To Seek and Save the Lost
Scripture Reading: Romans 10:12-15a, 17
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Vs 17 So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
The New Testament is clear. God had only one son and He became an evangelist. That’s right, Jesus left the glories of heaven, the worship and adoration of the angels, and the fellowship with His Father to save lost mankind.
It is something I have trouble comprehending, but the evidence is clear that he came from heaven to earth to be an evangelist.
I can hear more than a few of you say, “How can this be?” Didn’t Christ come to this earth to redeem lost humanity?
You are absolutely correct, Christ did come to this earth to redeem lost humanity. But redeeming fallen humanity was a by-product, an outcome of his purpose. His purpose in coming to earth was to reveal the Father’s love to a planet in rebellion, model heaven’s principles in a sinful world, and redeem lost humanity.
He couldn’t redeem us without first becoming an evangelist. Luke the Dr. and Historian makes this very clear in Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Did you notice the order Luke puts these words in. In case you missed it, let’s look at the verse again. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Although we often find the words of Jesus inspiring, he simple did not come to inspire us, instead he came to save us, and he accomplished this by seeking us. In this way, Christ became the greatest Evangelist the world has ever seen.
Christ came to seek and when he has found the lost, he redeemed them.
Paul, the second greatest evangelist gives us clues on how this is to take place. It is interesting that Paul uses the same method Christ used. In fact in the book of Romans Paul gives us a complete outline of the process of conversion. But I don’t want us to think of this so much as the process of conversion as the method of evangelism.
This is the purpose of all authentic evangelism. Evangelism is the proclamation of the gospel in every way possible so that every person possible may have every opportunity possible to believe and be saved.
This concept of lost-ness of humanity is clearly seen in the book of Romans where Paul brings the following points before us.
- In Romans chapters 1-3 the apostle sets forth the eternal truth that without Jesus all humanity is lost
- Romans 3:23 makes this perfectly clear when it states For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- In Romans chapters 3-6, Paul reveals that Justification is by faith in Christ. In justification, Christ imputes to us His own righteousness.
- In Romans Chapters 6-9, he reveals that Sanctification is by faith in Christ. In sanctification, Christ imparts to us His own righteousness.
- In Romans chapter 10: verses 13 and 14, Paul summarizes the essence of his arguments and practically applies the natural outworking of Salvation through Christ
- In Romans 10:13-17 Paul urgently appeals to the church at Rome and to all the Christians that Salvation comes in response to an act of faith in Christ resulting from the proclamation of His Word. He declares, “For ‘whoever calls’ on the name of the Lord shall be saved’” (Romans 10:13
Then the apostle asks these thought-provoking questions: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Verse 14.
Romans 10:14 makes it perfectly clear.
- To be Saved, you must call.
- To call, you must believe
- To believe, you must hear.
- To hear, you must have a preacher.
You and I are sent by God to share the eternal message of God’s truth about His saving grace so that people can hear and respond.
Listen to the clarity of the apostle’s words, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17
God has ordained preaching or faith sharing as His means of saving lost humanity. “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (I Corinthians 1:21)
The sharing of the gospel does not give people their only chance to be saved, but it does give them their best chance. God reveals Himself through nature, His providence, and the impressions of His Spirit, but each of these is liable for misinterpretation.
- Nature reveals both good and evil (earthquakes, tornados, floods, etc.)
- Providences are sometimes difficult to understand
- Impressions are always funneled through fallen human nature
The clearest revelation of God’s truth and Character is God’s Word. The preaching of the gospel provides the greatest opportunity to:
- Understand God’s character
- Know His love
- Respond to His Grace
The New Testament reveals this eternal truth. People are saved as they respond to the gospel. There will be people saved because of your witness.
- God will use the Bible studies you give
- The literature you distribute
- The small groups you conduct
- The CDs and DVDs you loan
- And yes, the evangelist meetings you conduct.
Our responsibility is to give them an opportunity. It’s God’s responsibility to impress their hearts.
People are not:
- Mis-anything else
- They are just simple lost without Christ
Luke the Historian and Doctor clearly reveals this in the 15th chapter of the book that bears his name. We recognize these stories as:
- The lost sheep
- The lost coin
- The prodigal or lost son
The sheep, the coin, the prodigal son are all lost.
The poor sheep, knows it’s lost, but it cannot find its way home.
The coin is lost in the house and has no idea it is lost.
The boy is lost and comes home to the loving arms of his father.
In each instance, the lost are found. God’s grace is great enough to save lost people. In the first two instances people went looking for that which was lost. The shepherd after the sheep and the woman after the coin.
May I remind us of a very important fact regarding the lost coin? The lost coin doesn’t think, he doesn’t think he is lost. He has no idea he is lost and that coin is not even outside the house, but is found within the house.
This morning I ask, are there any lost coins within our house or this house of worship?
The third story is slightly different for the boy knows he is lost and realizes his great need for the father. He starts the journey home. Notice what is said in Luke 15:20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
God does not run from the sinner that is seeking Him, God runs to the sinner. Instead God imputes His own righteousness upon the son. He instructs his servant to bring out the best robe and put it on the boy. Christ is the faithful servant and it is the robe of Christ’s righteousness that is imputed to the boy.
This morning we don’t have time to explore this theme of Christ the faithful servant, but I invite you too when you get home today to look up Revelation 3:10 and Isaiah 22:20-22.
We have used the word Justification twice now and perhaps we need to define this word. Justification means: the remission of sin and absolution from guilt and punishment; or an act of free grace by which God pardons the sinner and accepts him as righteous, on account of the atonement of Christ.
The boy received justification through Christ the faithful Servant and the Father accepted the boy back as though he had never left.
02 Evangelism is Gods way to a Vibrant Spiritual Life.
Have you ever noticed how someone that never exercises or does any activity seems to suffer physically? Have you ever noticed how diet and exercise plays a role in our physical health?
People that do not eat properly and fail to exercise are much more likely to suffer arthritis, clogged arteries, some types of cancer and delay physical strength.
Without outreach or evangelism spiritual rigor mortis sets in.
- There is an arthritis of the soul
- Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get a church interested in Evangelism if they have become and spiritual couch potatoes. It is like pushing a 2 ton car up a hill.
- There are the clogged arteries of the heart
- Churches that do little or no evangelism suffer from heart disease. Their arteries and blood vessels become so filled with junk that they fail to show love to their fellow mankind. They suffer from heart disease, a failure to love the lord with all their heart and their neighbor as themselves.
- There is a malignancy (cancer) of the spirit
- There is a strange thing that happens to Christians when they don’t share their faith. Instead of feeding on God word, they begin to eat each other. They begin to feed off each other as a cancer feeds off its victims.
- There is only one way to stop the growth of this cancer and that is to be infused by the Holy Spirit and we can only become infused by the Holy Spirit when we begin to actively participate in Evangelism.
- There is a delay of real, genuine spiritual growth or in some cases no spiritual growth at all.
- As your body moves about as you work and play you burn calories and you must feed your body for it to continue to grow or sustain yourself.
- As a spiritual body if we are not moving about and sharing our faith, how do we expect to grow. What good will it do to feed ourselves more if we aren’t giving away, (burning the calories we already have.) Only by using can we replace what we have used and in so doing become stronger healthier Christians.
Throughout Scripture, giving away your faith is intimately linked to a growing faith! The simple fact is; you cannot receive continual spiritual nourishment unless you are sharing what God has already given you.
Acts 20:35 “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Who is more blessed, the one who gives the Bible study or the one who receives it?
Who is the one more blessed, the one who distributes literature or the one who receives it?
In God’s plan the one who witnesses receives a greater blessing than the one witnessed to. How often do we forget these words; “Forgetting that strength to resist evil is best gained through aggressive service.” Acts of the Apostles p. 105
God could have reached His objective in saving sinners without our aid, but, “In order for us to develop a character like Christ’s, we must share in His work.” The Desire of Ages, p. 142
“Those who would be overcomers must be draw out of themselves; and the only thing which will accomplish this great work, is to become intensely interested in the salvation of others.” Fundamentals of Christian Education p. 207
Growing Christians are:
Faith Sharing and
03 Evangelism open the Channels of the heart to receive the refreshing rivers of the spirit.
Do you long for a spiritual revival in your own life?
Do you long to see your local church revived?
If so, here is God’s promise
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
The outpouring of the Spirit in its fullness comes to empower us to become effective witnesses. The purpose of the mighty manifestation of God’s Spirit on His last-day church is to enable it to take the gospel to the world.
Why would God pour out His Spirit for witnessing if we are not witnessing?
Why should God equip us by the power of the Spirit to witness, if we have no interest in witnessing?
The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with his glory, will not come until we have enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, whole-hearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of his Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.” The Review and Herald, July 21, 1896
It becomes clear that when the largest portion of God’s people heeds God’s command to “go and preach” or “share the gospel”, He will honor their commitment by the outpouring of the Spirit.
04 Evangelism Brings Joy to God’s Heart
Luke 15:7 brings out an interesting point. “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
This begs me to ask the question. Do you think God ever cries as He looks at the pain in our world?
What if we woke up and asked God; “How is your day going?” How do you think he would respond?
Perhaps he would respond by saying. “My child, My day is going rough. I have attended thousands of funeral today and tomorrow I will attend thousands more. I have witnessed all the suffering of the world today and again tomorrow I will witness it again.
“But,” God says, “There is something that brings Me incredible joy in the midst of a world full of sorrow. I receive such joy when My people share My love with others. For this my heart thrills through and through with joy. When my people reach out in loving ministry as channels of My grace, then all heaven rejoices with me.” “This” God says “This is what brings Me joy.”
05 Evangelism Puts You in the Center of God’s Activities
Peter on the day of Pentecost was in the center of God’s activity.
Philip witnessing to the Ethiopian eunuch was in the center of God’s Activity.
Paul preaching at Ephesus was at the center of God’s activity.
Wouldn’t you like to be in the center of God’s activities here on earth.? We can! And We Are!
When we give a Bible studies, then we are at the center of God’s activity
When we pray with someone in need, then you are the center of God’s activity.
When you distribute literature, then you are at the center of God’s activity.
When you stand before an audience preaching God’s last-day message, then you are in the center of God’s activity.
There is no greater joy for any Christian than to work where God is working. There is no greater satisfaction for any believer than to cooperate with God in saving lost people.
06 Evangelism is God’s means of unifying His Church
I have heard some people say, “We cannot do evangelism because the church isn’t unified. Therefore, we must wait for the church to unit and then reach out to the community.”
To all of us that have thought this before the Bible makes it perfectly clear that the unity of the church is related to the mission of the church. Evangelism fosters, stimulates and promote unity. Leading up to Pentecost the disciples sought God for power to reach the world with the gospel. It was this sense of mission, this sense of purpose which united them.
Acts 1:14 brings this clearly into focus: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
What were the disciples praying about? They were praying for the power to reach the world as our Lord promised them in Acts 1:8
Acts 2:1-3 shows what happened: “When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.”
The power to witness was poured out upon the disciples who were longing to share the grace of God with others.
Placing a priority on mission is Heaven’s means of unifying God’s church. The mission to take the gospel to the entire world consumed the disciples. They were passionate about fulfilling Christ’s command to, “Go into all the world.” They put aside their petty differences. They surrendered their cherished ideas. They broke down all barriers between themselves and focused on the one thing that really mattered, saving soul for Christ’s kingdom.
07 Evangelism gives me a reason for living and fulfills the meaning of my existence.
Jesus stated it powerfully in Matthew 16:25: For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
We often misunderstand what Jesus was saying in this passage. He is not talking about us dying for Him. Jesus is referring to losing one’s life in a life of service. Losing it for the sake of others.
Have you ever found that our lives when we give them away in service are super abundantly rewarded? In John 10:10 Jesus promises come to those who unite with the Master in soul-winning ministry. There is no greater joy, there is no higher privilege.
Birds were made to fly
Fish were made to swim.
But we were made to know God and share a knowledge of His love with the people around us.
The prophet Isaiah states it neatly:
“This people I have formed for myself; they shall declare My praise. (Isaiah 43:21)
The meaning of our existence and the essence of life is to share His praise, His grace His glory with others.
08 And finally the purpose of Evangelism is God’s means of finishing His work so the sleeping saints can go home.
In the well-known chapter on faith in Hebrews 11 the Apostle concluded the passage with these words. “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.” Hebrews 11:39
The faithful of Christ, the warriors of faith down through the ages have not received the promise of Jesus’ return. When Jesus comes, we will be reunited with believers from all ages.
Revelation 6:10 symbolically gives us a picture of the saints crying out from under the altar asking. Starting with verse 5. “When he opened the fifth seal I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice saying, ‘How long, O Lord holy and true’”
We know this to be a symbolic passage but their message is for us today. They cry out, “How long, how much longer do we have to wait to be united with Christ? We were faithful and have fallen asleep in the Lord and wait for our faith to be fulfilled by receiving the promise which we have yet to receive.” How long they ask?
But the testimony of their lives cheers us on. Their faithfulness inspires us to cooperate with God in the finishing of His work. Not in generations to come, but in the generation of the kids attend this church today.
Hebrews 11 concludes with these words. “God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Hebrews 11:40. The saints that rest in the grave are waiting to be made perfect until we ourselves are made perfect.
Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and scores of others from the Old Testaments await in their graves sleeping until the gospel is preached to all the world.
Peter, James, John, Paul, Timothy and others from the New Testament await in their graves waiting for the work to be finished so they can fully be made into the likeness of Christ.
The Waldenses, the Huguenots, Huss, Jerome, Luther, Wesley, William Miller and the other great reformers all sleep in their graves until the gospel is preached to all the world and as they to sleep waiting to be made into the likeness of Christ.
They all await until the gospel is preached into all the world.
My mother past away just a little over a year ago. She was 92 years old. A wonderful Christian woman and I miss her dearly. It has been 35 long years ago that my father past away. My father was wonderful Christian man and besides Christ my dad is the person I have most admired in this life.
I long to be reunited with them on the Day of Christ’s great return. For me, the sooner the better. And since I desire to be reunited with them wouldn’t I want to help finish God’s work on earth so we can be reunited sooner and not later.
Many of you have lost friends and relatives. You too long to be reunited with them. Why not be reunited with them sooner than later by helping to finish the work.
But God delays. Why the delay? Does he enjoy seeing us long after our loved ones who have fallen asleep? Does he enjoy seeing the suffering that takes place upon planet earth? No! He certainly doesn’t enjoy any of that.
Jesus longs to come! Jesus wants to return more than any of us can imagine. In fact Jesus wants to come more than we want him to come. He desires to come and take us home is even greater than our desire to go home and be with him forever.
Then why the delay? Why is he waiting to return if he is so anxious to return?
Because there is somebody near you who is not ready! Perhaps there is some family member, some neighbor, some work associate, some acquaintance, or perhaps even somebody we presently don’t even know who is waiting for you to witness to them.
God is “long-suffering.” He suffers long with the pain of this world, and as it says in II Peter 3:9 “He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
I always end my sermons with a question or a series of questions. A challenge as it were for us.
This morning I will close with three questions:
- Will you rise to the challenge?
- Will you commit your life to sharing His love?
- Will you tell Him just now you want to make soul winning and evangelism the priority of your life?
If so, I invite you to stand with me as we pray.
Welcome to the greatest adventure of your life!