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AM20050918 Why weren't you hear sooner

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Why didn’t you come sooner?                                                        4/19/2007 AM

Written by: Luke Harris

Scripture: Matthew 9:35-38

What is the goal of this sermon?                                                                                                   

To show the congregation the importance of leaving our pews and physically impacting people’s lives.  To be the workers Jesus called us to be.

What truth or action do you want to communicate?

Get the congregation involved in lifestyle evangelism.  To turn every opportunity they have into a chance to witness for Christ.

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Hook:  Today I want us to realize that if Jesus has called us into a relationship with him then we are to respond with obedience and part of that obedience is to the call to be spread the Gospel.  I cannot think of any better news for a person but too often our reluctance and disobedience to share Christ hinders us from being a part of God’s will.  Let’s learn today how to change that, how to live a Christ-centered life in our witness to the world. 

Opening Illustration:  Jim Harless is a Southern Baptist missionary to Barranquilla, Colombia.  He is church planting on the Northern Coast of Colombia.  He tells the story of an elderly lady that he had the opportunity of leading to Christ. When she gave her heart to the Lord she was thrilled.  She asked Jim how long he had been in Colombia. He told her that he had been there for more than thirty years.  She then asked him, “Why didn’t you come sooner?” Restless hearts around us wait, like the Ethiopian, for someone to explain the Gospel to them.

Lifestyle evangelism comes from people seeing in our lives what is going on in our hearts.  Did you know your heart does not lie.  Jesus said out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart.  That should wake us up.  What do you do and what do you say when you leave this church?  When people besides your church family see you what do they say about you and what you believe?

In our Scripture today Jesus gave us a command, not a suggestion, to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.  I want you to see that this was not a blind request.  Jesus knew exactly what he was asking, and he knew we were completely capable of handling this task.  In fact, he modeled our approach before sending the disciples out.

I. Jesus model of evangelism

      A. All the towns (there was no place that Jesus would not go) (Galilean ministry was far from the religious center of the world.  Jesus made it a point to go to the people

      B. Teaching in the synagogues

      C. preaching the good news

      D. Healing sickness and disease.

Jesus went into peoples lives and once there he taught them about God’s Kingdom, he preached to them about the good news of Jesus and how he alone would save them, and he ministered to them.

This three-fold ministry should be our approach to lifestyle evangelism. 

Notice something here:  It takes all three to effectively evangelize people

* Preaching only will fill only the major points of God’s message to people.  It is inherently one-sided.  With preaching alone a person will hear the Word of God but may be left no knowing how to apply it to his/her daily life.

* Teaching alone can shortchange you.  It leads to a discussion of the details of God’s word but it misses out on the powerful proclamation of the great subjects of the Bible.  Teaching alone shortchanges a person’s worship experience and blocks the Holy Spirit’s working through preaching.

* Healing alone leads to an emphasis on the needs of the body and a deemphasis on the needs of the Spirit

      Matt 9:1-2. Jesus showed the importance of spiritual healing over physical healing

* Any of these alone has a potential danger, but the three of them combined defines what our lives should be about.  preaching, teaching, and healing. 

It’s not about evangelism systems.  I’ve spent a lot of time looking for the perfect evangelism system, and then I realized, that’s not what it’s about, it’s about living the way Jesus lived. 

Illustration: Becky Pippert shares in her book Out of the Salt Shaker a story about her and a young college student named Bob.  They were doing some ministry work and they engaged some religious skeptics and began talking about all sorts of things, and eventually the conversation led to spiritual matters.

         After their conversation with the skeptics Becky sensed something was wrong with Bob, when she asked about it, Bob replied, “I though it was an absolute failure.  There are four major points to the gospel and you only brought in two of them, and they weren’t even in the right order!”

         Becky replied, “what were the names of the individuals we spoke to?”  to which Bob replied, “I don’t know, but what in the world difference does that make?”

He wanted to know the written formula for evangelism.  What script can I read that will win people to Christ?  Becky shows us something different, she said it’s getting to the know the people where they are in life that makes the difference. 

Christians and Non-Christians share the same hatred for gospel presentations don’t they?  Christians are reluctant to share and non-Christians are reluctant to listen, but what if you minister to a person’s life?  It’s called compassion.  Look at the next verse.

II) What Jesus saw in people

      A.  Jesus loved people and what he saw when he looked at a person is certainly not what we see is it?  But it should be.  This is probably a difficult truth for you but it’s there.  Jesus looked at lost people, not in disgust, not as an outsider, but he looked on them with compassion.  The greek word  there means to have one’s heart go out.  Does your heart go out to the lost, do you remember when you were lost in sin?  Compassion is what makes the difference. 

Our lives can be the most powerful evangelism experience anyone can encounter.

As I said before I want you to quit thinking with a Sunday mentality.  Think with a daily mentality.  I need to walk with Christ every day in every way, in every experience, conversation, relationship. 

Our lives will speak far more than our words, Jesus taught, preached, healed and had compassion.

The world of Jesus time was waiting to hear this beautiful news.  They were so excited when he came.  Likewise we need to realize people are still waiting for this message.  Like that lady in Columbia, “why didn’t you come sooner”                                                                                                                                           

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