Summary: The sermon uses "Linebacker Evangelism" (which can be seen and/or purchased at sermoncentral.com) to set the stage for a Friend Day later in the month.
OPEN: VIDEO: Linebacker Evangelism (offered on-line by Sermoncentral.com)
APPLY: I fell in love with that video the first time I saw it because it makes fun of the idea of forced evangelism (something I HAVE to do!) while at the same time highlighting why we often don’t talk to others about our Jesus.
Why don’t we talk to others more about our faith in Christ?
Mostly it comes down to our having the wrong attitudes
· Fear of rejection
· Selfishness – the desire to keep my faith to myself
· And the Prideful belief that other people aren’t good enough for Jesus
But all those wrong attitudes boil down to some very basic questions:
· How badly do I want to share my faith?
· How badly do I want people to love my Jesus?
· How much do I love my Jesus?
As the linebacker in the video says:
“The World needs our message: For God so loved the world – He wants to communicate it through you”
So, the question comes down the attitude of “want to”.
If you want to do something badly enough… you’ll find a way to do it.
ILLUS: A couple of year ago, there was a story in the news about the fans of the Philadelphia Eagles who were going to Super Bowl 39 (XXXIX)… their first Super Bowl in 24 years.
Kevin O’Donoghue was 11 years-old when the Eagles made it to their last Superbowl appearance and he promised himself that he would be there if the team ever went again.
He told his wife, "I don’t care if we have to mortgage our house, I’m going."
She agreed and O’Donoghue paid $4,000 for a package that included:
· a round trip airfare,
· four nights in a hotel,
· and ONE ticket to the game.
The trip was financed through a home equity loan which they obtained by putting up their house as collateral on the loan.
Mortgage banks in the area said that many Eagles fans asked about refinancing mortgages or taking out home equity loans (with payments of $100 extra a month) to pay for a trip that O’Donoghue called "the chance of a lifetime”.
These people were literally “bowled over” by their desire to be at that Super Bowl event. They literally loved their team so much - and valued the event so seriously – they’d pay any price to get where they wanted to go.
So, (the question for us is) how badly do we want to get to where God wants us to go?
You see, that was the problem Ananias faced
He loved God,
He was a leading Christian in the Damascus church…
But he wasn’t sure how badly he wanted to get to where God wants him to go.
Acts 9 tells us that…
“The Lord told (Ananias), ‘Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.’” Acts 9:11-12
Now, that would seem like a great privilege.
God singles Ananias out to go and do a special task for Him. But Ananias appears to be in no hurry to go out and do this.
In the next two verses we find Ananias telling God "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name." Acts 9:13-14
In other words, Ananias bows in prayer and says to God…
“Are you crazy?”
“Do you know who this guy is?”
“He hurts people!!! He’ll hurt me!!!”
Of course, Ananias ends up going… but only because somebody bigger than a 350 lb. linebacker (God) told him to.
Now in Ananias’ case – it wasn’t pride or selfishness that caused him to hesitate. It Was Outright Fear! You could say it was fear of rejection… but we all know it went a little deeper than that.
And that’s why a lot of us don’t share our faith. We’re afraid of rejection.
And let’s face it… it does happen.
ILLUS: When George Stephens (a great brother who lived a very hard drinking/hard living lifestyle, and who recently passed away) became a Christian, the people at his workplace often made fun of him in the lunchroom. They were trying to get him to get into a fight so they could prove that Christianity didn’t work.
But George walked away.
Once upon a time, he would have cleaned house, but now he just picked up his lunch tray and walked to another table. How was George able to keep his faith and walk away from the insults?