Summary: This sermon is to encourage people to reach out as groups to share the love of Christ.
Last week we began a 40 day focus on community. I know I have been inspired by God’s Word, by my small group and by what God is doing to grow in community. I want to learn to be more interdependent with you. We need each other. That is not a sign of weakness. It is reality and it is a blessing. If I had to go through life on my own, it would not be fun.
During our next 5 Sunday mornings, well really 4 more after today. I will be teaching about the 5 purposes we have as a community. These 5 purposes are the answer to the big question, “What on earth are we here for?” What is the meaning of all of this? I believe God has given us meaning and purpose as individuals and as a community. The 5 purposes Rick Warren lays out for us are Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Worship and Evangelism. We will be specifically looking at each of those over these next 5 weeks.
Today we are going to start with the last one, the purpose of evangelism. Evangelism is the sharing of your faith with other people. We each are called by God to share our faith with others. This can be difficult for some people. Our faith is an intimate piece of our lives. It is bearing our soul to someone else. And the good thing is that we do not have to do this alone. As a group, as a community we are called to share our faith.
And we share our faith because we believe we are better together. If we are better together, then more of us together is even better. We share our faith also as an act of love. God loves all people and desires to have them in his family. God wants all people to come to him and God wants us to invite people to join the family.
One way for this to happen is for us to love each other. If we really create a true Christian community where we love and care for one another, people will be drawn to get together with us. When we act out of love towards each other in the church others will see that and want to be a part of it.
Now, to me that is the easy way to draw people to Christ, and yet we still have difficulty doing it. We still have a hard time treating our Christian brothers and sisters with love and respect. And if we can’t even do that, then why would a non-Christian be interested in God’s family. And I hope you understand I am not just talking about us in this church because there are plenty of other Christian churches that we need to treat with love and respect. We need to encourage and support them because we are not in competition with each other, rather we are to be compassionate to one another.
So one thing to work on is loving our Christian brothers and sisters. Next I want to give you some encouragement on how to share your faith with other people. First, pray. Pray for yourself that you can be a witness for God. Pray you would see opportunities to share. Pray you would be filled with compassion for others.
Pray also for the person or people you have the opportunity to witness to. Pray God would open their hearts to you and God’s message. Pray they would see that they too need to depend on God and others. Pray their desire for love would draw them to the Lord. And don’t just pray alone, but with others. Invite others to pray for that person as well.
And as you pray for them, love them. Care about them. If you are just out to share your faith because I gave you this assignment they will probably not really hear you. Your words won’t matter if you have not shown genuine love and concern for them. I think that is a good reminder that people can ignore your words and arguments, but they can’t stop you from loving them and they can’t stop you from praying for them.
Each of our small groups has been challenged to find a way to show their love for others. Each group is supposed to come up with a way to reach out in love to our community. I think the groups are still mainly praying about it. My group is praying about two possibilities. Our first idea was developing a transportation ministry to help those unable to drive to get to the grocery store or doctor appointments, those kinds of things. We also had a few people interested in possibly crocheting as a way to love others. Whether that is by crocheting hats for the stuffed monkeys that go to children at the University Hospital or by making hats and scarves for the Attic. I thought two great ideas. And I can’t wait to see what the other groups come up with.