(Be Concerned For Those Who May Have Strayed Away)
By Pastor Chris Oyakhilome
TO THE BIBLE: “…Bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found….”
“Speaking of Sylvester, I don’t think I’ve seen him in Church for a while; perhaps I will give him a call?” “Better yet, let’s go visit him at his place; I’m sure he will appreciate the visit,” Tim suggested to Carl. In a church, particularly one with a large congregation, it’s possible for some members to be inconsistent in their attendance; some may even have stopped coming altogether. This may not be immediately obvious, especially if the church is always full during the services.
As Christians and soul winners, we should be concerned enough to know if anyone in our congregation has strayed away or fallen by the wayside. In Luke 15, the Lord Jesus told the parable of a shepherd with one hundred sheep. One of them got missing, and he left the ninety-nine in the wilderness to search for the missing sheep. When he found it, he carried it home rejoicing and invited his friends and neighbours to celebrate with him.
Then, Jesus said, “…Likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). Jesus was preaching here to the Jews. He was talking to them about the lost. Understand that He wasn’t talking about one who had never come to the Lord but one who had strayed away. There’s a difference between the one who has never been inside (the church) and the one who was inside but strayed away.
Remember, Jesus was dealing with the Old Testament church here, so He wasn’t referring to the lost sinners of the world. Matthew 10:5-6 says,“These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The Lord is sending you today to that brother or sister who no longer comes to church. Don’t give up on them; find them, intercede for them and win them back. When you bring them back, the Bible says there’ll be great joy in heaven. This is something you have to do.
Go Deeper: Ephesians 3:14-17; Galatians 4:19; Galatians 6:1
Speak: Dear Father, thank you for making me genuinely concerned about your children who have strayed from the way. I pray that Christ is formed in them and that they’d be established, rooted and grounded in your love, being fully persuaded that in you alone lie their joy and total fulfilment, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Daily Bible Reading: ONE YEAR Matthew 5:1-20, Genesis 12-14
TWO YEAR Acts 7:12-21, Nehemiah 9
Act: Plan to visit someone you know who hasn’t been to Church in a while.