Summary: A sermon based on 1 Thessalonians 2:8 talking about the objections to sharing our life and our faith
Sermon for 1/30/2005
Our mission is to share our lives with the gospel
The book "Real Hope in Chicago." It’s about a high school coach named Wayne Gordon. He was doing a Bible study after school with some inner city kids in the Lawndale area, which was the 2nd poorest black community in the country. Overrun with drug dealers and gangs and prostitutes. And God gave him such a heart for the black community that he told the kids that he was going to move to Lawndale.
And they said, "Coach, we love you. But we think you’re nuts! It’s not safe for white folks to live in Lawndale. You’re not going to last a month!"
But Wayne moved there, anyway. And it wasn’t easy. He got attacked by one of the street gangs. He had his house broken into again and again.
But he stuck it out. And those black kids asked him to start a church and to be their preacher. So they laid hands on him. And they ordained him.
I don’t how he did it. But his love for the community of Lawndale was so strong, that he brought lots of people to Christ. He even witnessed to the guy that kept breaking into his house, and he led him to Christ. And they built a church. And today, they have a 600 member congregation in Lawndale. And the church has built over 50 new houses and apartment buildings, a new gymnasium, a house for recovering drug addicts, and they even built a medical center and got top notch doctors to go there. In other words, the gospel didn’t just transform the people. It transformed the entire community.
Why did Wayne Gordon go through all that trouble? Because he loved the people of Lawndale so much that he was delighted to share with them not only the gospel of God, but his very life. He lived out the truth of 1 Thessalonians 2:8. And that’s what real Christianity looks like!
A. Discussion of 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8: Paul was willing to give not only the Gospel but his own life as well. His love for the Thessalonians was so great he would die for them if necessary. He shared his life with them.
B. This is our purpose statement.
1. Give history. (On Sunday night, put in a few words the essence of our mission)
2. Scripture. Went over many Scriptures, this one most popular
a. Sharing our lives:
1) With the Lord- Love the Lord Your God with all of your…
2) With other people- Love your neighbor as yourself
b. And the gospel:
** The Great Commission
c. Give some thoughts on the discussion from the leadership retreat.
D. This is what got me interested in the ministry here. What is your greatest strength? Family atmosphere.
E. I know how it can be for some. It is like a commercial I heard from a convenience store, one customer gave a testimonial: I can get in, get out, and get about my business. Many say, “I want to do my Christian duty so I will go to church. I like my church because I can get in, get out, and get about my business. If the preacher speaks too long, or something takes up too much time, I don’t like it because I want to get in, get out and get about my business.” This individual doesn’t want to get to know anyone. If they do know people in the church they make sure that it is only on a superficial level. If anyone tries to get to know them, they are kept at arms length because this person is not interested in making the church a home; they are just interested in doing their Christian duty.
F. It can be the same way with the preacher. There is a career aspect to the ministry. The preacher does not form lasting relationships with anyone because he is not interested in that, he is just interested in reaching the next bigger and better ministry. On the other hand, if things start going sour or if things don’t work out to his satisfaction, then he can leave and go somewhere else. There are plenty of empty pulpits.
H. A need for deeper, more meaningful relationships with other people.
a. Mobility, divorce, breakup of families are high.
b. Radical individualism- We can be a good Christian and not attend church.
c. George Gallop- What we have discovered from surveys, as many as 3 in 10 say they’ve been lonely “for a long period of time.”
d. Churches need to deal directly with the separateness and acute loneliness in our society by encouraging corporate worship, as well as participation in small groups.
Thesis: I cannot share my life with people because: