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Sharing the Gospel

I want to do something a little different this evening.  For the last several weeks Brother William has taken us step by step through the basic content of the gospel.  He’s talked about some of the questions and objections we might encounter, and how to answer those.  Last week he addressed some of the obstacles we face, and closed with a challenge.  He basically told us that it was time for us to do more than just talk about sharing the gospel.  This was his challenge.  I copied his exact words from the website:

I challenge you, before you leave tonight, make a plan to share the gospel with someone in the next week and ask someone to hold you accountable to that plan.  We must be intentional or the distractions will continue to be an obstacle for us sharing the gospel with others.

Tonight I want to try to encourage some open and honest discussion about how we did.  I talked a little bit this morning about the importance of community.  I firmly believe we need each other, and I know we can help each other.  Tonight I want to look at just two ways the Bible says we can do that:

James 5:16 – “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  We’ve got to get honest with each other about our failures to share the gospel, and pray for each other.

Heb. 10:24-25 – “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Every one of us has a responsibility to devote a significant amount of time thinking about ways to help each other share the gospel, and also to never stop meeting together for encouragement.

Hopefully, we can begin to help each other in both of those ways tonight, but I want to emphasize that these are both things we need to do for each other all week long, not just on Sundays.

When it comes to Brother William’s challenge last week, all of us here will fall into one of three general categories:

1. We didn’t even take up the challenge.
2. We took up the challenge, but didn’t follow through with some part of it.
3. We took up the challenge, and shared the gospel with someone this week.

How many of you were in the first group?  You decided last week not to accept the challenge.  What were your reasons?  If you believe that you need to share the gospel, what can we as a church, or even I as your brother do to help you this next week?

How many of you were in the second group?  You had good intentions but you didn’t follow through.  What obstacles did you encounter?

How many of you were in the third group?  Would any of you mind sharing your experience with the church?

(Considerable discussion ensued, and the following thoughts were mostly omitted from the message.)

I want to close with this thought.  I think all the obstacles we encounter have a common root:  Unbelief.

How would you define unbelief?  I would say it’s a failure to rely on God’s promises.  We just don’t rely on God’s promises to be with us and help us.  Read Acts, chapters 4 and 5, if you want to see real faith in action.  When I look at the early church, I’m ashamed of myself.  They were repeatedly arrested and threatened and beaten for preaching about Jesus, but it didn’t even slow them down.  They would pray for boldness, be filled with the Spirit, and go right back at it, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for His name’s sake.  They gladly risked everything, including their lives, to share the gospel.  By comparison, our faith in God's promises and our witness leaves a lot to be desired.

Quickly, I want to list some Biblical ways to combat unbelief:

1. Saturate your mind with the Word of God, since, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
2. Pray like the man who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24).
3. Pursue holiness.  “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”  (Proverbs 28:1).  We saw this morning some reasons why it’s important to pursue holiness.  Here’s another one.  A guilty conscience undermines our confidence.
4. Be deeply committed to each other: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3. 12-13).  In this passage, exhorting one another every day is a powerful weapon against unbelief.
5. Take risks.  Be a fool for Christ.  Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10.28)

We’re all in this together.  We need each other.  Let’s close by praying for each other.

~ Barry Wallace ~

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 June 2006 )

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