REACHING LOST SOULS FOR JESUS

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

1.      Story.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

On the night of April 14, the ocean liner Californian has progressed to within fifteen hundred miles of her destination, Boston Harbor.

 

Around midnight, Second Officer Herbert Stone is due for watch on the bridge.  Reporting for duty, Stone finds his apprentice seaman glued to a pair of binoculars, staring toward the black horizon.

 

He, the apprentice, has sighted a steamer in the distance.  He can make out the ship's masthead light, her red light, and a glare of white lights on her afterdeck.

 

Stone asks the apprentice to try for communication by means of the Californian's Morse lamp.  A bright beacon signal is flashed; no answer from the steamer. 

 

Glancing idly over the water, a white flash catches his eye--a white flash of light in the direction of the distant steamer.  Stone scratches his head, picks up the binoculars.  Four more white flashes of light like skyrockets bursting in the heavens.  Stone notifies the ship's captain.  Over the voice pipe, the captain asks if the flashes appeared to be company signals.  Stone cannot say for sure.  The captain then requests further communication attempt through the Morse lamb.

 

But still no answer from the steamer.  Lifting the binoculars to his eyes once more, Stone observes three more flashes in the continuing light show, but now his attention is drawn to the steamer's cabin lights.  They seem to be disappearing, as though the steamer were sailing away.  At 1:40 A.M., Stone sees the eighth and last white flash in the night sky.  In one hour, all the steamer's lights have vanished into the blackness.  It was not until 4:00 A.M. that anyone on board the liner Californian learns what really happened to the steamer.

 

Neither the Captain nor the Second Officer aboard the Californian had interpreted the white skyrocket flashes as cause for alarm.  However, the distant steamer had intended those rocket flares as distress signals, but the Californian--only nine miles away--did not interpret the signals properly.  The steamer besides the flares was sending other distress calls--by radio.  And the Californian was well within range of those messages.

 

But the Californian radio operator--fresh from training school, was asleep on the job.  And that night the ship's Second Officer, from his vantagepoint on the bridge, unintentionally watched the sinking…of the Titanic.

 

2.      Brethren, there are people all around us who are drowning in sin.  They are sinking into the depths of Hell, and they are crying out for help.  They are sending distress signals hoping that we will come to their aid.  But yet, too many of us are sleeping on the job.

 

I WOULD LIKE TO ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO START FOCUSING ON REACHING LOST SOULS FOR JESUS.

 

THIS MORNING, WE WILL LOOK AT TWO POINTS THAT I HOPE WILL INSPIRE US TO START BRINGING OTHERS TO JESUS.

 

I.                           FIRST, GOD CARES ABOUT LOST SOULS AND SO SHOULD WE.

 

ILLUSTRATION: (Choose either one of these illustrations that best goes with your sermon)

 

In The Whisper Test, Mary Ann Bird writes:

 

I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it.  I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.

 

There was, however, a teacher in the second grade that we all adored--Mrs. Leonard.  She was short, round, happy--a sparkling lady.

 

Annually we had a hearing test….Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn.  I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back--thinks like "The sky is blue" or "Do you have new shoes?"  I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life.  Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, "I wish you were my little girl."

 

ILLUSTRATION: (Choose either one of these illustrations that best goes with your sermon)

 

When I was 9 years old, my father took me to a Dallas Cowboy Football game.  As we were sitting in our seats, I noticed a funny looking man who was wearing a cowboy suit and whistling at the top of his lungs.  So I decided to leave my seat and track him down.  After I met the man, who’s name was whistling Ray (Cowboys Mascot), I could not find my way back to my seat.  I was lost!

 

So after twenty minutes of searching for my Dad, I did the most logical thing.  I started crying.  Finally a policeman took me to the lost and found and called my Father over the intercom system who at that time was diligently searching for me.  Fortunately, my father heard my name being announced and finally found me.  I was so happy to see him.

 

God also cares about the lost, just like my father cared about me when I was lost.

 

1.      God says to every person deformed by sin, "I wish you were my son" or "I wish you were my daughter."

 

2.      God cares about the lost.

 

*  (2 Pet. 3:9)  "God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

 

a.      Our heavenly Father earnestly hopes that sinners and lost people will come to Him.  He cares about lost souls.

 

3.      In (Lk. 15), Luke recorded 3 parables that Jesus taught.  The Parable of the (a) Lost Sheep; (b) Lost Coin; & (c) Lost Son.

 

a.      From these parables, there is a word that is common in all three parables-- The word "one".  The shepherd lost "one" sheep from his flock of 100.  A woman had 10 silver coins and lost "one" of them.  A father had two sons and "one" of them took his inheritance and left the family.

 

b.     Do you know what Jesus is trying to teach us from these parables.  He is trying to tell us that "one" lost person is important to God.

 

4.      If one lost soul is important to God, then one lost soul should be important to us.

 

a.      This year lets bring at least one member of our families to Jesus.

 

b.      Let's bring at least one of our co-workers to the Savior.

 

c.      And after we bring one person to Christ, then let's bring another and another.

 

5.      We can make a difference in the Kingdom of God--one person at a time.

 

6.      What would God's reaction be if we were to bring at least one person to the Lord?

 

*  (Lk. 15:7)  "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

 

7.      If we can bring at least one person to the Lord, the heavens will throw a party.  They will celebrate.  Since God cares about each lost soul, we should as well.

 

II.                         SECOND, WE CAN BRING OTHERS TO JESUS.

 

1.     We can all bring someone to Jesus if we start believing in ourselves and in the power of God.  All God has asked us to do is plant and water the seed (Word God), and He will make it grow.

 

2.      All we are required to do is to tell others about the salvation that is found in Jesus.

 

a.      We are to be like Andrew; after he first learned about Jesus, he went directly to his brother, Simon Peter, and brought him to Jesus (Jn. 1:42).

 

3.      I honestly believe that most people do not evangelize because they feel inadequate for the job.

 

a.      One of the greatest leaders that this world has ever known was a man who at first felt inadequate to do the job.

 

b.     God chose Moses to deliver the Israelites from slavery.  But Moses felt inadequate to do the job, so he gave God several excuses on why he shouldn't go:

 

(1)        (Ex. 3:11)  "Who am I, that I should go."

 

(a)     Many times, we question our abilities as well.  We say, "I can't share the gospel with others because I am not smart enough.  I do not know enough about the Bible.

 

*  God says in response to our doubts, (v. 12)  "I will be with you."

 

(2)        (Ex. 4:1)  "What if they do not believe me or listen to me?"

 

(a)       Over the years, many people have rejected the biblical information that I presented to them.  They say, "Well that is what you believe!"

 

(b)       When people reject the teachings of the Bible, they are not rejecting us, they are rejecting God.  We can not worry about rejection.

 

(3)        (Ex. 4:10)  "O, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant."

 

(a)       At times we think the same way; we may not feel that we have the ability to speak to someone about Christ.

 

(b)       However, we must overcome this fear.  God said, in (v. 12) "Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

 

4.      What kind of excuses do you offer God for not evangelizing to others?

 

a.      I am too tired.

 

b.     I don't have time; I work too much.

 

5.      Brethren, there are people around us who are lost.  God has commissioned every one of us to tell others about Jesus (Mt. 10:32).  We must stop using excuses and rely upon God and bring His people out of the slavery of sin.  We can be successful like Moses if we just start believing in ourselves and in the power of God.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      You and I can make a difference in the life of others and make a difference in the Kingdom of God--one person at a time.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

I recently read about an old man, walking the beach at dawn, who noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea.  Catching up with the youth, he asked what he was doing.  The young man said that the starfish would die if they were left on the beach until the morning sun.

 

“But the beach goes on for miles, and there are millions of starfish,” countered the old man.  “How can your effort make any difference?”

 

The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves.  “It makes a difference to this one,”  He said.

 

2.      Again, lets make a difference in the Kingdom of God -- one person at a time.  I would like to encourage you to call someone you know who does not have a relationship with God and tell them about Jesus.

 

3.      Its time that we take a leap of faith and approach others with the good news of Jesus.  There are people around us that are in the bondage of slavery; they are drowning in sin and they need someone to introduce them to their deliverer.