Summary: Authentic Christian faith is contagious.
TITLE: You Are A Contagious Christian When…
TEXT: 1 Thess. 1:1-10
P.S. , Authentic Christian faith is contagious…God wants us to become contagious believers.
The message I want us to take home today is, Authentic Christian faith is contagious. God wants us to become contagious believers.
Remember when we were kids how our mom used to tell us that we could catch a cold if we went outside without our coats and hats and got too cold or especially if we got our heads wet?
Truth is, germs, not cold weather, cause colds. The reason we catch more colds in the cold winter weather is because we’re indoors more and in closer quarters with other people and their germs.
You don’t get sick from cold weather. You get sick from germs from other people who sneeze or cough in your face or transmit germs with their hands to objects that you touch.
Research shows that the most common way to get a cold is from someone who has a cold, sneezes on his hands, and then shakes yours. This is why so many public buildings such as hospitals and nursing homes, even many churches, have those little Purel sanitation bottles at the entrance to their buildings.
Germs are contagious. Germs are the agents that transmit colds and viruses.
Now why do I bring this up?
Last week someone said to me after the service, “If people could get more excited about church, then that would attract more people to come.” I have thought about that statement all week.
What would it take to attract people to our church? Is it friendly people? An awesomely exciting worship experience? Or maybe it is having a dynamic kids and youth ministry.
At the end of the day, we have to realize that it is not program, personality or even preaching that will attract people ( Although a few will choose a church based on some ofthese thngs)
We also need to get our priorities straight. If all we want to do is attract people to our building, then yes lets build the best facility with the most dynamic programs money will buy.
The bottom line is, do we want people to fill our building, or do we want to attract people to Christ? Is there a secret to attracting people to Christ?
Bill Hybels says, “God wants us to become contagious [believers] … who will first catch his love and then urgently and infectiously offer it to all who are willing to consider it. This is his primary plan, the one Jesus modeled powerfully: to spread God’s grace and truth person to person until there’s an epidemic of changed lives around the world” (Bill Hybels, Contagious Christians, 23).
What comes to your mind when you hear the word "evangelism"?( ask for response)
Many think of a slick-haired, shiny-shoed, smooth-talking television evangelist. Or maybe you think of a great soul-winner like Billy Graham. Whichever our perception is, it is dreadfully wrong. We need to understand that to reach people for Christ, we do not have to become something ODD or be someone that we are not. Nor do we have to become something great that is unreachable.
Evangelism is telling people they matter to the Father -- The love of Christ is so at work that it is contagious.
Do you know what’s great about this? We can be ourselves. God knew what He was doing when He made us. He gave you the exact personality He wanted you to have and He wants you to use it to impact those around you.
One of our major purposes as Christ followers is to infect others with the love of God that we have in our hearts and lives. We want to influence them in positive ways that will make them want to know Christ.
According to the Church Leaders Intelligence Report (1/24/07) ;
"A church is considered evangelistically effective if just 1 person in 20 in that church leads a person to Christ in a year. This would mean that a church of 100 people would see five people come to Christ in their ministry in one year if they were evangelistically effective. Based on this theory, only 3.5% of U.S. churches are evangelistically effective."
I am going to wager that the stats are not much different in Canada.
What makes a church contagious? What makes them evangelistically effective? What makes a church one of the "3 and a half out of one hundred?"
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a small congregation in an ancient Greek city that was making a worldwide impact for Jesus Christ. If there was ever a contagious congregation, it was that little church in Thessalonica. If ever there were contagious believers, it was them. Their love for Jesus was contagious, infectious, so much so that they were known throughout the Roman Empire. In every place, said Paul, their faith in God had sounded forth so that Paul had no need to tell about them!