Summary: Part 5 of "Being the Church," focusing on the importance of sharing your faith in a relational manner.
Being the Church
Part 5: Witnessing Done God’s Way
Scripture: Acts 8:25-40
Icebreaker: When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 degrees Celsius. The Russians used a pencil.
Intro: Sometimes we make things a lot more difficult than they really are. What we’re going to talk about today is one of those things.
Statistic: "Millions of surveys which we have helped to take around the world indicate that approximately 98 percent of the Christians do not regularly introduce others to the Savior."
Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for Christ, quoted in Why Christians Sin, J.K. Johnston, Discovery House, 1992, p. 140.
-If we’re going to be the Church, sharing our faith is not a choice. We have to be reaching out to others with God’s love and sharing the message of Jesus and telling others what He has done in our lives. But the word has changed, hasn’t it?
-30 years ago, when the word “witnessing” was used in church, it usually meant a process called “soul-winning.” In this method of sharing our faith, a believer was trained to use something of a script, along with high-pressure “sales” tactics to get a non-Christian to say a prayer inviting Jesus into their hearts. The “soul-winner” would then invite the new “covert” to church and encourage them to keep attending. Many churches even had “soul-winning teams” that went out on a certain night of the week to knock on doors and “win people to the Lord.”
-How many of you remember the “soul-winning” method of evangelism? That method isn’t very effective anymore. So how can we witness to others in a way that will reach them in the year 2008?
-I think if we reach back in time about 1,900 years we find our answer. What we find in Acts 8 is the way Philip introduced a man to Jesus. It’s witnessing done God’s way. Last week, we talked about how important it is for each of us to have an authentic walk with God; how important it is to never “fake it.” I’d like to suggest to you this morning that if we really do have a close relationship with God, it is impossible for us not to want to share it with others.
-The statistic that 98% of believers don’t regularly introduce someone to Jesus is troubling. It would seem that we want to always put the responsibility off on someone else. But the face is that when you give your life to Jesus, He commissions you as a missionary for Him. And where you live, where you work, where you play, are all mission fields that God has placed you in.
-So this morning, I want to equip you to be a missionary. We all say we want to see people saved. We want to change lives. We want to grow our church. Well, ultimately, this is how.
When we talk about sharing your faith, always remember what people really want from you:
1. To see the “real” you.
2. To know that you are listening to them.
3. For you to meet their needs.
4. For you to talk “with” them, not “at” them.
God’s Guidelines for Effectively Sharing Your Faith
1. Be sensitive to God’s leading in your life. (Vs. 26)
Illustration: Me “zoning out” in the middle of conversations with my mom or girlfriend. (“Huh? What?”)
Questions: Wives, do you know what I’m talking about?
Statement: Out of the blue, God tells Phillip to take off for the desert. No reason is given. He just tells Him to go, and Phillip goes.
-Don’t you think it would have been tempting for Philip to just ignore that still, small voice in his mind? To just sort of brush it off?
-Life was good for Phillip at this point. The ministry in Samaria was going well. People were repenting of their sins and turning to God. But Phillip had walked with God long enough and was close enough to God’s heart to know that God has a reason for throwing us curveballs every once in a while.
-Phillip knew that if he was going to be a witness to what God was doing in the world, he had to be sensitive the Spirit’s leading in his life. This is for you, too: Be sensitive to God’s leading in your life.
-The Ethiopian was what we would call a “seeker.” He was interested in things of a spiritual nature but he didn’t understand them.
-Are you? Are you close enough to God to hear His voice? Is he prodding you to do something for Him in your life? If He is…