Posted on Thu, Sep 7, 2017
Pastor Bob Norton
Christianity is a rescue religion. It declares that God has taken the initiative in Jesus Christ to rescue us from our sins. This is the main theme of the Bible. You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21) The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. (Luke 19:10) Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15) We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 John 4:14)
“Salvation” is a wonderfully wide-ranging word, and it would be a great mistake to think that it only refers to the forgiveness of our sins. God is as much concerned with our present and our future as with our past. His plan is to put right our relationship with him, and then progressively to set us free from our self-centeredness and bring us into harmony with other people. We owe our forgiveness and reconciliation chiefly to the death of Christ, but it is by his Spirit that we can be set free from ourselves and in his church that we can be united in a fellowship of love.
The church is to become a life-saving station that proclaims and lives the salvation Jesus Christ brings. The drift toward irrelevance must always be counteracted with the rediscovery toward recovering our life-saving mission in the world. As Archbishop William Temple once said, “The Church of Jesus Christ is the only organization in the world which exists for the sake of those who are not members of it.” Our mission is great in Flagstaff for 90% of our residents do not know Christ nor do they darken the door of the church. This is why our COR mission is clearly stated: To Know Christ and To Make Him Known.
The new movie Dunkirk tells the story well of the spring of 1940 when Hitler’s panzer divisions and Luftwaffe war planes were bearing down on allied troops. The British army foundered on the coast of France in the channel port of Dunkirk. Nearly a quarter million young British soldiers and over 100,000 allied troops faced capture or death. The Germans were looking for an easy kill. The Royal Navy had enough ships to save barely 17,000 men and the impending disaster brought “hard and heavy tidings”. Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the nation to pray…and the nation responded with prayer and action.
While a despairing world watched with fading hope, a bizarre fleet of ships appeared on the horizon of the English Channel. Trawlers, tugs, fishing sloops, lifeboats, sailboats, pleasure craft, an island ferry named Gracie Fields, and even the America’s Cup challenger Endeavor, all manned by civilian sailors, sped to the rescue. The ragtag armada eventually rescued 338,682 men and returned them home to the shores of England. It was one of the most remarkable naval operations in history.
The Church, likewise, is God’s ragtag armada. The Church is a mix of flawed individuals on a rescue operation commissioned by God. Starting with twelve disciples, Jesus said, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people (Matthew 4:19). Two thousand years later there are now 2.3 billion followers of Jesus in the world today. The rescue operation continues. That is why we are offering our upcoming “How to Share Your Faith” Workshop on Saturday, September 30th. The stakes are high. Together, let us form God’s ragtag armada for Flagstaff. Yes! We are called to participate in the world’s greatest rescue operation. The living Lord Jesus Christ awaits your response. Pray. Spring into action. Lives will be lost if God’s people do not heed the call. Come, join the adventure and make history by participating in the world’s greatest rescue operation.
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