Wednesday, February 6, 2019
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There's a stretch of the Outer Banks of North Carolina that's known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" because hundreds of ships have been lost there over the centuries. So it was there that something called the United States Life-Saving Service was born. They established these white frame buildings called life-saving stations like seven miles apart along the very treacherous parts of the coast. The Life-Saving Service was actually a spawning ground for heroes. In one case, for example, this ship was in distress with four men staying alive by just hanging onto this mast for dear life. Six of the seven men from the closest station went out into a storm that could very well consume them - after they left a verbal will with the man who was left running the station. Twenty-two hours without food or sleep. Well, they finally brought back those four stranded men, and then they collapsed on the beach in exhaustion. It was incredible heroism. I mean, that was the norm for the men of the life-saving stations.
One interesting observation: never in the history of the Life-Saving Service did the drowning person ever come to the door of their station and ask to be rescued, "Excuse me, I'm drowning. Can you help me?" No, in every single rescue, the rescuers had to leave the safety of the life-saving station, go out into the surf and into the storm to keep someone from dying.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Leaving the Life-Saving Station."
It's the nature of rescue isn't it? You have to leave the comfort of the life-saving station to save the people who are dying outside. The life-saving station is a great place to get rescuers strong enough to go out into the storm to bring people in. And it's a great place to bring people after they've been rescued. But if we wait for dying people to come into the life-saving station to get rescued, most of them are going to die without a chance.
That's the nature of spiritual rescue. Over the years it's been known by many names - evangelism, soul-winning, witnessing. But maybe we've lost the urgency of what really is at stake here. Every lost person you know who has never begun a personal relationship with Christ, every lost person within the reach of your church is, in the words of the Bible, "...perishing... staggering toward slaughter" (Proverbs 24:11), "...without hope and without God" (Ephesians 2:12), and ultimately, someone who will be forever, in the Bible's words, "...shut out from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). They are spiritually dying people, and their only hope is rescue by someone who is close enough to save them.
Sadly, we've been waiting for them to come to one of our meetings, our programs, our religious place, our life-saving station. But Jesus said in Luke 19:10, our word for today from the Word of God, that "the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." He said that in the house of a reviled tax collector, where Jesus had been criticized for going. But Jesus shows us that you have to go where the lost people are to rescue them. You have to seek them if you want to save them.
We keep having programs to rescue the dying - and few of them are ever there. The plan of God is for someone like you - an everyday follower of Jesus - to be the one to rescue the dying people around you. If we have to go where the lost people are to rescue them, well guess what? You already are where some of them are; you are every day. Don't just let them go on dying. Leave the safe spot, the comfortable spot where you've wanted to stay and take some risks to rescue them. You follow the Man who left the comfort zone of heaven to risk it all, to give it all to rescue you. Now He's asking you to join Him in rescuing some others who will die forever without Him.
There is nothing greater you could do with your influence, nothing greater you could do with your life than to rescue someone who would have otherwise died; to help someone else be rescued from hell and be in heaven with you forever.