Summary: Last in this series - this message about reaching out to the community with the gospel.
Foundations for Healthy Church Relationships
Part 3 – Working to Make the Family Larger
September 5, 2010
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Audio of this message can be heard at www.aberdeenwesleyan.org
Me: If you’ve been coming to this church for any length of time, you’ll be shocked to know that one of my most favoritist things in the world is to see someone give their life to Jesus.
I know – blew some of you away, right?
But let me tell you something that might really shock you: as much as I love to see people come to Jesus, there are times shaking in my boots when I’m telling them about Him, especially when I’m doing it one on one.
So I quit wearing boots when I was telling people about Jesus…
There are lots of reasons, for that, but the main one is that I’m afraid that I’ll communicate something wrong, or I’ll offend the person – not by the message, but by the way I give it.
The gospel message is offensive all by itself. Telling people they’re a sinner in need of a Savior tends to put people on the defensive and get their hackles up.
And I find it most awkward when I’m visiting with someone not of this church who is dying.
They know I’m a pastor, they know it’s my job to talk about Jesus, and I’m still scared to talk to them about whether they’re going to heaven.
And I do it, because their eternity is on the line, and I don’t want them to take their last breath not having eternity squared away.
So I’m willing to risk offending that person with the message of Jesus so I can see them in heaven when it’s my turn to die.
So I find myself struggling at times to make sure I’m communicating the message of Jesus clearly.
We: I know I’m not the only one in that boat.
Some of you are the same way.
You know you should talk to others about Jesus, and you want to talk to others about Jesus, but you’re not really sure how to do it, or how to communicate to someone in a specific or unique situation.
And truth be told, there are some who just don’t care about telling others about Jesus for one reason or another.
They don’t have a desire, they don’t struggle with how to do it, they just don’t and won’t, even if someone were to come right up to them and say, “Could you tell me how to get to heaven?”
I know Christians like that. Maybe you do, too.
But for many folks, it’s not an issue of not having a desire, it’s an issue of not knowing how to get involved. And the majority of this message today is for you.
We’re into the last part of this short series on developing healthy church relationships.
Part 1 was about promoting unity in a church around the essential mission of that church to make disciples for Jesus both here and around the world.
Part 2, last week, was about supporting your leadership as they lead the church toward greater effectiveness for the mission of Jesus.
And today we’re going to talk about the fact that a healthy church contains people who have as one of the primary motivations in life, the desire to see the family of God grow by seeing people put their faith in Jesus.
The family of God is supposed to grow. It was never meant to stay the same it was, or the Church would have died when the apostles did.
And the Church would not have grown like it did in the book of Acts.
And Jesus wouldn’t have prayed like He did in John 17 which we looked at last week.
He intended for His Church to grow, and He intends for this local representation of His Church to grow.
The apostle Paul believed that as well, and it was his mission to see as many people as possible saved by putting their faith in Jesus.
Let’s look at what he says about it:
Colossians 4:2-6 (p. 835) –
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Let me say a few things about this passage before I get into how we can apply this here.