Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, August 04, 2002, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
REMINDERS FOR MINISTRY FROM THE RESCUE OF THE MINERS
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Jude 1:20-25
Text: Jude 1:23
Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Introduction: During the middle of the night last Saturday, millions of Americans stayed up late, in front of their television sets, watching the rescue of the nine miners in Pennsylvania who had been trapped. They started bringing the first one up around 1 AM, and the last one was rescued just before 3 AM. It was an emotional event. It was almost too good to be true, that all nine miners were rescued successfully, having been trapped since Wednesday, with no communications after Thursday noon.
I don’t succeed in this, but as often as possible I try to look at things in the light of God’s word and see how an event relates to eternal truths. This morning I want to tell you how God, I believe, stirred my heart once again about the importance of soul-winning. My message is titled
REMINDERS FOR MINISTRY FROM THE RESCUE OF THE MINERS
First, I am reminded that
I. OUR TASK IS CLEAR
Acts 20:26-27 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
This passage is often misquoted and misunderstood. Paul was not free from the blood of ALL men because he had preached every truth in the Bible, or as some misquote the verse, “the whole counsel of God.” He was free from the blood of ALL men there because he had WITNESSED to all men there. The “all” refers to the PEOPLE. He had given them ALL God’s counsel about salvation!
Our task as a church in this world is simple:
A. Go where they are
- Lost people are trapped in darkness and are in a horrible pit.
- The rescue workers did not construct a “seeker-friendly” building somewhere that would attract the miners to come there and be rescued! Rick Warren and his Willow Creek crowd have gotten the Bible program completely backwards!
- In the Bible, the way to bring sinners IN to the fold is to GO … GO … GO! GO WHERE THEY ARE!
B. Get them out
- The ladies just sang, “SNATCH them in pity from sin and the grave.”
- Our text says, PULLING THEM OUT OF THE FIRE!
- Our task is to go all over this world and keep people out of HELL!
Second, I am reminded from the rescue of the miners that
II. OUR TIME IS SHORT
Romans 13:11-12 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
A. Darkness prevails
- Much of the time the miners were without light.
- Lost people are in darkness. There main opportunity for light is the gospel witness that you and I give.
- Time is running out!
B. Drowning is a possibility
- The miners had to fight the water in order to survive.
- Lost people are drowning in sin, in the consequences of sin, and in the rush of the world to destruction.
C. Death presses nearer all the time
- The last contact with the miners was around noon on Thursday. The fear was that they would die before the rescue workers could get to them.
- Recently we heard that an employee of a nearby business had died in an auto accident. We had met that person and were stunned as we wondered if she was saved. We later learned that it was someone else, but you never know when a loved one, neighbor, or acquaintance will be suddenly taken.
Third, I am reminded from this dramatic rescue that
III. TEAMWORK IS NECESSARY
1 Corinthians 3:6-9 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
The governor of the state of Pennsylvania was there the whole time, helping and encouraging.
A. TOGETHER we pray!
B. TOGETHER we prepare!
C. TOGETHER we pull!
D. TOGETHER we persist!
Finally, I am reminded from the rescue of the miners that
IV. OUR TRIUMPH WILL BE SWEET
Psalms 126:5-6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Everyone clapped, shouted, laughed, hugged one another, and cried as the miners were rescued! Shouldn’t we get MORE excited about someone getting saved from HELL than about someone getting saved from dying? Brother, there is nothing sweeter than getting someone saved!
A. Success is sweet
- Many people did not expect the best; they expected the worst.
- The devil is predicting defeat.
- Doubters are predicting defeat.
B. Salvation is sweet
- What a cause for rejoicing!!!
- The Bible doesn’t say there was rejoicing in heaven over a miner that was brought out of a hole in the ground, but rather over one sinner that repenteth!
Conclusion: Have you been rescued? Are you still in the pit? Jesus can save you today if you will just trust Him.
Are you part of God’s rescue team? If you’re saved, are you part of a soul-winning church? Are you in the soul-winning program of your church?