Summary: A sermon on how sharing our personal faith stories puts our faith in action and leads others to God.

Dare to Share

Romans 9: 20-33 (The Message)

20-33Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, "Why did you shape me like this?" Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people. Hosea put it well:

I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies;

I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.

In the place where they yelled out, "You’re nobody!"

they’re calling you "God’s living children."

Isaiah maintained this same emphasis:

If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered

and the sum labeled "chosen of God,"

They’d be numbers still, not names;

salvation comes by personal selection.

God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name.

Arithmetic is not his focus.

Isaiah had looked ahead and spoken the truth:

If our powerful God

had not provided us a legacy of living children,

We would have ended up like ghost towns,

like Sodom and Gomorrah.

How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their "God projects" that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:

Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,

a stone you can’t get around.

But the stone is me! If you’re looking for me,

you’ll find me on the way, not in the way.

This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Let us pray.

We are almost finished with out faith, hope, and love series. I really wanted to go on to hope, but when God puts something on your heart… Well, we know that we just have to go with it.

I didn’t want to talk about faith anymore, but I was reminded of what the District Superintendent said in is address at the South West District Meeting that the focus of our congregations should be evangelism.

He has said that churches don’t grow because of the preachers. Churches grow because of the laity’s leadership and the aggressive approach that the congregation takes in Evangelism. He went on to say that there’s something about sharing the Love of Christ on a one on one basis that compels people to want to give their lives over to Christ. Great preaching helps… good singing is a plus, but when a person takes the courage to step out on faith and tell someone about what God has change his or her life, well that’s what I’d call profound.

So what is Evangelism? According to evangelism is defined as the Zealous preaching and distribution of the gospel, as through missionary work. Notice that the definition does not say through worship service… it said through missionary work. In order for us to be effective evangelism we need to take the gospel to the streets. We got to get down and dirty in our elbows with filth so to speak. We have to get in some uncomfortable situations in order to be able to get the point across.

There’s people walking up and down the streets here in Lockesburg as well as other places where we go that don’t know about the love of Christ and the path that leads to salvation.

So I bet you’re probably wondering… OK, Deena what does that have to do with faith, hope, and love? It has everything to do with faith, hope, and love?

If we are a congregation that shares in the same belief in God and in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then we must love God and love others, we must submit our lives in true obedience to get the full extent of this love. And by experiencing the love of God we have the unnatural ability to love those who don’t necessarily care for us. Because we are doing that our faith leads us to ask more questions and lead us to a deeper relationship with God.

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