Summary: This sermon challenges believers to share their faith experience (in Jesus Christ) with other people.
Int.- On October 9 my wife and I returned from a trip to China to visit our son and daughter in law. Since returning home numerous people have asked about our trip. Every time I am asked I spontaneously start talking about our experience. We have many experiences, both meaningful and challenging to share. We talk about the food, the driving, the scenery and our impressions. It is not like we are boasting or bragging. We have significant experiences from our trip that we want to share with others. In addition, many people are curious about China.
It occurred to me this week, the same thing is true of our spiritual experience. We are called of God to share our spiritual experiences with others. People are curious as to what God has done for us and what he can do for them. I want to look at a scripture that explains our responsibility in sharing our spiritual experiences.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (I John 1:1-4 NKJV)
There are some valuable lessons in this passage about sharing our faith experience in Jesus. Notice three lessons.
I. The first lesson we learn is our responsibility. From this passage we learn that our responsibility is two fold.
A. Our responsibility is to defend the gospel and share the gospel. In the text the first of these responsibilities is not as obvious as the second. John never mentions defending the gospel but as you read his book you discover that he was defending the gospel against false teachers. In our text John mentions several rock bed doctrines that are central to the Christian faith. In verse 1 he mentions that Jesus was from “the “beginning.” Jesus is eternal! In verse 2 he mentions that Jesus is the source of eternal life! In verse 3 he mentions that Jesus is the “Son of God!” Even though we are never told that John is defending the gospel, we know this from a study of the book that bears his name. In chapter 2:22 he tells us that anyone who denies Jesus Christ has the spirit of the anti-christ.
Defending the gospel is what we call apologetics. Some people have been given a ministry of Christian apologetics (which is defending the gospel). Many of you are familiar with Josh McDowell’s book “Evidence that Demands a Verdict.” In that book McDowell defends the gospel of Jesus Christ. Another popular book is Lee Stroebel’s book “The Case for Christ.” Both of these men were skeptics who came to know Jesus. Each of them have a ministry of apologetics. You and I may not be given an apologetic ministry but we do have the ministry of defending the gospel against false teachers.
B. The second aspect of our responsibility is to share the gospel. The evangelical community calls this responsibility the “Great Commission.“ John is similar to a broken record. He repeats the same concept five times, in these verses: vs. 1 “Proclaim”; vs. 2 “Testify”; vs. 2 “Proclaim”; vs. 3 “Proclaim”; vs. 4 “Write”. John knew it was his responsibility, as a believer, to share the spiritual experiences (of His faith in Jesus)with others. It is also our responsibility.
Ill- The famous evangelist Billy Sunday was looking for people to tell about Jesus.
Since he was going to be in a particular city he wrote a letter to the mayor in which he asked for the name of individuals he knew who had a spiritual problem and needed help and prayer. How surprised the evangelist was when the mayor sent him a city telephone book. (EM Griffin, The Mindchangers, Tyndale House, 1976, p. 151. Contributed to Sermon Central by: Roy Fowler) Everyone everywhere needs to know Jesus Christ.
Some people do not understand Christian witnessing.
Ill- Norman Cates shared the humorous story of a guy who prayed this prayer every morning: "Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign to show me who it is." One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly man sat next to him. The bus was nearly empty but this guy sat next to our praying friend. The timid Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus. But before he could get very nervous about the man next to him, the big guy burst into tears and began to weep. He then cried out with a loud voice, "I need to be saved. I’m a lost sinner and I need the Lord. Won’t somebody tell me how to be saved?" He turned to the Christian and pleaded, "Can you show me how to be saved?" The believer immediately bowed his head and prayed, "Lord, is this a sign?" Are you looking for a "sign" to start witnessing? (Contributed to Sermon Central by: Richard Crow)