Here is the definition Jesus gave for evangelism “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
Most know the story of the 5 time divorced woman living in sin, from the wrong unclean Samaritan culture. After Jesus reached out to her she went back into town and evangelized, spread the word of the Good News of Jesus. While she was gone, the disciples came back and were worried about Jesus and told him to take care of him-SELF, you know it’s all about us, take care of your-SELF Jesus and Jesus said to the disciples and he says to us today: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.”
Jesus says that each and every one of you have a purpose – to do God’s will – and head out into the field of the world, to those who are not your Christian friends and neighbors, and get involved in the harvest. Harvest by spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of souls. Have we forgotten that this is Jesus’ number 1 priority? When was the last time YOU were the hands and feet of Jesus and someone surrendered their life to Jesus? If this has never happened, or happened many, many years ago, then something isn’t working and it is time to reorient, reprioritize your time and life. Church, this priority is simply essential to this church.
The fact that Jesus Christ has gone to the cross in order to pay debt for our sins is great news! The fact that Jesus Christ was buried in a grave, but rose 3 days later is terrific news! Because of what Jesus Christ has done, all people, from all nations, of every race, every color, and every social level has the opportunity to be forgiven, saved from sin, and brought into a right relationship with Jesus Christ with the hope of eternal life in heaven. That’s the news. As a matter of fact the Bible calls it the Good News. Powerball tell? Jesus makes the Pball looklike nothing. Who have you told then about your good fortune?
So what are we are going to do with this Good News? Rick Warren, from The Purpose Driven Church said: “Strong churches are built on purpose! The starting point for every church should be the question, ‘Why do we exist?’” Now that we know and understand what the Good News is, what are we going to do with it? What is our purpose as God’s Church? What difference do we want to make?
In 1985 a celebration took place at a municipal pool in New Orleans. The party around the pool was held to celebrate the first summer in memory without a drowning at the New Orleans City pool. In honor of the occasion, 200 people gathered, including 100 certified lifeguards. As the party was breaking up and the four lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end. They tried to revive Jerome Moody, 31, but it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their successful season.
What a tragedy. But, it’s just as tragic when people are surrounded by followers of Jesus and still die and go to hell not knowing Jesus. The early Church was committed to reaching the lost for Christ We need to raise the bar in our commitment toward reaching others as well.
Acts 4:31-33: “When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”
Wow! With great power the apostles gave their testimony! Do you realize when you surrender to Jesus, by the power of Jesus’ words when He left this earth, he challenged you to each be an apostle. An apostle is “One who is sent out”. An apostle is a personal messenger or envoy, commissioned to transmit the message or otherwise carry out the instructions of the commissioning agent. That’s you!
THE MESSAGE WE MUST SHARE
Christ is the only way. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can be forgiven, be saved by grace, and receive the promise of eternal life. Only through Jesus. One of the problems that we face as a church today is that not many believe truly believe that. According to the Barna Research Group, nearly half of those that were surveyed believe that “the bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths.”
In other words, to many people it doesn’t make any difference what you believe as long as you believe in something. Because of that there are some who say that Christians are a little narrow minded–thinking that they are the only ones who will get to heaven. People say, “Do you mean to tell me that those that follow the ways of Islam will not get into heaven?” “Do you mean to tell me that those that follow the ways of Buddha, or Wica, or will not get into heaven?”
The good thing about it is that I don’t have to give you my opinion on that because the Bible answers it for us. Acts 4:12 says, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Now that’s not me talking. That’s not simply what this church believes. This comes from God Himself! In John 14:6, it says that “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Now I want to stop right here and caution you that whenever you go here, you need to speak this with grace and love without the element of total righteous judgment and absolute rude condemnation. That happens to be my opinion. Frankly when asked I prefer to respond along the lines of “that is what the Bible says which I do believe is the word of God and that is what I choose to “bet” my eternal life on.
On the first day of the church, the Day of Pentecost, Peter told the crowd that had gathered that they needed to repent and be baptized. And about 3000 did! In Acts 16 when the jailor asked Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” they answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved–you and your household.”
They did and the Bible says that he and all his family were baptized at the same hour of the night. The reason this is possible is because of the sacrifice that Jesus made at Calvary–because He was victorious over hell and death and rose from the grave Nobody else has done that for us.
If you would go to the tomb of Confucious, you will find that he is still there. If you would go to the tomb of Buddha you will find that he is still there. If you go to the tomb of Mohammed–guess what? he is still there. But if you go to the tomb of Christ-it is empty!!! That’s the difference! That is why salvation is only found in Jesus Christ.
GOD’S MEANS OF REACHING OTHERS FOR CHRIST
So who is responsible to reach others for Christ? The Bible says that there are those that are especially gifted as evangelists, and there are. But I want to remind you of 2 words once again–PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Who is responsible to reach others? You are–I am.
A man gave a witness about praying every morning: “Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign to show me who it is.” One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly man sat next to him. The bus was nearly empty but this big guy sat next to this prayer warrior. The timid prayer warrior anxiously waited for his stop so he could get off the bus. But before he could get very nervous about the man next to him, the big guy burst into tears and began to weep.
He then cried out with a loud voice, “I need to be saved. I’m a lost sinner and I need the Lord. Won’t somebody tell me how to be saved?” He turned to the Christian and pleaded, “Can you show me how to be saved?” The believer immediately bowed his head and prayed, “Lord, is this a sign?” Are you looking for a “sign” to start witnessing?” The prayer warrior now laughs at his stupid questions of God in retrospect.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus challenged us to… “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Evangelism doesn’t always mean walking up to a total stranger and saying, “If you died right now would you go to hell?” Few can ask that with grace. Yes, we need to tell people what to do, but first we must show them how to live by the way we live and what show and/or tell what Christ is doing in our lives. What fruit you showing? The Fruit of being a Jesus follower?
Rick Warren, said in his book – Taking God Seriously
There are two basic reasons people don’t know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior: (1) they have never met a Christian; and (2) they have met a Christian. How you live as a follower of Jesus matters greatly. Sometimes you can show people what it is to be a Christian by being there in time of need. At times, by how you handle difficult situations. At times by your own personal commitment to Christ and His Church besides Sunday morning. Acts 5:42 says, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they [the apostles] never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” That is to be you! Proclaiming with your life lived and your words.
THE MOTIVATION TO SHARE THE MESSAGE
For the apostles there was a burning inside of them to share what God had done. When they were chastised by the Jewish ruling body and told to quit preaching about this Christ they said, Acts 4:20, “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
While speaking in London, D. L. Moody was approached by a man traveling with him who wanted to know the secret of his success in leading people to Christ. Moody directed the man to his hotel window and asked, “What do you see?” The man looked down on the square and reported a view of crowded streets. Moody suggested he look again. This time the man mentioned seeing people–men, women, and children. Moody then directed him to look a third time, and the man became frustrated that he was not seeing what Moody wanted him to see. Moody came to the window with watery eyes and said, “I see people going to hell without Jesus. Until you see people like that, you will not lead them to Christ.”
2 Cor. 5:14-15 says that…“Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Are you living for Jesus?
Jesus understood the purpose of His ministry in Luke 10 Jesus said, “I come to seek an save the lost” and He challenges us to do the same. However, we face 2 big obstacles–FEAR and APATHY. If you believe that Jesus is the only way that we can escape eternal damnation. If you believe that Jesus really is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one can get to the Father but through Him–aren’t you compelled to do everything you can to be the hands and feet of Jesus for as many people as possible so God can speak to them?
So we come to the end today, sermon number 3. We have examined some of the things that MUST take precedent in the lives of a Child of God. We have examined that love must be a priority or whatever we do is like a clanging gong, and we are nothing and we will gain nothing, especially for the kingdom. Then we saw how worship must be a priority as we then connect to God and His will. So today this priority of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ is no longer about you. When you drive home today, what will you see? Will you see just a bunch of people…or will you see people going to hell without Jesus. It’s your choice in how you choose what is important in your life and how you choose to spend your time.