Week 5- Share
Pastor Terry Inman
Today is day 33 of our 40 days of Love and Light. We are giving, praying, fasting and practicing the Prayer-Care-Share life-style. Last Sunday in place of the morning message we took CARE to the streets!
Praying for our friends to experience Jesus Christ is simple. We just have to do it. Caring takes a little more risk and resources. Sharing for most of us is challenging. Conversations about faith are personal and some people think faith should be kept private. Jesus was not one of those.
He made it clear that the good news should be shared. “Go into all the world and preachthe good news to all creation.” (Mark 16.15 NIV)
Preaching sounds a little intimidating like public sermonizing or something. Actually “preach” here is “tell” or “talk” the good news. It means share! When you hear really good news you typically can’t wait to pass it along.
We are not all public speakers but we all have a story to share. We are empowered by our own experience. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses.” (Acts 1.8 NIV)
A witness is someone whose experience qualifies them to give testimony.
Not all witnesses are verbal. Saint Francis is credited with saying “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
Peter was very verbal but not all the disciples were. He says, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1Pet. 4.11NIV) Both speaking and serving are sharing. Our lives speak louder than our words.
Our salvation history is His-story. Our testimony and the testimony of scripture can be powerful and compelling. Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom.1.16 NIV)
In (Luke 10) Jesus’ engaged, seventy-two, of his followers, in His mission. The prayer care, share life-style emerges from the instructions he gave them. He told them to pray to the Lord of the Harvest--then go into the Harvest. God really loves lost people. He loves them through us!
Jesus told his recruits to stay with receptive people and eat with them--get to know them. They were to find ways to care for them--and always be ready to share with them.
Jesus said, “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ (Luke 10.8-9 NIV) Prayer for them and with them.
This is show and tell! Heal hurting people and tell them who healed them.
So what does it means to tell them, “The Kingdom of God is near you”?
The Kingdom of God is a spiritual realm where God rules and reigns.
Last Saturday night before we went out on our CARE DAY adventures I had a dream that I was in Disneyland. I was in a large room where people gathered to relax and rest. I noticed clusters of people talking, some praying, some crying and some even laughing. It was obvious-believers were praying, caring and sharing with people in the Magic Kingdom!
People in ancient Israel were anticipating a Messianic Kingdom. They wanted a King who would deliver them from occupation and oppression. They wanted the Romans conquered and Israel’s kingdom restored.
God will restore His Kingdom on earth but for now he restores His Kingdom in us. The Pharisees grilled Jesus on when the kingdom of God would come. He answered, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17.20 -21 NIV)
When we pray with someone and God intervenes, His kingdom is near them. When they make Jesus their Lord--His kingdom in with-in them!
The bible says, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. Matt. 9.35 (NIV) Jesus also sent out his followers to “preach the kingdom and heal the sick.” Luke 9.2 (NIV)
As we share the good news of the kingdom, God’s power impacts people. They are restored, healed and freed from oppression. There are many ways to offer healing. The bible uses the terms, “Gifts of healings”. Healings can be emotional, relational, financial, physical or even spiritual.
This is one of my favorite job descriptions for the work of Jesus. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10.38 NIV)
Caring promotes healing—sharing introduces people to the healer!
Preaching and especially healing get a bad rap in our culture. Preaching at least in the media has not always focused on Jesus. Sensationalism and excessive fund raising have unfortunately tainted some healing ministries.
There are so many ways we can humbly and simply share the message of God’s healing love. Sharing is simply giving away what God has given us.
Peter put it this way… “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1Peter 3.15 (NIV)
According to Peter sharing is a matter of the heart. If Jesus dominates the attitudes and affections of our heart we will always be attentive, sensitive and prepared to share His love. Jesus put it this way…
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6.45 NIV)
Here’s the problem, sometimes our hearts store up the wrong stuff.
Jesus said, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life…Luke 21.34 (NIV)
It reads a little clearer in the message translation. ”Don’t let your heart get dulled by, “parties, drinking and shopping” When our hearts are overcrowded with life’s pleasures and possessions we have less to share.
Sharing is a matter of the heart. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10.27 )
The early followers of Jesus experienced explosive growth not because of mass evangelism but because of word of mouth. After Jesus resurrection, ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the good news spread like a wild fire from friend to friend, family to family and village to village. It went viral from heart to heart. I want God to renew a passion to share.
If Jesus is the “king of hearts” we won’t need to worry about how and what we share. We will always be prepared or equipped to share the reason for our hope. We will naturally do this with gentleness and respect.
The Gospel isn’t about proving others wrong. It’s about sharing the love of Christ. Evangelism should be full of peace, patience, empathy, dialogue and mutual appreciation. Listen, learn, and never approach someone with an attitude of moral superiority—always be humble.
We don’t want to come off weird, religious or pushy. No one wants to be evangelized. In this culture it sounds something like being euthanized.
Historically, evangelism has sometimes been used as a weapon to hurt, shame, guilt and induce fear. Its association with caustic street preachers, some immoral televangelists and corrupt religious organizations make it even less appealing in this increasingly secularized culture.
But “evangel” is a good word it simply means gospel or message.
To evangelize is to advocate for the good news of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately some have turned it into bad news. Instead of simply communicating the good news they have focused on political rants and culture wars. The apostle Paul said, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1Cor. 2.2 (NIV)
He kept his message clear. He was focused on the story of Jesus. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1Cor.15.3-4)
So what’s the gospel? It’s good news--He lived--He died--He rose--We live!
I am excited about the Easter Sunday launch of our next series A.D. in the Book of Acts. It follows the 12-week mini-series A.D. aired on NBC. The best evidence for the resurrection is the dynamic life of the Spirit in each of us! I just love it that the Holy Spirit is enlisting Hollywood as a witness!
Let’s conclude with Paul’s highlights of the gospel. He lived. God sent his son to earth to identify with his creation. He lived here, like us. He ate, he slept, he hurt, he wept, he laughed, he taught, he healed and he loved!
He died. He suffered an inhumane death by crucifixion not for his crimes but ours. He took the world’s sin and rebellion against God on himself. His death satisfied the legal penalty for sin so we could be reconciled to God.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5.8 NIV)
He rose. He was supernaturally resurrected from the grave. He was seen by hundreds of eyewitness. He ascended to heaven and promised to give each of us God’s Holy Spirit.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Pet. 1.3 NIV)
We live. We are saved from eternal death and separation from God. We have been gifted with a whole new life. We live full of purpose now and expect a future filled with heaven’s hope.
The gospel can all be summed up in one incredible passage. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3.16,17 (NIV)
Now this is something we can all share. God loves us. God gave us Jesus. God gives us new life. God saves us when we believe in Him.