Wednesday, February 15, 2017
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Once upon a time there was a machinist who lived with his wife, his four-year-old son, and his new baby boy in this cheap apartment on the south side of Chicago. He spent a chunk of his meager earnings on alcohol and cigarettes and gambling, and then the bottom dropped out of his life. His baby boy died suddenly at the age of only six months. He was crushed. I mean, his grief was inconsolable. This machinist (John was his name) took his one surviving boy to church. John didn't go in-no. He didn't go to church. But he did wait out in front in his car, smoking his cigarette and reading his Sunday paper. Until the day that one of the men of the church looked outside and noticed the man in the car. He didn't wait for John to come in. He went outside to John's car, introduced himself, asked a few questions, and then invited him in. Well, when John said he wasn't dressed for it, the man told him it didn't matter how he was dressed.
The little boy gave his heart to Jesus in that church. And only a few months later, his Dad started coming to the men's Bible class. And one Christmas Eve John tearfully walked the aisle, accepting Christ's forgiveness for his sins. He would grow in Christ and ultimately he'd become a deacon, then the chairman of the deacons, and then an active Christian lay leader. The little boy was me. The machinist in the car in front of the church was my Dad.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Beyond the Walls."
We were the un-churched. We were the lost. But someone went outside the walls of the church to reach my father. Because he did, my father is in heaven today. There are more people than ever like my father; they will never know Christ if we wait for them to come inside the walls of the church. We'll have to go out where they are if they're ever going to have a chance at heaven.
This is not a new idea. In John 4:4, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says, "Jesus had to go through Samaria." It was there that Jesus encountered the woman at the well and led her out of a life of promiscuity and emptiness into a new life in Christ. And ultimately she went back and told her village about Jesus and they all came to Him. John 4 tells us that "many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the woman's testimony."
Now why did Jesus have to go through Samaria when Jews did everything they could to avoid going through Samaria? Because Samaria is where you go if you want to reach Samaritans! If you want to follow our Master, we'll need to go where the lost people are. Most of them don't ever plan to go to our religious meeting to listen to our religious speaker talk on a religious subject in a religious place; which is usually how we go about trying to reach them isn't it? It's no wonder they're still lost.
If we want the lost to be at our outreaches, we need to have some of those outreaches in places they will come to-neutral places. And you've been strategically placed right in the middle of some spiritually dying people. You work with them, you live near them, you're in some group with them, you go to school with them, and you recreate with them. You are God's program for rescuing the lost people who are around you. That's why God placed you there, to save some lives. See, you already are where the spiritually dying people are! You don't have to go where they are. You're there!
It's very possible the reason my Dad is in heaven today is because someone left where it was comfortable and someone went outside the walls to reach him. That's where an awful lot of lost people are, and that's where they'll have to be reached; including people you know very well.
By the way, as you're listening to this, you might be my Dad, because you've never experienced the love and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ for yourself. And your heart's ready for that. You want that. This is what you've been looking for all your life. Maybe that's why this broadcast today; this is how He has come looking for you where you are.
Don't you want to be where He is forever? Would you tell Him today, "Jesus, I'm yours"? And I'd love to show you the way that my Dad and I both found Jesus. It's right there on our website and it will tell you how you can know Him for real. ANewStory.com-that's the website.
Jesus goes where lost people are, and we have to do that. Going outside the walls may be the only hope for a lot of people in your town-for someone you know and for someone you love.