Friday, December 21, 2007

Strangers in a strange land

Strangers in a strange land

Psalm 146:9

The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

Hebrews 11:8-13

8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

1 Peter 2:11-12

11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt,

I was trying so hard to fit in

Until I found out, that I don’t belong here


Isn’t it great that we are not part of this world? That we are in the world, but not of the world? That we don’t fight for victory, but that we fight from the victory that Jesus won?

However, in this battle there are casualties. There are those who build their “houses” on the shifting sands of this world

Matthew 7

4Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.


Two types

Those who aren’t saved

They just don’t know…

John 1:5, 9-11

5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Exodus 5:1-2

And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.

2And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

We must be a lighthouse in this dark world. A city on a hill that cannot be hidden – from the good or the bad.

Matthew 5

14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Lighthouses/shoal markers/airport runway beacons are all similar

- don’t have a choice in who they attracts/warns – could be good or bad

- can be a source of comfort for those who lost their way

- warn newcomers of danger

- familiar landmark to those who know the area

It is good to attract other Christians who are looking for a “home”. It is also good to attract non-Christians who should be looking for a “home”.

Philippians 2

15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Evil can tell the difference. In a similar way, unsaved people can tell the difference. They know when someone is being sincere with them really cares about them

Matthew 8:29

29And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Acts 19

13Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.

14And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

15And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

So, what do we do?


- For God’s protection

- For the right words to say

- For the courage to say it

WE can’t save them. WE can do a makeover and change the external, but WE can’t change the internal. Only God can change the internal.

It’s like putting new paint on an old rundown house – it looks nice, but may fall apart in a strong breeze. Sometimes the paint is the only thing holding it together.

That’s why banning doesn’t work. It only puts a bandaid on a symptom, and neglects the main issue. It also tends to make things more desirable…

Maybe it’s the job of church to show people how to unwind or have fun…


Then, there are those who get wounded

- Maybe their walk is not as strong or steady as it used to be

- maybe they were careless and not watching their step

- Whatever the cause, they fall

Some falls hurt more or do more damage than others. Some people heal faster.

Scandals on TV

The person probably can’t – shouldn’t – hold the same position; but they’re still people God wants to be saved. We can’t just shoot the wounded so they don’t drag us down.

The key to recovery is to:

- get back up (dust yourself off, see how many people were watching)

- repent (ask for forgiveness, and then turn away from sin)

- Don’t give devil an inch or he’ll become a ruler

Remember: Jesus died for everyone

Matthew 9

9And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

10And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Acts 2

21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

So, what do we do?

There is a Casting Crowns song that says:

Just love them like Jesus, carry them to Him
His yoke is easy, His burden is light
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions
Just know that He loves them and stay by their side
Love them like Jesus

Pray for them

Army Rangers

Never shall I leave a comrade behind to fall into the hands of the enemy.

That’s something I try to live by, whether it’s someone who wants to see where the “other path” goes in the woods or it’s 12:30am packing stuff up.

We can’t do everything, but we should do what we can do.

Wrapping things up, when it really comes down to it, there will two kinds of people: Those who know Jesus and those who don’t. Those who do know Jesus will spend eternity with Him. Those who don’t will spend eternity separated from Him. It’s our choice.

Revelation 3

15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

I’ll close with a story. It’s rather sad, so I won’t go into all the details. Hopefully, it will drive home the point.

Sept. 15, 2004

I remember sitting in the backyard holding onto Tyson the dog, trying to keep him from bleeding to death, holding onto hope that the vet could “fix things” and everything would be ok. Sadly, it wasn’t.


To the Unsaved

Matthew 7

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [didn’t we teach Sunday School every Sunday, and show up at church everytime the doors were open, and maybe even preached every week…]

23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I remember hearing the vet, and what a sad feeling that was… I can’t and don’t really want to imagine hearing what it would be like standing before God and hearing “Depart from me, I never knew you.”


To the Saved

Our unsaved family are dieing. Physical death is not something to be afraid of, if you are saved. It’s just the gateway to the eternal. It’s the spiritual death that is more serious.

Matthew 10

28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Remember, we can’t save them, but we still must do something...

So, what do we do?

- Be the city on the hill that cannot be hidden, the lighthouse shining through the darkness of this world.

- Grab hold of them (probably not physically)

- Invite them to church

- Invite them to church gathering

Most importantly: carry them spiritually to the Alter of Prayer, and leave them there. They will be in the hands of the Great Physician who can heal all infirmities of the soul.

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