Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Too often people in the world perceive Christianity as an exclusivist religion whose people are intolerant bigots. In contrast many Americans want to appear to be inclusivists, pluralists and accepting of people. Actually, when we have the right attitude

Presenting Jesus As Lord, Savior and Shepherd (Luke 19:10)

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save those which are lost. (Luke 19:10)

Too often people in the world perceive Christianity as an exclusivist religion whose people are intolerant bigots. In contrast many Americans want to appear to be inclusivists, pluralists and accepting of people. Actually, when we have the right attitude we can present a relationship with Jesus with love, graciousness and greater understanding for the concerns of most people in our society.

Paul wrote, "Speaking the truth in love..." (Eph. 4:15)

Illustration: Presbyterians: Jesus is True, But Not Necessary for Salvation Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service

Nearly three-quarters of Presbyterians believe that the "absolute truth for humankind is in Jesus Christ," but fewer than half say that only Christians will be saved, according to a new church survey. The periodic

poll of members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) found that 70 percent of members, 75 percent of elders, 71 percent of pastors and 55 percent of specialized clergy (such as chaplains) agreed that the "only absolute truth for humankind is in Jesus Christ." When asked if "only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved," 43 percent of parishioners, 50 percent of

elders, 39 percent of clergy and 24 percent of specialized clergy agreed. The nature and role of Jesus in salvation has divided the church in recent years. A furor erupted in 2001 when one pastor rhetorically asked, "So, what’s the big deal about Jesus?" and suggested there may be other avenues for salvation. A statement passed by the church’s 2001

General Assembly affirmed salvation through Jesus but remained silent on the destiny of non-christians. "Although we do not know the limits of

God’s grace and pray for the salvation of those who may come to know Christ, for us the assurance of salvation is found only in confessing Christ and trusting Him alone," the resolution said. In other findings, two-thirds of members and 80 percent of pastors and elders believe that "Jesus will return to earth some day," and 86 percent of members and 96

percent of pastors believe in life after death. While 93 percent ofparishioners believe in heaven, only 78 percent believe in hell.

Quote: Charles Van Engen says, "The only truly unique and distinctive aspect of Christian faith is a personal relationship of the Christian with the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ of history."

1. Learn to present Jesus as one who wants to have a loving and saving relationship with everyone. That is what is most appealing about the Lord Jesus that He wants to meet people at the heart of their greatest need - to be loved.

2. Learn to present Jesus as one who came to seek and to liberate, deliver and rescue people from their greatest problem - separation from God. (Luke 19:10) When Jesus invited Zacchaeus to come down from the sycamore tree with a desire to stay in his house, he communicated acceptance, a personal love and willingness to remove all the shame, indignity and isolation that Zacchaeus felt. Let us be concerning for the felt needs of people as that generally leads to their own conviction of sin and awareness of their need to trust Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.

3. Learn to present Jesus who is able to relate to a plurality of cultural, social and class backgrounds. The wonderful truth about faith in Jesus is that it is not limited to any culture, background or social standing. Jesus transcends all cultures because created all mankind with their own unique differences. We need to learn hwo to distinguish the gospel from all human cultures.

Quote: Paul Hiebert, a professor of missions at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School wrote, "The gospel must be distinguished from all human cultures. It is a divine revelation, not human speculation. Since it belongs to no one culture, it can be adequately expressed in all of them.

The failure to differentiate between the gospel and human cultures has been one of the greatest weaknesses of modern Christian missions. Missionaries too often have equated the good news with their own cultural background. This has led them to condemn most native customs and to impose their own customs on converts. Consequently, the gospel has been seen as foreign in general and Western in particular. People have rejected it not because they reject the lordship of Christ, but because conversion often has meant a denial of their cultural heritage and social ties." (Anthropological Insights for Missionaries, Baker, p. 531)

4. Learn to present Jesus as the one who has been given all authority in heaven and earth so as to proclaim the good news to every people group on the planet. The Lord Jesus said:

He said, "All authority has been given to me."

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