Every year as the President of the United States delivers his State of the Union Address, he introduces some everyday heroes in the balcony who embodies a point he's making. Actually, that custom began the night President Reagan introduced a man named Lenny Skutnik. To this day, reporters ask Presidential aides, "Who are the 'Skutniks' this year?'" Lenny Skutnik was one of thousands of Federal workers in Washington, D.C. - until the day Air Florida's Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River.
That flight had taken off from Washington, bound for Florida. It had developed ice on its wings - just enough to bring the plane down as it tried to clear Washington's 14th Street Bridge. Suddenly, Flight 90 was down in the frigid waters of the Potomac. There were only a few passengers who managed to get out, and they were crying for help as they tried to stay afloat in the icy river. Lenny Skutnik had just gotten out of work, he saw the plane go down, he heard the cries of the survivors in the water, and he jumped into the river to try to help them. Fighting the current and the cold, he managed to save the life of a woman who would otherwise almost surely have died. A couple of weeks later, Lenny Skutnik, everyday guy, was introduced as a real American hero on national television by the President of the United States.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Everyday Heroes."
In just a few moments of courage and self-sacrifice, Lenny Skutnik became something that suddenly gave his life dramatically greater significance. He became a rescuer. That's how everyday people become spiritual heroes - heroes to God - they become a rescuer of spiritually dying people!
And they're all around you - you work with them, you go to school with them, and you live near them. They may not look like they're dying people, but listen to some of the words God uses to describe the people around you who do not have a relationship with His Son - "those staggering toward slaughter" (Proverbs 24:11), "lost" (Luke 19:10), "perishing" (1 Corinthians 1:18). In Ephesians 2:12 they are called, "without hope, without God." 2 Thessalonians 1:8 says they are, "shut out from the presence of the Lord" after judgment and then, "thrown into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15) says.
Without Christ, the people around you, the people you care about, have no chance of heaven - because He's the only One who died to remove the death penalty for their sin. People in hell will look like people you know. The question is - what are you doing to help them be in heaven with you? What are you doing to rescue them? Jesus is summoning you to join Him in the rescue mission for which He died - to help rescue the people who are within your reach.
When you do, then our word for today from the Word of God is all about you - Daniel 12:3 says, "Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever." A hero to God - and to the person you introduced to Him - a spiritual hero forever.
An everyday person becomes a hero when he or she leaves where it's safe to rescue someone who's dying, and you've been positioned by God to do just that. Don't stay on the riverbank. Jump into the water and bring out someone you care about. There's a life at stake - forever.