This morning, we’re going to continue our message series that challenges us to rise up and to take our place in the history of faith; setting the example for the generations to come and passing along generational blessings.
Last week, we learned of the great opportunity and responsibility that we have to tell the next generation of the great deeds of the Lord. We learned how it’s our responsibility before the Lord to reach out to the next generation and to set the example for them in how to reach their next generation. We have the opportunity to start a great move of God with great momentum to bless the generations to come. This morning, we’re going to be challenged to do exactly this; to share it!
This concept should be very relevant to any who use the internet today. Just about every article, image, web page, and idea can be shared by means of social media with the click of a button. It’s so easy in our culture today to share things and your comments about them with everyone that you know. Think about this:
If someone had given us a million dollars,
if someone had given us a new car,
if someone had fought off a thief for us,
if someone had saved us from a car accident,
if someone had kept us from drowning,
we would be so grateful and couldn’t be stopped from telling everyone that we know about it.
However, when it comes to telling everyone that we know about how Jesus gave His life for us and has given us eternal life, we too often don’t do it.
If someone were texting and walking toward the threshold of a thousand foot cliff, we would do everything possible to get their attention and stop them from walking to their tragic death. However, everyday, we encounter people who are doing exactly this. They walk distracted by the things of this life toward their tragic death without ever being warned of the doom that awaits without Christ.
There should be an intense hunger and urgency burning within us to tell others of the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord. We see such a desire within the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 71
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
We should have this same desire and plea with the Lord, that He would sustain us all the days of our lives so that we can declare His mighty works to the next generation. This should also be our lifestyle, even as the psalmist said that he spoke of God’s saving acts and righteous deeds all day long.
1 Peter 3:15
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
Sharing your faith with others isn’t as difficult or intimidating as you may think; it’s actually quite easy! Let’s take a look at different methods and aspects of sharing your faith.
1. Know your testimony!
It sounds obvious, but one of the most effective ways of telling of God’s mighty deeds is to share the work that God has done in your own life. You can do this in three easy steps!
1. Explain what you were like before Christ
2. Explain how you were introduced to Christ and how you responded
3. Explain what your life is like after Christ
If you have not yet reached step 2, if you have never been introduced to Christ or responded to it, do not leave today without seeing an altar worker after the service to do just this.
Sharing these three facts reveals many theological doctrines about God without even realizing it, without quoting a single line of scripture, and without ever going into an intellectual discussion. This also avoids intellectual arguments and debates, which are usually fruitless, because you just can’t argue with the truth about what God has done in our lives through our personal testimonies. Sharing just these three simple facts can be done easily and quickly, but can have a powerful and eternal impact on those that you share it with.
Also, as God continues to work in your life, repeat these three steps often. Explain what your struggle or challenge was, how God moved, and how things are now different. When others see that we are real people with real problems and have a meaningful relationship with a real God, they will take note and see that one of these three are missing and needed in their lives. They will recognize that they are real people with real problems just like us, but without God to be their salvation and deliverance in their time of need. This is a wide open door to invite them to accept Christ’s salvation into their own life and experience the same things that we have.
2. Live out His word!
We don’t have to live a perfect life to live out His word. Whew, that should be a great relief to us and remove a lot of unnecessary guilt and shame that we put on ourselves!
In fact, we should not feel that God expects us to be able to live the perfect life or feel the need to do so in front of others. If we were ever able to live a perfect, sinless life, we wouldn’t need a savior and Jesus would have never had to live it and sacrifice it on our behalf. God knows of our struggles. Jesus Himself faced the same temptations in His flesh as we do even without being born into sin as we all have been.
We will make mistakes and we will make them in front of those who we are trying to reach for Christ. This is good! When we make mistakes, be quick to apologize and seek forgiveness from those that we’ve wronged. When others wrong us, we should be quick to forgive them and extend God’s grace. Doing this declares many things about God and will speak volumes to those who see it. It goes rashly against the grain of how we normally see people respond. It’s not easy to do, but it’s what He desires us to do and what He does for us. When we choose not to hold grudges and to unconditionally love and forgive others, people will take notice! 1 John 4:19 says that we can love others in this way because He first loved us in this way. We are also called to forgive others as the Lord forgave us. It’s simply us pouring out to others that which God has poured out into our lives.
2 Corinthians 3:3
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
When others see our lives, they should be reading the very word of God written to them by the Holy Spirit from Christ. Even when we look at the infallible, written word, we find written in it the failures of humans and the greatness of God. Our lives should speak the same way. We should be honest with others about our weaknesses, struggles, and mistakes. We should not feel that we need to live a perfect life to be a good witness for Christ. God’s perfect word is honest about the mistakes of man and through those mistakes, the patience, faithfulness, and great love of God despite them. We see that even through the struggles of these men and women through history, that God is still able to use them in mighty ways and fully forgive and restore them to righteousness.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.
The apostle Paul is speaking here of how brightly we shine as we live out the word of God in a generation such as ours. In this letter, he was quoting from:
The End Times
1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book —will be delivered.
2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
3. Share it!
In our everyday lives, we should always be keeping in mind that this world, and especially our own lives within it, is very, very temporary. Whether by death or Christ’s return, eternity is closer than we often are mindful of. The eternal destiny, whether that be eternal life or eternal shame and contempt, of others depends on our sharing of how to enter into that eternal life and away from eternal shame and contempt.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
We need to stop spending our time trying to obtain perfection and focusing on our sins and start spending time running to God and to others. We need to take our eyes off of ourselves and not be selfish with His salvation, but to begin to share it. We have been commissioned and sent by Christ Himself. He has commanded that we go and make disciples teaching them to obey all that He has commanded them. He has entrusted us with the key to His kingdom and to eternal life and we are to share this key with everyone, their eternity depends on it!
Let’s stop making it complicated and proclaim the simplistic good news of the gospel.
Christ died for our sins and rose again to give us hope for eternal life. If we confess this simple truth with our mouths and believe it in our hearts, that’s it! Salvation is granted and all of the promises and the rich inheritance from God awaits us. Everything else is secondary and a life-long learning and growing experience. We do not need to be sinless to come to Christ, we need to come to Christ to be forgiven of our sins.
There are many around us every day who have no idea what the Bible is, who Jesus is, and why the church exists. They have no idea that there is a God and how to get to know that God. They are heading straight for hell and no one is even so much as warning them about it. Take even myself as an example. I never heard the gospel until I was thirteen and was raised less than 10 miles from this very location. We can’t be as foolish as to think that there aren’t individuals around us everyday who do not know the good news of God’s salvation!
Another thing that we would be wise to learn is to stop making the issues the issue. No matter what the details are, a lifestyle of sin is a symptom of the death within. Those living these ungodly lifestyles have not yet been born again into the new life that God grants through salvation. In reality, we aren’t any better then them and could be even worse if it hadn’t been for the grace of God through which we’ve been saved and for someone sharing the good news with us. We have to stop trying to make people to LOOK and ACT like we would expect a good Christian to look and act like and start actually leading them to Christ.
For example, we could be reaching out to a man lost in drug addictions. We could convince him to give up drugs because God doesn’t desire them to be in his life and he could be a morally good person the rest of his life. Outsiders might even assume that he is a Christian because of his good deeds and behavior. However, if the man never places his faith in the salvation provided by Christ, he is no better off now than he would have been if he had stayed in his addictions. Sure, the quality of his earthly life was improved, but his eternity, which is what truly matters, hasn’t changed a bit. There is ONE way, ONE truth, and ONE life and it is the salvation provided through Christ’s death and resurrection and this salvation is a free gift from God, it can NEVER can be bought or earned; especially by good works.
Lifestyle changes should always be made from the inside out. Otherwise, what we’re left with are whitewashed tombs like the Pharisees of Christ’s day. They had no appearance of sin or evil on the outside, following the law to a ‘T’, but Christ knew that they were dead inside. We should care first and foremost about the salvation of others. The rest is secondary and just a symptom of the true issue. Again, we need to stop making the issues the issue.
Salvation is the most critical issue. Even on the day of Pentecost and the years following in the early church, the result of the gifts of the Spirit and preaching was, and should still be today, that people were lead to place their faith in Christ and be saved.
If we really believe that there is a heaven and a hell and that there is a way to experience eternal life, we should live as if though it were true. We should be telling everyone about it!
Let’s listen to a quick, personal clip from Penn Jillette of the very famous author, actor, magician, illusionist, and comedian; mostly for his works with the team act Penn and Teller who is also a well known atheist about his take on this matter of evangelism. Just to be sure that we’re all on the same page, the word that he uses, proselytizing, means to attempt to convert someone from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.
Now, let’s GO! and share this good news with everyone who Christ gave His life for! Let’s quit being a stumbling block and start being a welcoming greeter for the kingdom of God! There are many, many ways to proclaim the good news of Christ’s salvation. The critical and urgent matter is not how we do it, but rather that we are simply doing it!