Summary: The key in becoming infectious in our faith is to make sure that we have set apart Christ as Lord in our lives. When we are striving to live under the control of Christ, people will notice and will then ask us to explain the reason for the hope that we h
How To Be Ready
Rev. Brian Bill
It’s fun to compare how life today is different from life 500 years ago. Some of the expressions we use, and the things we do, are based on life in the 1500’s. For instance, did you know that…?
• Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May. In order to smell pretty, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide their body odor.
• Baths were a big tub filled with water. The man of the household had the privilege of nice clean water, then all the other males could take their bath. Next the women were allowed to bathe and then the kids. The babies were last. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
• Back then houses had thatched roofs. It was the only place that animals could stay warm so they lived together on the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would fall off. That’s where we get the expression, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
• When company came over, the host would bring out some bacon and hang it up in order to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man “could really bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and “chew the fat.”
Don’t you feel better knowing what these phrases mean? While many things have changed in the last half century, the message of the gospel stays the same. We learned last week that in order to make a kingdom impact, we must Own the Mission. We can do that because Jesus:
• Accepts us
• Commissions us
• Equips us
• Motivates us
We want to be contagious in our Christianity, don’t we? We want to make a difference. This morning we’re going to focus on how to live out our responsibility. Specifically, how can we take biblical truths that few people understand and communicate them in a way that is both practical and compelling?
Our mission is mammoth and there is no other plan. We are the plan. When Jesus looks at you and me this morning, He still says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).
As evangelicals we like to talk about witnessing but we struggle to actually do it. Evangelism is a bit like strong horseradish – we praise it with tears in our eyes!
I was greatly helped in my understanding of the importance of raising our evangelistic temperature from a book called, “Building a Contagious Church” by Mark Mittelberg (Zondervan, 2000). I’ve incorporated a few of his thoughts into the first part of this message.
Truth #1: People Matter to God
The starting point is to recognize and fully believe at least five truths. Here’s proposition #1: People matter to God. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world…” We agree with this one but we don’t always own it. We hear it so much that it doesn’t penetrate our lives. In actuality, this belief is the hardest one to fully absorb into our value system. Do you believe it to the very core of your being?
Friends, we need to do whatever we can to gain God’s heart toward those who don’t know Him yet. 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us that God “is patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” It doesn’t matter how old they are, what color they are, what country they’re from, whether they have money, education, or a job. It doesn’t even matter how bad their sins are. They have great value in God’s eyes, and their repentance will bring “rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God” (Luke 15:10).
This past week when I was driving home from work I turned on WLS. The two radio personalities started talking about people they don’t like. Then one of them said, “I have a phrase for people like this.” His buddy wanted to know what it was and so he said, “People like this are ‘human debris.’” As they were laughing uncontrollably, I literally pulled off the road to listen to them. At first I laughed along with them until I realized that I sometimes feel the same way about people that I don’t care for.
And then it hit me. In God’s value system, there is no such thing as “human debris.” Every person has worth and dignity because they’ve been created in the image of God. Bill Hybels puts it in very practical terms when he says this, “You’ve never locked eyes with anyone who doesn’t matter to the Father.”