Summary: I praise God for His faithfulness in using us for His glorious Kingdom purpose as we genuinely love the world around us and share the story of Jesus.
On the evening of April 15, 1912, a most horrible and tragic accident took the lives of over 1,500 people. What is more horrifying is the fact that there were 16 lifeboats and four rafts with enough space to accommodate over 1,700. There were almost a 1,000 more people on board the Titanic than there was space in the lifeboats. Many of the dead bodies recovered from this event are now resting in three Halifax Cemeteries. And this is the real tragedy, not the fact the Titanic sank but that there were so many who died, who possibly could’ve lived. In her book “Titanic a Night Remembered” Stephanie L. Barczewski recounts the testimony of the survivors of this fateful night. Several of the crew men who were assigned to the lifeboats testified that they wanted to go search for survivors in the water but the rich and influential passengers convinced them to row away from the scene. They were concerned that the lifeboats would be swamped with people trying to escape the frigid waters and the boat would be overturned. Only one lifeboat ultimately made it back to look for survivors, boat 14, but, it arrived too late and only saved 3 people out of the hundreds who died. Survivor Eva Hart remembered this night, she said, "I saw all the horror of its sinking, and I heard, even more dreadful, the cries of drowning people."
Only one lifeboat out of twenty decided to go back and save the drowning passengers. The other nineteen rowed aimlessly for hours and because of their fear kept a distance from the dying. "I came to seek and to save the lost," Jesus said. And he commissioned us to do the same. But we face a large obstacle: fear. While people drown in the treacherous waters around us, we are tempted to stay dry and make certain no one rocks our boat.
I believe we want to be more like lifeboat 14 than the other boats. Our mission statement says, “we exist to increase and mature God’s people.” So we need to discuss what it means to increase God’s people. What we’re talking about here is sharing our faith with others. There are two reasons why sharing your faith is vital. The first reason has everything to do with life; Eternal life.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:3, “And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.”
Paul is commending some folks who worked hard telling others the Good News. The Book of Life is mentioned several times in the Bible and it’s always referencing the same truth. Jesus Christ defeated death and provided me with a way to defeat death too. But I can only conquer death through Jesus. At some point in my life, whether I’m still alive or dead, I’m going to face Jesus. My name is in the book of life. My life is registered in heaven. I’ve given my flawed and imperfect life to the authority of Jesus Christ. These co-workers of Paul were sold out for the truth of sharing their faith with others.
The dead are all around us. Many people around us and people we know and even love have simply refused to believe the truth of Jesus. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels,in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.” This Scripture alone should chill us to our core. This verse alone should wake us up! And there isn’t any better motivator than this. We share our faith with people because people who do not give their lives to Jesus will be punished; Eternally punished.
This is why we’re a church. This is why we do everything we do; because we want to lift up the glorious Name of Jesus. We want to point everyone we know to Him. And, we want our names in the Book of Life. The second reason we share our faith is because Jesus wants us to. Jesus offered this command to His followers. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20