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1. Songs that may be used to introduce this lesson...
   a. "Throw Out The Lifeline"
   b. "Let The Lower Lights Be Burning"
   c. "Send The Light"

2. As Jesus often taught in parables, we begin our study with one,

                "The Parable Of The Lifesaving Station"

   On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once
   a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and
   there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant
   watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went
   out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost.

   Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it
   became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in
   the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station
   and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its
   work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little
   lifesaving station grew.

   Some of the new members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that
   the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a
   more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of
   those saved from the sea.

   They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture
   in an enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular
   gathering place for its members, and they redecorated it beautifully
   and furnished it as a sort of club.

   Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on
   lifesaving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.

   The mission of lifesaving was still given lip-service but most were
   too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the
   lifesaving activities personally.

   About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the
   hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet and half-drowned

   They were dirty and sick, some had skin of a different color, some
   spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was
   considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a
   shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could
   be cleaned up before coming inside.

   At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most
   of the members wanted to stop the club's lifesaving activities as
   being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal pattern of the club.

   But some members insisted that lifesaving was their primary purpose
   and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station.
   But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to
   save the life of all various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in
   those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the
   coast. They did.

   As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes
   that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet
   another lifesaving station was founded.

   If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive
   clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those
   waters, but now most of the people drown!

               -- Taken from Personal Evangelism 101, by Brent Hunter

3. As the songs and the parable point out, the mission of the church is
   similar to that of a lifesaving station; unfortunately, with the
   passing of time many churches...
   a. Lose sight of their original mission
   b. Gradually evolve into something different than what Christ
      intended when He said:  "I will build my church..." - Mt 16:18

[Lest we forget and succumb to the dangers that can befall a growing
church, let's review...]


      1. This was Paul's mission as an apostle - Ep 3:8-9
      2. This he did as a functioning member of the church
         a. Which has as a primary purpose to make known the wisdom of
            God - Ep 3:10
         b. A purpose planned by God for the church from eternity - Ep
      3. The mission of the church is no different than was the mission
         of Christ
         a. Christ came to save sinners - 1 Ti 1:15
         b. He came preaching the gospel to lost and dying sinners - Mk
      -- Therefore Jesus wants the gospel made known to every person 
         - Mk 16:15

      1. God has made us a holy nation, His own special people - 1 Pe
      2. Our purpose?  To proclaim the praises of God - 1 Pe 2:9b
      3. What are the praises of God we are to proclaim?
         a. How we were called from darkness into His marvelous light 
            - 1 Pe 2:9c; Co 1:12-14
         b. How we have become the people of God - 1 Pe 2:10a
         c. How we have obtained mercy - 1 Pe 2:10b
      -- How do we proclaim this?  By proclaiming the gospel of Christ!

[Our mission as the church, as the people of God, is a glorious mission! 
To proclaim the praises of God, which we do by bringing to light the
gospel of God!  But consider...]


      1. By placing emphasis on the material rather than spiritual
         aspects of the church
      2. A problem experience by the church in Laodicea - cf. Re 3:14-19
      3. A problem often experienced by churches today
         a. Evidenced by the time and energy spent...
            1) On the physical aspects of the church (e.g., the
            2) Compared to fulfilling the true mission of the church
         b. Not that physical needs shouldn't be met
            1) But the emphasis should be on getting the message out
            2) Rather than on the upkeep of the facilities
         c. Something is wrong if...
            1) We get more worked up over the lack of air-conditioning
               than lost souls
            2) The "business meeting" of the church spends more time
               over physical matters than spiritual matters  (what is
               the true "business" of the church anyway?)
      -- Are we like the church in Laodicea?  If so, we would be better
         off materially poor and spiritually rich like the church in
         Smyrna - cf. Re 2:8-9

      1. By showing preference in our efforts to saving souls
      2. God wants all to be saved - 1 Ti 2:3-6
      3. God is no respecter of persons, not should we be - cf. Ac 10:
      4. We should not show preference...
         a. On the basis of social distinctions - cf. Ja 2:1-9
         b. On the basis of racial distinctions - cf. Co 3:10-11
      -- Are we selective in sharing of the gospel?  Or do we try to
         preach the gospel to every creature? - Mk 16:15


1. What kind of "lifesaving station" are we?
   a. One that is faithfully fulfilling its mission?
   b. One that is basking in its heritage and former reputation?
   -- May the parable of the lifesaving station remind us of the folly
      of being the latter

2. We have been given a noble mission...
   a. One that warrants a frequent reminder
   b. One worthy of being "stirred up" from time to time - cf. He 10:24

3. Sadly, many do not feel compelled to proclaim the mercy of God...
   a. Perhaps it is for the same reason many do not grow
   b. They have forgotten they were purged from their sins - cf. 2 Pe

May God's grace and mercy shown toward us compel us to be active in
sharing the same grace and mercy to others.  This we can do by
proclaiming the gospel of Christ! - cf. Mk 16:15-16
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