Summary: This is the fourth in a series of sermons based on Luke 4:14-21 and Isaiah 61:1-4 which equates the mission of the Church with the mission of Jesus as He states it in Luke 4:14-18
His Mission and Ours: To Proclaim the Year of the Lord’s Favor
World renowned evangelist Luis Palau, shares this personal testimony in his sermon “Go to the Ends of the Earth.” “My family and team have gone to over sixty countries declaring the glory of God. When I first went to the Muslim-, Hindu-, and Buddhist-majority nations, I trembled to do the right thing for the glory of God. I talked to a Hindu guru years ago, and he said, ‘Luis, don’t ever use the Western style of arguing, trying to show your religion is better than my religion or your Savior is superior. Just simply tell who Jesus is. Tell of His character. Tell what He’s like. Let people do the comparing for themselves.’ Palau concludes by saying, ‘That was great advice.’” [SOURCE: --Luis Palau, “Go to the Ends of the Earth,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 124.]
Today is our fourth message in our series “His Mission and Ours” from Luke Chapter Four and Isaiah Chapter 61. His Mission and Ours is “To Proclaim the Year of the Lord’s Favor.” The King James reads “To Preach the Acceptable Year of the Lord.” Our final mission as stated by Jesus is preaching, and preaching is as Luis Palau states so well, “Telling people ‘Who Jesus is, of His character, and what He is like.’” Jesus Christ is the root and heart of our preaching.
Actually this is the second time in our text that Jesus declares that His mission and ours is preaching. Going back to the middle of verse eighteen we remember He says, “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives.” We saw that the word Jesus uses in this first instance for proclaim is the word from which we get our English word evangelism. We found that second major part of our mission is evangelism. By the power of the Holy Spirit working through us we are enabled to bring people into a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
The word that Jesus uses now in verse nineteen for proclaim literally means “to preach.” The two ministries of evangelism and preaching are closely related, like the two sides of a coin, but evangelism is accomplished in many more ways than preaching alone. We are God’s evangelists in all our relationships with persons outside of the fellowship of the Church. Friendship evangelism is one of the most effective means of bringing lost persons into the Kingdom of God. I have shared with you previously that we have a saying in Emmaus: “Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.” That’s evangelism; and we can all do it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
That’s the ministry to which Jesus calls us, and each stage is equally important—first, make a friend; next, build that relationship by being a friend; finally, in God’s time bring your friend to Christ. I believe the Lord has enabled me to make several friends outside our Church family since moving to Kankakee. Many of these have been established through my daily exercise routine at the Kankakee Area YMCA, but one special person seems to be my barber. He and I are the same age; he has been raising a grandson just as Liz and I are raising our granddaughter Sheila.
Now we all know barbers and beauticians always make good conversation, and that’s one reason I appreciate my barber. Recently I learned that he was hurting, and it was a hurt I truly feel and understand, for I have walked in his shoes. The last visit I had with him was the closest I felt to Jesus this week. No profound words were spoken. The Lord simply led me to share with him that I cared and would be available to him to help in any way I can even in such a simple way as to offer him a listening ear. I don’t know what will happen next in our relationship, but I know that God has enabled me to make a friend and brought me to the stage of being a friend. What happens in the future is in the Lord’s hands, but I pray I can be there for my friend; that he will know I care, and that the reason I care is because Jesus cares for both of us and died on the cross to bring us eternal life. Evangelism means “to announce good news.” Our good news comes by living our lives in the power of Jesus before our friends and assuring them that Jesus loves them and so do we.
A little girl was always scared to go to sleep alone in the dark. Oftentimes she would want to sleep with her parents, but they were trying to help her conquer her fear. Meaning well, they would say, “Don’t be frightened, Elizabeth, Jesus is with you; He will protect you; you don’t need to be afraid.” Elizabeth simply replied, “Yes, but Daddy and Mommy, I want a Jesus with skin on.” Many times evangelism is simply your obedience and mine to “be Jesus with skin on” to our friends who are hurting.