In Our Daily Bread, there was this story…
George Sweeting, in his book The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing, tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near
In 1968, Currier's sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died.
Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier's plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.
Sweeting concluded that story by asking, "Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message -- the most important in your life -- and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?"
We who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin. Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message?
I know it’s hard for so many Christ-followers to tell other people about Jesus.
You’re afraid about being rejected. You don’t know how to bring it up. You don’t know what to say. You’re afraid you won’t be able to answer all their questions, etc.
The funny thing about us and most Christ-followers is that we’re people with good news who are too scared to tell anyone about it!
I don’t want today to be something that makes you feel guilty. I want today to be an encouragement to help all of us in this. I want it to give us incentive and tools on how to at least get started at doing this…
I want to do this in a way that’s very interactive. I’ll throw out some questions to you guys and we’ll even break into some smaller groups and talk about some passages from the Bible.
But let’s start with some questions…
- How did you come to know Jesus? Was it by going to a service or did a friend lead you to the Lord? What caused you to finally believe? "Outflow" pg. bottom of 139 to top of 140
- What are some ways you’ve told/showed people about Jesus?
- What are some ways you’ve shared your faith?
- What are some barriers/fears that keep you from doing this? Looking stupid or like a religious fanatic. Not knowing how to answer questions.
- How do we do this?
Break into groups and discuss verses: Acts 17:16-34 & John 1:35-51.
Don’t argue or try to get too deep or theological. Just come up with what you feel are the main ideas about sharing the good news with other people. When we come back together we’ll go around and have one person share what their group learned together. (Pray that God would speak to us during this time.)
After groups tell what they learned, share my ideas:
- Pray! List of friends you want to know Jesus. God cares more than we do that people know him. "Outflow" pg. 134
- Some point –early on – let them know you’re a Christ-follower. Let it slip out somehow.
- Let people hear your “before” and after story. Don’t even tell them how/why you changed.
- Ask them questions about what they believe. Be empathic towards people. Don’t worry about the right answers. You need the right questions! Some questions for people who aren’t a part of any official/organized faith are…
Do you believe in God?
What do you believe? > Is God a person or energy to you? > Can God be known (relationally) to you? > Do you believe in heaven or hell? >
If they do believe in these things… How do people get to heaven? > Or why are they sent to hell? > What happens to good people when they die? > What happens to bad people? > Where did you get your beliefs about God? > How do you know what you know about him is right?
What do you believe in? > Is there any particular reason why you don’t believe in God? > Have you ever believed in God? > What made you stop? > What do you think happens when you die? > How sure are you that there’s no God? > Have you ever wondered about the chance there could be a God? > Have you investigated into whether he could be real? > How?
- Serve your friends, family and strangers. Smalls as of kindness are all that are needed. "Outflow" p. 139 “Humble Acts of Service”
- We need to try some “Matthew Gatherings”. Matthew 9:9-13 - 9 As Jesus was going down the road, he saw Matthew sitting at his tax-collection booth. "Come, be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. 10 That night Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners. 11 The Pharisees were indignant. "Why does your teacher eat with such scum F55 ?" they asked his disciples. 12 When he heard this, Jesus replied, "Healthy people don't need a doctor – sick people do." 13 Then he added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices.' F56 For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough." We need to plan golf times, BBQs, lunches, coffees, movie nights, game nights, etc. Any ideas?
If we really believed people were lost without Jesus, If we really believed that people’s lives could be better with Jesus, then we’d say something – we’d do something. If we were really excited about what God has done and is doing in our lives, then we wouldn’t focus on being afraid.
We need to start by asking Jesus to give us a burden/desire to see people come to him. Without this it’s just an empty act. Coast Guard saving people.
We need a burden a desire for the lost.
We need a burden to feel God’s heart for the people around us.
I want us to pray that God would help our church to double.
Think of who you can invite to hang with us over the next two Sundays.
What neighbor? Co-worker? Friend? Stranger?