Summary: First of two messages about witnessing.
#9 – Sharing the Good News of Jesus
March 16, 2003
Since the beginning of the year, we have been looking at the whole issue of intentionality – in other words, living life by decision rather than by default.
We have covered the areas of allowing Christ to be the boss of your life, obeying Him, getting the most out of your Bible and prayer, and being intentional about developing relationships with others who love Jesus.
Today we look at being intentional about sharing the good news of Christ.
Now before you start to zone out on me here, let me say a couple things here.
First, sharing Christ is not just for pastors and evangelists. Jesus made it clear that He expects His followers to spread the news about Him.
Second, in expecting us to all get involved, He is allowing us to partner with Him in bringing countless numbers to heaven. And that is a wonderful privilege.
Too many Christians think that if people would just come to church they would find out the truth, and become Christians.
But guess what? Church attendance around the world is down, especially in Europe and North America. If you’re expecting a bunch of people to just walk in the door so they can find Christ, let me just tell you to not hold your breath. We need to take the good news of Jesus to them.
And where are they? In your neighborhood, your workplace, your recreation, and even in your family.
In John 14:6, Jesus said,
JN 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Do you really believe that? I do, and that’s the basis of this message today – the fact that Jesus has offered us heaven, and that He is the only way to get it.
But I want to focus on another Scripture passage, and that is Acts chapter 4, which you can find on page 773 of the Bibles in the seats.
The setting of the story is this: In the chapter before this, Peter and John were on their way to a prayer meeting at the temple, and came across a crippled beggar, who asked them for money.
Peter said he didn’t have money, but that he would give the man something he did have: the power of God to heal him. So Peter grabbed the man’s hand and helped him to his, and he was healed.
Well, you can imagine that this caused a bit of a ruckus, and the religious leaders were called in to check this out.
They found the apostles using the opportunity of the gathering crowd to talk about Jesus, and they about had a panic attack, according to the second verse of chapter 4. So they had Peter and John arrested and thrown in jail overnight, and then questioned them the next day, demanding to know, “by what power or what name did you do this?”
We pick it up in verse 8
AC 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is
" `the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone. ’
AC 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
AC 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 "What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name."
AC 4:18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."