Family Matters Part 4: Our Mission - International Rescue
This talk is titled “International Rescue” because it has to do with saving people! Paul, in the first letter to the church at Corinth which we looked at last week, wrote that he reached out to people to save them. Not to befriend them, not to feed them or heal them but to SAVE them. You can read this here.
Paul’s mission to reach people and save them by making them disciples of Jesus came directly from Jesus! Jesus directly and personally gave Paul that mission but Jesus also talked openly about the fact that he came to earth in the first place for the same reason.
In Luke’s orderly account of Jesus’s earthly ministry, there’s a little story about a little man named Zacchaeus. And in that story Jesus saves Zacchaeus. You can read about that here.
Notice how keen Zacchaeus was to see Jesus and understand who he was. How he responds so readily to Jesus and admits that he has done wrong and tries to make amends. Sinful as he was, Zacchaeus responded positively to Jesus – he immediately repented and came to Jesus when Jesus called him! And Jesus called him because he came to save people just like Zacchaeus – people like you and me!
Are you a Zacchaeus or a naysayer to Jesus? You are one or the other and you’ll encounter people all around who are either one or the other.
God didn’t just send us a teacher, healer, life-coach. He sent us what we need above all. He sent us a Saviour! Because we need saving!
Some people don’t yet know that they need saving – but they still do. Some might say “Ah – I don’t need saving!” Really? Good luck with eternity then!
We need to invite people, we need to welcome them, we need to love them but we need to pray for them too – especially the “naysayers”.
Jesus came to seek and SAVE the lost. Paul responded by getting alongside people so that by all possible means he might SAVE some.
Are you praying for people, are you inviting them? Are you discipling them? Are you persistent in your prayers for them?
Maybe you need to grab the rescue rope – grab hold of Jesus – yourself. Maybe there’s someone you need to reach out to and to pray for.
We have a stated vision for EBC that we want to be a church that people who don’t do church love to become part of.
Not merely attend or visit or think well of, but become part of.
Why? Because the church is the body of Christ. The gathered body of believers. It’s where people are saved and go about saving others. It’s Jesus’s idea – his church, his body, his bride. Incredibly, it’s entrusted to me and to you – at least in this particular branch and I use the word branch carefully. We are a branch of the vine (Jesus). We’re attached to him, he gives us life and he - and we -want others to have life and life to the full too.
Zacchaeus climbed down from the tree when Jesus called him. What is the high place you might need to climb down from in order to surrender to Jesus? Is it intellectual resistance, is it ego, is it finance, is it pride, sacrifice, reluctance to give something up, admitting you were wrong?
Who are the people you know who need saving? Could you pray for them regularly? Could you invite them to church this Sunday?
Imagine yourself as part of a life-boat crew. Think of some words that might describe your attitude as you head out to save someone from drowning. What are those words?
How might the words you chose (above) translate to your actions and prayer life when it comes to reaching people who are “all at sea” (so to speak) in their knowledge of and relationship with God?
What one action could you take this week in the line of “lifesaving”?