Summary: A sermon from a series entitled, "Five" focusing on the five things the pastors of Sun Valley want for their congregation members. This message relates the joy and necessity of sharing your faith.
Today, we are in our second week in a series we creatively called five. And we are talking about five things that we as pastors at Sun Valley want not from you, but for you. Five things that if they were true of your life, would take your experience of God, your perspective on life and I believe, your satisfaction in life to a whole new level.
Last week Chad said that what we wish for you is that you would experience a "free fall" with God. A time when God asks you to step out of your comfort zone, a time when you have to trust God so much, that if he doesn’t come through it is going to fail. And the reason we want that so much for you is that it is that a freefall is the only time that we experience our faith colliding with God’s faithfulness and it takes us to a whole new level of trust in our God.
This week our wish for you is actually a verse straight from scripture. It’s probably not one that you have ever read, or if you did you probably just skimmed right over it. But it’s there and I think that it is very revealing. And it is something that I want for you. It is Philemon 6 (Philemon only has one chapter, it’s a very small book) Philemon is a letter written by Paul to his friend named....Philemon. Oh you’re good. So this is friend to friend and Paul’s wish for Philemon is our wish for you. Let’s read it aloud together:
What we wish for you:
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 6
What Paul is saying here is that there is a level of the Christian life that can only happen when we are actively engaging others in the spiritual side of our lives. He says that there is something that happens in the life of a Christian, when we share our faith, that doesn’t result from any other activity in the Christian life.
Now some of you know this because you are active in sharing your faith. Now, I am so thankful that you are a people who have a heart to share your faith! Last month you wrote down the names of thousands of people you are praying for to know God. Many of you are constantly inviting friends to come to church. A lot of you have seen friends and family make a decision to put God at the center of their life. A lot of you pick up CDs after the service and say I’m going to take this to a friend who should have been here...really needed to hear this. So I know a lot of you have sharing your faith on your mind and a lot of you are already experiencing this.
You come in on a weekend and you’ve brought a friend and you introduce them to me and you ask "who’s speaking?" and when you find out it is me you say, this is my friend’s first time here...which is code for "Scott, don’t blow it!" And I understand. Because every week you come in here and when it’s just you, you do your best to pull out the principles for yourself. But when you have a friend with you, the stakes seem so much higher! So you look at things differently. Are there greeters? Does the building look clean? Is the music the right kind? What’s the pastor wearing? All these things become important to you. And you think differently when you have a friend. Nothing feels better than when the speaker is on his game and you’re thinking "that’s exactly what my friend needed to hear."
And being involved, being active in sharing your faith has resulted in a qualitative difference in your life. That’s why we talk about Invest and Invite so much hear at Sun Valley. It’s not for us, it is for you. Today I want you to hear from one of your own. Someone who’s life was changed by someone else’s active faith and now he is on his own journey. And our Outreach Pastor Matt Swartz is going to talk with him.
Steve Fox/Matt Swartz (6:00)
Can you imagine the level of joy there is in Steve’s wife and family that after all this time and effort of investing and inviting has paid off? How exciting must it be for them and how differently they must look at God! And now Steve is on his own journey.
Steve is just one of the hundreds of you who are active in sharing your faith and are experiencing life at a higher level because of it.