The Greatest Rescue

What a weekend. Easter was incredible at BCA this year! There is nothing quite like gathering together to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ with 3 billion Christians around the world. Ephesians 2:1-8 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world… But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” We were dead in our sin, there was no hope. But then Jesus Christ came and something changed. Our trajectory was altered. Where my sin condemned me to death, God’s great love saved me. Jesus came to RESCUE us. It is the greatest rescue mission the world has ever seen.

I came across an article recently, entitled “The 10 Most Exciting Rescues in History.” While there may be a debate on which rescues should be in the top 10, there is no debating that all 10 of the rescue missions listed were nothing short of amazing. Here are just a couple examples:

  • Early in the morning on May 23, 1939, the state-of-the-art diesel electric submarine USS Squalus was conducting a test-dive off the Isle of Shoals when a catastrophic valve failure caused the sub to sink to 240 feet. Due to the extreme depth and difficulty of the rescue attempt, the search was called off until the next day, as the 33 passengers watched the crew compartment, engine and torpedo rooms flood with water.
    At 11:30 AM on May 24, searchers sent down a McCann rescue chamber, a more sophisticated version of a diving bell and, after a few mishaps, hauled all 33 trapped victims to safety in 13 hours. It was an amazing rescue.
  • It’s known as the most epic and complex mission of the WWII. In January, 1945, 121 volunteer US Army Rangers set out to rescue more than 500 Allied Prisoners of War who had already survived the Bataan Death March, a brutal multi-day forced walk through the searing heat of the Philippine jungles. Thousands of men died. Those who didn’t were imprisoned in the notoriously brutal camp, Cabanatuan.
    To free their fellow soldiers, the Rangers snuck behind enemy lines and launched a surprise attack on the Japanese. The assault lasted 30 minutes and freed hundreds of soldiers, with minimal American casualties.

We have all read about life-saving acts – people pushing others out of the way of a reckless car, people jumping in front of a bullet, etc. What is different about Jesus is that He came on a singular mission… to die for you and me and to pay for our sins. Only God could repair the damage caused by our sins. Only Jesus could reconcile us and bring us back. That is why He came, died, and rose again for our sins. Had He not come, we would have died in our sins and be lost for all of eternity. But because He came, we now have hope for all eternity!

THE GREATEST RESCUE

Jesus’ rescuing of us is the greatest rescue of all time. We were literally dead in the water with no hope and no chance – until He came (re-read Ephesians 2:1-8). Outside of Christ we have no hope. Paul states it simply and profoundly in 2 Corinthians 5:17,21 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Notice two parts here: God’s part & our part

  • GOD’S PART: Sending Jesus to rescue us. Having Him take our place and dying for us, then rising again.
  • OUR PART: Putting our faith and trust in Him as our Savior and living for Him as our Lord. Jesus has thrown us a life-ring and we need to grab hold of it and put it on. How do I become a Christian? It’s as simple as ABC:
    • A – ACKNOWLEDGE that you are a sinner and in need of God’s gift of grace and forgiveness.
    • B – BELIEVE that Jesus is the Son of God and died for your sins.
    • C – COMMIT your life to Christ and determine in your heart and mind to honor Him with your life.

The Bible describes our plight and rescue as follows:

  • Our Situation
    • Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
    • Romans 6:23 “…for the wages of sin is death.”
  • Our Substitute
    • Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Our Salvation
    • Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • Our Solution
    • Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
  • Our Savior
    • Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

But the greatest question is the one only you can answer. It’s the question Jesus asked Martha in John 11:25,26 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’”

YOU CAN HAVE HOPE

I liked this byline from the article “The 10 Most Exciting Rescues in History”: “These missions saved the lives of submariners, prisoners of war, astronauts, and everyday people who found themselves trapped with little hope.” We were dead in our sins…without any hope. But Jesus came to give us HOPE and to pay for our salvation! The message of Jesus Christ and of Christianity is you can have HOPE. Regardless of your past, present, or future circumstances. Jesus offers you hope in at least 3 ways:

  • Hope for yesterday: PAST PAIN
    • Ps 23:1-3 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, and he leads me beside the quite waters, he restores my soul.” God always has always and always will care for us.
  • Hope for today: PRESENT PROBLEMS
    • 2 Cor 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” God says I will never leave you nor forsake you.
  • Hope for tomorrow: FUTURE PROMISE
    • 1 Cor 5:19 “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” He goes on to say in verses 55-57, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hope is different than wishing. Hope is based on something… actually someone. Our hope is sure and we can bank on Heaven. It is sure because of Jesus Christ.

Jesus asks Martha in John 11:25,26 “Do you believe this?” How about you? Do you believe in Christ and His sacrificial death and resurrection? Belief in Jesus is how we are assured of eternal life. I encourage you to believe today. It is as easy as ABC – Acknowledge, Believe, Commit.