“Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus the mighty to save. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save” We have been touching on this hymn now for six weeks, weaving in and out of its’ verses and chorus. We have heard parts of it and used it to highlight the need to witness, the need to testify to a lost and dying world about our Savior Jesus Christ. We have used it as a word of encouragement and as a reminder of the Great Commission given to us by Jesus himself. We have through this hymn, been reminded of the condition that our hearts must be in; so that we may effectively carry out that Great Commission. This is evangelism. Bringing the truth to the lost. It is where we go spell it out. To all people, in all places. It is when we let go and let God, get God and get going.
Let’s start today by looking at Jeremiah 8:20 where it is written: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved”. Someday, someone, somewhere will utter these words and for the Christian it has to be a heart stopping statement. It is a statement so profound with such vast implications that it should send shivers down your spine to think that you may one day hear it.-the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. To think that someone who has crossed your path may utter these words someday. Someday, when they stand in judgement, they will say these words. They will say them because no one witnessed to them and the day of salvation passed them by. They were not saved! It is an odd perspective really. We are going into the future and looking back. We see all the opportunities we may have missed. We see those who did perish because we rescued them not. We see the dying whom we neglected. We see those we condemned whom we left in sin, and sent them to their graves eternally damned. We see how we were indifferent to the erring one, and how we dropped the fallen. We see how we never told them of Jesus the mighty to save. Looking back we see how the harvest is past. In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus said: “…to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” The harvest speaks about winning souls. We reap where others have sown. We gather in the crop that was sown by others. Other people witnessed, other people testified. God gave the increase and our witness our testimony led them to Christ. We went out into the fields of humanity and there we labored. We labored long and hard to separate someone from the world and bring them to Christ. There are four stages in life where the harvest may reaped. The first, is the harvest of youth. In Ecclesiastes 12:1 it is written “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”: and also in Matthew 19:14 where Jesus says “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Youth. It is a time we try to remember and retain. It is a time when innocence keeps life choices so simple. It is a time when we have no doubts about the puissance of the Father. It is a time when we can see everything so clearly and we wholly trust in the word and provisions of the Father. It is a time when we have no difficult times. Where we don’t worry about our finances, our relationships, our job or our church. It is that child-like faith that is so endearing. Being able to completely lean on the Father and completely trust him. As youths our perspective on God is unique. And that child-like faith is what makes up the kingdom of heaven. This is the first period of life that a person can be witnessed to. A child finds it so easy to trust in Christ because they don’t have the doubts of the world weighing them down and confusing them. In this time they know how to completely trust. And that’s what Jesus was trying to get the disciples to see-just how precious a child was, and how as adults we could relearn from them. The second stage of harvest comes at special times in our lives. They are special opportunities that God places in our lives. They can be good times, or they could be bad times. They could be happy days or they could be sad days. They are times when we concentrate on an event in our lives. It can be during times of crisis. We are familiar with these. Sickness, accidents, death. These are times in a persons life where all the cares of the world seem to melt away, and they begin living in the moment. They have the ability to perceive their condition. They have the ability to start looking within themselves. These events, ultimately bring people to the point where they begin asking questions such as: Is this all there is? What happens if I die suddenly? Is there a God? These events remind us of our fragile mortality. It is a time when we can have a child-like fear and are so ready to lean on the Father. If only someone would tell them about Jesus. And it’s not just the person that’s going through the tragedy. It’s the people around them too. Nurses, doctors, friends, family. All these people have been touched by these events and many are ready to receive what you can bring them. Other times in our lives can be times of tenderness. Times when we come together at the monuments of our lives. Love, memories, marriage, birth. Special times when our focus is off the world, and experiencing events in our lives which produce joy. The last type of special opportunity is during times of turmoil. When disaster strikes, when war breaks out. That’s when God’s prayer lines begin to light up. People have an inherent belief in God that lies buried. When disaster strikes. When people call out to him it is the church’s responsibility to be there. This is perhaps one of the greatest areas where our works as Christians can shine. These people are battered by events that are beyond their control. They feel like they are left in a dark world of despair. As Christians, we need to shine the light of Jesus into that darkness. We need to walk not behind them or in front of them. We need not to be above them or below them. We have need to walk beside them. They have just witnessed their worldly world being destroyed. Show them how to build a new world through Jesus Christ. Who better to build a new world with than with a carpenter.
“Crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore; touched by a loving hand, wakened by kindness, chords that were broken will vibrate once more.” I never really saw how this verse works in the grand scheme of things but listen to it. People have been crushed by the tempter. A worldly view of life has been set upon them and that is what they live. But when tragedy occurs a person remembers their child-like faith. If only someone would reach out a helping hand, a comforting hand. Your kindness could wake them, and your words could save them. Rescue the perishing!
The last stage in life where a harvest may be reaped is during the ones we have a tendency to talk about the most. When we witness to a friend. When our testimony brings about changed lives. This is a harvest that most of us have experienced either on our own or with a friend. But we need to remember, that it’s not the only one. Another common type of harvest is the work of the Holy Spirit during the service. We have seen this at work many times. We have seen dozens upon dozens of people get saved in this very room. Many of them people we know. Many of them people in whom we planted the seeds of salvation, and the minister reaped. In our times with the Campbells, and the Browders we have seen hundreds more come to Jesus. We have even been to a Campbells service in South China, Maine where half the congregation got saved. Now that’s the working of a mighty God!
The very final harvest comes at the end of our lives. When our years have piled up and our days spent. When we sit and ponder-what’s next? As our life is quickly spent, and we prepare to draw our last couple of breaths, we utter the words “Jesus save me”. With barely any life left we come, in our old age, to the point where finally realize, that we must be saved. For some, it is literally a deathbed confession. For others, it is in their last years that they make that choice for Jesus. That is why we need to care for our elderly. Share the Gospel with them and win even them to the Lord. Their time is short. They don’t have the time to wait for us. Go spell it out to them.
Church the time for Salvation is now! No more waiting, no more procrastination. Stop counting on another tomorrow and use the today that is in front of you. Quickly, before it is too late. Don’t wait until the summer is ended. Don’t wait until time of harvest is past. Otherwise, the crop will die and perish. This is the time to be saved. Carry that enthusiasm. Bring them down the Romans road to hear just how Jesus saves! Let them hear from your lips the message of salvation!
Let them hear from Romans 3 where in verse 10 it is written ; “There is none righteous, no, not one”. Explain to them that we are all sinners look to verse 22 and 23 where it is written “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Explain to them how our sin has separated us from having fellowship with God.
Let them hear from Romans 5 where in verse 12 it is written “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Explain to them that there is a payment for sin. Look to Romans 6 verse 23 where it is written “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Tell them again that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let them know that Jesus paid the debt for that sin. Let them know that Jesus served the sentence for their sins. Share with them Romans 5:8 where it is written: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Next, share with them Romans 10 verses 9 thru 13 where it is written “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." This verse says it all! Confess out loud, and believe in your heart. Jesus Christ is Lord! He is raised from the dead! By doing this you are saved! This same excerpt tells the believer how he can be sure of heaven. Encourage them. Help them pray a prayer where they admit these things and turn their life over to Christ. Show them the scriptures. Show them 1 John 5:13 where it is written: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." That is assurance. Confirmation that what they have done is acceptable to God. Confirmation that they are indeed saved.
Do it now! While they still have their todays, for their tomorrows are so uncertain. In 2 Corinthians chapter 6:2 it is written: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”. So don’t let procrastination hold you up or hold them back. Time is so short, time is running out. Very soon there will be no more days to witness. Very soon there will be no chance for the sinner to repent. Christ’s return is imminent. He could be getting up out of his seat right now. He could call all Christians home before I finish this sermon, and the opportunities we were given to lead a person or persons to Christ will be past. Imagine, if you will when the rapture happens and we meet Jesus in the air. Will he look at you with great sadness and ask you where’s your friend David or Michael, what about Sue and Gloria? Will you be ready to tell Jesus face to face that you never witnessed to them, that you never tried? One day they will stand in judgement before the Christ and be held accountable for all that they have ever done. I can imagine them looking across heaven to find your gaze, and you’ll hear them whisper-why didn’t you tell us? “We are not saved” Then they will be brought down into that fiery pit all because you could not tell them of Jesus. Be alert Christian. Christ has given us all a command to witness to all peoples in this world. Let’s get out there and start telling people about Jesus. Let’s not have to hear the words we are not saved. (don’t let it be you words either) Jesus said “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” Church it’s later than you think. Look and see. The harvest is ready. Start reaping. Start reaping before it’s too late.