Scripture Reading: Zechariah 5:1-8:23 / Jude / Psalm 139:17-24
When speaking of sinners, Jude mentions our response to them to be one that ranges from mercy to caution... loving the sinner but hating the sin. When man doubts, reach out to them in mercy and when others are caught in the inferno of sin, “snatch others from the fire and save them…” (Jude 23)
Fire fighters valiantly battle destructive fires to rescue trapped victims. They risk all in a self-sacrificing effort to save those in danger. The nature of sin is compared to a fire that originally broke out in Eden, spreading throughout our whole world. Like fire, sin is mighty, powerful and unquenchable. Its nature is destructive and overpowering. Sinners are caught in the power and dominion of sin. The only way to save them is to pull them out or put out the fire. We cannot put out the fire of sin, only Jesus can do that but we have been called to be God’s rescue party.
On January 27, 1903, a fire broke out at a mental institution in London, England. Out of the 300 patients, 50 died in the fire and 250 were literally pulled out of the fire. As patients were being rescued, the rescuers encountered bazar reactions from the patients. There are amazing similarities between these patients and sinners as we try to rescue them. Some of the patient’s responses…
- Some laughed at the warning of fire… It is foolish to laugh in the face of impending destruction yet some mock the power,
control and destructiveness of sin.
- Some said they would not leave their bed and go out in the cold night... They did not want to leave the comfort of their room in
order to be saved. There are those who defy salvation because they love the pleasures and enjoyment of their sin.
- Some were found hiding under their bed... The bed could not protect them from the fire’s flame and smoke and there is
nothing that can protect sinners from the far- reaching presence of sin.
- Some seemed to imagine that the rescuers had made the fire… They accused the rescuers of trying to “burn them up”.
The devil blinds man to God’s redeeming love and deceives them into believing God is against them.
- Many of them fought against their rescuers - biting and tearing their hair out… They warred against those who were
sacrificing their lives to save them. Many turn against and ridicule those who share Christ with them.
- Some were heard knocking at a closed door and trying to get out when it was too late… If they only would have followed and
listened to their rescuers. Those who die in their sin will not have a second chance but will be condemned in their sin.
- Every sane man and woman went to the rescue… Every interest was set aside because they knew the danger and
destructiveness of the fire.
Time is short as the lives of the lost hang in the balance of eternity. We must be moved to urgency and action. It’s time for every sane Christian to diligently reach out to the lost in our world… to snatch them from the fire and save them!