Summary: This is the third sermon in a series of five to help my congregation become more outward focused. It is based on the church outreach program titled - "Outflow". 1. Things you can’t do. 2. Things you can do. 3. Leave results to God.
Touching Your Family And Friends – Overflowing Outreach
God wants to give us an overflowing life – an abundant life. For the last two weeks we have talked about how God wants to fill you to overflowing. In John ten – ten it says:
“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10 (HCSB)
The word picture that the Greek paints for “abundance” actually means – an overflowing abundance. Not that your cup is full – but that it is flowing over the rim. The cup is so full that it is spilling out into the saucer. God wants our lives overflowing with is His love, His joy and His peace. He wants our lives so affected by all the gifts He has to give to us – that it overflows into the lives of other people around us. That’s called outflow.
If you were to picture your influence for Christ as a fountain it would look sometime like a four tiered fountain. God fills us up – that is the first level - the top tier. He fills you so full that you spill over into the next level – the second tier - and you have an influence on those who are closest to you – that would be your family and friends.
Today we want to talk about the people who are closet to you – your family and friends - and look at how you can touch them for Christ.
Now let me say right up front – not all families are alike. Let’s watch a video clip.
(I plan to show a video clip from an old T.V. sit-com “I Love Lucy.” You could use another clip such as “All In The Family” or “Leave It To Beaver”, for example.)
Not all families act and behave the same. Just as people are different - families are different – because families are made up of people.
Not all of us are “I Love Lucy” or “Leave It To Beaver” type of households. In fact many of us are more like the Simpsons – just a little dysfunctional. I heard this statement at one time and I believe it to be true. “All families are dysfunctional – it’s just that some are more dysfunctional then others.” In most families you find that there are members who are believers and there are members who are not.
In the New Testament – you find at least a couple times where a person becomes a Christian and their belief affects their entire family. Read along in Acts sixteen with me:
“A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.” Acts 16:14-15 (HCSB)
Did you notice in this passage that she and her household were baptized. She became a believer first and it affected her entire household.
Or what about in John chapter four where a father goes down to see Jesus, pleading with Jesus to heal his son who is on his death bed? After the man requests Jesus to heal his son, Jesus says:
"Go your way; your son lives." So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!" Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives." And he himself believed, and his whole household.” John 4:50-53 (NKJV)
Here we have two cases where whole households get saved. But you and I both know that in many cases that whole households don’t get saved. In fact some of you have witnessed to a member of your family for years and they have given you no positive response to the Good News. In some cases your relatives have turned you off and shut you out – they have become more distant in their relationship to you. For whatever reason they just don’t want to hear about Jesus Christ.
Let me give you three lessons which are important when it comes to witnessing – not just to family members – but all people in general.
1. Understand there are things you CAN’T DO.
A. You can’t undo the PAST.
Folks if you have missed opportunities for sharing the Good News in the past – quite stewing over it. Let it go! Quite thinking about – “could of” and “should of” and look for opportunities to share the Good News now. Lost opportunities are just that – “LOST”. Let them go – but take advantage of the here and now. If there is anyone who can do something about the lost opportunities of the past – it’s God. Ask Him to give you another chance. Ask Him to open another door of opportunity. Do you remember what Matthew chapter seven tells us? It said: