“It was as if a man of God were in a valley where an ancient well was discovered. The man of God began to deal with it. Some began to say: “Maybe dig a new one? There’s nothing in this one anymore.” But the man of God began to take out incredibly beautiful vessels from there, also gem stones, and some other ancient objects. And those who proposed to dig a new well were surprised, because they thought that there was nothing in this ancient one anymore. But the man of God told them that they should not be surprised, but should go into the depths, all this is deposited in there.”
I believe one of the wells that we’re starting to dig, and there’s nothing new about it, is what’s written in the Word.
So many tasks, so many challenges! The greatest danger in the Christian world is not to fail to cope with the challenges, but to stop, cease to serve and develop.
Development includes stresses, crises, even falls, mistakes, risks. People who are afraid of making mistakes probably do nothing. We must overcome this fear. We’ve got to go.
I want to say one more thing about this old well. Christ once said, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice, and they will become one flock with one Shepherd” (John 10:16).
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a benefactor, someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
God, seeing us as wicked, sent His Son for us. Our hopelessness and hell on earth – that’s what we had. Christ died for us when we were wicked. He proved His love: when we were sinners, Jesus already died for us.
In other words, sinners who are in the street, in the depth of sins, Jesus already died for them. Among these people are His children.
I would like to talk about people who have fallen from God or left the church. Leaving the church does not always mean that they have fallen from God. It is on this “platform” that I want to stop.
Yes, it happens that when a person leaves the church, he falls from God. Or he fell from God already in the church and simply “fell off”. And this also happens. There are people in the church who have fallen from God, and there are people outside the church, but they have not yet fallen from God. So don’t confuse these things.
Ideally, this should be connected – a person in the church is saved, he is with God, but when we find this duality concerning the church and God – that is, this platform, which is the border zone where the person is no longer in the church, but he is not yet without God.
Usually preachers avoid talking about this. Those who leave are called “apostates”. I would recommend that you stop saying like that. I’m not talking about the enemies of God. People fell away not because they were weak, but because they opposed God, God’s people, God’s church. This is another question, we will not touch on it now.
But I’m talking about those who couldn’t stand through.
The first thing we need to understand is that they are on the way. There is still time for them. If the Lord keeps them alive, the breath is in their nostrils – every person on earth is here for a chance. Every day, when you open your eyes after sleep, get up on your feet from bed, there is breath in your mouth, which means you have a chance that the Lord extends to you on this earth to save you.
How can you deprive another person of such a chance?
We still have a lot of work to do today to free ourselves from this kind of thinking: we ourselves are making a “little evil God”, which He is not. Often people are kinder and more lofty in terms of love, generosity than you as a Christian, in your personal ideas about God. Sometimes our God is so “small” in terms of nobility, honor, height, perfection!
It is very important to understand that these people have a parallel path. These sheep are no longer of your fold. But this doesn’t mean that God abandoned them. Maybe they left the church. They may even have been convinced that by leaving this community, God is leaving them. But God doesn’t think so.
There is a parallel path of neighbor non-church people. And we must allow the grace to flow from our house into this path as well. From under the threshold the river flowed to the East. Let this river flow – let them receive our kindness from us.
Today the Lord gives so many challenges! If a person left for another community, we are glad, he didn’t fall away, he remained with God. But some people are not happy that nothing bad happened to that person! Run to the cross because you have lost it.
There are many biblical examples.
“ And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim and went across the Jordan with the king, to escort him across the Jordan. Now Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. And he had provided the king with supplies while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very rich man. And the king said to Barzillai, “Come across with me, and I will provide for you while you are with me in Jerusalem.” But Barzillai said to the king, “How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? I am today eighty years old. Can I discern between the good and bad? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any longer the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be a further burden to my lord the king? Your servant will go a little way across the Jordan with the king. And why should the king repay me with such a reward? Please let your servant turn back again, that I may die in my own city, near the grave of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what seems good to you.”
And the king answered, “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what seems good to you. Now whatever you request of me, I will do for you.” Then all the people went over the Jordan. And when the king had crossed over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own place. Now the king went on to Gilgal, and Cimham went on with him. And all the people of Judah escorted the king, and also half the people of Israel.” (2 Samuel 19:31-40).
There are people who don’t love everyone. But I like those who are not scheming, but truly have a generous soul. Barrzillai decided and told the king that he would no longer be a burden to him. But where are this kind of people today? A lot of people show off as needy all the time. No matter how much you give them. It’s such a slave spirit. Don’t expect anything from anyone. Stop expecting things from people. Nobody owes you anything except to love one another. You put yourself in a position of owing love.
God has everything for these people: Angels, messengers, everything! And we must give these people grace and understanding.
It won’t always be cream, but by and large, don’t be too quick to call a person an apostate. I’m talking about those who weakened for a while, who stumbled. There are people in the church, they didn’t disappear, but were completely lost. But you were not deprived of grace, He allowed you to stay. Because something has happened to our heart, and we are called not to deprive grace, but to give it.
But one should not think that he has arranged things in a tricky way. Don’t mess with these things. It may not work.
Christ became the Son of God through obedience and attained the resurrection of the dead, by grace tasting death for all.
What are we to do? – Pray. Don’t quit praying for them. Pray.
We should also show Christ, those people can be in different conditions – anything could happen to them. Are we ready to give them grace? Reveal Christ. Keep showing Christ.
Believe and hope. Take these people, get to believe and get to hope. Each of us has such people. Hope and believe that the Lord will raise them up and bring them.
See them as a child of God, a child of the Father. Look at them as a brother and a sister who are lost.
Value these people. Appreciate them. If we don’t appreciate a man, we can’t love him, we can’t treat him properly. There are people whom we value. So value. Don’t put a price tag on him, but value him. In some cases it is difficult, but value him.
Wait patiently. It’s difficult. But understand that things are moving, it’s time, it’s a process, a maturation process. Pray that the devil doesn’t hurt, doesn’t steal earlier on the way, so that the man doesn’t end his life suddenly. Understand in patience the way of the Lord for him.
Look at his calling. Christ says: “When you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” And there is Apostle Peter catching fish, having buried his chiton under a rock…
Prevail with your testimony. Become a real living testimony for this person. Here he comes, calls at night – and you haven’t lost your testimony, and even if you have, you asked for forgiveness, hugged, repented.
This parallel path, that He died for us while we were still sinners, gives hope for the return. His children who repent and return are much more valuable!
There are “sheep not of this fold” – this is a parallel path. This is a very difficult but very relevant topic for ministers.
I thank God that some ministers have all their children in the Lord. Sometimes he even boasts. But it happens that, when a lost one returns, his quality is different. I won’t list the names of modern preachers who are very strong in the Lord today. They have gone through times of stepping away, and when they return, they give a different quality than if they were just, “sour cream, yogurt” children of believing parents.
You don’t have to fall to be strong. May the Lord protect this message. There is nothing to brag about, that we are standing – this is grace.
Who are you? What is your quality? All these people have a Father – God. Christ is the Teacher. We don’t deprive anyone of grace, we only give it generously. Don’t shake to be or appear to be someone. Don’t shake about you having lost something. Walk before God. Bring grace. Shine! Shine! Walk in freedom! Don’t let anyone steal your freedom, because it belongs to you. Live! Live in it!