Summary: What is our universal story of hope? It is the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

For the entire month of January, we are going to focus on this thing called evangelism. Now to me that word is sometime scary and evokes many different emotions. For those of you with the spiritual gift of evangelism, you may get a little excited because this is right up your ally and you’re ready to start going door to door. But for others it’s a little scary. Because you don’t know what to say, you don’t know how to say it and what if you say it or do it wrong? So the first couple of weeks, we are going to talk about some things that will hopefully help calm your nerves and give you some tools that you can use. We’re going to do some things that will require your participation including some personal things you do on your own plus some things, like brainstorming, that we do in groups.

So let’s get started, first off, what is evangelism?

Evangelism is “the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others with the object of conversion.”

Ok, so to break that down, it means… what? Sharing about Christianity in order to convert people to Christianity. And a much simpler thing, idea or phase we use more often, especially at Lester Memorial is… To Make Disciples…

So who knows where we find in scripture the command to make disciples? Look it up. (Mathew 28:19; Mark 16:15)

So Jesus had finished everything He was sent here to do. He had been born in a manger, he had grown up as a common man, ministered, loved, healed, been beaten, died, raised back to life, then He is getting ready to go back to Heaven and He’s says, Oh yea. One more thing. And listen up good, this is the most important thing I have ever told you. Because if you don’t hear what I say and do it, then this whole thing doesn’t work right.

“Go into all the world making disciples.”

So the last thing He told us, wasn’t about how to have a great life, or about Heaven’s streets of gold or get a good education, which are important all in their own place. But the last thing He told us was, “Go into all the world making disciples…. Go into all the world evangelizing.

So this month we’re going to talk about evangelism. Our theme here on Sunday nights will be “Stories of Hope.” Now what does “Stories of Hope” have to do with evangelism. Well, It’s based on a scripture passage from 1 Peter 3:13-17

And who will harm[a] you if you are deeply committed to what is good?[b] 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed,[c] 15 but honor[d] the Messiah[e] as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason[f] for the hope that is in you. 16 However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear,[g][h] so that when you are accused,[i] those who denounce your Christian life[j] will be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will,[k] than for doing evil.

Always, be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

The reason for the hope that is in you… So before we can give a defense. Before we can tell others about this hope within us, we have to 1.) have hope within us. 2.) know what this hope is.

God wants you so desperately and so passionately that He would die for you. And He did. And I want you to experience that love, that hope, again tonight.

Close your eyes for a moment. I want you to picture this, total blackness. The Earth is just a rock. There is no light. There is no life. There is nothing. Absolutely nothing exists except for God. And one more thing exists. His love for you.

You see, God chose you before the beginning of creation. Before the Genesis of the earth. Before He ever said, “Let there be light.” God loved you so desperately and so passionately that He would die for you.

Ephesians 1: 3-6

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

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