Today, I am finally concluding a very lengthy series which I trust has served to REMIND us of some significant Bible Truths.
I have been doing two things:
Glancing back at some of our history, and that…
In order to help remind us what is the focus of our future.
I began this concluding teaching last week by 'reminding' you of this:
What I'm re-teaching you isn't a methodology, but rather principles that will help us stay on task as we develop strategies for doing what God has purposed us to do going forward.
Our Message is always the same - The Bible - and these principles are firmly established upon the Message.
Our methods & strategies for conveying the unchanging message must remain fluid.
Why? For one, with nearly every Generation the language & culture changes.
A lot of problems arise when people of any generation/culture fail to understand the difference between the Message - which is Static (set) and methodology which is/ can be/ should be dynamic (fluid)
I illustrated dynamic methodology by contrasting our text with some unique scenes from the life of Christ.
Our text confirms for us that:
Hebrews 13:8- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
And yet, I put before you the examples from Jesus earthly ministry whereby he seemingly performed 'Healing' by somewhat random means [methods].
The principles highlighted by our S.O.P. are set!
The manner in which each generation facilitates those principles is flexible.
There are 5 such principles ensconced within our S.O.P.
Each Principle undergirds the Bible's Directives for "Making Disciples" and "Teaching those disciples to Obey" the Directives;
All based upon our secondary text of Mt 28:18-20.
I've walked you through the 5 points of our S.O.P. :
First & foremost is: PREACHING and TEACHING God's Word
Secondly is; EXALTING GOD through worshipful praise.
Thirdly is; BUILDING UP THE OTHER BELIEVERS IN WORD AND DEED
Fourth is; *Equipping the Believers for ongoing ministry*
Lastly, Evangelizing the World for Christ.
I attempted to help you understand the word; Evangelize/ing
First, the "word" isn't to be found in the N.T.
But there are words that bring to us the concept.
I took you to Acts 16 to show you such an example.
The original word is; Euangelidzo (yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo)
It means something very specific.
It is the expression or articulation of some specific & unique truth.
Telling the other people in our spheres of influence about Jesus work in our lives
Understand, the calling is for each individual believer to connect with the world-wide team of believerS that have purposed this together.
The clear indication from The Bible is that God has purposed for every single person ever born to be Born-Again. There are no exceptions!
Once Born-Again we are transformed [by the renewing of our mind].
One of the fundamental changes in the thinking of the Born-Again is to consider how to personally engage Evangelism.
Telling others about Jesus work / God's Plan.
Telling the other people in our spheres of influence about Jesus' work in our lives is not a complex maneuver.
I want to suggest to you that communicating the gospel isn't usually stymied because of a lack of ability to communicate but rather the decision to shut it down. Let me 'splain:
The human frame cannot contain the Gospel of Christ!
Once it's placed there by Holy Spirit it starts to Boil Up & Over…
Jeremiah 20:9- But if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
According to Acts 4:2 the Spirit-filled Apostles Peter & John were in Jerusalem testifying about the power of God that comes through Jesus.
One crippled man heard this Good News and he purposed to believe in the power of God and actually had his crippled feet & ankles restored to working condition.
Beloved, when people believe in the power of God things begin to manifest!
The small group of 120 had now grown to about 5,000.
As always, God's plan - specifically Evangelizing - has it's adversaries!
Some Sadducees & other such Sad-sacks decided that this "Jesus-thang" might get out of control if they didn't intervene and take control.
So, here's what they did:
Acts 4:17- But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name. 18- Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Basically, you two best NOT Evangelize any more in this here town!
Pay close attention to Peter & John's response:
Acts 4:19- …"Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20- For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
The original sounds like; …for we are not able to stop speaking about…
I believe this and challenge you with this:
When the Born-Again receive Holy Spirit of God, effectively that one has received the very "Heart" & "Instincts" of God.
Beloved, when Holy Spirit is in the believer", God is in the believer.
When God is in the believer there's the inclination & motivation to do God things!
The one, paramount character & virtue of God planted "here" is not only the "plan" for man's salvation, but the Passion to see it come to fruition.
Nearly every genuine convert I've ever known comes away from their initial confession and repentance just like Peter & John…
they want to tell everyone they know that they know Jesus.
And then what happens?
They encounter some crusty 'ol religious Sad-sacks with a control problem.
Religious persons despise Evangelism. They will rise in the face of Evangelism.
When they do, many, instead of Boldness they rather give in to cowardice… And decide to acquiesce to the Sad Sacks.
Unfortunately in too many instances the crusty 'ol religious Sad Sacks end up with controlling positions in Churches-
And they effectively ruin the Passion of a lot of persons with a dynamic testimony.
I pray that a culture of Story Telling (Jesus Story) will prevail here unto Jesus closes the book on the last chapter.
If we are't winning souls - we aren't doing God's work.
Listen: teaching point= Good news isn't much good until it's proclaimed.
Unproclaimed Good News is likened to a Seed that's stored away in a lidded jar.
Matthew 5:14- You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15- Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put in on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16- In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Evangelizing is simply one person expressing to/articulating to another person the 'Story of Jesus'.
Sure, your story is part of The Story- but in all reality it's His Story.
Why would I want to do that?
Why would you not want to do that!
I can't think of one single reason to refuse… I can think of 7.5 billion reasons to!
It's called good news for a reason…if you're a lost sinner facing eternity without God - the gospel is not only good news it's great news.