The Foundation of Following Jesus
Part 4 – Sharing God’s Word
January 30, 2011
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY'S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Audio of this message can be heard at www.aberdeenwesleyan.org.
Me: I just got done with a three-volume series of books on the Civil War by Shelby Foote. Each volume in the series was over 1000 pages long, and I had each volume for 6-8 weeks.
It was very detailed, and written in a narrative style like a novel that made it easy to read and enjoyable.
If you’re interested in learning about the Civil War, then this is the series to get.
I’ve read probably thousands of books in my time, but these three are some of my favorite.
We: Have any of you read something, saw something, heard something that you couldn’t wait to talk to your work buddies about the next day?
You’re like, “Wow – did you see what happened on ‘Oprah’ yesterday? I couldn’t believe it!”
Or, “Man – did you see the new ‘True Grit’ movie? I thought Jeff Bridges was AWESOME!”
Or (and I hope this doesn’t happen with anyone here), “Did you hear about so and so? I hear they’re getting divorced because he was cheating on her.”
You get the idea, right?
We all like to share about stuff we enjoy or that impacted us.
God: Well, hopefully we’d be willing to do that with what we gain from our intake, study, and application of God’s Word.
Not necessarily that you’d gather in the lunch room to share what you got out of your latest quiet time, but rather in situations where you can hand off to somebody something that God has shown or taught you that might have some benefit for that person you’re sharing it with.
Because one of the things we’re supposed to do with God’s Word is to pass it on to others so we can build them up in the faith.
Colossians 3:16 (NLT) –
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
When I say “teach,” it’s not just in a formal teaching setting like a classroom or church service.
I’ll show you some ways we can teach and share in ways that don’t give the idea that we need to be someone who lectures to a group of people like a teacher or professor.
So relax and know that anyone can do the stuff I’m talking about today, and my hope is that you’ll want to do it.
I want us to look at some lessons we can learn about how to share or teach God’s Word.
And today I’m focusing on sharing with and teaching people who are in positions where they are wanting to learn more about Jesus and the Scriptures.
Settings like Sunday School, church, Wednesday nights, personal relationships between believers and followers of Jesus and the like, and teaching situations involving our family.
Next week we’re going to look at how to share God’s Word with people who don’t love or care for Jesus, and are maybe even antagonistic toward Jesus.
I think that people in the church need to learn how to interact and share God’s Word better with people who are not yet followers of Jesus.
Because any Christian can rant and scream – and do – to the detriment of the Word of God and the reputation of Jesus and His Church.
It’s a whole ‘nother thing for Christians to be able to communicate clearly and reasonably in a way that helps that person see where we’re coming from, even if they don’t agree.
So that’s next week.
Today I want us to look at some things that can help us share God’s Word in the context of situations and relationships where the people are open to the Scriptures.
Lesson #1: Effective sharing starts with our own relationship with Jesus.
We can only share what we have.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
NIV says – Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…
It’s the message of what? Jesus.
It’s not the message of the end times, the message about memorizing the books of the Bible, the message about how to dress properly for church, the message about whether you should watch the Super Bowl instead of going to men’s group next week, or anything like that.
It’s the message about Christ. And the message about Jesus is what – the Word of God.
This is where we get the true and accurate information about Jesus that changes our lives and equips us to share that life-changing message with others.
How does that happen? How does the message about Jesus fill your life?
You take what we covered the last three weeks and you make it part of your life.
You get into the Word of God in such a way that it lives in you, and allows you know Christ in a way that is accurate and enables you to pass on accurate teachings about Him to the people around you.
Let the Word of God saturate you.
Lesson #2: Effective sharing leans on supernatural wisdom.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.
Here’s where a lot of people can go wrong.
We study the Word, and then as we gain more knowledge about stuff, we can, if we’re not careful, become wise in our own eyes because we think we know all there is to know from the Scriptures about whatever it is we’re studying or teaching about.
This is easy to do, by the way.
And pastors and other church teachers can, if we’re not careful, become wise in our own eyes about what we’re teaching, and then we have the potential to lead someone astray in some area, because we’re leaning on our own understanding instead of leaning on the Holy Spirit it open our hearts and minds to understand the Scriptures.
Supernatural wisdom by definition means that we can’t get it on our own. It’s from God.
We get into God’s Word, and He fills us with His wisdom.
And that is something that should encourage all of us.
God is the one who gives us the wisdom we need to be able to live our own lives and help others do the same thing as we share the Word of God.
And as we let the Word of God, the message about Christ, fill us, we gain the wisdom of God.
We don’t need to go to Bible college or seminary or anything like that.
We need to be in the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to fill us with His wisdom instead of our own, because our wisdom falls short.
So if you want to be someone who is capable and equipped and wise to be able to share the Word of God with those around you, get in the Scriptures and let God speak to you as you study and apply it in your own life.
Lesson #3: Effective sharing incorporates worship in the life of the teacher.
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
Paul was writing this to a church – the church in Colossi.
He’s telling them that worship needs to be a part of their lives – both as individuals and as a church.
Here’s what I’m getting at: if worship isn’t part of your life, then it will hamper your efforts to share God’s Word with people.
Because people need to see that God’s Word impacts you to the point where worship becomes part of your everyday living.
I specifically say “everyday living” because just like church shouldn’t be the only place you get exposed to God’s Word, church shouldn’t be the only place you worship.
You can worship just about any time in just about any place.
You don’t have to be in a church building. You can be in your car praying, right?
Depending on how you drive, your passengers are praying and calling on Jesus, right?
How many of you sing along with radio? Christians only sing along with Christian radio, right? Right….
Going through the day and recognizing God’s blessings to you, that’s worship.
Telling God how awesome He is and thanking Him for all He’s done for you – that’s worship.
And you can do that at work, in the car, while you’re doing your tax return, or even while you’re at your in-laws for Christmas.
Worship, in a sense, solidifies the hold that God’s Word has in a person’s life, and it gives some legitimacy to a person’s teaching and sharing.
Because it shows those people that your time in the Word draws you to worship God as a lifestyle – that what you’ve gotten from the message about Christ leads you to a lifestyle of worship in and out of the church service.
Let’s turn the corner and look now at some ways that we have to share God’s Word with the people around us.
Some ways to share God’s Word:
I think this may be the most important way.
Family Bible reading/devotional times. (Best when Dad does this, whenever possible)
The Old Testament says that the parents are supposed to be the primary teacher of God’s Word to their families.
And you know what? Nothing about that changed when Jesus hit the scene.
But nowadays we think that it’s the pastor’s job, or the Sunday School teacher or the Wednesday night teacher.
But really, it’s your job.
And you know what? If you’ll take it seriously, then you’ll be the most effective teacher of God’s Word in your family’s life.
How do you do that?
Talking about the tough stuff and how Scripture handles that.
How you’ve applied God’s Word in your own life in whatever situation you’re discussing.
Bringing Scripture into your family conversations.
But parents you need to catch something that isn’t just important, it’s essential.
If you want your kids to lead godly lives and make wise decisions as they grow up, then Scripture needs to be part of YOUR life.
You can’t just read it at home to your kids quote it to them.
If they don’t see it being lived out in your own life, then it’s empty and it tells your kids that grown-ups don’t need to take God’s Word seriously.
For instance, you read the Sermon on the Mount to your family, and you get to the part where Jesus says to love your enemies.
But your kids hear you talk about how much you hate so and so for what they did or said.
Or you read about how we’re supposed to have compassion for the poor, but your kids never see you giving or volunteering to help the less fortunate.
There’s a word for this, you know. It’s hypocrisy.
And believe me, your kids pick up on it better than you think they do.
My point here is that in parenting situations, you need to teach your children the Scriptures, but you also need to model them, because more is caught than taught.
I’m having to examine some things in my own life lately and finding that I need to cut some things out that might be sending mixed messages to my own kiddos.
Because this is simply too important.
Another way to share God’s Word is through…
Sunday School/Small group/Wednesday night.
You lead a discussion or bring a lesson to a group of kids, youth, college students, or adults, or whatever.
And you want some really great news? The materials that are available and that we use here at the church make it very easy for you to get involved in that way.
They tell you what the lesson is supposed to be, what you want to accomplish, and in some cases, they’ll even tell you what to say so that if you’re not sure, you can use the wisdom of others to help others in this way.
So if you think God might be telling you to get involved in some way like that, come see me or Jolene Harms, and we’ll see about helping out with that.
Here’s a way to share God’s Word that maybe a lot of people don’t think of very often, and that is…
Just in what you talk about with normal, everyday people you hang out with, whether it’s your family or co-workers, or ice fishing buddies or whatever.
You don’t necessarily need to say, “Well, in Leviticus 19:11 it says, ‘Do not lie, do not steal, do not deceive one another.’ So you need to be honest about the size of that fish…”
You say something like, “You know, God says we’re not supposed to lie. You really think that’s a good idea?”
Or, “You know, God says that he is with the broken hearted. He’s here with you, and I’m praying that He’ll comfort you right now.”
Or if someone asks you why you don’t do what they do or what you think about something, you can quote or reference the Bible.
This helps you see that the Bible really is relevant to your everyday living, and it will help them see that as well, which can open the doors for you do take advantage of this next way of sharing God’s Word, and that is when…
When we get the opportunity to tell someone about their need for Jesus, we need to not only tell them what He’s done for us, but what the Bible says about Him.
In this case, you will want to be able to quote the Bible or have one handy so you can point it out to them and they can read it for themselves.
It’s very important that we point people to the Jesus of the Bible, not the Jesus of society or the Jesus of political correctness.
When we have the Word of God living in us, we become familiar with the Scriptures that we can show and tell people who Jesus is and why we need Him so badly.
Here’s the last way we’re going to look at today, and that is that we can share God’s Word in what are called…
These are times when you get together with someone on a one-to-one level and discuss the Scriptures and how to live them out in that person’s life.
It’s spiritual mentoring, where someone who is a bit further down the road in their Christian walk helps someone else down that path.
They can pray with and for that person, giving them tools and working through them with that person so they can grow in their relationship with Jesus.
It’s something that I would love to see more of in the lives of you folks. Giving of yourselves to someone who is wanting a deeper walk with Jesus.
It’s a great way to share God’s Word and invest in helping someone become more like Jesus as you seek the same for yourself.
You: Let me give you three things you can do with what I’ve share today:
Start with yourself.
Remember, it all starts with you.
You can’t give what you don’t have. So it’s incredibly important that you are in the Word yourself in such a way that God can use it in your life so you can share with the credibility that only comes with experience – both good and bad.
Today, this is the commitment I want each of you to make.
That you will get before God in your heart, either as we close the service today or when you get home, and say, “God, give me desire to make Your Word so much a part of my life that You can use it in my life and in the lives of those around me, especially my family. Take away my excuses, and give me a hunger for Your Word that I can’t quench, giving me Your wisdom to understand it enough to apply it myself and help others to do the same.”
If you don’t own a Bible that’s in easy-to-understand English, then please – take one from the seats. It’s yours at no charge.
Or go to the Christian bookstore tomorrow and get one. Or go to Wal-Mart and buy one today.
I would suggest getting either the New International Version or the New Living Translation, especially if you’re not used to reading the Bible on your own.
But start getting into the Bible – reading, studying, memorizing, and applying it so that it really comes alive in you.
Look for opportunities to share.
When you intentionally look, you’ll find that there are tons of opportunities for you to bring God’s Word into the conversation.
Not in a rude or overbearing way, but in a way that brings the truth of God’s Word to bear so that people see it unmistakably.
Parents, when your kids are facing a dilemma, you can point out how different people in the Bible handled that situation.
Keep your eyes peeled (boy that’s really got to hurt, don’t you think?), and you’ll discover all sorts of situations where you can bring a word of truth or encouragement into the picture.
Grab some tools to help you.
I mentioned two weeks ago that there are lots of tools available to help you get a handle on God’s Word so you can learn just what the Scriptures really say about stuff and how to pass it on to others.
With so much available online and in the Christian bookstores, you really have no excuse for not getting hold of whatever you need to become equipped to share God’s Word effectively.
We: Folks, one of the functions of the Church of Jesus is to spread the Word about Him.
But we do it most effectively when the Word of Jesus is living fully in us.
Then when we share the Word with someone, they see that we’re not just spewing religious platitudes, but that we really believe and mean what we’re sharing with them.
And that makes all the difference in the world to someone who’s searching for something to believe in that will take them through the everyday grind of living, as well as the highs and lows of life.
Can you imagine the impact we would have if everyone in this church decided to take this seriously and get the Word into their life to the point where it fills our lives, so people can see God working to get us past the hypocrisy and into authentic followers of Jesus – people who love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength?
I think we would see revival in individuals of this church (and we could all use it to some degree), and it would spill out into the community and surrounding area because we are freely sharing God’s Word from a life transformed by it in our own lives.
And I believe we would see people give their lives to Jesus. His kingdom would grow, and God would be glorified.