"Search and Rescue"


Date: 8 May, 2016

Text: Ephesians 2:11-18

Title: Search and Rescue





Missing climbers Tim Newton and Rachel Slater were hit by a "massive" avalanche, the leader of a mountain rescue team that recovered their bodies said on Thursday.


John Stevenson, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, said the couple were a few feet apart.

Another climber had noticed a red jacket below the snow and ice and alerted the authorities.


The rescue team dug out the couple's bodies.

"They had been hit by a massive avalanche, a huge one. They had not even started climbing. They were not roped together," said Mr Stevenson.

"The avalanche must have come out of the Observatory Gully - a 15 minute walk from the CIC hut where their tent was found. It probably happened on their first day on the mountain.

"Because they were covered by so much snow we could not find them until conditions had thawed enough. They were under a lot of snow. We - and others - must have walked past them so many times.

"They were a few feet apart. We will never know what fully happened but they must have been buried by a really big avalanche. We dug them out and stretchered them off the hill. It was a very emotional job for the team. But these searches do not always have the best of outcomes - it is part of the job unfortunately.


Climbers Alex Lowe and David Bridges' bodies found in Tibet after 16 years


note: All of us want a more positive outcome to ever search and rescue and yet the fact is that many people are lost and never found.


Our hearts go out to the families whose loved ones were not reach in time to rescue them.


The passage I want to look at this morning is the story of a spiritual rescue. Although this story has a positive ending. It may not be our story.  I want us to consider this morning, YOU WERE LOST! HAVE YOU BEEN FOUND?


I. The lost.

Luke 19:10  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

exp. The Bible speaks of the man who has not been saved as being lost.

SONG: Amazing Grace - "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I seek."

exp. This passage is not written to unbelieving Gentiles. It is written to believing Gentiles who used to be unbelievers. Paul is writing to remind them of where they used to be before they were saved.

11 ¶  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12  That at that time ye were ....

            A. Christless.

            ...without Christ,

ill. There are certain things in life we can not do without. ie. water, air, food, fire, etc. They are all necessary to life. You know it is important. If I said we only have a half an hour worth of air left....or one days worth of food left....or a gallon of water left....etc. You would be searching for more of that precious substance with the inspiration of panic and realization that LIFE DEPENDS UPON IT.

exp. There is one thing necessary to eternal life and it is Christ. You have to have Him or you have death. They were without Christ.

app. If you don't have Christ this morning, you ought to panic. To be without JESUS is to be without EVERLASTING LIFE. If you die without Christ, you will not go to Heaven but you will go to Hell.

1John 5:12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

John 3: 16  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.

17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

app. You don't have to be Christless this morning.

transition: Why is it so sad to be without Christ?

            B. "Country" less.

            ...being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,

exp. It is not easy to be alien without a home country.

ill. Watching migrant man cry. His home is not worth going back to and he has not found a home for his family. It broke my heart as a father to see a man weep for desire to meet the needs of his family PHYSICALLY.

app.  It's one thing to be without provision for my family in life. What of the father who gives no provision to his family for HEAVEN? Some mothers and fathers ought to weep for their lack of ability to meet their children's spiritual needs because they have not led them to the home in Heaven.

            C. "Covenant" less.

            ...and strangers from the covenants of promise,

exp.  The covenants of God contained promises.

·         The Abrahamic Covenant led to God's special relationship with the Jewish people. He raised them up as His people Israel. Ge 22:17  That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

·         To David he gave the Davidic covenant Psalm 132: 11 ¶  The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.

·         12  If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.

note: These covenants had many special promises associated with them as it gave those under the covenant a special relationship with God.

2 Chronicles 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

app.  We have no right to claim the promises of God's Word without entering into a covenant relationship with God. Naturally as Gentiles, we are outside of the covenants that God gave to the Jewish people.

            D. Hopeless.

            ...having no hope,

ill.  Kay Lee "When we go to Scotland, we will say goodbye to our family. When we go to Scotland, we will move away from our home. When we go to Scotland we will say goodbye to Benson.....no honey.....Benson, Benson, you get to go to!

exp. Kay Lee went from hopelessness to hope in an instant when SHE BELIEVED THE CORRECT INFORMATION.

ill. I hear people all the time say, "This is hell." I often ask them are you in a fire? This isn't hell. But, I do hear the hopelessness in what they are saying. And Satan says, "What is the point. There is no God and if there was he would not want anything to do with you.

app.  They are not thinking right because they have believed a lie. But, until they BELIEVE THE CORRECT INFORMATION THEY ARE WITHOUT HOPE!

            E. Godless.

            ...and without God in the world:

exp. We tend to use the term "godless" to mean

·         a really bad person

·         doing really bad things

·         who does not believe in God.

ill.  If I showed you the pub crowd outside my home when the pub lets out and the people coming out of church buildling and asked you to tell me who is godless - most people would think themselves right to say, "Those coming out of the pub." But, they may only be partly right.

·         Because, in reality the term just means without God.

ill.  Someone could be a faithful church attendee. They could be a moral person. The could be civic minded individual and well likeed and be just as "godless" as a drunken wife abuser who has a filthy mouth and mind. BECAUSE BOTH OF THEM ARE WITHOUT GOD.

app. I'll often tell people, "I am not promoting a religion but a relationship. Christianity is not intellectual it is relational." The question is not not "Are you religious?"  It is, "Do you know God?" If you don't know God personally this morning, you are "without God in this world" and in that sense you are "Godless."


transition: I don't know about you this morning - but I don't want people to be Christless, on their way to hell, outside of the promises of God, hopeless and Godless. AND NEITHER DOES JESUS AND SO HE IS SEARCHING FOR THOSE WHO ARE LOST.


II. The search.

            A. Jesus pleads His blood to bring us to God.

13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

ill. When hostages are taken around the world, there is often a discussion about ransom money. In Mexico those demanding ransoms are accepting payments as low as 500 dollars and so no one is safe as it is not only the rich that are being kidnapped. What if you were in that position of captivity and death? Would you be longing for the ransom to be paid?

exp. The law is holding men ransom this morning. Men are sinners and sinners must be killed. The only ransom accepted by the law is the life blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

app. God can bring you to Himself this morning - you don't have to be Godless/Christless. The RANSOM HAS BEEN PAID. "JESUS PAID IT ALL - ALL TO HIM I OWE - SIN HAD LEFT A CRIMSON STAIN - HE WASHED IT WHITE AS SNOW."

ill. Paid in full! Joh 19:30  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

            B. Jesus broke down the wall of separation.

                        1. Between Jew and Gentile.

14 ¶  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

exp. Gentiles were not the people of God - UNTIL JESUS GAVE US THE GOSPEL OF HIS SALVATION. He unites us with the COVENANT PEOPLE OF GOD.

note: Abraham recieved righteousness by faith not by circumcision. Jews who do not believe in Jesus are no more the people of God than an unbelieving Gentile. But BY FAITH BOTH ARE UNITED IN CHRIST JESUS.

app. Gentile believers are as much a child ofGod as a Jewish believer.

                        2. Between man and God.

15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

exp. This unity is found "in himself" and he makes us "one new man."

Joh 17:11  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

ill. Adoption is a precious privilege. We just enjoyed having my niece with us. She is adopted and she is my niece as much as any of my other nieces. We don't even think about her adoption into our extended family. Another cousin of mine has adopted and it is wonderful that God has given them children in that way! Adoption is as glorious as birth. And God uses the reality of adoption in a very special way which impacts each of us!

exp. As believers we are adopted into the family of God made up of Jews and Gentiles.

Ro 9:4  Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Ga 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

app.  Are you a part of the family of God this morning.

            C. Jesus offers peace and the way to God.

                        1. The way of the cross.

16  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

exp.  We could also call it the way of the blood. Jesus was crucified to make this way possible.

ill.  Thinking about them taking the corpse of the Lord Jesus off of the cross.

exp. He suffered and sacrificed to make this way possible to you.

ill. Billy Taylor, Oshkosh, WI is remembered as a hero who gave his life for others. There was a great fire in the city. Rather than just save himself he worked tirelessly to help save others. Later in the day he collapsed and died. Quite rightly the city remembers this man who thought of others when he could have simply thought of himself.

exp. Would you have a problem with someone who spat on his grave or treated his death with contempt.

app. How do you treat the death of the Lord Jesus? Have you thanked him for making a way of salvation possible to you? The search included the suffering and death of the Saviour!

                        2. The way of the Gospel.

17  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

exp. Jesus didn't just make the way - He sent out the message.

Mark 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

ill. Darlene Diabler Rose - Husband Russels lacerated feet from taking the Gosple into PNG. Dressing her husbands feet afterwards and thinking....

Isa 52:7  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

exp.  People have given their lives down through the ages to keep this message alive for you and me BECAUSE JESUS WANTS YOU TO HEAR ABOUT IT AND THE WHOLE WORLD NEEDS TO HEAR.

app.  The search involves taking the Gospel to the World!

                        3. The way of the Spirit.

18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

exp. There is no way  into the presence of God but the way of the SPIRIT OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

note: The Spirit - is the 3rd person of the trinity. Without Him, you are not saved.

Romans 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

ill. If I was involved in a Search and Rescue Operation - I would want some skilled individuals with me. We have the greatest of all with us in the 3rd person of the Trinity.

Joh 16:8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

app. Praise God, we don't have to be anxious in our pursuit of the lost. God's Spirit is pursuing them as well.


III. The rescue.

exp. The lost were in an awful condition. The search is taking place at great expense. What happens when someone is rescued?

ill. I imagine that there are times when helicopter rescuers have to explain to those whom they are rescued the benefits of being lifted up into the helicopter.

            A. You are immediately citizens of God's country.

19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints,

ill. My family has been involved in a lengthy process of getting citizenship in Britain. If anyone had offered to pay for it and give it to us immediately that would be joyous news - expecially if there was no other way it was to be received.

app. The lost do not deserve it because the cost was so high. But, God offers you immediate citizenship in Heaven if you will accept it.

            B. You are immediately members of God's family.

and of the household of God;

exp. God doesn't just giveyou naturalization - he gives you adoption.

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

            C. You are immediately part of God's church.

                        1. United by the Holy Scripture.

20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

exp. Jesus is truth and the disciples preached and recorded God's truth. The truth unites us into the church the body of Christ.

                        2. United for a Holy purpose.

21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

exp. David yearned to build an earthly temple for God. He didn't get to do so but was able to prepare His Son to do that great work.

app. Spiritually, you and I are continuing that work as we labor to build up God's temple corporately and individually.

1Co 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

note: That means that God dwells inside of us.

                        3. United for a Holy person.

22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

exp.  We were without God - now GOD DWELLS WITH US AND IN US.

Heb 13:5  he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Col 1:27  Christ in you, the hope of glory:

app.  Do you have Christ in you this morning? If not, you are not saved! You can immediately have these things. There is a rescue attempt being thwarted today. Won't you do your part to change the conditions so that the rescue can take place!



Not every search and rescue ends in a tradgedy. jim Reid, 75, and his grandson, David Irvine, 35, were found drifting 46 miles off the Aberdeenshire coast in their 16ft creel boat.

The Water Rail was reported missing at 11.50am on Tuesday after it failed to return to Gourdon at 9.30am. The vessel was found by the Dumfries-registered Sylvia Bowers at around 7.30am on Thursday morning.

The Water Rail sank while being towed back at 12.20pm, shortly before the fishermen returned to Montrose harbour in an RNLI lifeboat.

Speaking to STV News as they travelled back to the mainland, Mr Irvine said: "I'm glad the lads found us when they did, last night was cold. I even had the water up my sleeves.

"On our way home now, thanks to the crew of the Sylvia Bowers."