Summary: A look at how crucial it is to recognize that God has put a few people around that we are responsible to pray for and witness to.
- Let me note as we begin that the sermon title speaks of the “non-evangelist.” While there are people who are spiritually gifted at evangelism, sharing our faith is a job that is assigned to all of us. I’m referring there to the person who doesn’t feel they’re any good at that or for the person who simply isn’t doing any evangelistic work right now.
PRAYING FOR THE WHOLE WORLD: We can fail to recognize the unsaved that God has put in our path.
- Let’s begin with a couple hard truths:
a. Most of us don’t pray for the unsaved.
- If you could listen in on most Christians’ prayers, you would be struck by:
a. how infrequently they pray,
b. that most of their prayers are focused on their own needs,
c. and finally that when they do pray for others it’s almost entirely for physical issues (someone is sick).
- This last one is witnessed in almost every Baptist church’s Wednesday evening Bible study. When prayer requests are taken, almost all of them are physical unless the congregation is prompted by the pastor. Why is that? Aren’t spiritual requests more important than the physical? Absolutely. But it’s an accurate reflection of where our hearts are.
- It can be easier to pray for the whole world than to pray for the five or ten individuals that God has put in your life.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GRASP THIS? There are unsaved people that you are uniquely positioned to reach.
- Each of us occupies a unique social footprint. There are people that you have in your family that are not in my family. There are people you work with that I do not. There are people in your neighborhood that I’ve never even met. There is a circle of friends and acquaintances you have that is likely unique to you.
- This puts you in a unique position. And we need to recognize that we are not in that position by accident. God has placed us there for a reason.
- With this truth comes a heavier weight of responsibility. When we only think of the whole world, we presume that there are evangelistic people out there somewhere who will somehow find their way to those that need to hear. When we break it down into its smaller parts the way we are this morning, we begin to see that there are those around us that need us to step up and share the gospel.
- There was a game that I played years ago when I was in Boy Scouts. The leaders had placed a ton of random items in a large box. There might be a yo-yo, a lighter, a golf tee, and twenty other things. The teams of four were given thirty seconds to look in the box and then they had to go write down what they saw. Most of the teams went up to the box and all four looked all over it and tried to remember as much as they could. One team, though, had been coached by the adult leaders. They were told to divide the box into four quadrants and each member of the team take a section. Now, suddenly, each member of that team didn’t have to remember twenty things – they just needed to remember the five or six things in their section. Not surprisingly, that team ended up winning. The adult leaders then used that activity to teach us the lesson that work goes better when each person is assigned a specific area to cover.
- We want to be careful because this phrase has been misused, but there is something to be said for the idea of a “target audience.”
- We won’t get into the specifics of the misuse, except to say that it has to do with us picking who we want to reach rather than who God has assigned us to reach.
- Where the phrase is useful looks like this. God has placed people in my life that He wants me to pray for and witness to. These people that God has put in my path are my “target audience.” They are the people that I am personally to invest myself in winning.
- This passage clearly points to a “target audience.”
- Jesus tells His disciples not to go to the Gentiles or Samaria, but to focus on the “lost sheep of Israel” (v. 6). Why does He do this? It’s important to understand the mission that Jesus had. This is a sermon unto itself, but I’ll just summarize here. Jesus came as the Messiah of Israel. His focus and His mission was toward them. This was because as the Messiah His mission was to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. The goal was for Him to be embraced by Israel. Of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, the Jewish religious leaders opposed Him and plotted His death. The books of Acts and Romans detail how this Messianic rejection by the Jewish people opened the door to salvation for the Gentiles.