Summary: This is the second sermon in a series called "On Purpose." Instead of just letting evangelism happen, we need to put forth a concerted effort to reach the lost for Christ.
EVANGELISM ON PURPOSE
A. Several years ago I had the opportunity to learn at the feet of a preacher by the name of Marvin Phillips
1. Marvin is a fiery kind of preacher with a great heart for evangelism
a. During that week he talked a lot about doing things on purpose–which was before Rick Warren’s books on the Purpose Driven Church or the Purpose Driven Life
2. Marvin had a lot of short sayings that carried a lot of truth
a. "What the mind of man can conceive, and believe, it can achieve."
b. "Aim for nothing and you’ll probably hit it every time with an amazing amount of accuracy."
c. "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss your target you’ll be among the stars."
3. So, last week we introduced the idea of being God’s Church on purpose–instead of just letting things happen, we want to put forth some effort that will encourage growth in God’s Church
a. When Jesus Christ was born into this world He had a purpose
b. The angel told Joseph that the babe was to be called Jesus because He would save His people from their sins
c. Our main purpose is to lead people into a saved relationship with Jesus Christ
4. As we start putting some feet on this idea of being God’s Church on purpose I believe that it is fitting that we put first things first
a. Our purpose is to evangelize the lost...
b. Say that with me.
B. We are going to be using 1 Corinthians 16:5-9 as our text for this message this morning on evangelism
1. Paul had spent about 8 years on his first 2 missionary journeys
2. During that time he traveled from city to city preaching the gospel and starting churches
a. However, it wasn’t always easy as he faced a lot of opposition
b. He had been flogged with whips, beaten with rods, and even stoned and left for stone–all because he longed to share the saving grace of Jesus Christ with the world.
3. As he is writing this letter Paul is on a third missionary journey and is staying in the city of Ephesus
a. He has a tremendous desire to go back to the Corinthian churches and spend some time with them–maybe even stay all winter, but there is work to be done in Ephesus first and then he hopes to spend some time in Corinth
b. READ: 1 Corinthians 16:5-9
C. Paul says that he had plans to stay in Ephesus until Pentecost because God was opening up a great door of opportunity
1. However, he didn’t realize how great of an opportunity it really was
a. He ended up staying there 3 years which is twice as long as he stayed anywhere else as he traveled establishing churches
b. The reason that Paul stayed so long was because God had opened a door of opportunity
I> A DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY
A. Ephesus was not a town where most Christians would want to settle–it was a little bit on the wild side
ILL> Misison trip to Tepic, Mexico. We spent the last day in Porta Vayarta which is a tourist town on the Pacific Ocean. During the day there were a lot of shops you could peruse. Many kinds of restaurants. A gorgeous beach, parasailing, artists and vendors selling their wares.
At night there was not much to do. My impression was that if you were young, single, and a heathen, that would be a great place to go.
1. That’s the kind of city that Ephesus was
a. It was a happening place
b. It was a financial and commercial center and there was a lot of money that went through that city
2. Ephesus also was the home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world–the temple that was dedicated for the worship of the goddess Diana–the goddess of fertility
a. How do you worship a goddess of fertility? Through a variety of immoral practices
b. The temple was full of immorality and legalized prostitution
c. The people believed in magic and were very superstitious
d. They were constantly looking for soothsayers and fortune tellers to guide their lives
e. It was a very wicked city
ILL> Now there are two different kinds of people in the world–there are pessimists who see a problem in every opportunity and there are optimists who see an opportunity in every problem
3. Well, Paul looked at all of the problems in the city–he saw the thousands of people who were lost and decided that there was a real opportunity here
a. There were so many people who needed to hear about Jesus–
b. So many lives that needed to be changed