Summary: In this sermon, we focus on our commission to reach out to the lost and the fact that the lost are lost.
A. A Christian man who owned a barber shop went to a revival meeting one night and felt greatly burdened to do more with his testimony for Christ.
1. The next evening, the barber began attending a "soul winners class" at his church.
a. He attended faithfully every night for two weeks.
b. He rehearsed all the material, took extensive notes, and memorized the Bible verses.
c. At the end of the two weeks he received a certificate acknowledging his completion of the course – he was now a certified soul winner.
2. The next morning, in the barber shop, he hung the certificate and bowed his head. “Dear Lord,” he prayed, “help me to witness to the first man to come through that door this morning.”
3. At that moment in walked the biggest, meanest, foulest man the barber had ever seen.
a. It seems this man had recently lost a bet with some “biker” buddies and now he had to get his head shaved.
b. Needless to say, the barber did not feel very comfortable quoting Scripture to such a scary man.
4. The rest of the day did not go any better for the barber.
a. At 5:00 p.m., the barber was sobbing with shame. He had not witnessed to a single person.
b. He bowed his head again. This time he prayed, “Lord, if you will allow one more opportunity, I promise I will do my part.”
5. At that, the door opened and in walked a pleasant looking gentleman.
a. The man smiled at the barber, apologized for coming in so late and took a seat in the chair.
b. As the barber draped the man in his protective sheet, he began to try to remember what he was supposed to say. He began to get very confused.
c. As the barber put shaving cream on the man’s face, he tried to remember the answers he had learned to the possible objections.
d. As the barber began to strop his razor, he realized that he simply could not remember anything he had learned.
e. This made the barber very nervous and soon sweat began to break out on his forehead.
f. Finally, in desperation, he shook the razor at the man and screamed, “ARE YOU PREPARED TO DIE??!!!”
g. That’s probably not the best approach to share one’s faith.
B. Reaching out to others and talking with them about spiritual things can be very intimidating and nerve-racking.
1. But sharing the Good News is our glorious calling, and our sacred responsibility.
2. Jesus gave these marching orders in the Great Commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:19-20)
3. Mark records Jesus’ words, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk. 16:15-16)
4. Luke records Jesus’ words, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
C. So these have been the marching orders for followers of Jesus for the last 2000 years.
1. But if we are not careful, we become distracted and lose our focus and neglect our great commision.
2. In his book The Purpose-Driven Church, Rick Warren reports on a survey that found that 89% of church members believe that the church’s purpose is to “take care of my needs and those of my family.” Only 11% said, “The purpose is to win the world for Jesus Christ.”
3. According to George Barna, in his book called Evangelism That Works, most churches have only a small group of people who have a passion for evangelism.
4. Barna asks a probing question for all churches – “Is evangelism deemed the highest priority of the church?”
D. Here at Wetzel Road over the years, we have tried to hold evangelism up as one of our highest priorities.
1. We have tried to be a community of believers that really cares about the lost.
2. We have tried to be a community of believers that believes that knowing Christ is the best way to live and the only way to die.
3. Because we have embraced these truths, we have sent missionaries out into the field, and we have tried to focus our programs toward outreach.
4. This by no means says that we have done all that could have been done in the past, nor are we doing all that could be done in the present.