Summary: Part 2 of Series on Evangelism
How Not To Be Ashamed Of Sharing Your Faith
Passing On The Faith, Part 2
Last week we began a series
based on Paul’s second letter to Timothy,
called “Passing On The Faith.”
If you have your bible,
turn to 2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 6 (pew bible page 817)
And I said last week,
the Christian faith is really like
an incredible chain made up on thousands of links –
a chain that reaches back 2000 years
to Jesus and the apostles;
a chain that has gone from one side of the world to the other.
a chain that involves millions of faithful people,
who generation after generation
passed on their faith,
parents, and grandparents,
and pastors, and priests
and Sunday school teachers,
all kinds of people,
that wanted to make sure
the chain of faith passed down to them,
was not broken with them,
but that the chain would continue
through them to others.
The reason why any of us are followers of Christ today
is because generation after generation
of faithful Christians
have forged another link in the chain.
2000 years of passing along the faith.
So the ultimate question is really
whether you and I
will add another link to the chain,
Will we pass along the faith
to our children,
or will that chain that stretches back 2000 years,
and that made it all the way to us,
will it simply end with us –
our private faith.
Now, when it comes to
talking to people about our faith,
very few people actually feel confident about it.
Most of the time
people feel a lot of inadequacy or fear or guilt
about sharing their faith,
So if you've ever felt like
you’re just a failure in this area,
I want you to know that
there’s some great Christians
that have done this really, really badly.
How many of you have heard of Eugene Peterson?
Eugene Peterson is a pastor,
He’s also one of the greatest writers and scholars
about Christian faith
He’s written a bunch of great books,
But what he’s best known for, is
he’s the guy who translated The Message Bible
if you've ever seen this.
Eugene Peterson writes about how
he grew up in a very devout, Pentecostal Christian home,
but when he started first grade,
a second-grade bully named Garrison Johns
started picking on him every day.
"By the time I got to first grade, my parents had helped me memorize, 'Bless those who persecute you', and 'turn the other cheek.'
I don't know how Garrison Johns knew that about me, but most afternoons after school, he would catch me and beat me up. He found out I was a Christian and taunted me with “Jesus-sissy.” And I arrived home most days bruised and humiliated.
My mother told me, this had always been the way of Christians in the world,
and that I had better get used to it. She also said I was supposed to pray for him.
One day I was with 7 or 8 friends when Garrison caught up with us in the afternoon and started jabbing me.
That's when it happened. Something snapped.
For a moment, the Bible verses disappeared from my consciousness,
and I grabbed Garrison.
To my surprise and his, I was stronger than he was.
I wrestled him to the ground, sat on his chest, pinned his arms to the ground with my knees,
and he was helpless at my mercy. It was too good to be true.
I hit him in the face with my fists. It felt good, and I hit him again. Blood spurted from his nose, a lovely crimson in the snow."
This is Eugene Peterson, The Message Bible guy writing this.
"I said to Garrison, 'Say uncle.' He wouldn't say it. I hit him again. More blood.
Then my Christian training reasserted itself.
I said, 'Say I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.'
He wouldn't say it. I hit him again. More blood.
I tried again. Say, 'I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,'
And he said it.
Garrison Johns was my first Christian convert."
When I read that this week,
I realized I’m doing this thing all wrong.
I just need to hire some bullies.
The point is,
if you ever feel guilty or inadequate
about not knowing how to share your faith,
and doing a bad job of it,
then just think of Eugene Peterson.
I’ll bet nobody here has done it worse than him,
He pretty much set the all time low,
so you’re doing great compared to him.
2 Tim 1:6-8
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner.