Summary: A motivation to evangelize; We are plan A, there is no plan B.
Evangelism Series #2
CHCC: January 22, 2006
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SCRIPTURE READING: John 20:19-22
Have you ever heard of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics? It’s a basic Scientific Law – right up there with the Law of Gravity. One definition of it says: The entropy (disorder) of a closed system will not decrease for any sustained period of time. (That was the shortest one I found.) To put it simply: everything tends to wear out, run down, or stop working. Things move from order to disorder and from organization to chaos.
According to an author named Mark Mittelberg, there is also a 2nd Law of Spiritual-dynamics. This Law says: If left to themselves, Christians move toward self-centeredness. (Building a Contagious Church) If that is true, then we have to work against the gravitational pull of selfishness. There’s no way a Self-centered Christians will be motivated to spread the Gospel to a dying world. This sermon --- and the lesson in our Pueblo groups this week --- are meant to help us get motivated for evangelism.
You may remember that our Church is
working to move forward in 4 areas:
Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, and Outreach.
While you look at the logo overhead,
I want you to notice something about these 4 Purposes:
not one of them is SELF-centered.
• REACHING UP in Worship is directed toward God.
• REACHING IN with Fellowship is directed to our fellow Christians.
• REACHING DOWN in Discipleship is directed to those who are growing up in their Christian life.
• REACHING OUT is directed to those who do not know the Lord.
Out of these 4 Purposes, I think OUTREACH is the most susceptible to the 2nd Law of Spiritual-dynamics. Pastor Rick Warren put out a survey about the Purpose of the Church that shows why some Christians aren’t motivated for Evangelism.
• In the survey, 89% of the church members said the Church’s Purpose is to “take care of my needs and those of my family.”
• Only 11% said, “The purpose of the church is to win the world for Jesus Christ.” (The Purpose-Driven Church, Page 82)
But according to Jesus Christ, spreading the Good News is our MAIN purpose. Some people think of Evangelizing as a heavy burden. It’s just one more thing to feel guilty about. But that’s not the way we should be looking at it, because the call to evangelism is actually a HEAVENLY HONOR.
1. HEAVENLY HONOR
Look at the TEXT in John chapter 20. It was a Sunday evening. But it wasn’t just any Sunday. Jesus rose from the dead early that morning. The Disciples heard this amazing news from Mary Magdalene --- but they didn’t believe her. Far from spreading the Good News, they went into hiding. Verse 19 says they were huddled together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews…
The reason they were hiding is the same reason a lot of Christians hide behind Church doors instead of REACHING OUT. That reason is --- to put it bluntly --- FEAR. Look at how Jesus ended their fear. …Then Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" John 20:19 Jesus showed them his wounded hands and feet so they could know the truth. Then the text says that they were overjoyed because they had seen the Lord.
But they hardly had time to soak it all in before Jesus made this amazing statement: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20: 21 Here they were, cowering behind closed doors. They had only BELIEVED the truth for a few minutes. And already Jesus is telling them to go and Spread the Word. It’s as if he tossed them the Keys and said, “What are you waiting for, guys? Get going!”
How many of you remember the first time your mom or dad gave you the KEYS to the car? That’s when you really feel like you’ve grown up. And for those of you who have had that “exhilarating” experience of tossing the KEYS to your child for the first time, you know what kind of TRUST you were putting in them. In my case, I wanted to find some kind of SHERMAN TANK for my girls to drive. I didn’t care if the engine worked just so it had good brakes.
The point is, giving someone the KEYS to the car means you have put a lot of trust in them. When Jesus said As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. He was entrusting us with something very valuable. We should see it as an HONOR, not a burden.
Another MOTIVATION for telling others about Jesus is what we could call our SPIRITUAL STOCKPILE. (By the way, I took the points in this OUTLINE from the book we’re using in our Pueblo Groups.)