Summary: This is the fifth in a series of 5 on why our church exists.
June 3, 2001 John 4:1- 38
¡§We exist to evangelize¡¨
[read Mat 28:19-20] Question ¡V what I just read ¡V is it a suggestion or a command? [command] What do we call it when we refuse to obey one of God¡¦s commands? [sin] What happens to the individual or the church that is living in sin? [punishment, lack of blessing]
1. Soul-winners don¡¦t allow anything to stop them from reaching people. (vs. 1 ¡V 9)
„X Opposition (vs. 1-5)
[refer to article in Time magazine about Good News Clubs going to Supreme Court to retain right to have clubs on public school grounds after school ¡V June 4, 2001, pg 58-59]
„X Physical obstacles ¡V tired, hungry, time (vs. 6)
Jesus made evangelism a part of his everyday lifestyle. He practiced what we now call ¡§Lifestyle Evangelism¡¨. All of us have time constraints. We work, we play, and we chauffeur our kids all over the place. We take them to little league, gymnastics, school plays, etc. Then tack onto that, that we have to go to the grocery store sometime, and we might even be able to go out to eat occasionally. Why not make those events of your everyday life evangelistic events? You may not have time to come and be a part of our organized efforts here at the church. Fine, I understand that there are some cases where you don¡¦t even have one hour to give or some situations where it just isn¡¦t feasible. But take a moment to add up the total of the people that you encounter on an everyday basis ¡V the parents of the other students at your daughter¡¦s gymnastics class, the person who checks out your groceries at Kroger¡¦s, the guy who fixes your car, the parents of other students at your child¡¦s class, your children¡¦s doctor. These are all part of your normal everyday life. You¡¦re already being forced to interact with these people. Why not add one more ingredient into your interaction? Why not include the gospel?
¡§Let me tell you a simple, but beautiful, story of a family in our church. The Orsborns occasionally go to Columbus and eat at Brio, their favorite restaurant. As Jennifer is in the habit of doing, she said to the waitress, who had just delivered their food to the table: ¡§We¡¦re going to pray together here in a minute. Is there anything we can pray for you about?¡¨ The waitress was somewhat stunned and said, ¡§Does it show that bad?¡¨ She became emotional and had to walk away. When she came back she said, ¡§This has been the worst day of my life. This morning my grandfather died. And then I just found out that my boyfriend has been cheating on me the whole time we have been going together. It¡¦s wonderful to know that there are people who care.¡¨ That simple act of reaching out in Christian love and concern brought a person closer to God, and that brings glory to God.¡¨
Tomorrow morning, I will be going to the doctor for a check-up. My plan is to help him do a spiritual check-up by seeing where he stands with Jesus. I might chicken out. I hope not. Part of the reason that I¡¦m telling you this is so that I¡¦ll have in the back of my head, ¡§The people in church are going to ask me next week whether or not I shared with my doctor.¡¨ I will help build my motivation. It¡¦s called accountability.
„X Social boundaries (vs. 7-9)
On Wednesday nights, it has happened several times that we have gone out in groups of three ¡V either one lady and two men or two women and one man. This past Wednesday, Mike and I were having a little discussion about what number of evangelists would make people most receptive at their door. If only one goes to their door, people think that you are a salesman or a thief. If two go to the door, they think that you are Jehovah¡¦s Witness. If three go to the door, they don¡¦t know what to think. Other groups have created social boundaries ¡V fears ¡V that we will have to overcome as we go and seek to minister to people. Thursday night, I was out in the Gables apt. complex off of Rt. 50 around Maple Lake. I had several apts to visit of people who had recently moved into the area. So I was flitting back and forth all over the apt. complex. One other time that I was out there, the mgr. had seen me at someone¡¦s door, and came over to check out who I was. I don¡¦t know if he thought I was a salesman or someone who was trying to break into one of the apts. I kept expecting him to show up on Thursday since I was out there for quite some time and since I was sure that someone would place a call to him or to the police about some weird looking short guy who was knocking on doors randomly.