5/2/18 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
Judy and I spent a fun evening last night reminiscing with people from our church that had spent 10 days ministering with us in Hungary. We spent the night reflecting on the people we met, the experiences we shared, the work God did in and through us, as well as laughing about many of the things we did and said during our time there.
We returned from Hungary late last Tuesday evening and then on Friday and Saturday, Judy and I found ourselves in the Concord State Prison ministering at one of our quarterly Prison Fellowship weekend seminars. Then on Sunday our church sponsored our Policeman Appreciation Sunday. We began the day with a huge breakfast and then we acknowledged our police officers and recognized them for the great service that they give to our town.
As I was thinking about this today, I was thinking that there is one common denominator in each of the above situations. Whether we were listening to testimonies in Hungary, ministering God’s word in prison, or sitting in church honoring our policemen, the common thread that is woven into each of our lives is that we are sinners.
In Hungary I taught God’s Word to students from 15 different countries around the world. Our team was able to work alongside men and women from Hungary and each one had a different story about how they were lost in their sins and now are washed in the blood. Judy and I were in prison and heard horrific stories of the consequences of sin, but we also saw 15 men come to Christ. On Sunday morning we saw people walk into church not knowing that for some of them, that morning they would come face to face with Jesus and everything changed!
Read the Bible from cover to cover, and you will see it. From the moment Satan meets Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, to the final great battle in Revelation, man sins. Pick up any newspaper or go online to read the news and you will see that man has not only sinned but he continues to sin.
Isn’t that the reason Jesus came to earth in the first place, to save sinners? To win the lost? Some will argue that Jesus came to give us an example of God’s love, and He did do that. Others say that he came to be the Perfect Man, the one shining example that the rest of us can follow. Many people today consider Jesus to be a great teacher, a wonderful person; who could argue with that? There are some that look at Jesus’ arrival as an opportunity for a radical rabbi to start a movement to purify Israel’s corrupt religious system.
So why do you think Jesus came? Let’s allow Jesus to tell us in His own words… “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” Luke 19:10. Jesus came so that the people we met in Hungary would have stories to tell about how they came to have a personal relationship with God. He came so that those in prison and those in our church would hear the story about Christ death, burial and resurrection and receive new life. Jesus came to save the lost, which was each one of us, until we accepted Him as our personal Savior.
Most of us know the context of this next verse well; we heard about it as a child in Sunday School and we have heard sermons about the man mentioned in the story. As a matter of fact, we even sing a song about him. In one simple sentence in this well known Bible story, Jesus tells us why He came. Listen to the words of Christ as He encounters a man in a tree named Zaccheus… When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So, he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.'” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:5-10
Have you given any thought recently to why you are here? Why you are at the job you are at, why you go to the grocery store you go to, why you have the friends you do, why those neighbors chose to live by you, why of all the mechanics in your area, God directed you to the one you go to? How about your doctor, your accountant, your postal worker, those people you play sports with, those people you casually know? Why are you in their lives? Could it just be they are in your life because they are lost, and God wants you to seek them out and give them the life changing truth of the gospel?
God’s ultimate goal for our life is not comfort, and it is not necessarily to live a trouble-free life or to gain a lot of the world’s stuff. God’s ultimate goal for us is to love the things He loves, live the life that He lived, desire the things He desires. We exist for God’s purpose! (God doesn’t live for ours.)
Ephesians 4:24 says that we were… “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
So, if we are created to be like God, what are you doing when it comes to seeking out the lost? Who have you spoken to in the past week about their need for Christ? When was the last time you gave a gospel tract to a lost person? How many people in your life are unsaved and you have never told them your story?
Last night 10 of us got together to reminisce about going to Hungary to help others so that they could seek the lost. It was a wonderful night reflecting, because at least for now we had become more like God, not only seeking the lost, but helping others to do the same.