Class 22: Pulling Others Out of the Fire (Part 1)
Today, we are beginning a new study from Letters to Young Black Men titled, “Pulling Others Out of the Fire” (Part 1).
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from Jim Patrick: “A Christian must keep the faith, but not to himself.”
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men which our lesson is based on:
If you have applied what I have shared with you in the previous six letters, you are on the right track to a genuinely successful and fulfilling life. In this letter, I want to talk with you about “pulling others out of the fire.”
Since my first letter to you, God has probably blessed you in some very special ways: you have become a Christian, you have direction in your life, you are communicating with God through prayer and through His Word, and you are seeing things in a different way now. I am sure, even in this short time, that you have realized the value and importance of having God as the center of your life.
Since God has blessed you so, dear friend, He wants you, in turn, to be a blessing to others. Jesus Christ once said to His disciples: “Freely ye have received, freely give”. Look around you and see the devastation in many of our black communities. Many of our people are presently “in the fire,” so to speak. Some are in the fire of living an absolutely purposeless life. Some are in the fire of drugs and alcohol. Many of our young black men are in the fire of jail and prison. Some of our people are suffering from the fire of the consequences of illicit sexual activities like babies having babies, AIDS and other venereal diseases. But, even sadder, is the fact that many of our people are headed to the fires of hell.
With the light and knowledge you have received already, you can be used of God to help pull our people out of the fire. How can you do that? First, you must understand that it will not be done through social programs alone; it will not be done through education alone; and it will not be done through the government alone. The main solution to the problems that we face in the black community is God Himself and the principles made plain in His Word. If we are to help turn our community around in a very real way, it will only be through the gospel of Jesus Christ and the correct teaching and application of His Word.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
Before looking at sharing God’s plan of salvation with those caught in the fire, let us first discuss why we should even care about dying brothers and sisters. Read the following verse and note what it says concerning the believer’s responsibility to this lost and hurting world.
- Matthew 4:19: “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
In the Book of Matthew, Jesus’ first command is to repent, and the second is to follow Him. The result of following Christ is transformed purpose and passion. No longer will the disciples be able to live the same way they always have. Fishing as an occupation can no longer be their number one calling. Rather, they must live to make Christ known, to catch men for Jesus.
When the disciples chose to drop their nets and follow Christ, they consciously chose to leave the only life they had ever known. They considered Jesus worthy of their full devotion, and thus, left their family, friends, profession, and a likely comfortable lifestyle to obey Him. When you chose to follow Christ, did you allow Him to truly transform you? Are there any areas in your life that you are still prioritizing over sold-out devotion to the Lord? Though the disciples’ lives were not easy by any means, they exemplified a true compassion and concern for the dying humanity that inhabited the earth. Thus, their obedience culminated in a selfless, yet bold love for the lost, which ultimately began the Christian movement that remains strong two thousand years later. What a legacy!
Notice what happens in the next passage below to those who turn away from suffering humanity:
- Matthew 25:35-40: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
There is no insignificant individual in the Lord’s eyes. Everyone from the president of the United States to the drug-addicted beggar who lives on the street is deeply loved by Jesus Christ. He suffered and died on the cross for all people, regardless of nationality, race, or social standing. God knows the exact number of hairs on the head of every individual, in fact He is the One who formed them in their mother’s womb. Thus, God intimately cares for His children, and when they are mistreated, oppressed, or hurting His heart breaks. Likewise, when we take the time to forget about our own reputation and schedule and reach out to help “the least of these” God is pleased.
Imagine a mother whose son is teased and humiliated at school. This child comes home every day crying, intimidated, and broken. The mother would give anything to remedy the situation, but she cannot go to school with her son everyday. In fact, that would probably only make matters worse. However, imagine that one of the most popular children in the school decided to reach out to the hurting boy. He ate lunch with him, picked him first for the basketball team, and told all the children how great this once rejected boy really was. Can you imagine how the excluded boy’s mother would love the selfless child who purposefully raised her son from the depths of rejection? Just the mention of his name would bring joy to her heart and a smile to her face because he saved her son from an environment of loneliness and disappointment. How much more does the Father take pleasure in His children, who risk their own reputations and agendas to be certain that society’s oppressed and down-trodden know they are incredibly significant in God’s eyes! Do you long for the mention of your name to bring a smile to the face of God? If so, live a life of justice, never regarding yourself as better than any other.
Now, Just Do It.
Think about three people in your life who are somehow enslaved by the fire. This may be the fires of drug and alcohol addiction, sexual immorality, purposelessness in life, etc. Write those names down.
Now, think about three people in your life who you know would find themselves in the eternal fires of hell if they were to die today. Some of these may be the same individuals you thought of in the first scenario. Write these names down as well.
Keep the names and faces of these people in mind as you learn how to share the Gospel that can pull them out of the fire.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, we will continue this lesson in our next class.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.