“Becoming Spiritual Rescuers In Your Personal World”

 

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by Rev. Dr. Otis T. McMillan

During one of the evangelistic training sessions at Billy Graham’s School of Evangelism, Dr. Ron Hutchcraft made the following statement, “There’s only one way every unbeliever can ever have a chance at Jesus and a chance at heaven. And that’s if believers step up to be spiritual rescuers of lost people in their personal world.”

Dr. Hutchcraft suggests that the term evangelism has fallen on hard times. In many circles, evangelism is considered optional ministry. What about in your circle of influence? What is your local congregation’s attitude towards evangelism? Has evangelism become optional?In facilitating one of our evangelism presentations, I like to use an illustration from the history of the RMS Titanic. If you remember, the RMS Titanic was an Olympic-class passenger liner built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, United Kingdom and owned by British shipping company White Star Line. For her time, she was the largest passenger steamship in the world.

As a result, she surpassed all rivals in luxury and opulence. The Titanic offered an on-board swimming pool, a gymnasium, a Turkish bath, libraries in both first and second class and a squash court. First-class common rooms were adorned with ornate wood paneling, expensive furniture and other decorations. In addition, the Café Parisian offered cuisine for the first-class passengers, with a sunlit veranda fitted with trellis decorations.

The Titanic used some of the most advanced technology of the time and was popularly believed to have been described as “unsinkable.” It was a great shock to many that, despite the extensive and expensive shipbuilding endeavor, the Titanic sank.

During the ship’s maiden voyage, she hit an iceberg and sank early on the morning of April 15, 1912. The sinking resulted in the deaths of 1,517 people, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. The high casualty rate was due in part to the fact that, although complying with the regulations of the time, the ship did not carry enough lifeboats for everyone aboard.

The Titanic had lifeboats for just 1,178 people, although her passenger capacity was 3,547. It has also been reported that the lifeboats that were employed each rowed away from the shipwreck with space for additional people. However, those already safe in the boats did not want to turn around to save more victims because they were afraid too many people might try to enter, thus capsizing the lifeboats.

It is one thing to marvel at this failure to rescue people who knew and understood that they were perishing: The victims of the Titanic were screaming and pleading because they knew their lives were slipping away. But it is just as vital to rescue people who do not realize that by their ways and actions, their lives will be lost. Such persons are not crying or pleading for safety, because they do not realize or believe they are in danger.

Too many Christians are so comfortable in our “Jesus Lifeboats,” that we fail to reach out to others in need. As believers, we are no longer to live for ourselves. 2Co 5:14, 15,

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all,
then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth
live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

In order to see the power of God at work, we must move beyond our comfort zones, have a heart for others and begin to pray for the spiritually dying. We do this by making room in our lifeboats for all. Look around and discover your harvest field, look for way to engage the culture with the message of Jesus Christ, look for opportunities to share your faith with them and look for ways to help them get in the boat!

“Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; Some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, In the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning, Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting struggling seaman, You may rescue, you may save.”