Search And Rescue

Albert E. Farley

The snowy slopes of Mt. Hood, an 11,235 feet high inactive volcano in the Cascade mountains of Oregon, were the scene last week of intensive efforts by desperate rescue teams to find three lost mountain climbers. After days of searching, one man was found dead, but the two others remained lost with little hope of still being alive. This sobering event has caused us to reflect upon the terrible spiritual plight of the human race.

The Bible teaches that (with the exception of Jesus Christ) every human being on earth who has lived to an age of accountability before God has sinned. Romans 3:23. Sin separates us from God. Isaiah 59:1, 2. The Bible defines sin as (1) doing what is not of faith (Romans 14:23), (2) not doing what we know is good (James 4:17), (3) transgressing God's law (1 John 3:4), and (4) all unrighteousness (1 John 5:17). So many souls are lost and do not know it. So many are lost and do not care! The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23. Can we see how horrible it is to be lost in sinto be without Christ, to have no hope, and to be without God in the world? Ephesians 2:12, 13.

The Psalmist cried, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant ..." 119:176. He not only knew he was lost, but he also knew that God knew that he was lost! God knows all who are lost, and He so loved the lost world that He sent His Son to be the captain of our salvation. John 3:16; Hebrews 2:9, 10. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10. He qualified Himself to be our Savior through suffering; He died that we, through Him, might live.

Jesus Christ is our only Savior; He is the only way to be saved. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. He calls even today: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest ..." Matthew 11:28-30.

The gospel of Christ is His only means of rescuing the lost world. As Captain, He said, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:15, 16. One of the Captain's chief rescuers, Paul, said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16, 17.

The church of Christ is the world's only rescue team! Jesus built His church. It is His body and is filled with His fullness! Matthew 16:18-20; Ephesians 1:22, 23. The Father sent His Son into the world to bring many sons to glory, and the Son has sent His apostles and His church on this, the greatest, most important search and rescue mission in the history of the world! "All power is given unto me in heaven, and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:18-20.

Sometimes the church fails: lost souls are not found and rescued. It may be because the church does not care enough and does not earnestly seek the lost. Woe unto us! Sometimes the church reaches the lost too late. Sometimes the lost will not be saved. John 1:11; Acts 14:19, 20. When lost souls die, the greatest of all tragedies occurssouls are separated from God forever in hell! Sometimes the church succeeds! Heaven rejoices when one lost soul is found and rescued! Luke 15:1-32. We should, too. James 5:20

As of now, because our God is longsuffering, the divine search and rescue effort for lost souls has not, yet, been called off. 2 Peter 3:9-15. Time is of the essence, however; the night is coming when no man can work! John 9:4. Considering the great value of one soul, the costs are inconsequential. Matthew 16:26. What will we give in exchange for one soul?

We are truly thankful for the many great efforts now being made by the churches of Christ throughout the world to save the great multitudes who are spiritually lost! May we allow nothing to dissuade or distract us! Are you saved? Are you an active member of the Lord's search and rescue team?


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