During our Live Nativity presentation in December, how many times has the following verse been sung: “O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Savior's birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and... The soul felt its worth.”? That last phrase is because we were in a desperate, lost, sinful, worthless state and God Himself saw something so wonderful in us even then that He came to where we were that night to save us and give us hope; not just to take away the legal repercussions of sin, but to share our sin brought misery and show us love; to bring us something that legal freedom could not communicate, to relate to us in such a way that we could humanly see, feel, touch and hear how He cared; to show us in the most intimate way, just how sacred and wonderful He holds us, even in our worst sins—to put a face with love. Philippians 2:5-7: we are to have the mind of Christ, as it relates to His desire and readiness to sacrifice what He had, and where He was in order to become a servant to us. This is one of the biggest faults and areas of hypocrisy within the Christian Church—our lack of desire and compassion to go where the lost are; to intimately reach out to them with genuine interest in their lives, rather than a legalistic manipulation, out of duty. If we do involve ourselves in personally knowing and caring for others as Christians, I’s usually in the lives of other Christians, but the outside world (the lost), we keep at a social level, only getting close and interested if we can talk them into being interested in church or God. Don’t you think people can feel the shallow, low level of worth we often place on their souls? It wasn’t Jesus, but the Pharisees who required people to change before being acceptable and treasured by them; Jesus sought them out as they were, where they were; He reached out in sincere love.
Luke 4:18: if we are to be Jesus to the world: how do you show a lost person the riches of the Gospel if you can’t compare it to the poverty of the life they have now? How do you heal a person’s broken heart if you don’t get personally involved enough to see why they are broken? How do you show a person the way out of their captive lifestyle if you don’t reach out to them in the misery of their captivity? How do you help a person regain their vision if you don’t find out what is causing them to miss the light? How do you help a person find freedom if you don’t care enough to learn what their chains are made of? People are not numbers to be won, crosses to bear nor sinful influences to be avoided in our righteousness; they are precious souls to be touched, healed, saved; Jesus came to earth to become one of us; to reach us, touch us, hear us, show us; even though we were dreadfully sinful and ugly to Him, even though He had to leave much comfort to do so; it is God’s Plan for our lives to go to those that are lost and hurting, where they are in love, as He did, and show genuine interest in their lives and genuine sacrifice to help them, and make our lives all about these people that may seem to be undeserving as Christ did for us. If you truly care about someone, it is your desire to be interested in what effects them; to find out how they feel, how they see the world, what they care about, what they fear, why they are bitter, hopeless, angry, what they are trying to escape through their sin. You have to go to their personal world and dig up the secrets that Jesus alone can heal; that doesn’t happen without involvement. It is not an option; it should be an active, desired part of our lives to touch hurting souls around us, but instead of seeing the lost as the precious souls God sees them as, we let our self-righteous attitude, or our Christian culture tell us to avoid them, and that is exactly what the Pharisees did in Christ’s time (and that is exactly why Jesus got so frustrated with them). Luke 15:1-7: if the hundred sheep are in the fold, and therefore with the Shepherd, the lost sheep is in the world—and where does the Shepherd have to go to get that one sheep—in the world: if God rejoices so much over that one sheep, why doesn’t it matter more to us?
1 Corinthians 9:19-23: Paul had a burning passion to spend his life relating to and healing broken sinners; it should be our life mission as well. Rather than complain, avoid and feel self-righteous around them, maybe you could try opening up to them, showing an interest in their world; try to genuinely learn of their lives and hears, not to condemn them, but to relate—to help. Jesus preached about sin to the religious, but to the lost, He simply showed love, met needs and drew them near; knowing better than anyone that the kindness and mercy of God leads sinners to repentance (Romans 2:4); that external change would come when the heart became aware of God’s reality and love. There are people all around you that are lonely, sad, bitter and meaningless in their existence; next to the life they were meant to have; but no one will take the time or effort to show them the way out. Even though you see their misery, you never want to take the time to hear their story… A true sign that we have begun to love as Christ, is when we naturally are drawn to those lost people that used to turn us off because we want to show them real love. Luke 19:10: Jesus gave up Heaven, power, comfort, reputation and acceptance to seek and save the lost, broken people of this world because of the treasure that each life is to our King. We are told to have the same mind as Christ. Go to the lost, help them find the way out of Satan’s lie. Do you see them as a treasure worth saving or as a burden? Many of us need to realize just how far our hearts are from being Christ-like by the way we follow this greatest commandment and commission.