Monday, March 4, 2019

Extreme Measures

Then Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.  Luke 15:3-7
Extreme Measures
Our God is an extreme God who will go to extreme God measures to bring us to faith in Him.  In the passage above, Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep to His disciples.  He was trying to get across to them how much their Heavenly Father loved and cared about every sinner.  The story is about a shepherd that leaves the whole herd of sheep to go and rescue the one that strayed.  The story is symbolic of how God rejoices when just one person is saved.  He is not a numbers God.  He cares about the one who doesn’t come more than He cares about having masses of people come to Him.  He doesn’t throw away a chance to rescue us.  And sometimes He goes to extreme measures.  
The story of the jailer who was there when the walls of the jailwhere Paul and Silas were prisoners came down is also a great example of what God will do to get our attention.  One night when Paul and Silas were in prison, as they were singing and praying, the doors flung open.  They could have walked right out and had what one would assume is freedom, but when the guard woke up and they were still there, he didn’t understand.  To others it may have seemed that freedom was given to them, but they didn’t choose to take it.  The truth is that they really did choose freedom because they knew that staying in that cell was God’s plan.  They knew it was right to stay when it looked so wrong to everyone else.  But it served God’s purpose and plan.  His purpose and plan for all that destruction was for Himself to be glorified and lifted up, and as a result, the jailer and his whole family came to Christ that night!  How many people is that?  We don’t really know how many were there – it could have been 4 or it could have been 20.  The point is, that God brought the walls of that prison down, not to free Paul and Silas, but to free the jailer and his family.  Just as Paul and Silas were bound physically, the jailer was bound spiritually.  That is going to extreme measures!  
First the jailer was perplexed by Paul and Silas singing and praying in jail instead of moaning and complaining.  Then when the walls came down, the doors flew open, and the chains fell off, Paul and Silas stayed.  The jailer immediately said, Tell me how I can be saved!  That is an extreme God going to extreme measures to save just one family.  
If we are living our lives right after we are saved, others will come to know Christ through our lives being changed.  You may be thinking that your salvation story is not that dramatic.  It doesn’t matter whether God had to bring walls down to save you or not.  You are still just as saved, and you still have all the power to spread the message of salvation.  Everyone who is saved has a radical transformation story, and that story is the transformation of their hearts.  Whether we were saved from drugs and alcohol or saved off the church pew where we have been sitting every Sunday our whole lives, the transformation is the same and others will see a difference in your life.  
Scripture to Claim:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”  The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  Acts 16:25-30

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