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Something Worth Saving

Luke 6:7-11 (KJV)
7 And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.
9 Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?
10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
11 And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

This incident in the ministry of Jesus is another time in which He had a dispute with the Pharisees about the law.  It appeared as though they were interested in keeping the letter of the law, but in reality, they were only interested in finding a way to accuse the Lord of some wrong doing and stop his ministry. 

But, as I read this passage, I find a fascinating insight into the great theme of the scripture, even of the mission of Christ himself in this world.  He asks a question that eclipsed the particular concern of the scribes and Pharisees and their quibbling over the Sabbath. “Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” 

Let me reduce this question down to the most basic form:  “Is it lawful to save life?”  Blinded by their quasi-religious bigotry, the Pharisees could not see that the far more important question was simply this:  Is there something worth saving?  Is it possible that God sees something deep down in the heart of a man, something precious, something pitiful, something worthy of salvation, even at the expense of confounding everybody else? 

That question is alive and well today.  Is there something worth saving?  Is there something that can cause a holy God to reach down to an unholy sinner and gather him into his arms?

Can a righteous God find a way to save an unrighteous man, woman, boy or girl?

Can God dig through piles of sin and shame, as it were, in search of something worth saving? 

That’s the question. 

Romans 5:6-17 (NIV)
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

This one man, Jesus Christ, was on a mission.  It was a mission to save.  I hope you understand that.  It was not a mission to condemn.  It was a mission to save.  “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” 

We know that He came.  We know what He did in order to save lost mankind.  We know the story of the death, burial and resurrection.  We know what Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost.  We know about repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost.  We know the “how” of salvation. 

But the question that precedes the how is the why.  Why did He do it?  Why did He bother?  What did He see in me or in you to motivate him to such profound suffering?  What did He see that was worth saving? 

Something Worth Saving 

A man came up to me yesterday after the graveside service of one of our ministers, Pastor David Richard.  He showed me a picture of a baseball.  He had retrieved it from an estate sale, along with a pickup truck load of other things, the usual boxes of odds and ends that the seller often throws together and offers as a convenient way to get rid of a lot of junk.  

Now, the reason this man showed me a picture of the baseball, and not the real thing, is that the real thing turned out to be an item of huge importance.  He couldn’t just carry it around.  It was a signed, Hall of Fame, baseball of one of the greatest baseball players who has ever played the game, Babe Ruth.  A little research shows that another baseball that Babe Ruth hit as one of his 714 home runs now sells for around $40,000! 

I venture to say that the owner of that estate had no idea that something so valuable was in one of those boxes.  He probably could have kept that baseball and given away everything else and still come out ahead!  But, his assessment was that there was nothing worth saving.  

Have you ever tried to decide whether or not you were going to save something or throw it away?  You hold it up, look it over, think what you are going to do with it.  Can it still be used?  How much is it worth?  Does someone else want or need it? 

It’s an old clock.  It sits on the mantle in the family room.  It’s just a few little pieces of wood screwed and glued together.  A few gears on the inside, a glass front over the numbers and hands. 

   It’s probably not old enough to be a genuine antique.  You have to wind it up to keep it running.  It’s not even all that beautiful.  It’s probably not worth too much, certainly not $40,000, or $4,000.  Ebay says it might be worth $69.   Aside from my father’s book collection, it’s all I have left from the old family home.  But of all the things I could have had when we cleaned out the old place and put it up for sale, this is the thing that I wanted.  I didn’t want the pictures, the china, the what-nots or the other hundreds of things that make up a house to live in.  I wanted the clock. 

This clock was the wedding gift that my grandfather and grandmother gave to my mother and father when they were married in 1935.  It is a memory token.  That’s all the value it has.  When I see it, I see a happy, young couple on their way to enjoy forty-seven years of a rich and rewarding married life.  I see a proud set of grandparents, satisfied that they had done their job and were waiting in great anticipation for their first grandchild.  That is something worth saving. 

What did God see worth saving? 

Think of the many times that God had to look over the ruins of his creation and make an assessment.  

Adam and Even, after their transgression in the garden, God did not destroy them.  He made them coats of animal skins and banished them from the garden, but preserved their lives. 

Genesis 6:5-8 (KJV)
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

What did God see in Noah?  He saw something worth saving.  Noah was going to be a bridge for the generations of mankind to get past the flood.



The twelve sons of Jacob.



Simon Peter 

I am not saying that we have done anything to deserve salvation or to be worthy of the blood shed for us on the cross.  I am only saying that God must have wanted us to be saved for a divine purpose or else He would not have gone to that cross!  Evidently, He saw something worth saving. 

What about you?  (Go into congregation and choose a few people, asking the question, what was that something worth saving about you?  What did God see that made Him say, “I can save you.”)

There are two reasons why God saved you. 

First, He saw something of Himself in you! 

Genesis 1:26-27 (KJV)
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

You are God’s creation.

Satan has tried to destroy you.  Satan has contaminated you with sin.  But God sees past all of the sin, the shame and the destruction.  He says, “Deep down inside, there is something that I want.  I refuse to let Satan destroy my handiwork!” 

See these arms?  They were created to worship God!

See this tongue?  It was made to give praise to the King of Kings!

See these hands?  They were made to do a work for God! 

Your body was not made for sin.  That’s why sin is so destructive.  Your body was not made to mutilate.  Your lungs were not made for smoke.  Your brain was not made to be twisted and fried by drugs.  Your mind was not made for evil thoughts. 

God brought you into this world to be a reflection of His power and glory!  That’s how you will achieve your greatest purpose in life. 

Second, God saw you as a part of His work in the world! 

God saw something worth saving in you because He needs you to be an extension of His own hand into this world!  

God will not act unilaterally to accomplish His purposes in this world.  Why?  Because He wants to include us—you and me—in His plans! 

God is not satisfied with king>subject; boss>worker relationship.

He wants us as friend, confidante; espoused wife; companion; sharer.

Therefore, God wants to enfold his own acts into the acts of man. 

This church is now in an organized effort to fast and pray so that we can see the will of God accomplished in our community.  It is important that you know what role you play in this.  It is even more important that you feel an individual, personal relationship with God and His church in this endeavor.  This is God’s plan! 

Mark 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20  And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. 

The phrase, the Lord working with them, comes from two Greek words, “soon ergos.”  You’ve seen it translated other places as synergy.    Synergy means: 

1. combined action or functioning; synergism.

2. the cooperative action of two or more muscles, nerves, or forces.

3. the cooperative action of two or more stimuli or drugs

God is a force, a power.  I am also a force or a power.  But, my power is worthless unless it works in synergy with God’s power.  God sees something worth saving in you because He sees an opportunity to get His will done in this earth THROUGH YOU!!!  

God binds himself to any man  who will enter into this special relationship with Him.

      -Adam:  Power to name

      -Abraham:  Power to pray

      -Moses:  Power to triumph

      -Elijah:  Power to perform the supernatural     

Does God really enfold His mighty acts within the acts of man?

      Peter in prison:  Prayer meeting at the house of the mother of John Mark.    

2 Cor 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  18  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.     

      Brother and Sister Chris Gibbs.  Sis. Gibbs was in Africa in 1996 as an AIM worker when she was infected with both Typhoid Fever and Malaria at the same time.  While she was in the hospital, she was pronounced dead by the attending physician.  The church began to pray.  The missionary’s wife crawled up on the gurney and lay down on top of the dead body.  She prayed, “God, this young woman has come all the way to Africa as an AIMer to work for you.  We cannot ship her back in a casket!  After 35 minutes, she sat up and asked for something to eat.  

God acts depend on man’s prayer.

      We must not think that man’s prayers are unheeded by God.

      Just because we see God’s works without seeing man’s prayer, or we see man’s prayer without seeing God’s works does not mean that there is no connection between the two. 

2 Chr 16:9  For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. 

The Acts of God are enfolded within the Acts of Man! 

Eph 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 

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