’s get back to my story for today!
On April 18, 1942, 16 B-25s were launched
from the aircraft carrier the USS Hornet,
to bomb select Japanese targets, and fly into China.
They accomplished their mission,
but all the US planes were either lost at sea or over China
as crews bailed out.
Jacob DeShazer was bombardier on plane #16.
He parachuted into an area of China controlled by Japan.
He was captured and imprisoned for 40 months.
Tortured and losing 3 friends to execution,
DeShazer's hatred grew until the Emperor of Japan
ordered better treatment of the POWs
and they were given a Bible.
The Japanese thought it portrayed Jesus as a weakling
and reading the book would demoralize the men.
DeShazer came to see Jesus as the loving, forgiving Savior
and was marvelously born again.
His hatred turned to love, and he vowed that if ever freed,
he'd return to Japan as a missionary.
More of that story later!
Point #2. God's Word has amazing power to produce faith.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes,
Who would you like to see saved?
Who do you know who refuses to come to church?
They won't get saved by nagging them.
They won't get saved by trying to scare them
about going to hell.
No one will come to faith in Jesus Christ and be saved
until he or she hears or reads the Word of God.