Out of the pit
Many, many moons ago, I was with my church high school youth group on a trip down the Oregon coast. We stopped at one particular beach that was famous for its rocky formations, including deep pits and caves. We tumbled out of the bus to begin exploring.
Not long into our adventure, I noticed a crowd of my friends gathered at the edge of one of the shoreline pits. Some were lying on their stomachs, looking down below and shouting. Curious, I went over to see what was going on. It was Joe. Joe was rather infamous, even among high school students, for his spurts of bad judgment. Joe had decided to climb down into the pit and, now that he was there, he couldn’t climb back out.
Many helpful sophomores were shouting suggestions about where he could find handholds and other unhelpful advice. Finally, one boy removed his own leather belt, borrowed another from a friend, hooked them together, and dropped down the end to help heave Joe up and out of the pit in which he was trapped.
It wouldn’t have crossed our minds NOT to help Joe. Even though his own foolish actions landed him in the predicament, still he was our friend and we weren’t going to leave until we’d lifted him to safety. There was a certain noble desperation and determination to our rescue efforts.
How I wish the perilous spiritual predicament of our non-Christian friends was as apparent to us! There was probably a time when we were new believers that we were more aware of and concerned for our friends and family who were, as Jesus described them, “lost” in their own sin. But over the years, it is easy to become dull to their plight.
The fact is, however, apart from Christ, every single human being is trapped! Lost in their own sin and rebellion. Perhaps by their own foolish choices… but the circumstances are just as dire. If you had the eyes to see them in their spiritual peril, would you help? Would you cry out to them? Would you offer a hand…or a belt…up? Of course you would!
I have been asking you to pray that the Holy Spirit would give you the opportunity and courage to invite your friend or family to church. Have you? Church won’t save them. But the risen Christ can and this Easter, we are going to present him as clearly as we know how.
So, I redouble my request of you. Please, would you pray? Pray for the lost, that God will bring them to church on Easter. Pray for your specific unsaved friends that the Spirit might give you the chance and the courage to invite them to join you. Pray for me and the rest of our worship team that we might present the gospel in a winsome and attractive way.
In fact, I’d like to ask more of you. Would you consider joining me on Good Friday to fast and pray for all or part of that day? Go without food and, every time you have a hunger pang, let it be a prompt to pray for the lost; that God will bring many people to salvation this Easter weekend. Will you do that? Open your eyes, see your lost friends and lift them up to the Lord!
“Lord Jesus, thank you for dying and rising for us. Thank you for calling us to new life. This weekend, will you bring hundreds to your church who do not know you…and will you bring many to salvation through your Holy Spirit? Amen.”
P.S. Good Friday: a day of fasting and prayer! Please go without food for some or all of Good Friday and every time your stomach rumbles, let it be a prompt to pray that 1) God will bring hundreds of unsaved people to church on Easter and 2) that the Holy Spirit will bring many of them to salvation through the message.