Tonight we have a guest speaker that is with us. Brother Josh Sturtz and his wife Kelly are here, and we're so glad to have them. I don't want to tell too much about what they have, but it's an exciting ministry. They are with Baptist Couriers for Christ. And so make Brother Josh feel welcome as he comes this evening. Back in January of 2021, and got to meet Pastor Bevin at the same time, and shared with them a little bit about the ministry of Baptist Couriers for Christ. And I'm excited to share it with you. Several folks asked me on the way in, so where exactly are you a missionary to?
And I said, I think it'd be better explained in the presentation. But first of all, I want to thank you for the tremendous accommodations at the hotel we got settled in, and it was great. And then had a privilege to go out with supper with Brother Ty Cockman. And I had the privilege a year ago to go with him and Carter, his brother, to some meetings down in Texas. And so it was great to reconnect with him and see how the Lord's been working in his life. But without any further ado, let's get into the presentation this evening. We'll fire up the PowerPoint, and we'll talk a little bit about Baptist Couriers for Christ.
Baptist Couriers for Christ is a ministry that my dad started back in 1979. And at that time, of course, Eastern Europe was held under the iron fist of communism. And it made it such that getting scriptures into that region was not simple like it is today. Right now, we have the privilege.
We got something wrong with my mic, guys? All right, just checking. We have the privilege of doing a scripture distribution. We have a team of 16 Americans right now that are in Berlin, Germany, passing out John and Romans, just like you see on the table.
But back when this ministry started, that was not an option. It was a period of communism. And there was a literal wall that divided Eastern Europe from Western Europe. It was barbed wire. It was concrete.
It was iron. And on the Western side of that wall, Western Europe advanced much like we were advancing through the 1960s, the 1970s, and 1980s here in America. But on the Eastern side of that wall, not only was their society not advancing, but because of communism, it was going back into a state of disrepair financially, morally, and certainly spiritually. There were armed border crossings like this one here. But understand, the Iron Curtain was not put up to keep people out.
It was put up to keep people in, in effect, making those Eastern European countries one giant prison. But there was one group of people behind the Iron Curtain that the atheistic communists hated more than anybody else. And that was the true born-again Christian. Because no matter how they tried to squelch their message, no matter what means they took to try to keep them from sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, they didn't succeed. They've failed to understand something very clear from the Scriptures, that whom the Son hath made free, He is what?
Free indeed. And so you have men like, this is my father here, with his arm around the man on the bed. The man on the bed was a pastor who was repeatedly tortured. And his only crime was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The last time that they took him in, they hung him by his legs for hours at a time, beating his legs with rods, until they permanently crippled him. They sent him back to his family with one directive, never speak that name again. The very next Sunday, he had his family carry him in to his little underground church, set him in a chair, they handed him his Bible, he opened it and preached the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen. This slide here was smuggled out to us in the late 1970s, and these are hand-written portions of the Word of God. My dad took his first survey trip with a man whom he is in Berlin, Germany with right now.
He took his first survey trip in 1978, and he was in an underground, unregistered church, about 100 people. Two people had Bibles. How many Bibles do we have at our disposal? We've got, I've got a big Bible, I've got little Bibles, I've got soul winner's Bibles, I've got study Bibles, chronological Bibles, I've got Bibles on my tablet, Bibles on my phone.
We take them for granted. But in that congregation, two people had Bibles. And as the pastor was preaching, one woman, the woman who had a Bible, sat in the middle, and she would find the passage. And as he would read that passage, she would hold her Bible above her head, and all the people in that center section of that congregation would stare longingly at the Bible that was in her hands. Some of them had tears running down their face, hoping, praying that they too someday could have their own copy of the Word of God. It was in that moment that the Holy Spirit touched my dad's heart and said, I want you to spend the rest of your natural life getting the Word of God into the hands of people that don't have it.
And so how do you go about that? Well, we ended up with a Bible smuggling team. The Lord worked it out.
These two pictures here you would have never seen back in the 1980s. It's squeaky, so we will do a tactical change out. Oh my goodness, there we are. See, I've got a loud enough voice where you can usually hear it.
It's not that good though. By God's grace, we have shipped over 108 containers of Scripture since 1990. Container number 109 and 110 are leaving at the end of August and the beginning of September. 109 is going to Croatia.
It's got 24,000 whole Bibles on it. 110 has 96,000 New Testaments headed into the war-torn country of Ukraine. We have shipped three containers to Ukraine in the last two months. It is our earnest desire to ship one container per month through the second half of this year, provided that the finances come in. So these gentlemen in the middle are unloading the New Testaments and the pictures that you see around the edge are Ukrainian refugees.
These pictures were just sent to us a few weeks ago. Then we open up to the third period of our ministry, the Scripture distribution campaign. After we had missionaries that were in Europe, the Lord raised up missionaries all through the early 1990s to go to these different countries. And as Dad would talk to them and get Scriptures to them, get Bible tracts, get different things that they needed, he would ask them, what else can we get for you?
And many of them would just say, we need help. Many of the people of Eastern Europe are stoic. They've got a background with years of atheistic communism and it's hard ground.
And so this picture here was just taken in May and this was a team that we had in the country of Poland. So what is the Courier's Campaign goals? Well, number one, it's a mass distribution of God's Word. It's a seed sowing campaign.
You'll see examples of it on the table. We try to get out as many copies of John Romans as what the people of that city will receive. When we were there in May, we were in a dual city outreach in the city of Gdańsk and taught in Poland. The Lord allowed our team to get out 104,000 John Romans during that period of time that we were there. And along with those John Romans, we're handing out invitations, inviting people, lost souls gathered to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel.
We have that team in Berlin, Germany. Tomorrow night is their evangelistic service. So please be in prayer with us. They've been passing out John and Romans and invitations for the last 10 days over there in Berlin, Germany. We desire connectivity with the believers from across the United States with their foreign field missionaries. Brother Teach was telling me beforehand about the impact that getting onto the physical missions field had in Brother Woodworth.
And it's just so exciting and we've seen the same thing. Last on our list, but first and foremost, souls say, Bible study started, churches started and strengthened, and believers discipled to continue the work of Christ. So what did it take for me to be able to give these two ladies in Kiev, Ukraine, this was back in 2019 before the war, a copy of John Romans in their native language?
First of all, it takes production. It takes the assembly of the actual Scriptures. This picture here in the bottom was taken, these two pictures rather, were taken at Pastor Tim Carter's in West Union last October. And we had a group of the folks there came out and worked faithfully. You can see Pastor Carter there and his parents, but they worked faithfully assembling copies for our campaign to the country of Poland. Scripture assembly where your fingerprints will travel to the other side of the world. Sometimes you aren't able to physically go, but by putting your hands on those John Romans, helping to assemble those, you're sending those, you're sending the Word of God on your behalf. What an opportunity it is to be able to work on Scripture production. But we've already talked about shipping. That's a big part of our ministry, getting the Word of God there.
The Scriptures that we assembled down in West Union as well as several other churches made it to Poland safely. Next, it takes availability. It takes people willing to go. We invite folks of like faith and practice from churches all across the United States to go with us and be a short-term missionary for two weeks.
I'm going to extend the same offer to you guys this evening at the end of this presentation. But this was our Polish campaign team that assembled back in May to go and reach out there. It takes coordination. Courage for Christ excels in this area.
The campaign that they are on right now is campaign number 26. And we like to have a battle plan, a game plan. Here I am talking with two pastors, one of them from Ohio and one from Alaska. And I'm giving them coordinates of where they need to station. And I had them over by a bus station and a tram stop. And I'm holding in my hands a map of the city of Kiev.
I would have never guessed in 2019 that a few short years later that city would be ravaged by the Russian army. It takes physical work. On average, our team members put on anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day with their backpacks loaded with John Romans. It feels great to hand out the John Romans, but the backpack's getting lighter.
You're excited knowing that the word of God is going out, but then you've got to refill it again. And this is my daughter Claudia up in the corner of the picture. I would have loved for my kids to be here, but their first day of school was yesterday. And so they travel, they miss a lot of things. And so they begged us to stay home for their first week of school. But Claudia got to go on her first missions trip to Poland. It was such a blessing to her that she said, Dad, I'm going to try to save the money.
I want to go with you guys to Italy. Over and overseas, it's not illegal to stuff mailboxes. And you know what, Brother Teach? One of the things I love about mailboxes, I've never had one reject me yet. And so often I've wondered if we had a team member who was out trying to offer somebody a John Romans and they didn't want to take it. And as they walked away and as they were headed to their apartment, the Holy Spirit just started tapping on their shoulder saying, You should have taken that.
You should have taken that. And by the time they get back to their apartment, to the mailbox, they're just wishing that they had taken it. They put their key in the lock, open it, and one falls right in their hands. This picture on the top left is precious to me. That is my daughter and her grandfather, my dad, working and serving the Lord together there in Poland.
So from Ohio to Wisconsin, where we did the assembly, to Kiev, Ukraine, and ultimately into the hands of the people. I remember in 2019, I was in this park and I offered, these ladies were selling their homemade wares. And I offered each one of them a John Romans. A couple took it, the other ones didn't. I kept on down the concrete path there, the walkway, and I was offering John Romans.
I made a big loop around the park. When I came back about 45 minutes later to the area where I had started, those two ladies, you can see in the picture, were intently reading those John Romans. And I began to pray and I said, Lord, I can't speak hardly any Russian.
They don't speak very much English. But God, do your perfect work in their heart through your word in their native tongue. In Scripture distribution, sacrificial giving from churches like yours made it possible for us to give John and Romans to these Ukrainian people when it wasn't a war zone. Young and old alike, giving them an opportunity to receive the message of the greatest gift known to mankind. By God's grace, another box has been emptied and his word given out. So you can see what I've got there.
This is going to be on the table, but that was one of the boxes from West Union. And I told Pastor Carter when we were there, I said, your fingerprints are traveling around the world. We're going on your behalf to be your arms and legs. But I said, I'm going to bring a couple of these back. And so while I was there, I cut a few of them out and I gave one to him on this last Wednesday night. That was really awesome.
So what a blessing to be able to give out the word of God. Satan would like us to believe there's no such thing as good ground. There's no good ground in your neighbor. There's no good ground in your coworker. There's no good ground in your lost relative.
There's no good ground in the bank teller or the cashier. Therefore, because there's no good ground, we shouldn't share the gospel. We shouldn't invite them to church. We shouldn't give a gospel tract. That's what Satan wants us to believe.
But you know what? We're not in charge of the ground. We're in charge of sowing the seed.
We're in charge of sharing the gospel and letting the Lord do his work on the ground. This lady on the top left, this picture was taken on our trip in May. This lady had begun searching. She knew something in her life was missing and she had these questions that were just plaguing her and she wanted the answer. And one day as she was walking to the market, one of our team members handed her a John Romans.
Just like the one that you see on the table, perhaps one of the ones that was put together at West Union. She opened the cover and inside the cover was a series of questions. And as she's walking, she's reading the questions, realizing these are the questions she's been asking. She stopped and sat down on that park bench, read that entire John Romans front to back. She came to the meeting, she went to the church, got her free Bible, went to the church in the follow-up services and received Christ as her Savior just a few weeks ago. What a tremendous blessing.
Satan would have us believe there's no good ground, but that's not true. Two weeks of scripture distribution and invitations has led to the evangelistic service held at a neutral location where the gospel is preached and an invitation to receive Christ as Savior is extended. This is what's going to take place by God's grace in about 20 hours over in Berlin, Germany. Visitors cards, just like was offered tonight, visitors cards are given at the entrance and we give that to each person who comes. We ask them to put their name and their contact information. After they hear the gospel preaching at the end of the service, we ask them to come out. They can turn those cards into our team members and they are given their own free copy of the word of God. What a privilege to give someone their first copy of the word of God. This is my son Caleb in the blue shirt and my daughter Claudia in the brown jacket, and they were both gladly handing people their own free Bible supplied by our ministry. And I saw my dad standing in the corner with a tear running down his eye and down his cheek and I thought, I'm sure what was running through his brain was 43 years ago God impressed upon my heart to spend the rest of my life giving the word of God to people that don't have it. And now I have the privilege of watching my grandchildren continuing this great work.
Isn't God great? And so, young and old alike, it's such a blessing to be able to hand them their own copy of the word of God. Now, this picture here, of course I'm on the one side here beyond the left, and the missionary that we were working with, brother Josh, he was on the right. In the middle was the national pastor, Pastor Michael, who they had just turned the work in Torren over. So that church plant is done.
It is now an autonomous local church in the city of Torren. It runs about 40 to 45 people on Sunday morning. And he was ecstatic to have those follow-up cards. Since that night, there have been over 10 people that have received Christ as their Savior who had come to the meeting. And he is having follow-up. Him and several of the men in the church and ladies in the church are doing discipleship. And he has two Bible studies going right now with lost people who are, he believes, are getting closer to that point of realizing that they need to be saved. So how beneficial is a courier's campaign?
Fruit that remains. This is Nadia. This was from our campaign to Kiev in 2019. There was only about 25 people that came to that meeting.
It was a smaller attended meeting. But two people came forward after the preaching of the gospel, and Nadia was one of them. And she said, I need to be saved.
I want the Lord Jesus Christ in my life. And so we led her to Mrs. Demopolis, the missionary's wife, and here Nadia trusted Christ as her Lord and Savior. Afterwards, with a big smile on her face, she was speaking to our whole group of Americans. She said, you don't know this, but I am a school teacher. This was Friday evening. She said, I can't wait for Monday morning so I can go into my classroom in front of all my students and tell them what Jesus did for me.
There is good fruit. Then something that we always have going is Bible projects. When Ty was with me a year ago in July, we were down at Rogers Baptist, and this was when we were just beginning to promote this project, the Polish Protectors Project. The Lord opened the opportunity for our ministry to get scriptures funneled to the Polish military and law enforcement.
There was a high-ranking official within the Polish government who told our missionary friend, he said, our country needs God. And he said, and I know that God has found in his word, if I could issue a Bible to every pole in this country, I would. But I don't have that kind of authority. He said, but you know what I do have the authority to do?
I have the authority to issue them to all of our law enforcement and all of our military. If someone could supply me, supply us with a pocket-sized whole Bible, he said with a durable cover, I want a pocket-sized so these men can carry it with them. The Gideons have given us some New Testaments and that's good, but he said, I want the whole Bible. And he said, if somebody would supply us with that, he said, I would make sure that our soldiers and our policemen get it.
So this missionary immediately thought of couriers in our many, many years of scripture production and shipping. And he reached out to us and he explained this to us and he said, would you guys be interested in getting involved with that project? And we said, no, we're good. Of course not. Man, I was like one of those little yappy dogs on a leash, man.
I couldn't wait to get after it. We committed to 25,000 initially. There's about 150,000 soldiers and law enforcement personnel in that country. By God's grace, 25,000 have been produced and distributed. 25,000 more have been produced and are in the country starting the distribution and we're raising funds for the next 25,000. One year, more than 25,000 Polish military and Polish law enforcement have received Bibles just like this one. And please look at them.
I have them on the table back there. And what an opportunity. I spent 25, almost 25 years in the building trades. I got up every morning early, put on my nail bags and went to work and built houses. I surrendered to ministry when I was 15. Said, Lord, I'll go anywhere.
I'll do anything. If you want me to be a preacher, whatever you want me to do, just use me. I had no clue that God could use me.
My dad was a dairy farmer and a service technician for a farm implement dealer. And that God could use us to supply scriptures to Polish policemen. What an opportunity.
So what can you do? You guys are a missions church. Man, I want to give you guys a huge hand and just say thank you for all that you do for missions. Brother Braden said 53 missions projects.
What an unbelievable thing. Keep doing that. Keep staying faithful to your missions giving, your missions prayer and news, your interconnection through emails or maybe you're writing snail mail. But stay faithfully after that. That means so much to those of us that are out there on the front lines and without you, without thriving churches like yours, we cannot do what we do.
So we absolutely desire your faithful prayer support. We need safety as we travel these many miles. Kelly and I today got up at 2 45 and left. We wanted to get through Chi town before it got nasty.
And I've been through that city so much already. That's all I'll say. But, but, uh, we saw multiple accidents today.
Some really bad ones. Uh, just a month ago, a month and a half ago, we saw a car that had been hit an SUV. It was flipped on its side.
It was on fire. It can happen so fast. So we earnestly desire your prayer support. We've got those prayer cards in the back. Please grab one on the way out.
If they're gone, let me know. We'll get some more, but we need wisdom on how to proceed travel restrictions, the desire to reach into new countries and cities that we haven't ministered in yet. And we need God to guide and direct and to open those doors. What else? Well, obviously prayer. I forgot to put these pictures in here.
These are brand new ones. This is our Bibles for Berlin campaign. This is the team that's there right now, handing out the word of God.
And this is a cool picture. So far left is Dick Ives. Dick Ives was one of my Sunday school teachers. He taught all three of my kids. Three of my kids in the fourth one, I think, is he's currently a Sunday school teacher. He has worked and served faithfully in our church, Wildwood Baptist Church, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for literally almost five decades. But my dad got saved in 1972.
Dick speaks and reads and writes German fluently. And his first survey trip, my dad's first survey trip, Dick Ives went with him. He went on the next survey trip or the next trip with my dad and my mom.
He was their mouthpiece. He was a great friend. He ended up getting married. His wife didn't care to do as much traveling. And so, although he's had opportunities, he's not gone on a missions trip overseas since.
And this year, when he found out they were going to Berlin, he talked over with his wife. The Holy Spirit impressed upon her his heart. And right now, my dad gets to minister on the field four decades later with the man that was there at the very beginning. I cannot imagine how awesome that is for them to have that privilege.
God is so good. So what can you do? You can give. Obviously, our family, we're seeking our personal monthly financial support. But you can also get actively involved in worldwide distribution of Scripture by giving to any of our projects. We've got projects going on all the time. Scripture production projects. But you can also help us. You could join us on the ground in a foreign country for a couple of weeks to pass out Scriptures, encourage the missionary, and meet other like-minded Christians and take a physical part in worldwide missions.
You could come and join us. We're calling this campaign the Ensign on the Mountains campaign. It's in northern Italy, June of 2023. Northern Italy is a ruggedly beautiful country. You can see South Tyrol down there in that picture, Bolzano. That's the area that we're going to be. But it's almost completely Catholic.
97% Catholic. That's about a half a million souls who need the life-giving message of the Gospel. We'll be working with Joel Hauser and his family to reach multiple cities. Most of these cities are smaller. Bolzano is the largest one. Some of these are only a few thousand people.
So we're going to hit multiple cities while we're in that region. It's his desire over the course of the next 20 to 25 years, or until the Lord takes him home, to plant as many churches in those cities as what the Lord will allow. This is his current church plant. And just in the month of April, they saw two men come to know Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, Andrew and Maurizio.
And he is now discipling both of those men. And what a tremendous blessing. I'm looking forward to that. So, will you partner with us to reach the unreached? If you're interested in a campaign, come and talk to me afterwards. I'll talk to you about some of the details and general costs and all that kind of thing.
But does anybody have any questions before we get into the message? I know I talk funny. I'm from north of the cheddar curtain.
Up north in Wisconsin, we like to bag your groceries, root for the packers. I'm sorry. Don't hold it against me.
That was my wife says it's a birth defect. But if you have any questions, grab me afterwards and I would be happy to have my wife answer them for you. So tonight, let's take a look briefly at a passage of scripture you're sure very familiar with, Luke chapter 10. Luke chapter 10. And I've entitled this message, The Difference Makers. The Difference Makers. You're going to find a story there starting in verse number 30 that we call the Good Samaritan. But Jude verse 22 says, and of some have compassion, making a difference.
Making a difference. That hotel that I showed you the picture of where we were out in the front of it, the one that said campaigns. And that was Hotel Kopernik. That was a five story hotel. They had the third floor while we were there in the month of May. The third floor was allocated to Ukrainian refugees.
It was not a permanent residence for them. It was literally a processing station. So every single day, anywhere from 50 to 200 refugees were coming into that hotel.
Every day. Fresh out of Ukraine. And they would have them stay there overnight. They would feed them food. And then in the morning, the Polish border patrol would be there. And they were trying to find, are these people staying in the country of Poland? Are they going somewhere else in Western Europe? Are they trying to go to the United States of America? And they were recording all their information. Because you can imagine, these families are split up.
It's hard to fathom the reality of what is taking place every day right now in Ukraine. But we were talking with the hotel manager. And she was a very sharp dressed lady.
Probably in her mid to late 30s. Very well spoken. And she was talking to us about the situation. We were asking her about the Ukrainian refugees. And all of a sudden, her pen began to shake. Tears began to run out of the corner of her eye. And she said, I don't know how much more of this I can take. She said, these stories are heartbreaking. From these children, from these wives, from these mothers.
And it's every day, every day, every day. Our text is about somebody who made a difference in an individual's life. And I want to ask you tonight, can you, not just collectively as a church. Because we know that's the case.
But can you, as an individual, make a difference? So let's read this passage here. Luke chapter 10 and verse 30. And Jesus answering said, a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. And fell among thieves which stripped him of his raiment and wounded him.
And departed leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him.
And passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. And set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence.
And gave them to the host and said unto him, take care of him. And whatsoever thou spend'st more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Let's pray. Dear heavenly Father God, I just thank you and praise you Lord for the blessing it is to freely meet together in your house tonight. I just pray Lord God that in this time that we have, Lord that your name would be glorified. That each one of us would set aside any competing thoughts. That our hearts and minds would be open Lord to your word. And that you would speak to us through this tremendous example. And God that you'd place somebody upon our heart, upon our mind. That Lord we can make a difference.
You can use us to make a difference in their life. Either for eternity or in this present life. And we'll be sure to give you the praise and the glory. And we love you Lord in Jesus precious and holy name. Amen.
You may be seated. The Samaritan was motivated to action by what? Seeing the need, investigating the need, and helping fulfill the need that this Jewish man had. By doing so, he made a difference in someone's life. You know it's said more than 10 times in the Gospels that Jesus had compassion on those around him.
And you know what's interesting with I believe every one of those references? It moved him to action. He did something.
He made a difference. And you know he commands us to do the same thing through his word. Galatians 6 2 says, Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Romans 15 1 says, When we then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves.
1 Thessalonians 5 14 says, Now we exhort you brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, and be patient towards all men. Each one of these things requires us to have compassion. In Jude verse 22 that I referenced before, it says, And of some have compassion, making a difference. In that verse, the prerequisite to making a difference was having compassion.
So in order, I'm going to have four quick points tonight. We start in verse 33, Luke chapter 10. In order to have compassion, first you need to see. You need to see that there is a real need. You need to see that the person can't help themselves.
You need to see the struggle that they find themselves in. You notice that this Samaritan saw the need of this man. If we look in verse 33, but a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was and when he saw him.
When he saw him. You know what? God wants us to have our eyes open to see the need around us. There is a need overseas. But can I say there is a need in the United States of America?
I am so thankful for Lighthouse Baptist Church. I'm so thankful for your desire, not just to reach to the uttermost, but your earnest desire to reach your community here. And that takes each and every one of you seeing the need.
Seeing the need. What did Jesus say to his disciples in John 4 and verse 35? Say not ye there are yet four months and then cometh the harvest? Behold, I say unto you what?
Lift up your eyes and look. Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest. What was Jesus saying? He was saying to us that the harvest is prepared every day for us. Every day there is a harvest prepared for us. The question is, are we prepared for the harvest? Or is our heads looking down and focusing on our own things?
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. We need to see. We need to see. The world is dying. It's going to hell. And it desperately needs born again Christians to see the need. And reach out with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you really see that your neighbor needs the Lord? It can be easy for us to talk about everything with them. We can argue about property lines. We can talk about the weather. We can talk about the election.
We can talk about all kinds of things. But do you see the need they really have? And that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Someday that window of opportunity to share the gospel with them will shut. One way or another.
And you won't have that opportunity anymore. Do you see the need? Do you see needs here in the church?
We're not just talking about lost folks. You know there is emotional needs, there is spiritual needs within the body of believers. And I believe that there are certain ones that the Lord has prepared for you to minister to. You're talking with them and all of a sudden they open their heart to you. And they're sharing an earnest need. And God's prepared you to help them. But you need to see.
You need to see. It says in 1 John 3.17, But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? You know, it's sad. Because if you look at our text, you'll see that there were two other characters. In verse number 31, there came down a certain priest. And in verse 32, there came likewise a Levite.
Do you know what both of them did? They both saw. So, seeing is part. In order to have compassion, you do need to see.
But that's not where it ends. Let's go to verse 30 for our second point. Verse 30.
In order to have compassion, you must realize the gravity of the situation. What are the last four words of verse 30? Leaving him half dead. This man, this Samaritan, was half dead. He was beaten, he was pulverized, he was stripped clean, he was robbed, and he was left half dead. That is a grave situation.
Without somebody else helping him, the chances of him being able to succeed or get out of it on his own, slim to none. He was a dead man walking. Can I say that as we look at the masses around us, they look like they're alive? They look like they're doing well.
They look like some of them have got to drive nice cars, some of them live in beautiful homes, some of them have good families. They look alive. We would say, yeah, that person's alive. But do you know how God sees them? He sees them as half dead. They're left half dead.
Why? If we were to jump back and take time, going back to Genesis chapter 2 and verse 16, it says there, And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.
For in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. So, God gave man a choice. He said, man was sinless, man was perfect, man was created in God's image, and God placed him in the garden.
He was in perfect fellowship with God. And God said, this whole garden is yours to enjoy, except that one tree. He gave man a choice. Can I tell you that communism does not give man a choice?
Without choice, there is no freedom. But God gave man the choice, and we know what happened. The serpent was wise, and he beguiled the woman. She saw that the fruit was good, it was desired to make one wise, and she ate of it. She gave to her husband, he ate of it. They both dropped dead, and that's the end of the story.
Whoa, wait a minute. Did God lie? He said, In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. That moment, Adam and Eve became half dead. They needed a savior.
Their physical bodies began to die. Suddenly, they could not have the perfect fellowship that they once had with God. If you're here tonight, and you don't know of a time where you realized you were a sinner on your way to hell, much like the man in this story, unable to help yourself, if you've never come to that place, I beg of you tonight, look to the savior, look to the Lord Jesus Christ, and live. Ask him to be your Lord and savior. Repent of your sins.
I'm telling you, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. When you think about all of the great success, all of the great fame, everything that you could ever desire on the face of this earth pales in comparison, because the Bible says, What would a man give in exchange for his soul? Because you know what happens to every famous person, every rich person, every person that has all kinds of stuff? Someday, they die. It's a statistical guarantee that 10 out of 10 people die.
And I know you guys have heard the old story, this is the last time you saw a hearse with a U-Haul behind it. You can't take it with you. The Bible says, Then whose shall those things be that thou hast? And if you're here tonight and you've never received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior, I beg of you, don't wait. You're playing Russian roulette with your soul. Every day that you wait to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, every day that you wait to put your face solely and completely in Him, every day that you say, I'll wait a little longer, or I've got to figure this out, or I can do it on my own, it's like you're spinning the cylinder, cocking the hammer, and putting it to your head, waiting to see, is the gun going to go off this time? Because none of us is guaranteed tomorrow.
Boas not thyself for tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. So you have to understand the gravity of the situation. What about foreign field missions? Do you understand that every dollar you give to missions goes to the greatest force multiplier in existence? God is able to take our seemingly little and do miraculous things with it. Do you know what it costs to produce one John Romans like we have on the table?
About 25 cents. Yet that woman I showed you on that slide presentation with the circle around her, that lady will be in heaven as a result of somebody's quarter, somebody's prayer, somebody's investment. That puts a whole new perspective on the Lord being able to take our little and make it much. But do you know something? I believe the priest and the Levite understood it was a grave situation.
But they still didn't do anything. Here's where the difference is made. Verse 34, in order to have compassion, you need to be in the place where the need is. What does it say in verse number 34? The first four words, and went to him, and went to him. Those critical words make the entire difference between the priest, the Levite, and the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan went to him.
He put feet to it. He went to where the need was. If we had took the time to turn to Acts chapter 16, you would find there the story of the Macedonian call. But the call was, come over into Macedonian, help us. And the phrase that just stands out to me every time, and we immediately arose and went. Immediately. What happened if we went back to John chapter 4, and we talked about the woman at the well, after she met Christ, and after her life was changed, what does it say she did? She left her water pot and went immediately, and told the people of the city, come see a man. Immediately, she went to where the need was.
This man understood, the Samaritan understood, that in order to make a difference, he needed to be in the place where the need was. Can I say complacency is killing this country? Complacency.
If it doesn't directly affect me, then it's not a big deal. It's been said complacency is a blight that saps energy, dulls attitudes, and causes a drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they are. The second is rejection of things as they might be. Good enough becomes today's watchword and tomorrow's standard. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course downhill.
They draw false strength from looking away from things that don't directly involve them. Let's not be a complacent people. We don't have time. The Bible says it's high time.
Boy, we are living in exciting times. If I sat and watched the news all the time, I would be depressed too. The news takes the life right out of you. But I am telling you, people are getting saved.
I hate what's happening in Ukraine as far as from a physical standpoint. But people are getting saved by the hundreds in Ukraine every single day. When we were there and those pictures were taken in 2019, we were getting more than a 50% rejection ratio as we were trying to hand them gospel.
Gospels of John and Romans. Do you know what the acceptance ratio is right now? Almost 100%. And these people don't have anything to do but sit and read.
Their whole life has been turned upside down. There are opportunities. But are we going to see them? And are we going to go to them?
And lastly, and we'll be done. Verse 35, in order to have compassion, you must, this is a hard one, you must be willing to sacrifice. What does it say in verse number 35? And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Wait a minute, he was taking money out of his own pocket to pay to take care of this stranger we had never met? Well, if you go back to 34, he went to him, he bound up his wounds, pouring in whose oil? His. Whose wine? His. Setting him on whose beast? His.
And brought him to an end and took care of him. If we are going to make a difference in other people's lives, if we're going to make a difference, if you're going to make a difference here in Xenia, if we're going to make a difference in the state of Ohio, in the United States of America, if we're going to make a difference in the uttermost, it will cost us something. I'm not saying it may.
It will. Ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing. Ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing. What did Jesus say to us in Romans chapter 12 and verse 1? I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living... That's a tough word. We don't like that word. Human beings, Josh Sturtz, likes to be concerned about Josh Sturtz and taking care of Josh Sturtz.
I'm sorry to break it to you, but that's the natural man. But this man needs to die daily. He needs to present his body a living sacrifice. What does that body encompass? It encompasses my physical strength. It encompasses my time. It encompasses my finances. It encompasses my home, my family. It encompasses everything that my life touches. It is to be a sacrifice to him. Say, God, it's all yours, because the Bible says, what do we have that we did not receive? The obvious answer is nothing.
Even that breath, the ability for our lungs to continue to function, that comes from him. So compassion answers these four questions asked tonight with a resounding yes. Do you see the need? Yes.
Do you understand the gravity of the situation? Yes. Are you willing to get close to the need? That's a question you have to ask yourself. I hope the answer is yes. Are you prepared for it to cost you something?
Time, energy, resources, finances? Hopefully, prayerfully, that answer is yes. Because to make a difference, you must act.
You must act. Brother Kristof was in Gdansk, Poland. And Brother Kristof had a testimony that was unbelievable. He was involved in drugs. He was involved in all kinds of illegal and immoral activities for much of his life.
He was one of those guys you did not want to meet in a dark alley. But in his 50s, he began to realize everything he tried on the face of the earth left him empty. And he began searching.
He said, there's got to be an answer here somewhere. One day, he bumped into somebody who handed him a gospel tract. Do those gospel tracts really work? Satan would say, no. They're just junk pieces of paper.
They're going to throw them away. He took that thing with a cigarette in one hand and that gospel tract and he began to read it. And he began to see the answers to some of the questions. But he still didn't fully understand. And so he said, God, you've given this to me. Show me somebody.
Please, show me somebody that can teach me what this means. Sounds kind of like the Ethiopian eunuch, doesn't it? And God's just going to leave that man out there on his own, floundering, right? That's the God we serve?
Absolutely not. The Bible says God is not willing that any should perish. A couple weeks later, Christoph is out walking his dog. When he hears somebody yelling, what are they yelling about? He went to see the source of the noise and it was a street preacher. It was the missionary that we worked with. He was street preaching. Christoph listened and he heard what he was looking for.
The answer to his questions. Christoph received Christ as his savior. He has now been discipled in the church.
He's active as one of their elders, one of their deacons in the church. And he worked side by side with us every day on the campaign in Poland. He took off the second week of work so he could go and work in the city that wasn't even his own city.
He couldn't speak hardly any English. By the time it was done, he told me through an interpreter, he said, Brother Josh, I am going to dedicate myself to learning English in the next two years. And he said, it is my desire two years from now, brother, I want to join you on a couriers campaign to minister to other people across Europe. There is a man who's willing to sacrifice so that he can make a difference. And somebody sacrificed to make a difference in his life. Every head bowed, every eye closed.
We'll have the pianist or the musicians come up. Where are you tonight, Christian? Has God placed something on your heart that he wants you to do? Is there something in the ministry of this church that God wants you to get actively involved in? Is there an individual that you need to reach out to, a brother, a sister in Christ? Is there a lost soul, a neighbor, a family member, a co-worker that you know needs the Lord Jesus Christ? And the Holy Spirit's been pricking your heart, but you just have been too afraid to talk to them. If you would say, Brother Sturtz, this message challenged my heart.
Nobody looking around, every head bowed, every eye closed. If you said, this message challenged my heart, I need to do some business with God tonight. Would you slip up your hand and I'll pray for you. I'll include you in this prayer.
I see some hands going up across the room. Thank you, thank you. And then if there's anyone here tonight where you could be honest with me and say, Brother Sturtz, you were talking about being half dead. You were talking about needing to be saved, needing to trust Christ, being lost in my sins.
The Bible says that if we die without receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we will die and go to hell, a place of eternal torment. And you say, Brother Sturtz, that's me. I promise you I won't embarrass you for the world, but if you slip up your hand, I will pray for you in this closing prayer. All right, let's pray and then you come forward as you feel you need to do business. Dear Heavenly Father God, I thank you, Lord, for this wonderful group of people. I thank you for this church.
I thank you for this outreach. But I pray now, Lord, as you've touched hearts tonight, God, that we would do business with you. And, Lord, that we wouldn't just be a hearer of the word, but that we'd be a doer. And that, Lord, in the next days and weeks, we would invite those folks to church. We'd share the gospel message. We'd get involved more actively here in the church. And we'd also be involved with foreign field missions. And we'll give you the praise and the glory for this all in Jesus' name.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-27 11:31:35 / 2023-02-27 11:52:30 / 21