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Reaching People For Christ!
Mark 6: 34
There are people all around us who need Jesus.
They are next door, down the street, at the next desk, down the hall, and behind the counter.
God is in the people business.
The great passion of the heart of God is to reach people.
The coming of Jesus Christ into human history was for the express purpose
of bringing people to know Him as Lord and Saviour.
"The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19: 10)
"God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." (2 Corinthians 5: 19)
God is vitally and personally concerned for people.
The church that justifies its reason for existence is concerned for reaching people.
No church can be worthy of its high calling before God if it tries to stay
in a private, undisturbed corner and ignore people.
The command of our Lord is plain:
As long as we refuse to heed the express command of Christ to "go and make disciples,"
- "Make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28: 19)
- "Go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in." (Luke 14: 23)
- "Preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16: 15)
we will continue to be a diminishing force in our world.
It is true that there are many problems in dealing with people.
It is much easier to continue in traditional formalism than it is to deal with people.
The primary problem involved with people is that they are all different.
If we go out to reach people for Christ -- we will find them, and we will find them with problems.
We cannot reach people without problems.
Jesus always began with people where they were -- with their problems -- and led them
to where He wanted them to be.
We must do the same.
A new Christian is a baby -- spiritually, and babies, as much as we love them, present problems.
If you are not aware of that, you have never had babies around.
For much of the time a baby is a living mess.
Yet, we love them, provide for them, and help them to grow and mature.
A new Christian is just as frustrating as a new baby.
He will keep you up nights, rearrange your schedule, and frequently mess up,
tear up, and hurt himself and others.
Make no mistake about it -- he is a problem.
But he is a gift from God -- a sacred trust -- an eternal soul.
He or she is our opportunity -- and an opportunity from God.
Remember, that our problems are God's opportunity for blessings.
And we will find new people to be blessings.
They are a source of constant joy -- a unique chance to see the transforming glory of God.
The biggest problem that these new Christians may create is their tremendous
impatience and enthusiasm.
Jesus is so real to them, and they want the world to know Him.
They will frighten the faithful stalwarts of the church.
Tradition and ritual are unknown to them.
So, be prepared for a real test of your faith and your love.
New Christians do pose problems, but remember, without babies our world will die.
And without babies in Christ, our churches will die.
This church is the best incubating place for babies that I know.
Another problem in trying to reach people is indifference.
When you try to reach people for Christ, you will find people who are not interested.
Don't give up on them!
Keep loving them!
Keep them in your prayers!
Some years ago, on a highway in Tennessee, a truck carrying a load of dynamite, caught fire.
- There are those who have no concern.
- They are not interested in being saved.
- They will not accept your warning of disaster and eternal death.
Both drivers leaped from the truck and ran in opposite directions up the highway,
frantically waving their arms to warn and stop approaching cars.
Soon, a car was seen, in which were a husband, his wife, and children.
The husband must have thought that this man running toward him, waving his arms so frantically,
was either drunk or demented, and probably dangerous.
So, he pressed his foot on the accelerator and flew by the man.
And, just as he rounded the curve and came upon the burning truck, there was a blinding explosion.
When the truck drivers returned to the scene of the blast, all they could see was a crater 20 foot deep.
Not a trace of the car or the people could be found.
The man in the car is like millions who are heedless of God's warnings of sure destruction
and doom to all who "obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." (2 Thess. 1: 8-9)
Even though they may not listen, and even though they are not interested,
and even though they do not care, we are not excused from the responsibility
to witness and warn them of the danger they face without Christ.
We are commanded to go!
There are some scriptural principles that go hand in hand with the command of Christ
to reach people with the gospel.
We will never be effective reaching people for Christ unless we abide by these principles.
We must see people as lost.
We must realize that every person who has not received Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour is lost,
and that he is headed for an endless hell.
It seems that most of us don't want to face this principle.
We are practicing universalists.
Evidently, we must feel deep down inside that every person will someday, somehow end up in heaven
because we have so little burden for lost people.
If we really believed that the Bible clearly states that people without Christ are lost and bound for hell,
it would thrust us into the harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38)
Here is what the Bible has to say on the destiny of those who are lost without Christ:
Without any question, every person without Christ is lost and destined for an eternal hell.
- "The wicked shall be sent away into Hell." (Psalm 9:17)
- "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23)
- "The soul that sinneth it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4)
- "Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death." (James 1:15)
- "I tell you... except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:5)
- "And whosoever's name... was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:15)
This is the first principle of reaching people.
We will never have a burden for people until we see them as lost.
Phillips Brooks, the great preacher, was seriously ill unto death.
He was receiving no visitors, but he did receive Robert Ingersoll, the agnostic.
"Why would you see me, when you're not receiving visitors?" Asked Ingersoll.
"I feel confident of seeing my other friends in the next world,
but this may be my last chance to see you."
Have you thought that today may be your last chance to see some of your friends.
And today may be their last chance to see you.
We must love people.
This is the most difficult principle of all.
It is impossible for us to love people in our own strength.
But, if we fail to love them, we will never reach them for Christ.
I was visiting at home one evening, when the husband, who was a good friend, came home drunk.
He did not know that I would be there, and he quickly went to the back of the house
without looking at me.
I wanted him to know that I still cared for him, regardless of his condition.
So I went back to where he was.
When I entered the room, he had his head between his knees, and he was sobbing.
I said to him, "Don't worry about this. It hasn't changed the way I feel about you.
And remember, God loves you."
With tears flooding down his face, he looked at me and said,
"I wish I could believe that God loves me!"
He went on to say that his Christian wife had never loved him, so, how could God love him.
The only way we can love people is through Jesus Christ -- or more accurately,
Jesus Christ loving them through us.
We will never reach people for Christ unless we love them.
Like our Master, we must love them -- not what they do.
How many lost people are we cultivating for Christ -- right now?
We must love them with the kind of love God has for us.
Remember, that God's love is not conditioned upon response:
"God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
(Romans 5:8, Living Bible)
Even though we were God's enemies by virtue of our sin, God still loved us.
If we are to reach people for Christ, we must love them in spite of their sin.
Our problem is that we have a tendency to love only our kind of people -- those who are like us.
We tell the world that when they change to be like us, we will love and accept them.
We tell them that by the way we ignore them.
Our love for people must never be determined by whom they are or what they do.
"There is a saying, 'Love your friends and hate your enemies!'
But I say: love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven.
If you love only those who love you, what good is that?
Even scoundrels do that much. Even the heathen do that.
But we are to be perfect (mature), even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
(Matthew 5: 43-48, Living Bible)
That kind of godly love must be in our hearts for people without Christ.
It is not natural.
We cannot do it on our own.
That love is present only when God is in control of our life -- loving and reaching others through us.
Our churches must become lakes of love.
When we love people, they know it, and they will respond.
We must concentrate on Jesus Christ.
"I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."
(1 Corinthians 2: 2)
If we are to reach people for Christ, we, like Paul, must be a people with a "one-track heart."
We must concentrate on Jesus Christ.
He is our message and our mission.
If we have failed to introduce them to Christ, we have failed them,
- We do not have a program to present.
- We do not have a dogma to declare.
- We do not have a creed to convey.
- We do have a living Christ to share with dying people.
regardless of what else we may have done for them.
We have also failed Christ.
The world needs the Christ of the church.
Without a living relationship with Christ, all worship and ecclesiastical structures
becomes shallow and meaningless ritual.
Without Him, every church building is nothing more than a mausoleum for the dead and a mockery to God.
It is time that the church starts concentrating on Jesus Christ.
For too long we have dwelt on great denominational programs, on organizations,
on systems of theological thought, on debating morals and ethics, and on presenting issues and trends.
- We must take the Bread of Life to a hungry world.
- We must share the Water of Life with thirsting souls.
- We must reveal the Light of the World to people in darkness.
- We must present the Lord of Life to those who are dead in sin.
- We must share Christ!
Many people visit for the church.
We are called to visit for Christ!
Our task and our mission is to proclaim the living Christ, and as we faithfully do that, God builds His church!
Our task and urgent mission is to warn all those without Christ that they are rushing to their eternal doom.
Remember, all who are without Christ are lost!
Let us love them to Jesus!
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com