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Are You Ready Always

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Are You Ready? Always?

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.     The word evangelism has a literal meaning of proclaiming the good news.

(1)         Good life (Mk. 7:37).

(2)         Good death.

(3)         Good result -  Just as He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we are assured of being raised from baptism to walk in newness of life.

(4)         Good news – Jn. 3:16-17.

2.     Good news… evangelism…  Why then does the idea mean bad news for so many.

(1)         For many non Christians they think it is nothing more than stringent critical condemnation and high pressure hypocrisy.  Bad News.

(2)         For many Christians, evangelism is something they think is someone else’s burden, some are cowardly, some even disinterested, and so they never engage.  Bad News!

(3)         We’ve probably all had the experience I’m sure, where we engage, but in the process communicate little good, if honest – showed little love.  Bad news!

3.     Illustration:  Film

(1)         Christ = good;  Christianity = bad.

(2)         In effect, another good news bad news sermon.

(3)         Consider the picture:

A.       Many of the world dislike Christianity, but in reality what they dislike = denominational Christianity.

B.       We dislike denominational Christianity [1]  Seeks to divide the body of Christ;  [2] Causes the world to dislike or have a negative view of Chrstiainity.

4.     Good news and bad news when it comes to evangelism.

(1)         Bad news = lots of lost folks don’t really want to hear from us, because of who they think we are (or perhaps because of how we’ve acted in past).

(2)         Good news = they want to have a high regard for Jesus Christ.

5.     There are great examples of evangelistic thinking in this congregation, but deep down most if not all know that we are not doing all that we could when it comes to evangelism, and we are know that the Lord knows what we can do and what we are doing.

6.     Read 1 Peter 3:13-17

7.     Regarding Text:  Only the person who believes and trust wholly in his/her cause has assurance of accomplishing it.  Only the person who believes and trusts in God’s ability to compliment his / her abilities will have strength amidst the fears, uncertainties, and troubles.

(1)         Life is good/great, but there are times when it is not easy.  Goes for everyone.

(2)         Difficult to follow Christ according to truth, when our culture has little respect for followers of Christ, and the denominational world muddies the water even more with their disrespect towards our desire/effort to be authentic in our doctrine and deeds.

(3)         Christians of Peter’s day were not without difficulty / disliked by culture.

8.     I don’t think that we can be followers of God’s Holy word, and go into all the world like a bull in a china shop, not caring what we leave in our wake resulting from what we say and do.

9.     But at some point, I have to be more concerned about what God thinks about me than I am concerned what the world thinks about me.

(1)         If this is my attitude I will live for Christ, and likely draw some criticism and trouble.

(2)         BUT, in the process, I will draw nearer to God, AND I will draw some to Christ.

DISCUSSION: I Am Obligated To --

I.         React To Reality (Sanctify).

1.      For starters – Jesus is Lord!

(1)           Been inconsistent is what we say.  “Make Jesus the Lord of your life.”

(2)           Doesn’t matter what you do.  Jesus is the Lord of your life, regardless.

(3)           Christian or not… believe in Christ or not… Jesus is Lord!

(4)           Peter says, “Now carve out a spot in your heart and set Him there.”

A.          Amidst your possessions.

B.          Top of your priorities.

C.         Set aside the “pride of life” and humbly follow Jesus.

2.      You have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back…

3.      World either denies by word or deed.

(1)           Some will say, “Jesus is not real.”  “Jesus is not Lord.”

(2)           Some claim He is Lord, but they deny Him by their deeds (denomin) – Mt. 7:21.

II.      Be Incisive During Inquiry.

1.      The gospel is God’s power to save, but you are a light enabling it to be seen.

2.      Be ready to give an answer

3.      We know they are watching.  We also know that if they see authentic Christianity, it will at some point register.

(1)           We are people with true hope.

(2)           We are a people who love the right things and in the right way.

(3)           We are people anchored in life, and our anchor is in heaven – sure and steadfast.

4.      You do not have to go to China on a “mission trip” in order to be “evangelistic.”  You just have to go where you go, and go in a way people will know that you have something they don’t.

5.      Christ did not organize His church to have priests to whom we have to look for our answers and spiritual guidance, or to make our defense.

(1)           Bible is all you need for life and godliness. (2 Pet 1:3).

(2)           Every Christian must work out his/her own salvation (Phi. 2:12).

(3)           Every Christian is a member of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood  (1 Pet. 2:9)

6.      I believe passages like Rom. 10:10; and Mt. 10:32 apply.

III.   Be Respectful With My Response (v. 15).

1.      I don’t know exactly why it happens, but I’ll admit it happens (not as much as when I first became a Christian), that I can move into a position of disrespectful condemnation, sarcasm, or patronization.

(1)           As if “I” have to settle all the religious divisions / misunderstandings right now.

(2)           As if I must change this person in the next 10 seconds, where in reality it’s taken them 20 years to get where they are at.

(3)           As if I am the source of settling all religious questions.  Reality = the Bible will settle it!  BUT, we will not always agree as to the answer, so we best study, study, study.

2.      I definitely want to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3) and I want to “abide in the doctrine of Christ” (2 Jn. 9-11), BUT, I also want to do so with meekness, gentleness, and patience (2 Tim 2:24; 4:2)

3.      When we let pride get the best of us, we end up trying to argue or intimidate people into the kingdom.  If not careful and balanced we will have people reacting in the way the people of the video reacted.

4.      There was a day / culture when arguing the Scripture was commonplace and even in our day, there are settings where it would be accepted, but in general, our culture does not avail itself to arguing someone into the kingdom.

IV.    Keep My Conscience Clean (v. 16).

1.      I can’t avoid evangelism, and neither can I behave in a way during my evangelism that causes people to say bad things about me or the church.  Instead I must evangelize to the best of my ability when and where I can, and do so in a way that if people do say things about me or do things to me…

2.      Easiest way to a clear conscience = penitent contrite life and close contact to God and the Scriptures of God .

CONCLUSION:

1.     Our culture is prone to think more highly of Christ than they do Christians. 

2.     That really is good news and not bad news, since we do not want to be confused or associated with the world thinks by and large of Christianity.

3.     Our culture is not calling out loud for the Gospel of Christ, but neither are they without any interest… Interest in Jesus.

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