Summary: Andrew gives us a great example of how to bring people to Jesus.
AM Sermon preached at Syria Christian Church January 23, 2005
"Your First Response: Make Andrew’s Yours" John 1:29-42
John MacArthur has written a short but pointed story called – The Life Saving Station that goes like this....
On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut and had only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea. With no thought for themselves, they went out every day and night, tirelessly searching for shipwreck victims. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little life-saving station, and so it became famous.
Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and give their time, money, and effort for the support of its work. New life boats were bought and new life-saving crews were trained. The little life—saving station grew. Some of the members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt a little more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those who were saved from drowning. So they replaced the emergency cots and the emergency beds and put in better furniture. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as a sort of social club.
Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions so they hired lifeboat crews to do the work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club met.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin, and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was considerably messed up, so the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where the victims of the shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the life-saving activity because it was unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted on life—saving operations as the primary purpose and pointed out they were still called a life-saving station. But they were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of shipwreck victims in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast, which they did.
And as the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that occurred in the old and it evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself. And if you visit the coast today you find a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, and most of the people drown.
Do you see the point of that story? The church’s greatest enemy isn’t the government, the culture, the A.C.L.U, Hollywood producers, or the liberal media. Scripture states and history confirms that churches are strengthened under persecution and adversity. And remember this, the Bible tells us that the gates of hell cannot overcome the church. So why is it that some churches fail? Why is it that some close their doors? If it’s not because of outside forces then it must be because of what happens from within. To put a popular twist on Oliver Perry’s famous words, “We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us!” Listen friends, churches that die, become ineffective or stagnant, do so at the hands of their own people as they lose sight of their foundation, their purpose, their reason for existing.
That’s why my hope and prayer for this body of believers is that you never lose sight of your purpose, that you never forget it’s not all about you, it’s all about God and His will. And God’s will is that while you remain devoted to one another in brotherly love, you don’t get so hung up on doing church that you forget to be the church, that you don’t become so inward focused that you lose sight of your mission which is to reach out to the lost people in this area with the good news of Jesus Christ. May we never forget that the church was not created to be a social club that caters to the whims of its members, it was created to be a life-saving station that rescues people drowning in sin.
I hope you will keep that purpose in mind as I share my challenge to you to make your first response like that of Andrew.