Summary: The 5th sermon in our series from John's Gospel. We discuss principles of personal evangelism
Come and See (John Part Five)
Text: John 1:35 – 42
In 2014 the Barna Study Group polled teenagers about lying, cheating, and illegally downloading music. 92% of teens admitted that they lied at least once a week, and out of that 92%, 90% of them said it was “no big deal”. 75% admitted to cheating on at least one test or quiz during the last school year, and again the majority said they would probably do it again. 86% said they saw nothing wrong with illegally downloading music. Polls show that adults aren’t much different. More than 60% of adults in SBC churches say that they don’t share the Gospel. In our world today, it seems like our practice doesn’t match our profession.
And part of the reason for that is because we are in a war against our sin nature. James 1:13 – 14 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by HIS OWN desire.” But there’s another issue at work in our world today. What we are seeing is that there is no fear of God. We claim that we will all stand before Him, but most people aren’t actually living like they really believe that. What’s happened is that in today’s world, a lot of people, including Church people have become practical deists… they have this notion that there’s a “God” out there somewhere, but He has no real impact on life right here and now.
A while back there was a story in the newspaper of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland, about a group of ships on a training mission. They had been in maneuvers when a bad storm came upon them. Night fell and visibility was poor, it was foggy and raining, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on things. All of a sudden the lookout on the bow reported, “Light bearing steady on the starboard bow.” Which means that something was headed straight for the ship. The captain called for the signal man and said, “Signal that ship – ‘we are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.’” Back came the signal, “Advise you to change course 20 degrees.” The captain had the signal man send another message, “I am a captain in the United States Navy! Change course 20 degrees.” The reply came back, “I am a seaman, second class. You change course 20 degrees.” By now the captain was furious, he yelled to the signal man, “Tell them we are in a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.” Back came the reply, “I am in a lighthouse.” And the captain quickly changed course.
The Bible tells us that God is a lighthouse kind of authority, because He is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So it really doesn’t matter how the world changes around us, and what becomes acceptable by the culture, or society. God is still the same. His commands are still the same. His character and attributes, are still the same. And what God calls evil, and what God calls good, doesn’t change with the times. That’s why Bob Dylan said, “The times, they are a changing…” The times change and cultures change, but God stays the same. And so we’ll either turn in obedience to God, or be crushed in our disobedience, because God does not change course.
And the whole reason I’ve brought this up is because I think it can apply to our text this morning.
We’re in John chapter 1 and we’ll be looking at verses 35 – 42 (READ TEXT).
So Jesus has entered the world that He has created, and He has begun His public ministry. And He immediately begins calling followers so that He can disciple them. And the principles that we see in this passage are the same as they were 2000 years ago. Because our God is the same. And the principles that we are going to specifically focus on this morning are the principles of witnessing.
Since I already mentioned polls and survey’s, I’ll mention 4 others real quick, The Ligonier State of Theology Survey, The 2018 Lifeway Survey, The 2016 Christianity Today poll, and the Malphurs Group survey all list personal evangelism as the command most neglected by Christians today. Bible reading and prayer are up there too, but witnessing is the most neglected. And when we consider that Jesus’ last words to His disciples were a challenge to go and spread the Gospel, it’s ironic that so many don’t do it today. Folks do a lot of interacting with others, but they don’t do a lot of Gospel sharing, or witnessing.