Daily Spirit & Word: 693: The JOY of Sharing Good News.
What happens when a young woman comes out to learn how to share the Gospel?
“BE ACTIVE IN SHARING YOUR FAITH”
Good morning my friends, it’s been such an amazing experience over the last few days, being a Grandfather to NINE and there’s still another one on the way as Laura (Joe’s wife) is pregnant with her No 4 as well. What’s also been wonderful is how many people “like” baby pictures and especially new babies. My Facebook pages has been going loopy 🙂 Praise the Lord for that obvious joy.
However, when someone becomes a Brand Newborn Babe in Christ, do we LIKE it just as much? We should be even more OVERJOYED, because that baby won’t just last for a few years here on Earth, but for all eternity in God’s Kingdom Family. A Christian is destined to LIVE forever, now that should make all of us stand up and shout for JOY to the Lord. Also, do you get EXCITED at the prospect of sharing your faith in Jesus with other folks? You should, because when you do God’s promises are mindblowingly awesome! 😛
Last night a small group of us, five in all, went out on a freezing cold February night to share the Good News of Jesus with folks on the streets of West Norwood in London.
I was teamed up with Gemma, a West African woman who’s just finished University. She’d come to me on Sunday at the end of worship and said, “When you were preaching about going and sharing the Good News, and you said “Sharing is Caring” I was on fire, I have so wanted to learn how to share the Gospel with my friends and colleagues”… I said, “Gemma, why don’t you come out with us on Wednesday and learn how to do it like Jesus did?”… She said she’d been frustrated in her attempts at winning folks for Jesus in the past, but wanted to learn. Well, last night Gemma turned up and came out with me. It was not long before Gemma was giving out tracts (£1,000,000 pound notes), sharing how own faith in Jesus and even praying for people on the streets.
But Gemma didn’t come to learn to give out tracts, but to engage people with the Good News of Jesus, it was not long before she experienced that, because two minutes out on our walk we met a man called Aaron. Aaron’s father was a Preacher and Leader in his church, his father had run Alpha Courses and Aaron had attended St Luke’s Primary School, a “Christian” school. However, it was soon obvious that Aaron had not come to fully understand the Gospel. I checked to see what Aaron actually believed, but it was the way that we got chatting that Gemma later said she loved. I said to Aaron, “You look like a good man, did you get your £1,000,000?” He responded with, “Why do you call me good?” Immediately, I remembered Jesus asking a man that very question, “Why do you call me good, there’s none good but God alone”… (That account is recorded in two of our Gospels: Mark 10:17-27 and Matthew 19 16-22. See below)
Aaron had a wonderful privileged upbringing, but he’d rejected the Christian faith and it’s claims, because he had not EXPERIENCED anything and didn’t know if God was real. He had also reached the conclusion that he never could discover God. I don’t know about you, but when I hear a young man, an honest young man, express his doubts so openly like that, it makes me very sad and a bit angry too. Why don’t we preach the Gospel more clearly in our churches? Why are we so busy in church being religious, having fun, being culturally relevant when there are sincere young men like Aaron headed for hell?
What also became obvious to me was, that the LORD was not finished with Aaron yet. Just a few days before he bumped into Gemma and I, he’d had a similar meeting with another Evangelist from our Church. How many times have you had someone come up to you and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you? I can count them on one hand, but Aaron had two people come and share about Jesus with him.
After reasoning with Aaron for a while about life after death, God’s reality, etc… I asked Gemma to share her own experience of how she knew that God was real, alive and knowable. As she was telling Aaron, I was watching him, and I knew what his response would be even before he opened up his mouth, “That’s nice for you, but I’ve not had that experience yet”… “I’m happy for you both, because you seem to have found God, but He’s not real to me”… It really is so sad when someone so young believes so strongly that God cannot be known.
Matthew 19:16-25 (NIV) The Rich Young Ruler.
16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” the man enquired. Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19 honour your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’ ”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Notes: The Disciples had come to realise that EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE SAVED verse 25. How did they arrive at that conclusion? They’d witnessed Jesus, time and time again brining up the LAW of God, the Ten Commandments, with folks as He chatted with them. They NEW that nobody had kept the whole LAW and were ready to be judged by God, that is why they said to Jesus, “Who then can be saved?”… Jesus answer was, “with man it is IMPOSSIBLE” i.e. no one, none, can SAVE themselves, because we’ve all become guilty of breaking God’s Commandments, (Romans 3:23) but with God all things are possible, i.e. God alone can SAVE mankind, as explained in that section of God’s letter to the young Roman Church:
Romans 3:21-28 (NIV) We’re Justified by FAITH through God’s GRACE: Not by living according to God’s LAW revealed in His Commandments.
21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished
26 —he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.
28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
However, those Commandments reveal our NEED of Salvation, as Jesus’ Disciples discovered above.
Mark’s Account of the Rich Young Ruller:
Mark 10:17-27 (NIV)
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No-one is good—except God alone.
19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.’ “
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
NOTES: Notice first, Jesus corrected the man’s understanding of ‘GOOD’, there’s none good, but God alone.
Notice second, Jesus revealed God’s Standard of Goodness and the entry requirement for the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven: Perfection. Unless a man or woman is perfect, i.e. they’ve kept God’s LAW revealed in His Commandments perfectly all their life, they cannot enter into His Kingdom. The Rich Young Ruler thought he’d kept the Commandments, but it was obvious he was not listening to Jesus, “There’s NONE GOOD but God alone”… i.e. If we take an honest look at God’s Commandments, we’ll conclude that we’ve broken most of them in our lifetime and are guilty Law Breakers in God’s sight.
Well, I’d love to share with you that Aaron was won over by our discussions, but at least he thanked us for stopping to chat with him. I asked if he had a Bible at home. He said, “My dad’s got at least four Bibles open on his desk every day”. I said, why don’t you go home, ask your dad for one of them and read it. Say to God, “I don’t know if you are real, but I’m ready to discover if You are, please speak to me through Your Word”… I do hope we bump into Aaron again. Please pray for this honest young man Aaron, who wanted to discover “Why do you call me good?”.
First Night Of Evangelism:
Gemma’s first night was a brilliant lesson in sharing the Good News of Jesus with folks the way that Jesus did. It was also an eye-opening experience of listening to the Lord as you go, because we also prayed for folks and chatted about God’s Kingdom, Heaven, Hell, Faith, Hope, Healing… We received “Words of Knowledge” you should see people’s faces when you speak God’s Word and their own situation in life lines up with what God is saying to them. The rest of the team came back and shared their experiences too. My friends, can I encourage you, if you don’t do it already, to keep sharing your faith in Jesus and lead others to the Saviour, because as Jesus own disciples discovered, everybody NEEDS to be SAVED, without Jesus they will die in their sins and end up in Hell, because God has declared He will give them His justice on the day of Judgement.
Here’s the TRUTH:
Here is WHO will NOT Enter God’s Kingdom: Anyone who’s broken God’s Commandments. We ALL NEED SALVATION.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV)
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Every single person needs to be: Washed, Sanctified and Justified through faith in Jesus Christ.
Also, like Gemma, Sherrie, Ben, Matthew and me last night, you’ll discover Kingdom Knowledge and you’ll experience more of what God’s got in store for you. Note below, the importance of not only loving the Saints as Philemon obviously did, but what will happen to him if he listens to Paul’s instruction when he shares his faith in Jesus.
Philemon 1:4-7 (NIV)
4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,
5 because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.
6 I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.
It’s obvious we should love the saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ, but it’s not so obvious the NEED for Christians to be actively sharing our faith in Jesus or the reasons why. When you share Jesus, your own understanding of all the good things you have in Jesus will grow, the more you share, the more you’re going to understand. How awesome is that? Philemon also highlights one of the major problems in our modern churches today, we’re really good at LOVING THE SAINTS but forgetting the importance of being active in sharing our faith. There’s so much good going on we’re missing the point of Jesus Commission and Call. It’s not to have a great time being ‘church’, but to win others for His Kingdom before He comes back again. We’re also great a doing ‘good’ in the community, hoping that people will be so impressed with our ‘goodness’ that they’ll want to discover more about Jesus. It doens’t work my friends, the church is getting exhausted serving the world, but the world is heading straight for hell, because we’re too busy doing ‘good’ to share the Good News of Jesus with them.
It is much harder to be ACTIVELY SHARING YOUR FAITH in Jesus with folks, than it is to be LOVING, gentle and kind. Yes we should be doing good and being loving, kind, generous, helpful and faithful, but it’s going to have far greater dividends in Eternity when you take steps of courage and determine in your heart that you are going to make the most of every opportunity to go out of your way to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, that’s what really counts for Jesus’ Kingdom and Eternity.
I could also write about the many other conversations we had last night; the second person we chatted with was also called Aaron, then a young woman who attended church all her life, but hadn’t received Jesus as Lord. A woman who used to come to church, who needed prayer. It’s just too much to write them all or share them all now… Praise the LORD! Pray for the people and don’t forget to BE ACTIVE IN SHARING YOUR FAITH.
Have a fantastic Thursday.