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Sharing the Gospel - Thinking and Living as a Christian Print E-mail
Sharing the Gospel

Sunday Evening, May 21, 2006

I. Introduction:
How do the lives we lead impact our evangelism?  I mean, is the message all that matters or are there other issues as well?  In brief, I think we can say that our lives, or how we think and act as believers, will impact our evangelism in either one of two ways: validation or invalidation.  Either we are living and breathing the message we preach or we are proclaiming that our beliefs are really not that important to us.  Either our lives are calling attention to the hope we have in the gospel or they are calling attention to something else that is more important to us.  Thus, the lives we lead as believers in Christ will either validate or invalidate the gospel we share with others.

Granted, no one is perfect and this is not a call to pretend like we are in front of a watching world (which in itself would be an invalidation of the gospel).  Rather, we must see the importance of demonstrating the Christian life to others by how we think and act.  We must show them that the message we proclaim has impacted every area of our life.  Consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 2:14-17.  Are our lives the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing?  To believe in Christ is to constantly be conforming to His image.  As we go to share the gospel with others, they need to see such conformity in our lives.  Although much could be said on living the Christian life, I want to simply focus tonight on how the four different headings that we have identified as the message of the gospel should be impacting our daily lives.

II.  Applying the Four Headings to our Thoughts and Lives

 A.  God and Creation:  We should be a people who see everything in life as created by God (Genesis 1-2).  We should value all humanity as created in the image of God.  Many people have called our current culture the culture of death.  Lack of hope, lack of meaning, lack of purpose, hangs over the present culture like threatening thunder clouds.  People have seemingly lost any value for life.  Yet, not so with the Christian.  The Christian believes that God spoke everything into existence.  The Christian believes that everything, and every life, has meaning and purpose.  The Christian believes in the intrinsic value of human life.  In short, the Christian believes in a Creator, and this belief has implications for his or her life.

 Of course, these implications can take different forms in our lives.  For example, we should speak out against abortion and other forms of murder.  We should stand up for the helpless and fight to provide them the basic necessities of life.  We should involve ourselves in the political process by voting and supporting those who value life.  Yet, there is more than just casting a vote or carrying a picket sign.  We should value life in our day to day living.  We should be thankful for the beauty of creation and enjoy it in such a way that brings honor to the Creator.  We should see hope and beauty when others are tempted to only see drab and vanity.  I am not saying that we are called to be environmentalists or ‘tree-huggers’ or people who never struggle with the difficulties of life.  No, I am saying that above all of it, we need to be a people with hope, hope in life and even hope in death.  We should live in such a way that the on-looking world can tell that we believe in a Creator who is both good and right.

 B.  Man and the Fall:  We believe that men who are outside of Christ are under the control of the Evil one.  He has blinded their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4), to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God.  Thus, we do not need to expect lost people to act like Christians.  We do not need to be surprised and shocked at their rebellion, although at times it can be discouraging.  Rather, we need to be honest with them about their need for a Savior.  We do not need to try and simply fix symptoms of the problem while never addressing that they have sinned against a holy God.  Lost people do not primarily need good marital advice or financial advice or parenting advice.  No, the primary need of every lost person is first and foremost the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We need to keep this clear in how we react and respond to them in our lives.  We do not need to sit around and wait for the world to get right without God.  Rather, we need to point people to the only true solution to the world’s problem: Jesus Christ.
 Let me quote a story at length from Donald Whitney to illustrate what I mean:

I heard a story of a man who became a Christian during and evenagelistic emphasis in a city in the Pacific Northwest.  When he told his boss about it, his employer responded with, “That’s great!  I am a Christian and have been praying for you for years!”

But the new believer was crestfallen.  “Why didn’t you ever tell me?” he asked.  “You were the very reason I have not been interested in the gospel all these years.”

“How can that be?” the boss wondered.  “I have done my very best to live the Christian life around you.”

“That’s the point,” exclaimed the employee.  “You lived such a model life without telling me that it was Christ who made the difference, I convinced myself that if you could live such a good and happy life without Christ, then I could too.” 1

We have to make it clear to people that without Christ we are hopeless and so are they, so as to point them to their need for a Savior.

 C.  Christ and Redemption:  We believe that Christ is the only hope for reconciliation to God.  If that is true, then He should be our greatest treasure in life.  There should be no one or no thing that we value more than Him.  Bringing glory to Him should be our driving motivation in all of life, including work, family, and recreation.  Yet, when people think of us, do our actions tell them loudly that Christ is our treasure?  If a person was allowed to walk through a singly day in our lives with us, then would they conclude by our attitudes and actions that we value Christ over everything?

 One of the easiest ways to test what you value is through suffering.  In other words, what are you willing to endure for Christ?  Are you willing to be obedient to Christ even it means missing out on a promotion, spending more time at home and less on the golf course, giving your retirement to full-time ministry?  If the Lord calls us to endure horrible suffering in our life, then He is offering us an incredible opportunity to say to the world that Christ is our treasure.  Is your life bearing witness to the fact that Christ is your treasure?

 D.  Response and New Creation:  The obedience of the Christian should reflect the fact that through faith in Christ we have become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Thus, our obedience to God and our labor to be holy in our living should demonstrate our belief in the gospel message.  Likewise, our involvement at the local Church level should clearly reflect the priorities in our life.  We will have a tough time getting someone to come to Church with us if we ourselves rarely go.  Yet, if people see that Church involvement is a priority in our life, then they may be curious to know why.

III.  Conclusion:

 It is important for us to realize that the way we live can either help or hinder our proclamation of the gospel.  We cannot claim to believe a message that we obviously deny with our living.  The old adage is still true: you must practice what you preach.  Yet, as we have said from the beginning, good practice never means that we are excused from preaching.  No, we must speak the gospel and we must use words.  Rather, the way in which we live (our practice) will validate the message that we speak and open doors for more and more opportunities to speak of the hope we have in Christ. 

1 Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress Publishing Group, 1991), 111

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 May 2006 )

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