02 04 01 19-37 - Bridging the Gap
Bridging the Gap: Being an Effective Witness
· @ I’ve helped coach the soccer team this season
o Monday and Wednesday training – I run practice from 4:30-5:15
o I assess the Saturday games to see where improvement is needed
o We work to develop skills
§ Basic ones – dribbling—passing—kicking
§ Advanced ones – throw ins –heading – tackling
o The more of these skills they have, the more effective they are
§ They have to learn and be identified by these skills
· someone asked why God doesn’t take us to heaven when we get saved
o The answer –here to glorify God by evangelizing and discipling
o We are to bring people to Christ and train them to do the same
o To be effective— skills & areas of knowledge we must possess
· John the Baptist exemplifies many of these traits
I. Know Who You Are (19-28)
A. Able to Stand Up to Challenges
1. Religious leaders tried to intimidate John
a. Priests – theological authorities in Israel
b. Levites – priests’ assistants (temple police)
c. Pharisees – people’s religious leaders (legalists)
a. People will try to intimidate you
(1) “Christians are stupid”—“That’s too private to talk about”
(2) “What makes you better than me?”—“That’s your opinion”
b. When you stand with the truth of God’s Word – you can stand
(1) God cannot lie
(2) The Bible is God’s Word –therefore, the Bible is truth
(3) Even if people reject it, the truth is still the truth
(a) 2 Timothy 2:13 - If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
B. God’s Spokesman
1. Leaders asked John a series of questions as to who he was
(1) V. 20 – 4 ways of denying that he was the Messiah
(a) He confessed—And did not deny (the confession)
(b) But confessed—I myself am absolutely not the Messiah
(1) Mistaken Identity
(a) Malachi 3:1 - Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me.
(b) Malachi 4:5 - Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
i. Jews expected Elijah to return just before the Messiah set up His kingdom
ii. John Looked and sounded like Elijah
(2) Response——“I am not”
(1) Deut 18 — prophet would come and speak the Word of God
(a) This prophecy was really about Jesus
(2) So the answer was, “No.”
d. Elijah!—Jesus later said about John:
(1) Matthew 17:10-13 - 10And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. 12But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished....” 13Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
(2) John was not Elijah as the Jews thought, but was like Elijah
(a) Luke 1:17 – [angel to John’s father] - He [John] will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah
(3) John “knew” who he wasn’t, Christ saw him more clearly
a. “No man is what he is in his own eyes. He really is only as he is known to God.” [Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, NICNT, 135.]
b. We must know who we are in God’s eyes
(1) 53 identities of who we are
(a) Everyone of them are positive
(b) Everyone should give us confidence, boldness
c. You may think you are a nobody
(1) But God sees you as someone special
(2) God has given you a special message to share
C. Humble yet Important Messenger
1. John—“Who are you, then?!?!?”
a. The voice of one crying in the wilderness
(1) No one important – just a voice
b. Make straight the way of the Lord
(1) But I have a vital message – prepare for the Messiah
c. OT quote
(1) He realized his biblical role— He was called by God
a. Be Humble
(1) Our identity is not based on who we are, but Whose we are
(2) When we are speaking for the Lord – we are doing THAT!
(3) If we are concerned about how people might respond to us, we are putting ourselves too much into the picture
(a) Remember – their need is greater than your fear
(4) Stay humble and you will be much more effective
b. Remember the Message
(1) Is there any more important message we can share than this?
(2) Make sure you share the whole thing
(a) “God loves you and so do I” may sound nice, but it isn’t the whole picture
(b) “Be prepared to meet the Lord”
i. Commit your life to Christ
· Repent of sin—Put complete trust in Christ
c. Your ministry is a Biblical call on your life
(1) Romans 10:14-15 - 14But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (NLT)
(2) Witnessing is not just a nice thing to do
(3) It is part of why God has left you here on earth!
(4) There are some who are gifted in this area
(a) But all are called by God to share the message!
i. Verbal witness – sharing your testimony – giving tracts – inviting to a church service or activity
II. Know Whom You Serve (29-34)
A. Jesus Deals with Our Sin Problem (29a)
a. The Lamb of God
(1) All through Israel’s history, they knew of blood sacrifices
(a) Only through an acceptable sacrifice could there be forgiveness
b. Just to make sure – takes away the sin
(1) Jesus was not there to remove Roman power and provide peace for Israel with their physical enemies
(2) Jesus was there to provide peace with God through his death
a. Too many are telling people that coming to Jesus gives you stuff
(1) You want money? Health? Power? Ease of Life?
b. Jesus did not come to make people comfortable
(1) Matthew 10:16-18, 21-22 - 16“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves... 17But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.... 21“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. (NLT)
c. Introducing people to Christ is about dealing with sin
B. Jesus Is for Everyone (29b)
a. Sin of the WORLD—A word that refers to all kinds of people
a. Jesus died for the world – all kinds of people
b. Races – nationalities – ethnic groups
(1) Wealthy/ poor——Healthy/sick—Citizens/criminals
(a) We cannot pick and choose – we speak to those whom God says
c. It’s great that you are saved...but who do you know that needs this as well?
(1) “I wouldn’t want them in this church.”
(2) Behold the Lamb of God....!
C. Jesus is Eternal (30)
a. He has existed before me
b. Therefore He is all powerful and all knowing
a. Jesus gives you what you need to be a faithful witness
(a) Matthew 10:19-20 – 19 ...don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (NLT)
D. Jesus Is Revealed by God (31-33)
a. Even though he was the cousin of Jesus...he didn’t realize Jesus was the Messiah until God revealed this to Him
a. It is not YOUR job to convince people of the truth
b. It is your job to faithfully and clearly present the truth
c. The Holy Spirit does the conviction
(1) Don’t try to play the Holy Spirit in people’s lives
(2) Don’t get discouraged because you don’t see results
(3) Make sure you are doing YOUR part!
E. Jesus Can be Known Personally (34a)
a. John knew Jesus because of
(1) Revelation – God’s Word to him
(2) Experience – He had seen the truth personally about Christ
a. You have to know the Biblical truth about Jesus
b. You also have to know the personal truth about Jesus
(1) What has He done in your life?
(2) @ Last Sunday night – Our Lord is supernaturally powerful!
(a) How have you experienced that truth in your life?
(b) “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” [William Carey]
(3) It’s one thing to tell about a historical figure named Jesus.
(a) It’s another thing to talk of Jesus, the One who has changed your life and daily reveals Himself to you
F. Jesus Is the Only Son of God (34)
a. No doubt that Jesus was the fulfilment of prophecy
a. Is there any doubt in your mind that Jesus is the only way to
(1) have sin forgiven
(2) be right with God
(3) to have an eternal home with the Lord?
b. By believing the Word of God about this – it gives us motivation to go outside of our comfort zone
III. Know What You Do (35-37)
1. Had a following
2. When he saw the Lord – he directed them to follow Christ!
3. They left him and followed Christ
1. It is not our job to build this church!
2. It is not our job to have people depend on us
3. It is our job to introduce people to Christ so they can receive Him
a. If they stay at CBF to grow and serve – great!
b. But if they end up at another Bible-believing church – great!
4. If we’re asking, “What’s in it for us?” Then we’re asking wrong
a. @ A guy I worked with for a while in ministry: visitor would show up – his assessment – “They don’t have much to offer.”
b. God forbid that we should see our work as building us up!
c. Our work is to build Christ up!
· @ The first part of our soccer season we won our division
o Because the kids learnt the traits, they were moved up a division
o More difficult games now – having to continuously grow
· Two questions:
o Do you have these evangelism traits in your life?
§ Do you have a biblical understanding
· of who you are
· of who Christ is
· what your work is
o Are you growing and developing in these areas?
· The Lord has a job for us to do – let’s join Him in that work!