Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Restoring Those Who Have Wandered

Even with all of the modern devices of GPS and cellular phones equipped with map software, we can still find ourselves lost. As cities repair roads or bridges, travelers may find themselves lost while trying to follow detour signs. It doesn’t take much for us to get lost in a major city or even out in the country. Getting back on the right path may take help from those who are familiar with the area and can offer their guidance to those that have taken a wrong turn or two.

Many years ago, while I was traveling for one of my clients, I thought I knew exactly where their sales office was located. I made sure that my GPS (Global Positioning System) device had the latest map updates. The night before I had reviewed the directions to the location and felt very comfortable with my journey. However, I soon found out that the directions as reported to the mapping software were incorrect. I was driving around and around in circles while I tried to find the street and ultimately the building. Finally, I had to give up and call the contact at the office.

After a brief conversation, I soon received the right directions. The sales manager of the office greeted me and I thanked him profusely for his help. He told me that the GPS directions have been incorrect for over three years and that he had tried repeatedly to get them changed.

In our conversation as he was helping set up for the class, he said, “Everyone gets a little lost from time to time. I am just glad I could help you.”

Those words have always stuck in my mind and heart, because no truer words could have been spoken when it comes to our spiritual lives. We all, from time to time, get off the path and wander away from the Father. We are tempted and fall prey to the “wiles of the devil”.

When we listen to the words of that deceiver, we often find ourselves lost and wandering around in the wilderness. We listen to his directions and follow his lead. In time, we finally realize that we are lost and need help.

In my case, I finally decided to call for help. Instead of berating me, the man on the other end of the phone gave me wonderful directions and made me feel better. I was very fortunate to have someone who understood my problem and helped me get back on the right track.

As Christians, we are called upon to help others not only with their physical needs but also with their spiritual needs. Part of addressing their spiritual needs is to help when they go astray and wander away from the Father.

In chapter five of his book, James writes, “My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

We should work to restore that individual and do it with gentleness and without judgment. It serves no purpose to judge or ridicule that individual for the decision that was made to depart from God’s true path. We should act in love and with the desire to rejuvenate their spirits and guide them back on to the righteous path.

Paul, in chapter six of his letter to the Galatians, writes, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

It is equally important to remember that the deceiver prowls like a hungry animal seeking to devour the souls of all those he ensnares. While we are trying to help, we, too, could fall prey and find ourselves equally as lost and wandering in darkness. We should always be on our guard and at the ready.

Peter, in chapter five of his first epistle, says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Satan loves nothing more than to ensnare two for the price of one. Be on guard and constantly vigilant as you help to restore those who are lost. It doesn’t take much for Satan to whisper in your ear and lead you away. His words may, at first, taste as sweet as honey, but you will soon find it souring in your belly. His poison will soon be spread throughout your soul and you could find yourself struggling to return to the righteous path.

I cannot stress enough, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, the absolute need to remain watchful as you work to restore anyone who has strayed. As you work with that person, God will see your efforts and will rejoice with you as the lost sheep is returned to the fold.

Listen to the words of Jesus, as recorded in chapter fifteen of the Gospel of Luke, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

Jesus called upon each of us to love one another and build each other up spiritually. We truly are the keepers of our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. We look out for one another and help those who are in need no matter what the need is.
As you through this week, realize that each of us can be tempted to take a detour and leave the straight and narrow path that God has for us. We can easily find ourselves wandering far from the Father and need help to return back to the light.

Our words should always be the same as those of the sales manager. When we help those who are lost, our Heavenly Father sees our efforts and rejoices in that one lost sheep returning to the fold. By restoring those in need, we know that we are doing God’s will and are able to stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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