My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, [20 ] let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).
Persecution, trials, anger—all of the struggles they were facing wore many down significantly. And some risked and actually did “wander from the truth.” How did they wander? It was a wandering in lifestyle. They had failed to establish their lives in truth—and if you fail in establishing yourself in truth, it will affect the rest of your life.
This is where we must guard ourselves and others in prayerfully helping them. I’m not speaking of judgmentalism where you are going around looking under every rock and pebble for sin and doctrinal wavering. It will all be clear in due course. But the moral wandering in our culture and in our churches is due to a fact that many have ‘wandered from the truth.’
But what a joy when someone “brings him back!” We all rejoice when someone is brought back. You may remember a time when you may have wandered, but someone lovingly but firmly came along and brought you back into the truth and into the fold!
My friends, don’t forsake or write off one who has wandered! Be that instrument of God to go in love and prayer to speak and demonstrate the love of Christ to them.
In Ezekiel 3:18, God tells His prophet, “When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.” We are to speak the truth in love, warning everyone, Christian and non-Christian, with tears and not with cheer.
There was a church looking for a minister—a process that ARBC knows so well for it happened so recently. The way their process went was that two men would come in on two successive Sundays to preach. One pastor preached on the subject of hell. He preached with passion and conviction. They wondered what the next man would preach on the following Sunday.
That Sunday came, and wouldn’t you know, he preached on the exact same subject and the exact same Scripture. It didn’t look good for that man, following up in that first preacher’s shoes. But after consideration and prayer, they voted to bring the second pastor in. When asked why, the head of the search committee said, “That first man preached on hell with a gleam in his eye—the second man preached with tears in his.”
Do our hearts break for those who are hurting, suffering, weak, sick, in sin, and wandering from the truth? When we are in that condition, feeling far from God, to we draw near to Him through Christ? When others are in that condition, do we work to bring them and draw them near to Christ?
Be thou my shield and hiding place,
That, sheltered near thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him thou hast died.
O wondrous love! To bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame,
That guilty sinners, such as I,
Might plead thy gracious name.
Poor tempest-tossed soul, be still;
My promised grace receive;
I’ll work in thee both power and will;
Thou shalt in me believe.