Survivors to the Rescue
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Each season in the U.S. seems to bring its beauty and its unique dangers. In the spring, think tornado, for example. In the summer and fall, some of us know what the word hurricane is all about. In the mountains in winter, it's important to be aware that with that season's snowy beauty may also come the danger of deadly avalanches. Every winter, we hear about some people who lose their lives as massive chunks of snow suddenly break loose and roar down the mountain. But every once in a while, we hear about lives saved. A few years ago, the rescuers were there not long after an avalanche, and they immediately started digging for survivors. In minutes, they pulled out one skier who was not only grateful to be saved, but in remarkably good shape for what he had been through. And the news reported that after that man was rescued, he didn't just head for a warm place to recover. He joined the rescuers, working side by side with them to save other lives. And they did!
A person is saved from a deadly situation and they instinctively go back to help save someone else. That's exactly how lives are saved eternally. The rescued are supposed to turn around and be the rescuers. When they're not, they make it out, but they leave others to perish. It's not supposed to be that way.
If someone rescued you spiritually by telling you about Jesus Christ, then the eight words in our word for today from the Word of God are personal orders from God to you. Jude, verse 23, simply says, "Snatch others from the fire and save them." The implication - you got snatched from the fire, now go back and get someone else.
That was instinctive for Andrew the day he met Christ. The Bible says, "The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, 'We have found the Messiah'...and he brought him to Jesus" (John 1:41-42). And Simon became the great leader of the apostles. My guess is that when you first discovered the love of Jesus for yourself, you had that Andrew instinct. You knew you had found something you could not keep to yourself. You may not have done the best job of explaining Jesus at that point, but you just knew that people you cared about had to have the same chance that you had. That's how the rescue work of Jesus has gone on for 2,000 years - rescued people becoming rescuers of others.
But as time has gone by, have you become content to just find a warm spot among other people who are already headed for heaven; to believe the beliefs, give the money, be at the meetings, and live as if the reason you were rescued is to enjoy the fellowship of the others who've been rescued? No, you were rescued to rescue.
Oh, we have our excuses for our silence about our Savior. "I'm afraid, I'm inadequate, I'm imperfect, I don't know enough, I might mess it up." Well, look at who Jesus used to bring an entire Samaritan village to Him - a woman with the worst reputation in town, a woman who had just met Jesus, but she knew enough to say, "Come see a Man" (John 4:29). Come and check out Jesus. If Christ could use her to be His ambassador to her tribe, He can surely use you to be His ambassador to yours. They'll listen to you because you walk the same trail they do - much more than they might listen to some "professional rescuer" who's from outside their world.
Hundreds of people were rescued from the sinking Titanic by being put in lifeboats. But those same people refused to turn those lifeboats around to rescue the people who were in the lifejackets in the water, even though many lifeboats were half empty. And 328 people died because the people who had been rescued did nothing about the people who were dying. There are too many like them in the lifeboat "Jesus." Please don't be one of them.