Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lasting Impression

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).

Our family has traveled to many different destinations. We have seen great sights and amazing wonders that God’s hand has left for us to view. Places such as the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and Hoover Dam have left an impression on us that will last throughout our days on this earth. But the question haunts this mind is, did we leave an impression on those places we have visited? Are the places we visited different in any way since our arrival and departure?

The spiritual side of this question digs deep into the hearts of the saved. When people visit our congregations, what kind of impression do we leave on them? In our places of worship, visitors come as God’s way of opening a door for His Light to shine. He gives us an opportunity to reveal Christ to each soul. And in some instances, He has given us an opportunity to grow numerically. Are we sure that we treated these visitors in a way that will leave an impression of Christ? This is a very important question these days as we have seen the numbers of the Lord’s church on a steady decline. And possibly, this could be one reason why.

To leave the impression of Christ, we must know Christ. He never missed the opportunity to make someone feel loved. When we see the words, “feel loved,” please keep in mind that Jesus’ love is different than the love of the world. His love does great things for those He visits, but they are great things because they benefit the spiritual life of those He touches. When visitors come to our congregations, are we showing the love of Christ by meeting spiritual needs or are we showing them worldly love, just meeting physical wants?

If we are going to leave an impression on souls that visit our fellowship we must show compassion for their situation. Jesus showed compassion: “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Many lost souls are simply looking for someone to take time to understand their situation and not condemn their hearts. Some people are truly dealing with their circumstances the best way they know how. The church must try to understand their dilemma and let them know that the Lord’s church is there for them to lead them to a better way of life (John 10:10).

Another way we can leave the impression of Christ is to teach them the truth. Jesus spent His time teaching truth to make disciples: “And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem” (Luke 13:22). God desired a relationship through a covenant established through His Son and Jesus took every opportunity presented to Him to teach the truth about His Father’s desire to set them free (John 8:32). Many souls are lost because no one has taken the time to share the truth about Christ and His love for them. When He died the church was established to continue this mission of sacrificial teaching.

The church has been established for this very purpose of seeking and saving “that which is lost” (Luke 19:10). The goal of the Lord’s church is not to lead them to the wood of the pew, but to lead them to the truth of Christ. This is the only way they will find salvation. This is the impression Jesus left on every soul He visited. He desired not only to add them to the pew of the church, but to add them to the kingdom of God. He made sure when every soul left His physical presence they were left with an eternal spiritual impression. Let the church reflect His Light.

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