Sermons

Rescue

Pastor Don Prewitt 

01-04-15

 

 

 “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”                                                                                         -Colossians 1:3, 12-14

Today we are going to explore what it means to be a church that strives to RESCUE the lost. But before we do, we need to remind ourselves of what it means to be RESCUED. I firmly believe that we only give to what we believe in. I give taxes because I’m required to, but I don’t know if I believe in our taxing system enough that I would risk my life to go to a dangerous country and try to talk them into giving taxes the way we do in the US.

 

But, for Christ, many have risked their lives, their reputations, their rights, their own wills, because they got what it meant to be rescued.

 

Many go to church culturally, but they don’t understand WHY they have given up one day a week to go. Others serve God out of duty; they know it's right to believe in God, but their lives don’t reflect it because they haven’t understood what they have been rescued from.

 

As a pastor I have repeatedly watched children grow up in the protective bubble of the local church. They spend their whole childhood learning about God and then go off to college and never turn back. Though there’s no easy answer for such things, it could possibly be a result of growing up in church culture, learning all the right things to say and do, but never experiencing for themselves the rescuing power of Jesus Christ. So before we talk about rescuing the world, lets talk about what it means to be rescued.

  1. WE RESCUE BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE RESCUED

Lets go back to Colossians 1:12-14

“Giving thanks to the Father who has QUALIFIED us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. ”:

(hikanoó)

-To make sufficient (to have enough)

-To officially recognize as being competent and capable to do what has been asked.

God “QUALIFYING us means:

He has given us the ability to live as a child of God. He hasn’t just given us an opportunity to live as children of God, but He has given us the ABILITY to live as His children.

 

2. “…Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has DELIVERED/RESCUED us from the power of the darkness…”

(rhýomai):

-To draw or rescue a person to and for the deliverer

-To snatch out for oneself

This is what God did for us! He pulled us out of the darkness that we had no control over. He found us, and He rescued us; drawing us to Himself. He not only found us, but He delivered us and made us capable to live as children of God!

“…He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.”               

   -Psalm 18:16-19 NKJV

 

When Sherri and I were in Yosemite in October we thought that we would take a quick 2-mile hike near glacier point. As we were walking the 1-mile back I took a different path by accident. Everything sort of looks the same in dense wooded areas so we didn’t really notice until we had walked at least a mile and realized that we were going down the mountain, which would take us many hours in the black night that was quickly approaching. We desperately backtracked but by the time we got back to the place where I got us off trail, it was dark. You can’t imagine what it is like walking next to the edge of a mountain, in a thick forest, completely alone and vulnerable. We did make our way back eventually and our excitement was pretty “out there” when we finally got to our van. Though a person did not rescue us, we felt rescued by God when we finally came out of that black forest!! This is what it feels like to be rescued.

  1. There is nothing we can do to save yourself
  2. We find ourselves wandering around in the dark wondering which way we should go
  3. Without some kind of intervention we have no hope
  4. And as a result of that moment, we would probably risk our lives if we knew someone else were lost, because we know exactly what it fells like to be lost and alone and completely helpless without intervention of some sort!

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”

                                                                                        -Matthew 6:13 (NKJV)

 

Do you see why it’s so important to understand our own souls rescued by God? Because remembering the darkness that we were in before God rescued us, compels us to want others to experience the joy of being rescued by God also!

 

“…Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered/rescued us from the power of the darkness and CONVEYED/TRANSFERED (methistemi) us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

God has brought us over into the kingdom of his son Jesus Christ.

This word Conveyed has a special use. In the ancient world, when one empire won a victory over another, it was the custom to take the population of the defeated country and transfer every man, woman and child to the conqueror’s land. So Paul says that God has conveyed or transferred us into HIS kingdom.

Ephesians 2:12-13 (NKJV)

that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

  1. WE RESCUE BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE RESCUED
  2. THE ONLY MOTIVATION FOR RESCUING THE LOST IS LOVE

Earlier this week when I was at Starbucks studying for today. I wasn’t purposely trying to listen in on the conversation of two men next to me, but they were pretty close. After a while one of the gentlemen began to talk about his relationship with God. He talked a LOT. He talked about the cross and about other world religions and about his own life and about other philosophies. And though I was very happy to hear that kind of conversation there was one thing that bothered me a little bit.

 

I heard a lot of conversation from the follower of Jesus but I don’t remember hearing much from the other gentlemen. I certainly am not judging this mans motives but as I sat studying RESCUE I began to think through my own life as I have strived to be a RESCUE minded follower of Jesus:

  1. There have been times when I really wasn’t as much concerned about the soul of the person I was talking to but rather I was more concerned with hearing myself talk!
  2. There have been times when I was more concerned about the “story” that could follow if I could just rescue this person, more than I was concerned about the person I was trying to rescue.
  3. There have been times when out of fear of not doing what I was supposed to do, I tried rescuing someone, rather than seeing their deep need to be rescued.

But there’s only one reason we rescue…Because God loves that person!

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.                                -2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)

 

Rescuing is a lot of work; it takes a right heart and patience. Being motivated by the deep love that God has for the people around us helps us to concentrate on them alone and not on our needs, our fears and our pride! Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:

 

“For the love of Christ compels us…”

   -2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (NKJV)

Sometimes our words actually get in the way of the love of God! The other day Sherri was taking one of our girls to a friends house. She got lost and called the friend for directions. Sherri knew most of the way but one little detail she couldn’t remember. Every time that Sherri began to ask a question the friend would jump in with more instructions. It was funny and at the same time it so illustrates what can happen to us with those we are trying to rescue to Christ. We get nervous or want to explain all we have learned or we just like to hear ourselves talk, while the one needing rescuing is being overcome by US, instead of by the love of God!

 

When the disciples of John the Baptist saw Jesus attracting more crowds than John did, they complained to him. John replies to their concern in John 3:

 

John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.

                 -John 3:27-30(NKJV)

 

Yesterday we attended Joel and Yvette Thompson’s wedding. How awkward would it have been if the best man, like what John the Baptist said that he was, decided that he was going to make eyes at the Bride? His job wasn’t to come and show himself off to the bride, but rather, his job was to represent the groom. The show wasn’t about HIM, and his only job was to help connect the groom to the bride. This is what John the Baptist job was and this is our only job; to connect others to Christ. When we get in the way, it clouds everything up!

 

 

Rescuing those who need a safe harbor and are still wandering in the dark, is much easier when we get out of the way and remember that this is all about Jesus. So it may:

-Make us feel uncomfortable at times

-We may experience rejection at times

-It may be inconvenient at times

-It could even get us beat up at times

 

Is it not worth it to free someone from the darkness? If you saw a small child walking toward a busy highway would you not put aside some of your fears and pride and inconvenience to rescue that child?

 

So lets review:

  1. WE RESCUE BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE RESCUED
  2. THE ONLY MOTIVATION FOR RESCUING THE LOST IS LOVE

How will you be motivated to rescue in this coming year?

Probably, if I were to ask you right who you would like to help God rescue from the dark, a face immediately pops into your head. Maybe it’s a person from the list of 5 people that we asked you to pray about last year. Maybe its someone you have never even engaged. Maybe its you! Maybe you feel like you have not really experienced the rescuing power of Jesus Christ yet, that comes with the understanding that He not only wants to rescue you, but give you the ability to live differently than you have been living.