6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This sermon looks at five ways that churches aren't as evangelistic as we should be.

- The beginning of the book of Jonah is very clear: a call for Jonah to share a message with the people of Nineveh. Within the statement that God makes, there are five phrases that are worth our attention as they point toward some of the things that we do wrong.

Five Ways Churches Fall Short When God Calls Them To Evangelize:

1. We say, “Our doors are open to everyone.”

- Jonah 1:2 – “Go. . .”; Matthew 28:19.

- Many churches say that they’re evangelistic and when they’re pressed for proof they reply, “Our doors are open to everyone.” As though simply having an open door policy is enough to be evangelistic.

- Jonah is told to “go.” God didn’t require the people needing the message to come to Jonah – He expected Jonah to go to them.

- In Matthew 28:19 this idea shows up again when Jesus gives the Great Commission and calls on us to “go.”

- What does that mean for us as a church in doing evangelism?

a. It means that we need to be doing ministry outside the four walls of this church.

- The majority of ministries within most churches are focused on serving the people within the church. Very few ministries are outwardly focused.

- Now, of course, there are ministries that need to be happening with our own folks – they need to be taught, comforted, and encouraged. But a huge part of our job lies with those who don’t yet know Jesus.

b. It means that we need to show the love of God where people live.

- Too many of us leave our faith here at church. We need to show the love of Christ out in our neighborhoods, at our workplace, in our families. We need to take it to where they are.

c. It means that the responsibility to share the message is on us to go out, not them to come in.

- We need to get the message to them where they are in ways that they can understand. That doesn’t mean that we dumb it down, but it does mean that we share it clearly. Whether they receive it or not is their responsibility. Conveying it clearly and understandably is our responsibility.

2. We think, “They’re successful.”

- Jonah 1:2 – “. . . great. . .”

- Notice that the city to which Jonah was sent is a “great” city. It’s big and powerful.

- We may look at someone who is drug-addicted and think, “They need the Lord.”

- But then we see our boss at work getting in his BMW and think, “Man, he’s successful.”

- We may look at someone who has lost their home and their family and think, “They need the Lord.”

- But then we see on Facebook where one of our friends just got back from three weeks in Europe and think, “Man, she’s successful.”

- We may look at a co-worker who’s constantly on the verge of tears because of the cancer her husband is dealing with and think, “They need the Lord.”

- But then we see a co-worker get double-promoted and get a plush corner office and think, “Man, he’s successful.”

- We allow human success to blind our vision to the deeper needs that people have. Just because someone has a lot of money or a powerful position, that doesn’t mean that they have what matters most: a relationship with the Lord.

- I’ve come to realize down through the years that the richest and most successful people (using the world’s standards) are often some of the most miserable people in the world. They have everything this world offers, yet they don’t have what matters most.

- I’m reminded of the Tom Brady “60 Minutes” interview where he reflects on all that he’s accomplished and then admits that there has to be more to life that just that. (Google “Tom Brady 60 Minutes More Than This” to find the video.)

- Here is this verse we have Nineveh referred to as a “great city.” It was, by worldly standards, a great and huge place.

- But being “great” obviously isn’t enough. In fact, it’s about to find itself dealing with the hand of God in punishment because of its wickedness.

- We have to maintain a clear vision of what matters most. It’s easy to allow ourselves to evaluate things in the way the rest of our culture does. We have to have a Biblical and Godly viewpoint of the way the world works.

- Just because someone has all that this world offers doesn’t mean that they don’t need the Lord. In fact, if anything, it means they need the Lord more.

3. We only want people like us.

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