Faithlife Sermons

Word of Mouth Marketing

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Introduction:

  1. Andy Sernovitz writes that "Advertising is the price of being boring. If your customers won't talk about your stuff, you have to pay the newspapers and TV shows to let you do it yourself."
  2. Sernovitz's comment has been endlessly fascinating to me, and it has caused me to ask if what I want to share with people is interesting or if it something that has to be artificially promoted.
    • I'm not advocating novelty for the sake of novelty. Oprah is what you get if that is your goal.
    • However, I do think I have to ask if my message offers anything unique from the world's message.
    • What reason does anyone have to consider what I offer to be useful and worth listening to?

I. The Biblical Message Was Unique.

  1. When Jesus healed a demon possessed man, Mark said the crowd was amazed [and said] "A new teaching--with authority!" Mark 1:27.
  2. After healing a mute man, the crowd responded, "Never has anything like this been seen in Israel." Matthew 9:33.
  3. Luke said the people who heard Jesus teach, "were spellbound by what they heard." Luke 19:48.
  4. And the Sermon on the Mount ends up with this commentary. "when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." Matthew 7:29.
  5. Even Paul encountered similar responses. The Epicurean and Stoic philosophers "took him and brought him to the Areopagus and asked him, 'May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means.'" Acts 17:16-22.
  6. The part of the power of what we believe is its ability to stand in contrast to the popular (and ineffective) thought. The reason the religious authorities wanted to kill him was because of the difference they saw in his message.
  7. It is important to have faith in the power of what we declare. The Hebrew writer said, "...the word of God is living and active..." Hebrews 4:12.

II. Quit talking.

  1. Everyone knows that the way you stop a movement is by silencing its spokesmen.
    • China knows this. Remember the Tienamen Square events?
    • Korea is even worse.
    • Myanmar drastically restricted help givers after the typhoon.
  2. The disciples were told repeated to "quit talking."
    • In Acts 4, after the healing of the crippled man, Peter and John were told, "Don't speak or teach in the name of Jesus."
    • Jeremiah also knew the power of talking. "And appalling...thing has happened," he said. "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule as the prophets direct."
    • The king Jehoiakim took a knife and cut up the scroll of Jeremiah and burned it in a brazier. Jeremiah 36:20-26.
  3. Jonah had a reverse perspective. He fled from God because he knew the power of God's declared word. He knew people would change as a result.

III. They didn't give up.

  1. If you measured the success of what the disciples were doing by the newspaper, they weren't doing so well.
    • They angered the religious authorities.
    • They suffered indignity as a result of their teaching.
  2. Even Gamaliel, Acts 5:34, knew the inherent power of something that comes from God. He basically said, "You can't stop this if it is from God, and if it's not from God it will fail."
  3. Luke said that the disciples "...considered it an honor to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name of Jesus..." Acts 5:41. They would have not felt such honor suffering for something bogus.

Conclusion:

  1. Andy Sernovitz says that "advertising is the price of being boring."
  2. The message of the cross is simply the most interesting, compelling, and effective thing we can say to the world today.
  3. Within it are the solutions to war, infidelity, loneliness, hunger, racial strife, etc. Anything less than it is doomed to fail as we see every day.
  4. Word of mouth marketing, in the spiritual/Godly sense, is a power antedote to our modern ills. But we must be willing to say it.
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