Summary: In order for us to share the gospel we need to be able to communicate the message with clarity.
October 23, 2005
Text: Colossians 4:2-6
Subject: Witnessing Part 2
Title: Proclaiming the Word Clearly
I have a hearing problem. That’s why I wear hearing aids. I have been accused of not listening instead of not hearing. Do you know there is a difference? There are times when I have been talking with people and they change the subject and I become completely lost in my understanding. First of all, I don’t hear clearly. Secondly, when the conversation switches gears like that and I don’t hear I can’t even begin to figure out what was said. Do you know where I’m coming from?
Today we continue our series on evangelism. Well Pastor Mike, what does your hearing problem have to do with witnessing? I’m glad you asked that question. You see my hearing deficiency keeps me from understanding. I need to be able to follow a conversation in a logical pattern in order to understand completely. Likewise, your presentation of the gospel message must be clear and concise.
Last week we began praying for people and for God to open doors for us to share. An open door doesn’t do us much good if we don’t have the clear and simple message to share. Our passage today is the same as last week.
“2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
This week I want to place the emphasis on verse 4, “Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”
There is a companion passage in Ephesians 6:19-20 “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” In Colossians Paul prays for clarity, in Ephesians for boldness. The common bond in both passages is that we need the Holy Spirit’s help in witnessing. As we go through this passage today let’s be open to the Holy Spirit’s voice speaking softly to the recesses of our hearts to hear what the Lord is saying.
I. EFFECTIVE WITNESSING REQUIRES THAT WE PROCLAIM THE MESSAGE. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Mark’s version of the Great Commission states simply that we are to, “go into all the world and preach the good news…” What is that good news? Christ crucified! One of the biggest stumbling blocks for the world is that they do not realize that they even need a Savior. The clear message in the bible is that man’s state after death results in one of two destinations – heaven or hell. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter of great theological importance to the church in Rome – to those who were already Christians. But before he really got into the theology he said these words, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” He understood that there was power in the simple message of the cross, the gospel of Jesus Christ. I could spend the rest of the day telling you about the different techniques that have been tried and are currently being promoted to bring people into the church. 1) There is friendship evangelism. This is just being a friend to someone. That’s great but it still requires that you, at least at some point, share the gospel clearly. The problem with friendship evangelism is that it normally stops with the friendship and never makes it to the evangelism. 2) Lifestyle evangelism. I’m not even going to talk about this any more for it does not work. 3) Fishing Pool Evangelism. That is having basically “non-religious” (therefore non-threatening) events at the church simply for the purpose of getting them in the doors. I’m not saying that this is a totally wrong approach. As a matter of fact the Lord has been dealing with me in this area; that we need to have these types of events at the church on a regular basis. But if it stops with that then church becomes just about numbers and not souls. The one approach that seems to have fallen by the wayside is what I call the “look what Jesus did for me” approach. Let’s face it. Many Christians feel inadequate to share the gospel. But every one of you has a testimony. You have a story of a life that was changed by the gospel. Some stories are more dramatic than others. Some, who have been Christians since an early age think that they don’t have much of a testimony, but they have the testimony of what Jesus has meant to them all their lives. They can’t imagine what a life without Christ would be like. This church is at a breakthrough point. And we do not need a gimmick to help us get there. We have the simple message of who Jesus is and what he did. We just need to be willing to proclaim it. Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, p. 14.