Summary: Because our faith is founded on the sure promises of God, it will share the message of the Gospel out of thanks to God.
We saw last week that since our faith has such a sure foundation on the faithful promises of our never changing God, it will affect our whole lives. What we believe affects who we are and what we do. When we see the love God has showered upon us, our lives become lives of thanks to him. So, in the coming weeks, months, years, God willing you will hear from us many applications as to how that faith affects your marriage, family, work, school, sex life, finances, free time...really every aspect of your life. But today we are going to look at one of the most important ways in which faith affects our lives.
You know, Jesus, forty days after his resurrection, before he ascended into heaven, gave some final instructions to his followers. And it’s interesting what Jesus encouraged them to do based on their faith in him. He didn’t tell them: Go and be good husbands and wives. He didn’t tell them go and work hard. He didn’t tell them go and help the poor and needy. All good things, but that wasn’t what Jesus told them at that time. You know the last thing Jesus told his followers before he ascended into heaven? “Go and make disciples (believers) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” That’s right. First and foremost our faith affects our lives in that we are now messengers of the Gospel. Not an easy thing. It’s not something that we think as being real “practical” in our lives. But it is important. So that’s what we are going to talk about today and we are going to do so meditating on the words of Saint Paul that we heard in the second reading for this morning. Now, I am going to read it again, and I want you to pick out three things: What is the message that we share? What are we the messengers like? What is our motivation?
I. The message
What is the message that we share? The most important component of “faith sharing” is the message, but before we look at what the message is, we first should clarify what our message is not. Paul tells us here that we don’t preach ourselves, or in other words, the message is not about us. If the only thing that I do as a pastor is spend all my time telling you stories about when I was a boy or about my life, I am doing you a disservice. Because this isn’t about me...and when you share the message with others, it’s not about you.
We preach Jesus Christ as Lord. A little review from last week. Do you remember what my name means? That’s right, but we don’t preach ourselves. So, a better question is: What does Jesus’ name mean? That’s right. Savior. We preach that Jesus Christ is our Savior Lord, because as we saw last week, that’s what we believe, right? And if he is our Savior, that means we need saving. And so does everybody else!
You know, I don’t want to be one of those guys who people don’t want to talk to because I come across as fanatical or phoney or as a know-it-all. But I know that some people no matter how hard we try not to bother them, will get annoyed with us when we share with them the message of the salvation, but the thing is, they need to hear it. They are sinners and they need to know it. If they don’t recognize their sin, they will never feel that they need a Savior. And if they don’t think that they need a Savior, they have no need for Jesus.
It’s like your neighbor who doesn’t like to be woken or bothered when he is sleeping. But if it is 3:00 AM and his house is on fire, are you not going to wake him, because you’re afraid that he might get mad at you for waking him up? Of course not, you’ll take the chance of upsetting him, because if not he could die. If a person is content in thinking that he or she is a good person and doesn’t need God, they are in a burning house, in danger of suffering eternal death in hell. Won’t we want to wake that person up to the danger that he or she is in?
And we can do that with a very simple message. You don’t need to study eight years in a seminary or be some profound theologian to be able to talk to others about Jesus. God has given us a very simple message: 1) We are sinners who need a Savior. 2) Jesus is the Savior that we need. Granted, to show a person that he is a sinner, we may need to spell out that God in his word demands perfection and show his law so that they see that they are sinners. We may have to clarify how Jesus is our Savior, that he came to this world as our substitute, to live the perfect life that we cannot in our place and to die on the cross for our sins. But in the simplest possible terms our message is: you need a Savior, Jesus is that Savior.