Summary: With God’s help, we can learn to naturally and effectively share His love with others.
Overcoming Barriers to the Good News
Intro: Many Christians believe that they are supposed to share the good news about Jesus with other people who do not know God yet. I would guess that most if not all of the Christian here today have at least some desire to do that. However, most of us recognize that it does not come easy. Sometimes, talking to people about God seems to be one of the most difficult tasks in life. Most of us can only dream of seeing something like Acts 14:1 come true in our own lives. Wouldn’t that be awesome though? I want to speak so effectively about Jesus that a great number of people would believe and become true followers of Jesus? What a tremendous experience that would be!
-But most of us have never been there or done that. In fact, most of us have faced what seem like traumatic obstacles when we have tried to share our faith. We have sometimes faced difficult attitudes: apathy, anger, disgust, disinterest, and rejection. We may have faced arguments, ignorance, frustration, confusion, and deception. How in the world can we share our faith in a meaningful way with all these barriers to overcome?
-Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers today, but I believe God’s word speaks to us about this very issue.
Prop: With God’s help, we can learn to naturally and effectively share His love with others.
Interrogative: Where do we begin? How can we learn to do this?
TS: I see four important tools in our text today that will help us overcome some of these barriers to the Good News.
I. The Power of the Spoken Word (Acts 14:1-3)
1At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.
-One of the most important tools God has given us to help us do what He wants is words. Now you and I both know that words alone are only worth so much. Politicians use lots of words and so do lawyers, but their words are often lost in the wind. And lest I be guilty of demeaning other professions, did you hear about the church that took their towel dispensers out of their restrooms and got new electric hand dryers to replace them? You know, the kind that never get your hands dry? Well, someone taped a note on one of the blow dryers which said, “Please press this button for a short recorded message from our pastor.” So even preachers often don’t accomplish much with words alone.
-So, when we talk about the power of the spoken word, we know that words alone do not have the power to change lives for eternity.
-The apostle Paul told the church in Thessalonica: “… when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know that the way we lived among you was further proof of the truth of our message (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
-So words alone aren’t enough to convey the good news. When we share the words containing the good news about Jesus, we must be empowered by the Holy Spirit. That is how it worked in the early church, and that is how God still works today. Furthermore, we see from this verse that the way we live is also part of the message. If we tell people about God’s love, do they see it in our lives? If we tell people about forgiveness, do they see us giving and receiving forgiveness?
-The power of the spoken word can dispel ignorance about who God is and how much He loves each one of us. The spoken word, carried by the power of the Holy Spirit and backed up by a life of obedience to God can effectively change this world one person at a time.
-We often emphasize how important it is for our walk to match our talk. We talk about being a witness to people by the way we live. I agree wholeheartedly, but I do have a problem with something. Sometimes when we talk about letting our lives do the witnessing for us, what we really mean is that we don’t really plan on using our words to share about God and His plan for mankind. That is called binary thinking. Binary thinking only allows one possibility. Either we share the gospel with words, or we share it by the way we live. However, as I’m sure you can see, that is simply not true. Jesus said, “Do both!” Let your light shine so people can look at your lives and know how awesome your Father in heaven is. But also, go and teach and preach and talk about Jesus and all that He taught. Look at it this way: truth can be explained, and truth can be illustrated. So, every chance you get, explain truth to someone, but as you do, be sure you are illustrating truth by the way you live.