Summary: This is the tenth and final sermon in my SURVIVOR series, focusing upon a practical strategy for sharing one’s faith (11-07-02).
Topical / Instructional Message – Various Scriptures
Did you know that a five-year-old can tell people about Jesus? There was a little girl named Lindsay. Her parents were amazed one day when they heard this five-year-old telling one of her little friends about Jesus. The children were sitting on the front steps of the house, and the parents tiptoed up to the window to see and hear better.
Little Lindsay told her friend that if she believed in Jesus and prayed, He would forgive her sins and she would go to heaven. The little girl was convinced, so they prayed.
When she was done praying, she looked up at Lindsay and asked, Will my mommy be in heaven, too?”
Lindsay thought for a moment and replied, “Yeah, if she believes in Jesus. But if you don’t want her there, just don’t talk about Him when she’s around.”
[From 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speakers, Michael Hodgin, Zondervan (1994), p. 136.]
Now, that’s cute coming from the mouth of a
child. But what’s not cute is the fact that so many of us take little Lindsay’s approach every day. We have people around us, family – friends – schoolmates – coworkers – neighbors, who have no knowledge whatsoever of Jesus Christ. They are spiritually dead. Yet we do not share the one message that will change their life and eternity. We know the truth, but we keep it a secret. Most often because we are afraid of rejection, or we fear we do not know enough, or we fear that the people we talk to may ask us a question that we cannot answer. But in the end, our silence all boils down to our fear. We are, in almost every circumstance, more worried about our pride and our ego than we are about the spiritual condition of the people around us.
As we conclude our SURVIVOR series today, we
are going to talk about how we can grow our tribe. Now, if you know anything about the SURVIVOR television show, they are not about increasing their number. Their goal is to vote people off … get rid of them so that there are less people competing for the prize. Ten weeks ago there were 16 people on the SURVIVOR island. Now there are only seven. And, eventually, the number will get down to one. That’s the strategy of the show.
Unfortunately, that’s almost the strategy of many churches and so-called Christians. Each year we have thousands of churches that do not reach a single person for Christ … and those churches are dying in droves. In fact, the last statistic I saw showed that we are closing the doors on seven churches a day in the United States.
But, even in those churches where people are being reached with the message of Christ, the preacher is doing most of the reaching. He is the soul-winner, because the people figure that’s what they’re paying him to do. And there, again, we find so many Christians who have no clue about sharing their faith.
Well, today, you are going to learn about sharing your faith. Friends, I need your help. I can’t do all of the witnessing and sharing on my own. We will never be the explosive, dynamic, growing, irresistible church that I know God is calling us to be until all of you understand your role in evangelism and get busy performing that role. So, today, I am basically going to teach you today a simple strategy for sharing your faith with the people you have contact with in your life. You might even call this Witnessing 101. But, it’s my prayer, that when we’re done here in a few minutes you will be convinced that it is your job to tell people about Jesus, and you will be a little better equipped for that task.
But, first, let’s make sure our foundation is established. Look at these verses. We call these the Great Commission. They are the foundation of what we do as a church. Let’s do something a little different today. I want you to read these out loud with me.
***Read Matthew 28:19-20***
Paul wrote some incredible words in his letter to the church at Rome that I want you to read along with me.
*** Read Romans 10: 14-15***
So, Jesus expects us to share our faith … but how do we do it?
1. Start with people you already know. (Matthew 4:18-
This was Jesus first approach. Many people don’t know it, but Jesus already knew Simon Peter and Andrew. We know from John chapter one that Jesus had already talked to these two men. He had also started preaching and teaching in the area, so they knew who Jesus was. Now, isn’t it interesting that Jesus, right at the beginning of His ministry, went and called out two men that he already knew … two men that he already had relationships with.