Those of us who are saved, sanctified, and filled with God’s precious Holy Ghost have so much to be thankful for. Jesus has rescued us from an eternity in a burning Hell. Shouting, praising God, and living holy come naturally to us. Who wouldn’t live for an Almighty God who has done so much for us? But there is one thing that we must never forget. That is, our fellow men who are not saved and who are not delivered are on their way to that burning hell that we just shouted about avoiding. Ephesians 2:1-4 help us to have a clearer understanding of why we are to have a great love and abundant mercy for those who are not saved.
2 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
These verses remind us of who we were before God’s grace and mercy impacted our lives. Verse 1 says we were dead in trespasses and sins, bound by the works of the flesh as described in Galatians 5:19-21:
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
We were embroiled in lying, cheating, smoking, drinking, fornicating, stealing. We were clubbing and gay popping. Many of us thought this was how things were supposed to be. When we became adults, we felt that these things were what it meant to be an adult. Ephesians 2:2 says that we walked according to the course of this world. But what we didn’t realize was that our path was so because of the prince of the power of the air. It was Satan who had us bound, and he is the one who causes our lost friends and loved ones to do what they do. The spirit that worked in us is the same spirit in the children of disobedience. Some of us don’t have to look back to see where God brought us from; we can look to the side because it has not been that long ago.
Ephesians 2:3 says we were caught up in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by our very nature the children of wrath, just like those who are not currently saved. Have you forgotten about the power of sin upon you? I remember that I loved to dance so much that I would hit the party dancing. I remember asking myself once, “Why do I always have to be on the dance floor? What is wrong with me that I have to hit that floor as soon as the music starts?” It didn’t matter whether or not I had a partner. I was my own partner.
Ephesians 2:4-5 tell us that God quickened us and made us alive although we were dead in our sins. We thought we were alive, but we were dead. We were dead men walking. And what caused this great transformation from death to life to take place? It was God’s love, His mercy, and His grace or unmerited favor that caused us to be made alive through Christ Jesus.
Saints of God, have we forgotten? This salvation that we have is not something that we did ourselves. There is no way that we could have pulled ourselves up out of the muddy sea of sin. There is no way we could have loosed ourselves from the shackles of addiction and hatred and lust. We were filthy, we were dead, and we were lost. We must never forget that it was the Grace of God that rescued us. It was the Mercy of God that gave us eternal life. The shed blood of Jesus Christ set us free from sin and death. And it could very well have been the prayers of a Saint of God that presented us before the Throne of Grace. Therefore, we must never forget that our lost brothers and sisters are no different from us. If they were to have the same grace, mercy, and love applied to their lives, they, too, would be set free. Remembering what we once did before salvation allows us to understand why the lost do what they do today.
It is so heartbreaking to read or hear about some of the evil taking place today. It is painful to hear about the murders, rapes, break-ins, abortions, cheating, and other evils that the unregenerate people participate in every day. But we must remember that they are the children of disobedience who are under the control of Satan and this world’s system. We have to see that they are bound and cannot free themselves. Their minds are blinded to the truth of God.
There are times when we are overwhelmed with our love and gratitude for our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for their love, grace, mercy, and sacrifices. We may even wonder what we can do to let them know how appreciative we are. We say, “If I had 10,000 tongues, it would not be enough to express my gratitude.” As in all things, the Bible gives us the answer to what we can do to show God and Jesus how grateful we are. Jesus said this to Peter and us in John 21:7
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
And how do we feed His sheep? First, we must do what Ephesians 6:11 says and
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
That armor is found in Ephesians 6:14-17
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Then, we use the spiritual weapons that we have been given to fight the devil. 2 Corinthians 10:4 says “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.
Our weapons are:
- God’s Word.
- The Name of Jesus.
- The Blood of Jesus.
- Fasting, Prayer, both in the natural and in tongues, and intercession.
- Praise, Worship, and Thanksgiving.
- The fruit of the spirit. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Because we have experienced God’s liberating grace and mercy, we should be bound with compassion for the lost. We must take on the mind of Christ and do everything in our power to help the lost gain access to the grace and mercy of God.
We are ambassadors for Christ according to 2 Corinthians 5:20
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.
An ambassador is a representative of a person or a cause. Since many of the experiences of the unregenerate are those from which we have been set free, we can significantly impact the lives of others. We are God’s living witnesses as those who are on our way to Heaven. We must show the lost the way. Once Jesus has cleaned us up, He expects us to go out into the highways and hedges and compel the lost to come in, that His house may be filled. Luke 14:23 says:
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
God spoke to me on one occasion and said, “I am going to show you the spirit of the people, but you cannot love them one bit less.” So, when we see the condition of the lost, though we may hate their deeds, we must love their souls. This knowledge should compel us to cry out the more for them. They are on their way to a burning Hell, and we hold the answer to their problems within these earthen vessels. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says:
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
This scripture means that we have the power of the Holy Ghost in our bodies. Why would we not use it to help the lost?
Let it be abundantly clear, though, that having saints understand the problems of the lost does not release them from their responsibility to respond to the gospel when the truth is presented to them. Sometimes, we may hand an individual a tract, and they throw it to the ground without reading it. At other times, God will tell us to witness to an individual and they reject the truth. We cannot be discouraged by those who do not wish to accept the grace and mercy of God. We must be encouraged that some are simply waiting to be presented with the truth. When we are rejected, we pray for them and move on. Titus 2:11 says:
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
I gave my heart to the Lord in 1974 and was filled with the Holy Ghost in 1975. I went through a period of mild sadness and depression because a beloved family member died before I was saved. Based on the Scriptures, I knew how he lived and doubted that he went to Heaven. I felt that somehow if I had been saved a little earlier, perhaps I could have witnessed to him, and perhaps he would have been saved. God gave me Titus 2:11, reminding me that every man will have an opportunity to be saved. How and when this is done and whether or not the option is taken is between God and that individual. God lifted the burden from my newly saved shoulders as I realized that salvation is wrought through God, although He does choose to allow us to be involved in certain situations. We have to be ready and open to His call.
Every person must respond to God by faith and repentance in order to be saved. The Holy Spirit works in a man’s heart, giving him the power and ability to respond. Hebrews 3:15 says:
While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
This scripture warns us to make the best use of time while we have it and listen to God. When an individual responds to the grace of God and receives Christ as Lord and Savior, they receive additional grace from God to be born again and to be filled with the spirit of God.
In closing, it is my wish that all who are saved and delivered will seek God for every opportunity to reach those who are bound by the sinful ways of Satan. We must never be so uplifted and excited about our salvation that we forget our fellowmen. We must love the souls of the lost just as Christ loved ours when we were lost. Let’s go to Heaven, Saints, and take as many souls with us as possible.