Summary: Jesus made people thirsty for the Father, and our lives should make people thirsty. (hand out notes included at the end).
Intentional Christianity: Make People Thirsty
Ill. When we started the Children’s ministry at Desdemona, we noticed that the children did not drink much water. One week, I used an illustration of water, and drank from a bottle of water several times. I would randomly say during the lesson, “I am so thirsty. Oh, this water is so good.”
Some of the kids started saying, “I’m thirsty. I want a bottle of water.”
When I finished the lesson, we had to give every child a bottle of water because they all were thirsty.
We can make people thirsty for water and we can make people thirsty for God. But it must originate in our true thirst for God. (Psalm 42:1).
Last week we spoke about intentionally infiltrating our community as Kingdom representatives. I hope you have been thinking about that and are intentionally looking for opportunities to intentionally touch lives for Christ. Have any of you had any thoughts on how we can better do this?
This week, I want to focus on the desert known as the world. I want us to focus on this: after we intentionally make contact with those in our community (where they live, work, travel), what do we show them, and how?
I want to make two suppositions and I will need your help.
• The religion we practice makes people nauseated. What makes people put off by religious Christianity today?
• Scanning and reading atheist web sites and websites of people who openly avow their hatred for Christians, I have found the following issues recurring:
A. Perceived hypocrisy. (Generosity taught, not practiced, loved taught, not practiced, etc…) This is the question, “Do we really practice what we preach? Do we really live out the fruits of the Spirit, which are not offensive?”
B. Illogical thinking. Our beliefs on creation and against abortion and homosexuality appear to be out of touch with social norms and the intellectual community.
C. Pushy evangelism (not as much a problem when there is NO evangelism). When we evangelize, the pressure that people feel comes across push and unwelcomed.
D. Pride, looking down on non-Christians. This may not be avoidable. A Christian must know Christianity is right, or it is not by faith. We must know that the lost have a need because they are not right, or we will not evangelize. Maybe we can minimize this by how we evangelize.
E. Disrespect for those who do not agree, in and out of our ranks. This is a difficult issue, also. We are to maintain discipline within our ranks, but in love. That love can be misunderstood. However, I think it isn’t the discipline that is the problem here, but the lack of love with which we correct each other.
F. Condemnation of sin, sometimes the sinner. There is no doubt, sinners feel condemned, especially from Christians. The anti-gay rhetoric from Christians in the media and social networks
G. Legalism, living by rules that many seem unnecessary.
H. Lack of compromise.
I am told that these things make people unthirsty for what we offer. Although some of these will remain, for instance, our desire to see all come to repentance may be seen as pushy evangelism, true representation of what Jesus offers through us should make people thirsty, not seek another fountain.
The Christianity we should practice should make people thirsty. Therefore, intentional Christian living in the community will make people thirsty.
John 7:37-38 “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'"
Jesus’ life made people thirsty. He taught righteousness and corrected people for their error.
Some hated Him for it, and He said we would be hated for that.
However, His attitude about judgment was a little different than some Christians’ attitudes. John 3:17-18 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Jesus saw no need to condemn anyone. They stood already condemned. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” John 8:11. Romans teaches that the Law condemned us (Romans 2:27) because it is completely righteous. Therefore, condemnation came to us through Adam, and on top of that, we condemned ourselves with our sins against the law. Christians who condemn are not following Christ’s thirst-creating evangelism methods.
We have discussed that Jesus must make a difference in our lives for us to live our mission. Last week, we discussed that we must live intentionally to have an impact like Christ instructed.