Saturating the Saturated
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You know, after about a week of rain, you start to forget what the sun looks like. We've just been through a week like that, and it was like pouring as I was driving home. And, that's what it had been doing for a whole week actually. You didn't even have to listen for the weather forecast; I think they just had it on a tape. You know, you knew what it was going to be the next day. Well, I glanced at this office complex of a major insurance company that's along the road on the way home. And what to my wondering eye should appear, but sprinklers! Yeah, all their lawn sprinklers were out and going full blast, watering a not very thirsty lawn. After a week of torrential rain, the sprinklers were on! They were like saturating what was already saturated.
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Romans chapter 15, and I'm reading about the magnificent obsession of the Apostle Paul. Verse 20, "It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation. Rather, as it is written, those who were not told about Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand." Now, Paul obviously here has a magnet inside of him that is drawing him. It's pulling him toward people who do not yet know Christ. He talks about those places where Christ is not known.
You know, these days you don't have to go very far to find the places where Christ is not known: the dry places, the un-rained on places, the un-watered places, the unsaturated. I mean, our society has basically been divided like a river over recent years. On one side of that river, are Christians who've got more Christian stuff than Christians have ever had: Christian TV, and radio, and Internet, and books, and seminars, and concerts. There's so much going on spiritually! In a way we're the most spiritually saturated believers in history.
Now, far across that river, on the opposite bank, are people who don't know Christ - the majority of people around us. There have probably never been so many lost people in this country who have known so little about Jesus as people today; who've cared so little about the Bible, who've lived so totally oblivious to God. In a sense, they are dying of spiritual thirst.
So, the people with the water, and the people with the thirst, have unfortunately never been farther apart. Martin Marty, the church historian, said in the Wall Street Journal, "If you're part of the evangelical subculture, it's your whole life. You go to church, buy the religious books, watch the television programs." But he says, "If you're not part of the subculture, you don't even know it exists."
Well, one reason is that all the sprinklers are being aimed at the already saturated. We can sit in the comfort of our Bible studies, and our Christian websites, and recordings, and videos, and drink it all in and feel like we're winning the battle. But the people we're next to every day are dying right in front of our eyes. All we've soaked up just drowns us unless we lay it on the line, take some risks, and get involved with lost people where they are, like our Lord did.
Where are the Christians who will say with the Apostle Paul, "I'm here for lost people, not just to sit in my comfort zone." Where are the churches who will not just aim their resources at watering God's people, but who will risk their buildings and their reputations, and their budgets, and their lives to build a bridge to their lost community? Not just to be a place to take care of the already rescued, but to be a life saving station for their community.
Listen, we'll celebrate later. We've got a war to win now. Haven't we saturated ourselves enough?