TELL THE STORY
John 3:3, 16
* Everyone loves someone who can “tell a story.” Now, I’m not talking about the person who can “reel off” untruths, but rather I’m talking about those people like my Evangelist Uncle James, who can spin a tale with the best.
* Do you know what I’ve discovered? Everyone has one story that they can tell. It is a story which they can express more clearly, accurately and completely than anyone else. No matter who you are you can tell this one story. Do you know what this story is? It is the story of your life, it is YOUR story. You see, it doesn’t matter how often or how many times you tell me, nor does it matter if I know all the words you may use, the truth is, I lack the experience and passion which you have for your life.
* This thought reminds me of the engineer who developed a new “process” in his particularly field of rocket science. His introductory speech for this process was so compelling that he not only sold the process to a large corporation, but they hire him as a consultant. This was his job. He was given a big Limousine and a chauffeur to carry him to his speaking assignments. For 6 months, these two men traveled together 5 or 6 nights every week for the engineer to deliver this speech to spellbound crowds. Over the course of time the men became friends as they spent enormous amounts of time together. Finally, after about 6 months, the driver said to his passenger, “you speak to these huge crowds every night and you get paid big dollars. After hearing this same speech for all these months, I can give the same speech and do it just as good as you, but I make only a portion of the money you make.” The engineer responded, “Why don’t you give the speech tonight?” The driver agreed. So the engineer drove the Limo to the site and the driver received all the attention. Standing to speak to this college crowd the speech came off in great fashion as the engineer (posing as the driver) listened in awe. There was a standing ovation when the speech was concluded. Then in an unexpected turn of events, the emcee said, “Before our expert departs tonight, does anyone have a question for our guest?” On the 3rd row was a science geek. You know the type, he has horn-rimmed glasses which were very thick. The driver couldn’t even understand all those long words which the kid used let along respond with any cogent answer. When the question was over, the driver stared at the young man and said, “Boy, that may be the most stupid question I have ever heard. Truth is, this question is so dumb that I refuse to stoop low enough to give you an answer. But tell you what I’ll do. My driver is sitting right there & I’ll ask HIM to come up & respond.
* Please don’t miss this truth; you have a story to tell and your story needs to be told. But it needs to be told right.
* The story we want to tell is not necessarily the story which needs to be told. Living in a day of unbridled and even uncontrolled sentimentalism we tend to tell our story in terms of our earthly family and friends. While this portion of our lives is indeed important, it is not the most important. The most important story we can tell is rooted in the Bible and in the very words of Jesus Himself.
* John 3 records Jesus as saying, “unless someone is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” and then He continues, “God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
* When we hear this, we say, “Well yeah, you’re right. And someone needs to tell this story; it just needs to be someone else.” And herein lays the rub. It seems that few, if any, who claim to have been forgiven of their sins, lives changed, hearts remade, and saved from the eternal punishment of hell have any desire to tell the story to one who doesn’t know, hasn’t heard, and is hopeless.
* There is a story to be told. It is an important story which is a matter of life and death, heaven & hell, saved & lost.
* This morning I ask two question; (give the questions)
1) Why should I tell the story? Let’s just candid. The reason I begin with this question is that so many seem to dismiss the thought that we have both the responsibility and privilege of telling the story. For years, pastors and leaders have told us we should share our faith and tell our story about our faith but it seems we have become almost anesthetized to our responsibilities to tell. So let me offer 3 reasons to tell the story:
a) Because Someone Told Me the Story. Have you ever really given this much thought? If the person or preacher who told shared Christ with you possessed the same attitude about ‘telling the story’ as you do, would they have ever said a word? Some of us will say, “I just don’t know how! I could never answer the questions, quote the scripture, lead someone to pray, I just can’t do it. Please hear your pastor; you are over thinking this. The blind man & Lazarus didn’t appear to quote scripture to folks.
==> Yet, their stories were exactly the same. Both said, “I was that and now I’m this.” When someone told you the story of Jesus, they didn’t just give you some old, cold story of a crucified Christ. What they did do, quite likely, is tell you about the Jesus, His life, death, burial, resurrection, and His offer of forgiveness to you. Then, they told you about their life being transformed and verbalized the difference He had made in their life.
==> If no one has ever told you this, listen; Christmas day is a celebration of the truth that Jesus, God’s only Son, was born in Bethlehem, lived a perfect life, died the death of a sinner, rose from the dead, and is now at the right hand of God. Through His earthly experience, He offers you forgiveness for your sins, just like He made the offer to me. Not only did He grant me forgiveness, but He stays with me every step of my life and helps me through every struggle that I face. When I leave this earth in death, He assured me that He will walk through death with me and welcome me in to Heaven.
b) Because the Savior Told Me to tell it. Most of us can recite the Great Commission found Matthew 28 and Acts 1. One of the things we miss about these words of Jesus is the timing of these words. These are the final words Jesus left His followers. They are the most important words Jesus gave us. He said, “Go and Tell”, “make disciples”, “of ALL nations”. Our commission is parallel to His personal commission. In John 20:21 He said, “as the Father sent me, so send I you.” God sent mankind to “preach the Kingdom of God” and since the Kingdom is all about people coming to faith, we must tell them the story. Why should we do this?
c) Because the Sinner must know to respond. In his letter to the church at Rome Paul asks, “How can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe without hearing about Him?” If a person never hears, they’ll never know and the result is an eternity of punishment in a place called hell. There are people in the “shadow of our steeple” who have never heard. There are people in this world who need to hear. (SLIDE SHOW)
What if someone hadn’t told you? Where would YOU be? So, if I am to tell the story, that begs a second question;
2) How do I tell the story? Let me suggest to you 3 ways:
a) By our Life – This may be the challenge we face today. Every survey which is taken, whether by Barna, Raner, LifeWay, or any of the rest, tells us the same thing which is our indictment for the day. We are told that there is little difference in the daily lives of those who “claim” to be believers than those who make no such claim. Now consider the implications of this. This is tantamount to saying there is no difference between dark & light, life & death, up & down, good & evil, and right or wrong. To think that our lives reflect the same values and morals as the world apart from Christ is close to blasphemy.
==> We are called to “walk worthy” of the life we’ve been given. What would be the impact of this group us taking the “In His Steps” challenge?
==> We are called to “love the Lord & our neighbors.” Can you imagine the effect in this community, if our lives reflected that kind of love?
==> We are called to “give sacrificially” that all may know. People know what we give to. And they know that what we “GIVE” to be what we hold dear.
==> How important is it for people to see Jesus in our lives? It either commends us or condemns us. It displays our authenticity or artificiality. Our lives must count.
b) By our Lips – This may be the most needed part of this entire message. We can negate all that we try to do by what we “say.” Never forget, we tell a story with our lives and our lips the real question is this; what is the story that we tell? Do we tell a story of grace, mercy, and hope? The Bible says, “Let your speech be seasoned with grace.” What a thought! And what a testimony.
c) By our Love – In the 70’s we sang a song, “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love..” This song was born in the realization of Jesus’ “Royal law.” Loving one another is written in the DNA of a true believer and this love is the type defined in 1 Corinthians 13. Here’s our question; if we love, how can we not tell the story?