Summary: This message uses Saul’s activities in Damascus as a model of how to share the gospel message.
3 Effective Keys to Shine the Light (Witness)
fellowship community 15 Dec 2002
I want to remind us again our theme. Our theme for this Christmas comes from the gospel of John, where the Message Translation states¡K
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
1A. WHEN WE ARE AROUND OTHERS, SHARE WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT CHRIST (19-20)
The first thing I observe about how Saul shared Christ is he surrounded himself with fellowship of other believers.
I for one have been deeply moved and convicted in the last few months just how crucial this aspect of fellowship really is. I used to think that in order to build a healthy church, all one needed to do was to teach sound doctrine and have a good worship service. While all this is true, fellowship and the sharing of our lives is just as important.
That is why last week we had an open time for sharing how God is sanctifying each of us ¡V to encourage each other and to learn from one another. Saul understood the need for friends and so did the early church. Now, we must learn this as well. But how?
It is going to require all of us to understand how to become vulnerable. To become open about our lives so that whenever something is shared we remain accepted and loved; that no matter who walks through these doors, they immediately sense the awesome power of God¡¦s love and acceptance, while not compromising sound doctrine.
While fellowship is important, we must be sure that this fellowship motivates us to ministry. Notice how the fellowship of believers at Damascus did so with Saul¡K¡§Immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ¡¥He is the Son of God.¡¦¡¨
Paul didn¡¦t wait for a witnessing class or a class on how share Christ with your friends. He immediately went out and shared what he knew about Christ ¡V and at this time, the limited knowledge Saul had about Jesus was He is the Son of God.
Often times, we don¡¦t witness to others, because we think, ¡§I don¡¦t enough,¡¨ or ¡§I feel inadequate about the Bible,¡¨ or I am not sure I know what the gospel really is in order to share it, clearly.
Well, let¡¦s stop right here and make sure we clarify what is the gospel. Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 15. The gospel is simply this:
1 Cor. 15:1-5
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1. Christ died for our sins. How do I know that? Because it is according to the Scriptures.
2. He was buried and that he was raised on the third day. Again, how do I know that ¡V it is according to the Scriptures.
The gospel is simply a message of bad and good news. The bad news is Christ had to die for us because we are sinners by nature and by choice. The Bible says there is none righteous; no not one. In all truth, every human who has ever lived has offended a eternally perfect and holy God. How? All men have not kept the standard of God¡¦s supreme moral law, which is perfection. In other words, our sin has separated us from God.
The good news is there is one man and only one man who has kept that standard by living a perfect life. His name is Jesus Christ. His death on the cross provided a bridge for God to offer His wonderful gift of salvation to us, where we can receive forgiveness of our sin. So, what does one have to do in order to be forgiven? The Bible says we must first repent of our sins (turning from our sin) and second believe (turning to) Jesus ¡V that He is the perfect Son of God and that through Him and only Him receive forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. Then, and only then, will we receive a restored relationship with God. That¡¦s the gospel. Question: have you believed in the gospel? Give an opportunity!
Now back to our text. The other thing I observe is Saul goes to a familiar place ¡V the synagogue. For Saul, he was comfortable with that. He grew up in synagogues. He learned his ritualistic ways of Judaism there. And it was there he chose to begin sharing the light of Jesus Christ.