Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 10 October 2013
Page 3


When a Sinner Returns Home

Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor

Rodney NulphGod’s clear plan for His family, the church, is for members to look out for each other. So clear is God’s directive on our care for each other that the Holy Spirit guided the pen of Paul to write, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). On another occasion, the half brother of Jesus penned, “Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). When fellow-Christians actively seek those who have gone astray, God will bless that effort with increase (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:6, 9), as He sees fit. When God gives increase and a sinner returns home, several wonderful things take place.

Firstly, when a sinner returns home God runs! Almost beyond our comprehension is the fact that the God of heaven would run to meet a penitent sinner. The narrative of the Prodigal Son shows this fact clearly. “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). God is waiting, watching and willing that every erring child comes back to where he or she belongs (cf. 2 Peter 3:9)! If you are away from God, He is looking for you. When you make the first step back, God will run to meet you!

Secondly, when a sinner returns home angels rejoice. It thrills my soul to know that the heavenly host is interested in each and every penitent sinner. Sometimes when a Christian leaves God, he often thinks that no one even cares that he is away, but not so. Angels are waiting and preparing a heavenly celebration for those who come back to Christ. Jesus affirmed “…that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents…” (Luke 15:7). A few verses later the Lord related, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents” (Luke 15:10). If you are away from the fellowship of God, come home today; the angels are waiting to celebrate your return.

Thirdly, when a sinner returns home, the family is reinforced. God’s family, the church, is made weaker each time someone walks away from the faith. Conversely, the family of God is made stronger when a penitent sinner returns home. When a sinner returns home, another soldier is back in the fight (Ephesians 6:10ff), another runner is back in the race (Hebrews 12:1-3), another prayer is sent above (James 5:16) and another arm, hand or foot is restored to the body (1 Corinthians 12:12ff)! God’s church needs every available person for the fight in which we find ourselves! There is never a time in this war, especially now, when we can afford to suffer any casualties! If you are away from the family of God, we need you and God needs you. Please come back home!

Someone recently told this author that if we restored every erring member, our buildings could not hold them all. While that situation is quite heartbreaking, it also should encourage us of the potential that lies ahead. How many are erring in the congregation where you worship? With how many have you pleaded to return? “Time is now passing, the moments are fleeting… come home, come home, ye who are weary come home!”

God’s Call

Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor

Often people will ask me regarding my preaching, “Were you called?” By that they usually mean did God call me to preach through a dream, vision, still voice, et al. The inquiry usually opens a door of explanation regarding the call of God. God’s call is so often misunderstood today. I was not called through the above mentioned means, nor does the Bible teach that God calls anyone by that method any longer. Let us consider God’s call from a scriptural standpoint.

Firstly, consider the portrayal of God’s call. God’s call is portrayed as a high calling. Paul reminded those in Philippi, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). This description essentially depicts the source of this call. God’s call is also portrayed as a holy calling, as Paul told Timothy speaking of the Father, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling…” (2 Timothy 1:9). This depicts the seriousness of this call. God’s call is portrayed as a heavenly calling; the writer of Hebrews addressed his readers by writing, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling…” (Hebrews 3:1). This description depicts the superiority of this call. There is nothing remotely close to God’s call!

Secondly, consider the privilege of God’s call. Those who heed God’s call are blessed, privileged to leave one location and arrive at a much better one. God’s call gives us the privilege of going from labor to rest; Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). God’s call gives the privilege of going from darkness into light; Peter exclaimed that Christ has “…called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Wonderfully, God’s call gives us the blessed privilege of going from bondage to liberty. Paul reminded the churches of Galatia, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty…” (Galatians 5:13a). This privileged call has brought us from alienation to fellowship; Paul declared, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). What privilege to heed the call of God!

Thirdly, consider the procedure for God’s call. Sadly, many take the wonderful call of God and attempt to make it miraculous or mysterious. However, such is not the case! God’s call is clearly accomplished by means of the Gospel. Paul declared, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14). God’s call is for all mankind (Matthew 11:28-30; 28:18-20). It crosses ethnic, racial and every background imaginable.

The question is not if we have been called, but rather if we have answered that call! God is still patiently calling. However, one day His call will cease. Now is the time to answer, for one day it will be too late. Please do not put Him on hold, but instead answer the call that will make an eternity’s difference – God’s call!

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