Dan Sherrik - Holland - April 2008

Luke 15, we read of a lost sheep, coin, and the prodigal son. I would like to talk to you today about some lost sheep; people who were spiritually lost. Why were they lost? Because they were bad? No. Or had done something wrong? No. A sheep is lost if it is far from the shepherd and the other sheep. When the sheep is found, the shepherd is happy and the sheep are happy.

My grandma was Lutheran. She said to her husband one day, “I want something different.” He said, “No. We were born Lutherans and we are going to die Lutherans.” One year later, he died. He got a little splinter and got blood poisoning and three days later, he was in eternity. Grandma was left with 5 children.  (She) went from one church to another looking for something that would satisfy. She was disappointed with them all. Then (she) went to one last church and concluded they are all the same. Then she got on her knees and wept and said, “Lord, I have done everything that I can. Now you have to do something.” Ten days later, two sister workers came, and after the first meeting she said, “I have found what I am looking for.”

 

In the Ukraine, there is a village a long way from civilization without hardly any telephones, etc. But lots of horses and ploughs. There was a Baptist church with about 200 people. My companion and I spoke. After the service, 20-25 people wanted to speak to us. One young man said, “I have a good wife, 5 good children, a nice house, and car. I have been a member of this church for 8 years. But I am not satisfied. I read and pray but something is missing.” I thought to myself, “We have just found a lost sheep.”  This man and his wife and all their children professed and now there is a convention on their property.

 

On another occasion, two brothers went to a new part. They didn't know the language very well. I came on a visit there. We went to a Baptist church where those brothers had visited. I was asked if I would speak. After the service a man said to me, “Would you please come and visit me?” I said, “No, we have other plans. There's a bus we need to catch in a little while.” He went away sad. But after a little while he came back and said, “Will you please come and visit me?” Again I said, “No.” We had a long way to travel and had other appointments. He went away sad, but came back the third time and said, “Please will you visit me?” So, I said, “Our plans are changed.” He said, “I am a member of the Baptist Church, and they talk about being born again, but I am not. They are going to build a new church and I am a builder, but I don't want to help them build it. I said, ‘It won't give me anything to satisfy.'” When we went out the door, I thought, “We have just found a lost sheep.” He now has a convention on his place. In the Ukraine, there are 3 conventions. One has about 50 people, another 60, and one over 100 including visitors. The workers went there in 1992.

 

There was another young man, Laciel. He had never read his Bible. He began to read his Bible. (He) came to the conclusion, “I have to be willing to do God’s will. I have to settle this.” He got on his knees and promised God that he would be willing to do God’s will. He got no peace. He thought, “I need fellowship.” So, he went to a church and then to another and another. He got no peace. A year later, he was invited to a meeting and came for 6 weeks and was ready to commit his life. Two years later, he wanted to talk to the workers. (He) couldn't bring himself to say anything, so Dan said to him, “What do you want to talk about?” “If I don't say it now I will probably never say it:  I want to go in the work.” I said, “I have two companions. Tell them what you have told me.” He said, “I can't.” But he did. I said to him, “But you aren't well. You have problems with your stomach and your liver. (It seems that he was a victim of Chernobyl). In the work, you travel around, sleep in different beds, and eat different kinds of food.” He replied, “I don't know if I am able either, but I am ready to die for the truth.” He said, “Before I met you, I read about Elijah taking a companion, Elisha, and I thought, 'If I ever meet a man of God I will go with him.'” Ukraine is a country of 52 million people and he was the first one that made his choice. God knows where the lost sheep are.

 

One of the young friends in Romania said to Dan, “I have a friend I want you to meet. He is honest and if he hears the truth, he will accept it.” I had a visit with him. He talked a lot. He had a lot of knowledge of the Bible and he wanted to show how much he knew. Dan said to this friend, “There is no point in going again.” Three times at the request of this friend he went, and each time, the reaction of the man was the same, and Dan felt there wasn't much he could do. At the end of the last visit, Dan said, “Lots of people talk about Jesus, but Jesus is not the spoken word, but the word lived out. If it is not lived out, then Jesus is not there.” “Secondly,” I said, “the worst thing in the world is the pride of religion.” He invited me back the next week. He had lots of questions rather than all the answers. His wife was present and she cried the whole time. Later, we found out that, for years, the wife knew that something was missing, but she didn't know what. (She) knew that the church was wrong and that what her husband preached was wrong. She prayed one day, “Send help.” She knew this day that God had sent help. The next week, they asked if the children could be present, too. A month later, the father preached for the last time. There were 1000 people in the church and he said, “What I told you all these years was the truth, but I was talking about things that I didn't know much about myself. Now I am going to stay home and read and pray and try to prove more of the things that I have been telling you about.” They had never heard about a Sunday morning meeting, but they had a little meeting together as a family. The two older children and the parents spoke. When they finished, the younger boy said, “When you spoke in the church, we received nothing.” Two months later, they had a convention in the mountains because it was then communist. This family walked 14 kms to be there. The man gave his testimony and said, “I found my verse in the Bible, 'He must increase but I must decrease.’” He said, “I know this will be my verse for a long time.” We knew he had a good foundation and understanding of the truth. The next week, we had another convention. Only the two oldest children could come. 50 people and two workers. It wasn't hard to make up the speakers list each day, so people were free to give their testimony. The 15 year-old boy read his Bible in between the meetings and gave his testimony every day. The daughter was too shy. We had a visit from the secret police, so there was a new job on the job list, namely to stand watch in case someone should come from the secret police. The family have a Sunday morning meeting in their home. One of those children is in the work today. Which one? The boy who loved giving his testimony every day at convention? No. The shy girl who who had nothing to say.

 

I have laboured for thirty years in Europe - in Romania and Yugoslavia, and since 1992, in Ukraine. The Bible says, “There is one faith.” What does that mean? It doesn't mean to 'believe in God' but to 'believe God.' Like Abraham. Abraham believed God and obeyed and saw how God led him. It wasn't easy for Abraham to leave everything behind, but God had something better for him. Sometimes people say, “I hope I will one day be willing for all of God’s will.” But that is where God’s work begins! Where new life starts. A new birth, eternal life, starts when we are born again.


Someone said once that God doesn't have grandchildren. That is true. Just because our parents are professing, that doesn't mean that we are saved. We must all personally and individually be born again.


A cousin of mine began to serve God at 12. At 18 years of age, she had a big struggle to say, "Yes," to God.  Later she said, “It was only then that I got to know God.” In the United States, a lady got up and gave her testimony and said, “It took me 21 years to be born.” She then sat down. I talked to her later. She said, “At the age of 14, I made my choice. Now I am 35 and I have never had the peace that I have now.”


In the United States, people often ask the question, “Are you born again?” Imagine if I met someone and said to them, “Are you born?” It would seem like a ridiculous question. If people are spiritually alive, they will have a hunger, an appetite for spiritual things. You can explain salvation in three steps: 1. Jesus gave His life for us. 2. We have to give our life for Jesus. And then: 3. God gives us new life. When a baby is born, it is as close to its mother as it will possible ever be. It has a very special fellowship and bond with the mother.


Another sign of a baby is that a baby is always small. The process whereby a caterpillar turns into a butterfly: It has to spend time in a cocoon. In the cocoon, the caterpillar doesn't have the liberty of the caterpillar and doesn't have the much greater liberty of the butterfly either. I was 5 years in the cocoon. I didn't have the liberty of one who has professed and fully given their lives over to the Lord and I couldn't enjoy the world like others either.

 

A factory can't produce a seed and no chemist however brilliant, either. The seed is in the fruit. If more fruit then we will have more seed.