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Always Ready

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
October 12, 2022 12:30 am

Always Ready

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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October 12, 2022 12:30 am

Today Pastor Russ Andrews continues his series through the book of Luke.

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Jesus said, Blessed are the persecuted and they are suffering big time right now. This is Bible League International and 19-year-old Aria was beaten by her own father and violated by local authorities. You know what her crime was?

Simply that she gave her life to Jesus Christ after leaving radical Islam. They need Bibles in order to endure and persevere. And that's why Truth Network and Bible League are teamed up to send God's Word to 3500 persecuted believers around the world at $5 a Bible, $100 Synth 20. Call 800-Yes-Word, 800-Yes-Word, 800-Yes-Word, or give at truthnetwork.com. This is Hans Schile from the Finishing Well podcast. On Finishing Well, we help you make godly choices about Medicare, long-term care, and your money. Your chosen Truth Network podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network.

This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill? Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?

I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Okay, I've entitled tonight's message, Always Ready. We're going to be looking at Luke, chapter 10, verses 1 through 24.

So I ask you to take your Bible and turn to Luke, chapter 10. The official Coast Guard motto, Semper Paratus, means Always Ready. But over 100 years, Semper Paratus has been the guiding light for the worthy members of the Coast Guard, whose duties often include life-threatening rescues during horrific storms trying to save the lives of those who go down to the sea in ships. More than a half a century ago, the words spoken by a Coast Guard surfman at the scene of a surf boat launching had become the unofficial battle cry of Coast Guardsmen to this very day. In the teeth of an Atlantic storm, a large merchant ship founded and was on the verge of sinking, a Coast Guard surf boat was being launched into the surf in an effort to reach the ship and to rescue the crew.

And there was a reporter on the scene who asked this particular surfman who was in charge why they were attempting a mission that seemed almost impossible. And the surfman replied, they say you must go out and try. They don't say anything about coming back. They say you must go out.

They don't say you have to come back. This is the unofficial battle cry of these brave men who dare to go out often at night on rough seas at great personal risk. And this is what they sing as they go. We're always ready for the call. We place our trust in thee. Through surf and storm and howling gale, how shall our purpose be? Semper Paratus is our God, our fame, our glory to to fight to save or fight and die. I, Coast Guard, we are for you. I thought about that motto of theirs, always ready.

Think about it. That should be the motto of every man who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Always ready. Always ready.

Always ready to do what? Well 1 Peter 3 15 tells us, but in your heart set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. Now as I mentioned last week, when you get to verse 51 of chapter 9, we reach a turning point. And it reads that verse, verse 51 says, it's the time approach for him to be taken up to heaven. It says that Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. So he was headed into Samaria.

Samaria is a region right north of Judea where Jerusalem is and just south of Galilee. And so he's headed into Samaria and he is telling his disciples that there's a ripe harvest waiting for them. And then in the very closing verses of Luke chapter 9, he begins to talk about the high cost of following Jesus. About following him. And men, in case you didn't know this, you need to understand that following Jesus is costly.

If it wasn't, everybody would be doing it. But see in spite of the cost, Jesus continues to invite men to come and follow him. And this is what he's doing in Luke chapter 10. And so tonight I want you to see that Jesus is still inviting us men to come and follow him. And the reason he's doing this is because he wants us to reach out to the world to share the gospel. The question is, and I asked a couple of guys this at lunch today, are you ready and are you willing to share the gospel with everyone that you meet?

That's the question I want you to think about tonight. Now here in Luke 10, you're going to see that the Lord gives a command. He gives two warnings. And then he gives us a glimpse into his heart. And so here's number one.

I want us to look at this command. When you choose to follow Jesus, the first thing you will hear is to command to go and tell others. Look at verses one through three. Luke writes, after this the Lord appointed 72 other men and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore to send out workers into his harvest field. And then he says, go, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

Do not take a purse or bag or sandals and do not greet anyone on the road. And so as we have mentioned before, after spending nearly three years in this region known as Galilee, Jesus appointed 72 other men to be disciples. And he gave them one command.

And that command was one simple word, go. So what did he mean? He meant that they were to go out and tell others the good news of the gospel.

With everyone they encountered in this region that they were headed into known as Samaria. And he wants us to do the same thing, men. He didn't want us to keep this treasure to ourselves. He wants us to share it with others.

And so are you willing to do that? I want you to notice there are two things that Jesus shared with them. He first of all, he said the harvest will be plentiful. See, Jesus knew that there were men and women and children waiting in Samaria to hear the good news of the gospel. And so he said to them, what is the good news of the gospel? What is the good news of the gospel? It's simply that God, you know what, God sent his Son into the world on a rescue mission to give us the opportunity to have eternal life and to forgive us of our sins.

And if you know Jesus, he has forgiven you of your sins. So the question is how can we keep this to ourselves? This is the greatest news. When I get to the end of tonight, you're going to see why this news is so great.

It's the greatest news that the world has ever heard. And people, listen, people out there are hungry to hear the message of the gospel. Now Jesus also said the workers are few. There are very few followers of Jesus who are ready and willing to share the gospel with others. Let not that be one of us. There are men and women all day.

Stefan was just talking about this. People who need the Lord. They're hurting. They're lost. They're like sheep without a shepherd. And they need to hear this good news. Why do you think the suicide rate is so high among teenagers?

Have you thought about that? Why are there so many people struggling with anxiety and depression? Well, the reason is because life is hard and so many people have lost hope that they've just given up on life. And these are the very people, men, that Jesus came to save.

John, I know you see them all the time through Raleigh Rescue Mission. People out there that have given up on life. They're hurting. And this is not just people that are down and out.

Even the up and out are struggling with life. In Matthew 11 28 and 29, Jesus says, come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I'm gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. So if you sit here tonight and you know Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, then you know what it means to have found comfort for your soul.

So why not share this with others? I believe, men, that the harvest is still plentiful out there, but God needs workers to go and reap the harvest. Are you ready and are you willing to be one of those? Now I want you to notice that Jesus sent them out with a warning. He said, I'm sending you out like lambs among wolves. Why did he compare them to lambs? Because think about it, a lamb is totally dependent upon the shepherd. And that's the way Jesus wanted these disciples to be.

Totally dependent upon him. That's why he said, don't carry anything with you. And he also said, you don't stop and chat along the way because the mission was urgent.

That's why he told them not to get involved in idle conversations. And I believe there's also a sense of urgency today. The Bible says that now is the day of salvation. Tomorrow is coming. Today is the day of salvation. And tomorrow is not guaranteed. If you miss out on salvation today, you may not get another chance.

Do you believe that? Again, Jesus said, I'm sending you out like lambs among wolves. So who were these wolves? Well, they were the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees who had been questioning Jesus and were already plotting ways to get rid of Him. In Matthew 7 14, Jesus says, watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruits you will recognize them. Do we have to worry about wolves today?

Absolutely. So where are we likely to run into wolves? Well, you go run into wolves where you least expect them to be. And Jeff is right. Often in churches, in divinity schools, and in religion departments at major universities. Just this past Sunday in our Sunday school class, a lady mentioned a Dr. Bart Ehrman.

I'm sure you've heard of him before. He's the distinguished professor of religion at UNC Chapel Hill. And he has stated publicly that he's an agnostic.

So my question is, what is he doing in charge of the religion department? But he has personally destroyed the faith of countless students who've attended his religion courses. In fact, I know of some who've been through UNC as religion majors, and they leave their little towns in eastern North Carolina believing and trusting in the Lord. And they get to this religion class, and all of a sudden their faith is shattered by this brilliant scholar who is brilliant but not wise. Apparently there are even some churches in Chapel Hill who are actually providing counselors on the campus of UNC to counsel these students who have lost their faith.

That's how bad the problem is. So how does this command to go out like sheep among wolves apply to you and me? Well, if you choose to follow Jesus, His primary desire, men, is to, as I've already mentioned, is to share our faith with others. We possess this treasure known as the gospel. Moreover, we have a relationship with God and the gift of eternal life. So how can we keep this treasure to ourselves? You may say, well Russ, I'm a brand new believer, and I don't know enough yet to share my faith.

I don't feel qualified. Well listen, if you've placed your trust in Jesus, and He's changed the course of your life, then you have a personal testimony. And that's all you need. No one can argue with your testimony.

Remember our motto is always ready. And we have a very good example in John chapter 4, the woman at the well. You may remember her. She was outside the town of Sychar when she ran into Jesus. And Jesus eventually reveals Himself to her as the Messiah, and she believes in Him. And what does she do? She's been a Christian for 10 minutes. And she goes running back to her town, and she tells everyone, come and meet the man who told me everything that I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?

And guess what they did? They all came out to meet this man, and many of them believed because of her testimony. You don't have to have a lot of knowledge. All you have to do is say, once I was blind, and now I see. Here in Luke 10, Jesus issues a command for us to go and tell others. However, also He gives it with a warning. What does He warn? Look at Romans 2 in your outline.

He warns of opposition and rejection. Look at verses 5 through 9. Luke writes, Now the region of Samaria was a rural area with a number of small towns. And this is where Jesus was headed. Again, He's headed to Jerusalem, but He has to go through Samaria. And so He sends these 72 men ahead of Him. He sends them out two by two.

Why did He do that? He said they wouldn't get lonely. They wouldn't get discouraged. They could encourage each other along the way. But He warned them that they would be, that some would believe their message, and then others would reject it. And by the way, these are the same two responses you'll get today. Either acceptance or rejection. But I want you to note this.

There is no middle ground. If somebody says they're not interested, they're given their rejection. So why do you think Jesus warned them that they would encounter rejection? I believe He wanted to make sure that they did not get discouraged. It's easy to get discouraged when time after time, you've shared the gospel with someone over and over and again for years.

You probably have someone that comes to mind. And yet, they refuse to believe. I believe this happened to William Carey. William Carey was the first missionary sent to India from England back in 1793. And I'm sure he arrived on the shores of India with this great hope and desire that many would come to Christ. And yet, it was seven long years before he had his first convert.

I would have thrown the towel after six months. But Jesus wanted His disciples to be prepared for rejection. But He also wanted them to know that it was not them that they were rejecting.

Look at verse 16. Jesus said, He who listens to you, listens to Me. He who rejects you, rejects Me. He who rejects you, rejects Me. But he who rejects Me, rejects him who sent Me. So then when you go out there to share the gospel and a friend of yours rejects it, he's not rejecting you. He's rejecting Jesus. I have had a friend that I've known for over 40 years share the gospel with him many times. In fact, he used to attend a Bible study that I led. But he dropped out and for the most part, he's cut me out of his life.

And I have to tell you, it hurts. But I have to remember that it's not really me he's rejecting. He's rejecting Jesus.

And here's the problem. Look at what Jesus says in verses 12 through 15. Jesus issues a very strong warning for someone who hears the gospel over and over and over again and yet rejects it. In verse 12, Jesus says, I tell you it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Woe to you, Chorazin. Woe to you, Bethsaida. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the heavens?

No. You'll go down to Hades. Now you may remember that Capernaum was the adopted town of Jesus. Remember he got kicked out of his hometown, Nazareth?

And so Capernaum became his hometown. And that was where he spent the majority of his time for about two and a half years while he was up in Galilee. And while he was in Capernaum, he was preaching. He was sharing the truth of the gospel. He was healing the sick.

He raised the dead back to life. And so those people were given very much light. And the Bible says that to whom much is given, much is required.

So let me ask you, have we been given much light here in America? We have churches on every street corner. We have Bibles and Bible studies galore. We have Christian radio 24-7. And we've had the benefit of the greatest evangelists in the history of the world, in Billy Graham, preaching in America for 75 years. No one from America will ever be able to stand before God and say, well, I didn't have a chance.

Now guys, here's the truth of the matter. We know that from other texts in the Bible that most people end up rejecting the gospel. But that doesn't mean that the harvest is still not plentiful. There's still plenty of people out there waiting to hear the gospel. But here's what Jesus says in Matthew 7 verses 13 and 14. He says, enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

But small is the gate, and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. I've had the privilege of, and I don't say this with any pride, it's just what I've been doing. It's what God called me to do. I've been leading Bible studies in Raleigh for, gosh, since I was about 30. I'm getting close to 70.

That's almost 40 years. And I've observed this to be true. Most men in Raleigh that I encounter just aren't interested. They're too busy with other things, chasing their career, making money. Now listen, none of those things are bad in and of themselves.

You have to make a living, and you should work hard. But if you do that to the point where you're just not interested in anything that has to do with God, or particularly Jesus, then that's a problem. They remind me of the rich young ruler in Mark chapter 10, not willing to let go of the world and follow Jesus. However, every now and then, one will believe. I remember about 10 years ago, and I've shared this in here before, a friend of mine asked me if I would lead a Bible study in my office with about eight of his buddies, and two of those guys were Charles Creech and Sam Barrow.

And those guys' lives have been changed, and all their friends know it. And there's nothing that brings more joy than to have a friend come to know the Lord. You see the light come on in his mind and heart, and it just brings you great joy, does it not?

Does it not? That brings us to our third point. When men come to Christ, this brings great joy to Jesus. Look at verses 17 through 21. The 72 returned with joy and said, Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name. Verse 18, he replied, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given You authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy.

Nothing will harm You. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to You, but rejoice that Your names are written in heaven. And then it says, at that time Jesus, full of joy. This is one of the few places in the Bible where it talks about Jesus with this joy. The guy's picturing Him laughing with joy.

Laughing. I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise in learning and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what You are pleased to do.

Think about many of you in here, most of us. We were not wise in learning, but God was pleased to share the truth of the Gospel with men like you and me. Notice that the disciples are full of joy. Well, it says here that Jesus, that they rejoiced Him because they had been able to cast out demons. But Jesus says, don't rejoice over your good works, the fact that the demons submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Do you know what this means? This is a book of life. It's called the Lamb's Book of Life, and it's a divine registry of all the names of those who believe in Christ and who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth. I want you to take your Bible with me. I'm going to close with this. I want you to turn to Revelation chapter 20.

We're going to look at real quick. I'm going to read verses 11 through 15. And by the way, this is the great white throne judgment, and that should put fear in you, although really it should, because if you're in Christ, you will never stand at this judgment. Did you hear me clearly? This is the judgment of non-believers. Do you hear that? No believer will stand here except as a witness.

I think we will all observe it, but we will only be observers. Notice what it says here. This is John. He's on the island of Patmos. God has given him a vision of the future, and he now sees this great white throne judgment that's coming, guys, at the end of the world. He says, then I saw a great white throne, and Him who was seated on it, that's Jesus, earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of what? Book of life. Those first books are the books that record all the words, thoughts, deeds of non-believers. What happened to our books?

Well, there's supposed to be a cross back there. They were nailed to the cross, okay? Romans 8 one says, Therefore there's now no condemnation for those who in Christ Jesus. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

Do you want to be judged based on what you've done or based on God's mercy? The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them. And each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

So there it is. The book of life. And this explains why Jesus told the 72 to rejoice that their names are written in heaven in the book of life. Jesus more so than anyone else, men, understands the darkness and the agony that awaits all those who refuse to place their trust in Jesus Christ. And they will spend eternity banished to hell away from God's light and joy and heaven and peace. And I can't even imagine, I keep describing how wonderful heaven's going to be. But as wonderful as heaven is going to be, heaven is going to be worse.

Hell is going to be much worse. And that's why Jesus said rejoice that your names are written in the book of life. And so men, let me ask you, do you know that your name is written in the Lamb's book of life?

If you're not sure about that, you can see why it's so important. If you want to make sure that your name is written in the Lamb's book of life, then place your trust in Jesus. Remember, today is the day of salvation. And this explains why Jesus was laughing with joy when the 72 returned and He saw the harvest had been harvested. This explains why Jesus wants us to go and tell others. There's an urgency in this command. Life is short. People are dying every day. And here we stand like those Coast Guardsmen with our life saving gospel message.

And we need to hear the dear battle cry. Always be ready. So men, are you ready? Are you?

My prayer and hope is tonight beginning with Russ Andrews. Listen, I am far from perfect. If you think I find it easy to go out there every day and share the gospel with everyone that I encounter, then you're wrong. I'm not pointing my finger at any of you.

I've got three pointed back at me, but we need to get off of our rear ends and take this treasure that we have. Because life is short, and time is urgent. Always ready.

Are you ready? Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-12 01:09:57 / 2022-12-12 01:20:41 / 11

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