James 5:19-20  God’s Rescue Missions!


July 8th 1973 was a memorable day in my life.

A) I was 10 yrs old and my dad took me to Chavez Ravine – Home of the LA Dodgers … baseball game


B) It was a Sunday afternoon game – we had seats in the rightfield bleacher seats

1) Dodgers vs the Pirates { Pittsburgh roots


2) It was a hot July day – Ice cream cone melted!


C) It was a great game – A Pitchers Battle –

Tommy John was pitching for the Dodgers

                Dock Ellis for the Pirates


D) Game was tied 2-2 went into extra innings

1) Then it happened – bottom of the 12th Dodger outfielder Willie Crawford hits a game winning home run over the centerfield fence.


Result: Impact: That day I became a diehard Dodger fan – Love affair that would last many years

Also that day my love for the game and my desire to play at that level – increased Dramatically!


Another memorable event that happened in my life was in 1988 Joey Buran & myself were on staff here together.

Joey took me to the legendary surf spot Trestles to catch waves.

Trestles is an awesome wave – Long rights  seemingly ride forever.

A) I was always intimidated to go there because – I didn’t surf – { Balance thing} lack of patience


                   CUSTOM BOARD -  Pat Caldwell



B) I knew in those days I would never make it at Trestles – hard enough to catch a wave in that crowd as a surfer – never as a body boarder


C) Joey was aggressive – MY WAVE – RESPECT


D) Joey had me position myself – 20yrds from Peak

He would take off – see me paddle …..


Result: Impact – I became a Lover of trestles,  any time that Joey wanted to go I was there.


Also that day – a deeper friendship was forged – that has lasted: 20 yrs/ Pro surfer accepts – body boarder


A few years ago My wife surprised me – It was a Sunday we were done with Church – She said come ride with me – I want to take you somewhere


Usually that meant lunch -  Driving further

Romantic get away – Julian


Planned everything{ My truck  - changed appts

As we were driving she said – I want you to know I have never done anything like this before

She Booked it on line! – and  she said it was kind of expensive -  Ok – I was just excited


The place was supposed to be a little cottage – It ended up being a converted Shed in someone’s back yard – Quaint and Beautiful on the inside


Looked like this on the outside. { Metal Shed


But you know what, I didn’t care I was so touched that she even thought to plan a Romantic get away


Result: Value: Impact – Those Romantic get aways have become a regular part of our marriage – Once or twice a year we try to get away – take turns planning and surprising one another.



One more event: 1989 Pastor Brian takes myself and 5 others on my first overseas mission trip – Yugo / Hungary

On that trip I saw God do some amazing things – Two Churches were birthed


Result: Value: Impact: Passion for Church Planting

14 Churches in last 11 yrs – Heart for missions

Desire to take pp on those kind of trips



Now there is a common thread that runs thru all  those stories /  the  reason I shared was not to get all nostalgic on you.


The Common thread is this – In each one of those events that influenced my life in a certain way – I was brought to a place by someone.


And By far the most impacting event in my life where I was brought some place by someone was when my Parents took me to Church – I met Christ


PT: God Chooses pp to reach pp.{His plan His RM’S


We see a perfect illustration of that in Acts Ch.10

A) Living in the city of Ceaserea is a Roman Centurion named – Cornelius – { Over 100 men


B) He is from a Pagan background –He has tired of the Roman lifestyle – starts seeking God

1) Seems to embrace Judiasm – Praying fasting

     He is very religious but he is not saved YET!


C) He gets a visit from an Angel – but the Angel doesn’t share Christ with Him

1) The Angel could have – real simple


D) Instead he tells him to send for A MAN!

1) Because most of the time when talking about God’s rescue missions – it involves pp sharing w/ pp.


2) SEND FOR PETER  30 miles south in Joppa

Peter is in Joppa, goes on a roof top to pray.

A) Vision on food –unclean animals –animals that the Jews were not supposed to eat


B) God says to Peter, kill and eat ! Peter responds


1) Oxymoron – Two phrases that don’t go together



C) God says to Peter: Don’t call unclean what I have cleansed –


The vision was an illustration for Peter  God was doing something new – as God would later instruct him to go with the Gentile men who were coming after him.

A) The Law of Moses was a wall between Jews and Gentiles and that wall had now been broken down by the Cross of Christ


B) This event would become the Catalyst for the early Church’s mission to take the gospel to not just the Jews but also the Gentiles – ALL NATIONS


My Pt. Is this instead of having an Angel share with Cornelius – He has him send for a man – for Peter!

                            WHY PETER? –

1.     Break thru the Prejudice – Jew to Gentile

2.     Giving Peter the blessing of being used

3.     Use Peter’s experience as a Precedence for establishing that the gospel would be sent to the Gentiles

God has chosen to use pp to reach lost and struggling pp  that is where James goes in finishing his letter

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.


A) These two verses form a fitting conclusion to the book of James. 


B) James has been telling us what the real Christian looks like!


          * Real Christians are doers of the word and not hearers only.

* Real Christians don’t show Partiality

*Real Christians have an active faith

Faith evidenced by their actions!


C) Here – reminds us that the real Christian is interested in People.

1) Saving a soul from death and covering a multitude of sins is supposed to interest us



Jesus loves LOST  People!

A) His missions statement{ Luke 19:10 “I have come to seek and to save the lost!”


B) James is reminding us of the Mission – the heart 1) Now who are the individuals that James is referring to here that need to be rescued?

The phrase if anyone among you wanders  makes it clear -  among you those in the house of faith

A) He is talking about those who have backslidden


B) Wander speaks of a gradual straying for the truth

1) Backsliding is always gradual – little compromise here and there  leads to apathy – complacency – 


C) Enticed by the allurement of the world – pretty soon you are way over here – no idea how you got there.


D) In every church there are those who’s faith gets Shipwrecked. 

1) 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul talked about Demas who had served with Paul forsaking the faith because he loved this present world.


E) There have been many in the Church who have followed in the foot steps of Demas

1) Never happens over night! {Always Gradual


And the thing that is amazing to me about most pp that I know who have backslidden.

A) It is not that they no longer believe the truth about Christ or the Bible – if you asked, they do


B) They just don’t want to walk with God right now

1) No urgency for walking with God right now.


C) Danger is the longer they rebel – the harder their heart gets to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Now when this subject comes up –of someone backsliding – no longer walking with God

A) There is a debate in the Church over whether those who walked away were real believers or merely professors of the faith – not real faith


B) They hung out with the Church – around the Church – maybe looked saved – but it wasn’t real.


C) John in his epistle makes a statement in his epistle that seems to favor that latter view.

1) Speaking in the context of those who were Anti Christ – Adamantly opposed to Christ


1 John 2:19

"They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us."


D) John says the reason why they left is because they were never saved to begin with.

1) I think that is true of many


E) However James seems to be describing those who were really believers who have wandered.


[Here is the thing though] it doesn’t really matter where you think that person WAS really at spiritually

The warning and the need is still the same!


If you say well they left us proving that they really weren’t saved – the message is clear

 A) Their soul is in Jeopardy and we need to go after them!


B) If you say: well – I know they were saved at one time and I saw real fruit in their life – now they are severely backslidden –


C) The message is still the same – their soul is in Jeopardy of being eternally lost and we are called to go after them.


If we take seriously what James is saying:

A) This is what we cannot say:

Well I know they are saved and right now they are just going thru a phase and they will come back


B) James gives no such assurance – neither does God’s word


Hebrews 10:26-28


For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.


C) Realizing the terrible fate that awaits unrepentant sinners should motivate true believers to pursue those who for one reason or another have departed from the faith.


Both Zechariah 3:2 and Jude 23 picture the soul winner as a fireman, rescuing people out of the burning fire!


God wants that picture etched in our hearts


Rescue Missions

A) We’ve all seen a “rescue mission” before.


B) They’re exciting, in real life & on the silver screen. - They make heroes of people. –


Policemen who rescue the hostage


The Soldier who rescues the captives


The coastguard who rescues the shipwrecked boaters


The Life guard who rescues the swimmer caught in heavy surf.


We have all seen that – we cheer and applaud – We love rescues

A) Guess what, so does God


B) He orchestrated the biggest rescue mission of all!


C) Mankind was lost and drowning in a sea of sin

1) Being held captive – bondage to addictions and vices


D) He sent His Son JC to rescue us – Pull us out of the pit –

1) Set us free from Bondage – Gave His  us life


Illustrate it this way: A man found himself trapped in quicksand –

A) Along came Confuscious who looked at the man in his situation and said – Man ought to avoid quicksand at all cost

                     Great, a lot of Good that does me Now!


Then Buddha came by : Saw the man and said “whether this is good or bad who can say for bad is good and good is bad – Ying Yang went on his way”


Man again cried out – That doesn’t help me


Krishna – Better luck next time  In Hinduism Reincarnation is the Key


Jesus comes by and reaches out and grabs the man pulls him out – that is what Jesus does

A) Pulls us out of the pit and sets our feet upon a rock


B) Frees us from our Guilt! 


C) Lauren Cleri – Moment of truth 8.9 million viewers

1) Stole from her work – lied to mom / Cheated on Husband - / wished she married old boyfriend


D) Are you are good person -  Plagued by inner guilt


E) PP Plagued by guilt need to be rescued – need sins forgiven cleansed / covered

James is telling us that God wants us to be a part of His Rescue mission.

A) He wants us to be passionate for lost souls because He loves them so much.


B) Going after souls that have never given their life to Christ – still in bondage / still blinded by sin

1) Living in guilt – condemnation


E) God says I want you to join my rescue mission and help them.  Rescue them


How? Turn to Acts 10 learn from Peter’s experience


1. Pray: Acts 10:9 


The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.


V.9-16 Reveal that it is during this time of prayer that Peter is going to get a vision from God that reshaped his view of people. 


Amazing what Prayer does: I can have an opinion about someone –

Feelings about someone or some group


But when I go to the Lord in Prayer – so often he reveals what I am missing


Start seeing pp the way that He does!{ Sheep w/out..

2. Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit Acts 10:19-20

“While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them."


You Have to respond to the leading of the HS

A) Holy Spirit will speak to your heart – call that person – go over their house


B) Your mind will tell you that is stupid – you shouldn’t do that – doubt

1) That is not God that is the Pizza you had last night


C) You can come up with a host of reasons to talk yourself out of it –

1) Exciting when you follow thru especially when you find out you were right! 


D) That really was God !


3. Share the truth V.34-43 Peter shares the gospel

                               Acts 10:34

Then Peter opened his mouth and said:"In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

         Goes on to share Christ – He shares the truth!


Here is the thing though, we need to learn to share the truth in Love.

Galatians  6:1

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.”


We don’t always do that – in fact sometimes we do the opposite – I was blown away by the incredible accuracy of this observation from Spurgeon this week.

I have seen a person who has erred hunted down like a Wolf. He was wrong to some degree, but that wrong has been aggravated and dwelt upon till the man has been worried into defiance; the fault has been exaggerated into a double wrong by ferocious attacks upon it.


The manhood of the man has taken sides with his error because he has been so severely handled.


The man has been compelled, sinfully I admit, to take up an extreme position, and to go further into mischief, because he could not brook to be denounced instead of being reasoned with.


And when a man has been blameworthy in his life it will often happen that his fault has been blazed abroad, retailed from mouth to mouth, and magnified, until the poor erring one has felt degraded, and having lost all self-respect, has given way to far more dreadful sins.


The object of some professors seems to be to amputate the limb rather than to heal it.


Spurgeon is right if we don’t handle a situation the right way we can do more damage than good.

Remember James says when we restore: Cover a Multitude of sins –

love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12, NKJV)


That doesn’t mean that we make excuses for pp’s sin or sweep it under the rug – No, we have to share the truth – but we need some bed side manner.


Remembering what it was like to be lost – to be deceived


Sorry to say: I have met too many pp who have had this comment to say about CC – Harsh

A) We love the truth – We are into truth – we study the Bible – We love apologetics { Defenders


B) But we often forget who the enemy is: The enemy is Satan { Not the Muslim / Newager / Mormon

1) Psychologist – they are just pp dealing with error -


C) Most pp we run in contact with are just Deceived


Here is what we do, We get loaded up with our ammunition – truth{ 

A) We come across someone who is into something else Psychology Philosophy – some other religion


B) We blast them with the truth


Greg Laurie – “Guys we are becoming the group that has problems with everyone.”

I find it interesting that Jesus doesn’t blast the Philosophers of His day

A) You know who He blasts – the religious leaders

The hypocrites – those claiming to represent God


B) Paul didn’t blast the Philosophers of his day –

1) Athens – doesn’t seek to tear apart their philosophies and

C) He shared the truth in Love


You know Whom He attacked – those who were seeking to bring those false teachings into the Church


Attack the SOURCE and seek to Rescue those who are deceived {Friend into the emergent Church – don’t blast in love seek to rescue – show truth


1. Pray

2. Follow the leading of the HS

3. Share the truth


4. Trust God for the results Acts 10:44-48


“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.”


Listen here today wandered – God loves you / forgive cleanse, remove guilt – restore: open your heart