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Teachers, Be Bridge Builders

Matthew 28:19-20

Recently, I saw a terrible tragedy on the news, where a barge hit a column of a bridge in Arkansas
and the roadway of the bridge plummetted into the swollen river below.
Many cars plunged into the deep water of the river and many lives were lost.
They never made it across the bridge.

I wondered if any of those who drowned had safely crossed the bridge into heaven
when they met their tragic fate.

God has given to you who are teaching children girls the responsibility and privilege
of building bridges for them to cross in these critical days.
These are restless years and they are crossing a sullen stream of sin that threatens to engulf them.
We must lead them to the the bridge of eternal life which will enable them to cross
the turbulent waters of life and death into an eternal home in glory.

They are facing the choice of two highways.
They will choose one or the other.
There are only two ways and every one must choose one or the other.

One way has a broad gate and a wide road.
There are thousands, even millions that are taking this road.
This broad avenue is crowded with what seems to be wonderful pleasures.
The life of ease and luxury seduces them.

Look at so many young people with such great potential take their first look down at this broad way of deception.
They do not see the pitfalls.
They do not see the snares that await them.
They do not see the chasms that they cannot cross.

We must build the bridge for these young people so that they may cross safely.
If they go on down that broad way without Jesus, and come to the end of their lives, we will hear
their awful cries, "Lost! Lost! Lost!"

Now, look down the other road.
It is narrow, and yet hundreds and thousands joyfully travel this road.
Day by day we witness self-sacrifice and observe many wonderful acts done for the Master's glory.
There is joy and peace and happiness in the lives of those who travel this way.

There is a great need for spiritual bridge building today.
This the as true today as it was over two thousand years ago when our Lord Jesus stood
on the mountain in Galilee and said, "Go, teach."

Does our Lord's commission mean anything to you?
Are you endeavoring to carry out the words of the Master, when he said, "Go, teach"?

I could relate story after story of promising young people who have ruined their lives
and caused their parents untold grief.
Children in homes all over our city have a need for God.
God's name is being taken in vain, crime is being committed, and sin is rampant.
Almost every day the front pages of our newspaper detail awful accounts of failure and crime.
Every newscast gives vivid accounts of people who have gone bad.

We know our responsibility to tell others the good news of Jesus, but how many of us are doing it.
We must build bridges in the lives of our children, and we must plan and prepare to do so.
We must live the right kind of life before them.
This is the best contribution that we can make to them.
Day by day we must walk so that others can see and know that we has been with Jesus.
Our life speaks louder than any words that we may speak.

Prayer must must fill our minds and our souls.
If we are to influence others for Jesus, we must have a consistent prayer life.
There is power in prayer!

"Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer,
That calls me from a world of care;
And bids me at my Father's throne,
Make all my wants and wishes known.

In seasons of distress and grief
My soul has often found release
And oft escaped the Tempter's snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer."

If we would build bridges for our children we must "Tarry at Jerusalem until you have received
power from on high

To build a bridge for our children so that they can cross over to an abundant life here
and on to life eternal, we must have our minds and souls saturated with God's Word.
Hide it in your heart and live it.

We must know the lives of those with whom we seek to lead to Christ.
Every teacher must know the individual members of his or her class.
Teachers must know who are Christians and who are not.

Years ago I read of the death of a sixteen-year-old girl.
She attended Sunday school regularly with her family.
The father was asked if the daughter was a Christian, and he reluctantly confessed
that he did not know but that the mother would probably know.

When the mother was asked, she answered that her daughter was a good girl,
but she wasn't sure whether she was a Christian.
But she was sure that the daughter's Sunday school teacher would know.

When the teacher was asked, she responded with tears of regret.
In all the years she had taught the girl she had never asked the girl if she was a Christian.

Teachers, God has entrusted the spiritual development of precious souls of your class to you.
Do you know the spiritual condition of every member of your class?

If you don't, then do so before another week passes.
Don't put it off -- you may never have another opportunity.
Time is short and death is certain.
Take time to find out just where every member of your class stands as far as their eternal life
is concerned.

Don't delay in leading your entire class to Christ.
"Today is the day of salvation."

Think about this: If you saw a friend of yours at the edge of a cliff and about to fall to his death,
you would rush to rescue him.
All about us are souls hanging over the pit of hell, and if they do not come to Jesus,
we will hear their horrible cry, "Lost! Lost! Lost!"

How can we go on our way so unconcerned with scarely a thought of the torment of hell
that waits for them.
Hundreds are around us day by day hanging over the edge of eternity without Jesus
They are headed down a highway and the bridge is out.
They will not cross the bridge to eternal life for Jesus is that bridge.
They will plunge to their eternal doom.

Teachers this responsibility is yours, the blood of the unsaved of your class
is upon your hands unless you make a sincere, loving effort to lead them to Christ.
We must have a burning passion for lost souls.
We must be determined to rescue those without Jesus.

Many years ago in Scotland, a storm was raging.
Through the thick, black clouds the vivid lightning flashed and the angry wind blew.
The master called his faithful dog to his side and pointing out into the storm said,
"You'll have to go, Nellie, the sheep are lost in the storm."

Over in the corner was a little box and in that box were five beautiful puppies.
She loved those puppies; but she also loved her master and wanted always to please him.

Out in the storm she went; up the hills; down into the valley; on and on went the faithful Nellie.
Finally, she found the distressed sheep huddled together far away on the extreme side
of the mountain.
Patiently, she herded them together and headed them toward home.

In the raging storm her frail little body was blown about and it was in the wee, small hours
of morning before the waiting master heard a faint scratching at the door and opened it
to let his faithful dog stagger into the room.

The frightened sheep were out in the yard.
The master went out into the darkness to care for his treasured herd.
"One, two, three," he counted, "four, five, six," and so on
until he discovered that not all had been brought in.

He went back into the house and said, "Nellie, you'll have to go back out;
three sheep are still out in the storm

Nellie loved her master and she loved those beautiful puppies.
She looked at her master and then at her puppies.
And again she looked into the face of her master who pointed his finger out into the storm,
and said, "Go."

Again into the storm went the faithful dog so tired and worn.
On and on she went, and the storm continued to rage.
Finally, she found the three sheep and turned to go home.
It was more difficult this time.
The dog was totally fatigued from struggling against the ferocious winds.

Finally, a scratching was heard at the door and as the master opened it,
Nellie entered -- tired and exhausted.
She looked up into the face of her master and gave one long, pitiful whine and fell at his feet -- dead.
She died in glorious faithfulness and determination to do the will of her master.

Teacher, there are not only three lost souls in the storm of sin today.
There are hundreds and thousands.
They are adrift in the storms of life and are going down to their death and destruction every day.
Will you let them die without letting them know that you can rescue them.

Teacher, does every member of your class know Christ?
If not, won't you resolve that not another Sunday shall go by until you have made an earnest effort
to win your class to the Master?

After they come to know Christ, teach them how to live the Christ life.
Teach them what is expected of them as children of God.
Encourage them their new life for Christ, and prepare them for future usefulness in God's service.
Use your influence to lead young Christians into active service for Him.

Rudolph, a young musician, had an desire to write a piece of music that would thrill his audience.
For years he worked to produce a selection of music, but was never satisfied with what he had done.
Finally, his friends persuaded him to give the music to the orchestra to present to the public.
After much persuasion, and after making many changes in the piece he consented.

Many wonderful selections were played that night, and finally the selection of the evening
-- the piece into which Rudolph had composed was played.
At its conclusion the audience sat spellbound.

Finally with one accord, they rushed forward to congratulate the young musician.
Rudolph, however, was not satisfied.

He kept looking about over the vast crowd until he saw an old gray-haired man way back
in the corner of the hall stand up and make his way to the front.
He placed both hands on the shoulders of the young musician, and said,
"It was well done, Rudolph, well done."

Rudolph was happy!
It was the words of his old master, the one who had taught him all the music he had ever known.

Teachers, when we have taught our last lesson, and when we have led our last soul to Christ
we should want to hear our blessed Master say, "It was well done, child; well done."

The Bridge Builder

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
"You are wasting strength with building here,
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide
Why build you the bridge at eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head:
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be
He, too, must cross, in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him."

-Will Allen Dromgoole, in Rare Old Chums.

Sermon adapted by Dr. Harold L. White