Bible Topics In The Christian Library
 
WHOM DO YOU WANT TO TAKE TO HEAVEN?

INTRODUCTION: The story is told of the church members of a well to do congregation arriving for services on a particular Sunday. As each member arrived they saw a "bum" rummaging through their dumpster. No one bothered to go over to invite him to services. Some thought it was disgraceful that he was on their property. Some thought that he would surely come around panhandling. Finally, someone went over to the dumpster and told him that he had to leave the property immediately because he was trespassing. Services started and the preacher was nowhere in sight. As the song before the sermon was sung the "bum" enter through a different door, proceeded to step into the pulpit and reveal himself as the preacher! Not a single person had thought him "worthy" of salvation.

This seems to be the attitude of many of us, even though we are often unwilling to admit it. There are those whom we consider unworthy of eternal life. What did the Lord teach concerning this?

BODY

I. THE LORD TAUGHT THAT ALL ARE PROSPECTS FOR THE GOSPEL.

A. Jesus told us that we are to reach out to all with the gospel.
1. Mark 16:15,16 - And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

2. Luke 14:12-14 Then He also said to him who invited Him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just." 

3. Luke 14:21-23 "So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' "And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."
B. The attitude that Jesus teaches us to have toward our enemies shows that all deserve the Gospel.
1. Matthew 5:43-48

2. If our enemies are deserving of our love and concern, isnít everyone deserving of the gospel?

C. Even the Lordís parable of the sower illustrates this point.
1. Luke 8:5ff

2. Notice that the sower went forth to sow. He scattered his seed without discrimination. Anyone who has seen seed "broadcasted" realizes that you must sow a lot of seed that will not ever bear fruit. 

II. OTHER PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WHICH SHOW US THAT GOD WANTS US TO REACH OUT TO ALL WITH THE GOSPEL.
A. There are no racial distinctions in the body of Christ - all races may one in Christ.
1. Galatians 3:26-28 "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

2. Ephesians 2:13, 14 - "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,"

B. The first century church was made up of individuals who had been among the "scum of the earth."
1. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."

2. All these individuals were the kind of persons we would consider a "poor prospect" for the gospel. They heard the gospel and willingly gave up their sinful lives.

C. God wants every person to be saved, not just those whom we think worthy.
1. 1 Timothy 2:3,4 - "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
a. If God wants all men to be saved, donít we have an obligation to not assume anyone cannot respond.
2. Only one way to become "unworthy" of salvation (i.e. not a fit candidate for salvation).
a. Acts 13:46 - Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.

b. It is when we refuse the offer of salvation that we become disqualified to obey the gospel.

III. LOOK AT A CROSS SECTION OF PERSONS JESUS THOUGHT WERE WORTHY OF HIS TIME.
A. A Samaritan woman. 
1. She had "three strikes" that would have disqualified her in Jesusí time.
a. She was a woman - most men would not talk to women publicly.

b. She was a Samaritan - Samaritans were of a mixed race, part Jewish and part Gentile, and were thus despised by most Jews.

c. She was immoral - Jesus knew that she had been married five times and was currently living with a man (John 4:16-18).

2. But Jesus saw a potential in her and reached out to her.
a. As a result she believed and took the message into the city to others.

b. John 4:39 - And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did."

B. Nicodemus. (John 3:1ff)
1. Nicodemus was a religious leader, being a Pharisee (verse 1).

2. He had a partial knowledge of Jesus, knowing that he must be a prophet but not fully understanding that he was the Son of God.      (Verse 2).

3. Nicodemus was on the other extreme from the Samaritan woman. He was religious, and probably a very moral man. But Jesus challenged him with his need to be born again. 

4. We can sometimes go the opposite extreme, thinking that those who are "good people" either donít need salvation or wonít respond like those who are immoral. 

5. All need the gospel (Ephesians 2:7-9).

C. Zacchaeus (Luke 19:2-8)
1. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and was hated by his own people, for being allied to the Romans and as a thief. Tax collectors in Jesusí day were allowed to exact as much money as they could squeeze out of their subjects and keep all above what the Romans levied. 

2. But again, Jesus saw potential in this little man who climbed up a tree to see him. He could sense a spiritual hunger in the man.

3. Luke 19:5 - And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house."

4. This concern for Zacchaeusí soul paid off. He repented and followed Jesus (verses 8-9). 

D. A woman caught in adultery (John 8).
1. The Law of Moses directed that one convicted of adultery be stoned to death (John 8:5). 

2. But Jesus understood that her accusers had the wrong motive in mind when they brought her to him, hoping to trip him up (where was the man in this situation where she was caught in the act). 

3. Jesus did not condemn her without any hope of restoration. His words, "go and sin no more" (verse 11) show a savior who grants forgiveness but also challenges her to start a new life of righteousness. 

CONCLUSION: There are, of course, various soils (conditions of sinnersí hearts). Some are more likely to obey than others. But let us never completely write off anyone because of outward conditions. The person we dismiss just may be another Paul or Peter.
 
 

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.


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