Summary: People without Christ are eternally lost. Lost people matter to God. Lost people should matter to us.
Sharing Your Faith:
Reading: Luke 2:1-11
Anybody know any Chicago White Sox fans? Chances are if any were around you they made themselves known this past week! (For those of you who may not know, the Sox recently won the World Series of Baseball for the first time in 88 years.)
If you don’t know any Sox fans, is there anyone else you’ve been in contact with who was the recent recipient of good news? Lottery winner, new baby, new romantic interest? The fact is if there is good news around you, you probably know all about it because people love to share good news. Even if we don’t understand why it’s good, if people believe it to be good then we will hear all about it!
And that’s what we are going to talk about in our lesson today: Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
ILL: Calvin Coolidge was vice president of the United States during the years of 1921-1923, under President Warren Harding. He was not a very active vice president, but he took great pleasure in presiding over the Senate. One day, as he was presiding, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended Senator openly complained to Coolidge as the presiding officer. Coolidge was leafing through the book of rules as he made his complaint. He looked up from the book and replied: “I’ve looked through the rule book. You don’t have to go.”
That is the good news that we have to share with the world. We have looked it up in God’s book. No one has to go to hell, for the Bible says that he, “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4. The heart of God beats for every human being and longs for them to be with him in eternity. Every human being bears the stamp of God on their soul, for they were made in his image. He created them and came to redeem them. To live apart from Christ and not experience the presence of his Spirit in your life is the greatest tragedy of human existence. You can have everything this world has to give, but if you do not have Christ you have nothing. You may have more than enough money, great looks, great education, great family, but if you do not know Jesus Christ in a personal way, you have missed the point of this life. Jesus put it like this: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36.
[We know this to be true and we believe, so where does evangelism come in…?]
I. Why Do I Care?
There are three things we must keep in mind when we consider the need to share our faith in Jesus:
1. People are eternally lost without Christ.
A. This is a truth that is often overlooked in our culture. Our society has redefined sin and softened the Gospel to the point where we really don’t believe that people are lost without Christ.
B. We can’t imagine that anyone could possibly be in spiritual danger
1) “As long as they are sincere,” we say. “They were religious in their own way,” I have often heard. “They were such a good person that I am sure they are in heaven.” Those are nice sentiments, but are they true?
2) Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” John 14:6
3) In 1999 53% of the people surveyed said they believed that all good people would go to heaven, regardless of their religion or relationship to Jesus Christ.
4) Peter said of Jesus: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
5) This is our motivation for bringing people to Christ. We believe in an old fashioned idea called hell. We want to prevent people from going there. The apostle Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…” 2 Corinthians 5:10-11a.
[The second thing that we need to understand is:…]
2. Lost people matter to God.
A. Jesus was called the friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19). Among his followers were former tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves and murderers.
1) He did not love their sin, but he did love the sinner. Sinners loved Jesus because he gave them hope. Forgiveness was available if they came to him and wanted to change. He made them want to leave their life of sin and live for God.