Sermon in a nutshell: All are saved (Acts 27: 27:44)
God saves lives so that an atheist can witness God’s love and miracles.
Two weeks ago, when I was in the office Sunday afternoon, Bud asked me to respond to a phone call. He could not understand what the caller wanted. So I picked up the phone and I could not figure out what the caller wanted, either. So, I went to his home. I asked him, “What do you want? He said, “I do not know! I am an atheist.” And he continued. “I just want to share my story, feelings, and gratitude.”
“My son was in a car accident. His body was thrown out from the car window and hit an electric pole. His brain was damaged and his bones were broken in pieces inside his flesh. His body was like torn clothing. The police and the paramedics pronounced him dead. The doctors told me that he was not dead but that there was no hope.”
“I did not give up! I searched hospitals and talked to them. One of the hospitals responded to the picture that I sent them and was willing to see my son. A nurse from this hospital flew in and talked to the dead body. Then she told me that my son was inside the body and she would bring him out. She was part of a group of Christian doctors who defined impossibility in a different way. These doctors said to me, an atheist, that everything is possible in God. I did not believe it but I was desperate. I agreed to take him to Colorado. I quit my job. I went to take care of him there. I stayed with him for 6 months.”
“Then one day, the doctor told me that my son was responding. I could not believe it but his finger moved. Then his facial muscles moved and he smiled. After 8 months, he talked to me. Then the hospital discharged him and we came home. I called my sister, who is a Methodist, and she told me to call a Methodist church. So I called. I guess I wanted to say Thank You! God saved my son and me!”
God saves even atheist and non-believers so that Paul could share the Good News in Rome.
In the Bible passage for today, Paul made sure that everybody would be saved. God is in the life-saving business and so are we. However, it is not a win-lose game. We have to live together. If I live and you die, that is not what God wants. God wants us all to be saved. In today’s passage, the sailors first tried to escape the ship and to save their own lives. Paul advised the captain to let loose the lifeboats to drift away. The sailors had to stay with the entire crew in the ship.
Then Paul urged everybody to eat and to have hope for salvation. After they had satisfied their hunger, they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat into the sea. Wheat was no longer food but had become a burden. So, they had to give up non-essential items to save lives.
When the ship was wrecked, the soldiers tried to kill the prisoners, so that none might swim away and escape. But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and to make for land, and the rest to follow, some on planks and others on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land. All were saved!
Sailors wanted to escape and to save only their lives. Everybody lost hope and did not eat food. To save their lives, they had to throw food away into the sea. Soldiers tried to kill all the prisoners, including Paul. These were the crises that confronted Paul but he overcame each crisis with wisdom and courage through God’s grace.
There will be storms and difficulties in life but we can still make it to save others.
There is no life that knows no hardships just as there is no sea that knows no storms. Our job is to sail through the storms and save lives with God’s help. We are trying to raise two million dollars to save 200,000 people in Africa from malaria. We also will have some bumps and stumbling blocks to succeed. However, we will overcome any difficulties and save lives through God’s grace. Last Monday, I went to the Korean Caucus and sold benefit concert tickets. I pleaded to their conscience and sold 212 tickets. Then I went to the Gathering of Orders. I sold 73 tickets there. People have said to me, “You are a good salesman.” But my response is, “I just want to save lives.” I do not know how many people have registered for the “Biggest Giver” project; however, we do all of these things to save lives. Isn’t it exciting to be a part of a life-saving movement? I pray that we all are infected with this life-saving energy through the benefit concert and the “Biggest Giver” project. Then the biggest benefit receivers will be us. We are the ones who will have all the joy and thrill of life-saving action!
- When do you want to register for the “Biggest Giver” project?
- To whom do you want to sell benefit concert tickets to save lives in Africa?