The Life saving station
by Theordore Wedel
On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant vigil over the sea, and, with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.
Some members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. Eventually, they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. In time, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. So, they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely and, through their efforts, it became sort of club.
As time continued to pass, fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they elected an administrative board, to hire life-boat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration, and there was a liturgical life-boat in the room where the club initiations were held. Then a terrible tragedy occurred. A large ship was wrecked just off the coast. The hired life-boat crews rowed out to sea and diligently searched for the lost. In earnest, they brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked on those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. And so, they did.
As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet, another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.
by Dennis Coulter
Objective: In this series of discussions, we are going to take a close look at all that God has done to reconcile fallen man to himself through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to better equip the members of our church family to more effectively fulfill our personal roles in the accomplishment of the great commission. If you’re not sure what that is, just hang in there. This is only part one of eight. The sea of humanity is froth with souls, drowning in sin. And we, the church, have been given a mission, given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).
And guess what Christians; this is it! We are the life-boat crews. Not the missionaries, not the evangelists, not the pastors. They have their specific missions. And, as far as I can tell, most of them are pulling their weight. They are professionals, it’s their job. And you darn well better be throwing nickels into the coffer to cover their expenses. But I’m not talking to them; I’m talking to you! What are you doing? Are you out there; rowing through the dark water looking for drowning souls, or sitting in a soft cushy chair in the lodge sipping lemonade? I’m drawing a line in the sand here. Step across or get out of the fight.
Well, if you’re still with me, let’s get started. First thing you’re going to need is a weapon (our enemy, Satan, is armed and dangerous). We Christians use a sword. The Roman, Biblical, term is, μάχαιρα, machaira. It was only eighteen inches long, but in the hands of trained professionals, it was the weapon that conquered the world. Our sword is, ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ, the Word of God.
Pick it up. Open it, and follow along. I’m an old vet. I’ve been training warriors for over thirty years. It’s really not that hard. Just pay attention. And have fun!
Definition: Reconciliation is the restoration of friendship and fellowship after estrangement. Biblically, it refers to all that God has done to remove the BARRIER between fallen man and Himself. The doctrine of Reconciliation explains the process through which God has enabled the lost to pass from darkness into light. Therefore, it was labelled, το εὐαγγελίοv, “The Gospel” by our Lord which literally means Good News (Mark 1:1; 15).
What is our responsibility? It is the responsibility of every believer to carry out the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) through personal evangelism (Ephesians 6: 14-15; 1 Peter 3:15). In order to do this effectively, every believer must be willing and able to declare the Good News lucidly and with confidence. Discuss the feelings generated by this responsibility with a friend and then get back to me. I would be interested to know the the outcome. I really would.
The good news about The Good News: God has not commissioned us to represent Him and fulfill His purpose in our own power (1 Thessalonians 1:5). No matter what the circumstances in which we may find ourselves, we are never on our own in personal evangelism (Acts 1:8). Rather, God the Father, in accordance with His plan, has commissioned God the Holy Spirit to support every believer who desires to proclaim the Gospel with a three fold ministry. This ministry is called Common Grace: “And when He (Holy Spirit) comes He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16:8-11).
1. “He will convict the world of sin.” The Greek word for convict, ἐλέγξει, elegxei, means to convict or convince on the basis of evidence.
The Greek word for sin, ἁμαρτία, hamartia, means to miss the mark or fall short of a given standard. Man’s personal righteousness is not sufficient to qualify him to enter into fellowship with Holy God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:8). It is the personal ministry of God The Holy Spirit to convict each person who hears the gospel of his inability to stand before God on the basis of his own personal righteousness.
“because they believe not in me.” God’s standard of righteousness is the righteousness that comes exclusively by faith in Christ (Romans 3:28). Therefore, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin because they do not possess the righteousness of God by faith in Christ (John 16:9 cf. Romans 3:22).
2. “Of righteousness.” The Greek word for righteousness ,δικαιοσύνη , dikaiosunahe, means absolute conformity to God’s standard, purpose, and will. God the Holy Spirit convicts the world of the fact that they crucified an innocent man. Jesus Christ was exactly who He said He was. The Son of God, and God the Son incarnate.
“because I go to My Father.” God the Father would not have resurrected an impostor. When God glorified Christ through resurrection and ascension, He publicly gave His seal of approval to the personal testimony of Jesus Christ.
3. “Of judgement.” God, who is righteous and just, will execute judgement upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).
“because the prince of this world is judged.” Satan, the declared enemy of God, the author of sin, and “the prince of this world” was defeated at the cross. As a result, it is only a matter of time until God executes judgement upon all His enemies. If He has conquered His greatest foe, Satan, then He will certainly subdue all others in due time. Through the clear communication of the gospel and the convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit this is deeply felt by the convicted sinner. While I’m on the subject of Satan. Let’s say there was an election a few years back; an election to elect the ruler of the world and you voted for Satan. How’s that worken’ out for ya’ ? How’s that world peace thing coming along? ”
Would you like to see a vision of world peace that you can take to the bank?
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21).
The better news about the Good News: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:17). Fearing that God will justly condemn him, the convicted unbeliever trembles at the apprehension of approaching condemnation. From this state of alarm there is no refuge but to run to Him who defeated the great enemy of man, and who is able to deliver him from the vengeance due to his sins.
The best news about the Good News: For those who seek refuge in Jesus Christ there is no condemnation (John 3:18). They have passed from darkness into light (John 3:21; 8:12). The barrier between God and man has been permanently removed (Ephesians 2:14-18 cf. Romans 8:38-39).
Clarifying the issue: The issue for the unbeliever is faith in Christ. The ministry of God the Holy Spirit in Reconciliation is to convince the world of their need for Christ on the basis of “sin, righteousness, and Judgement.”
The issue for the believer, then, is to make an issue of the issue and to make the issue clear in light of (2 Corinthians 6:3).
Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with God the Father through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The church is not a social club; it is a family of believers who are born again through faith in Christ and the regenerative power of God the Holy Spirit.
Our mission is not to beautify the beach; it is to go out into the sea of humanity and save the lost from drowning.