2008-08-26_The Need of Our Day - RCCG Wichita_SL
The Needs of Our Day
Topic: Evangelism | Shaun LePage | August 26, 2008 – Redeemed Christian Church of God, Wichita, KS
A. Thank you for welcome; My pleasure/honor to be here; The Redeemed Christian Church of God has exciting/honorable history—I am glad to be with you today for Youth Week.
B. In some ways, we live in the best of times—comfort, technology, information, travel—Olympics “live” on other side of planet, travel to Africa in a day or two—a trip that used to take months; abundance of food, clean water; but as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission in our day and in this culture, these are difficult times—very great needs.
II. Body—4 Great Needs of Our Day in relation to Great Commission
A. Prayer for an impossible task
1. John 15:5—nothing eternal; we need God to intervene! Mt 19:26 “with God all things are possible; Only He can provide laborers (Mt 9:36-38—from compassion!), Col 4:3—opportunity “open up a door”, 2 Thess 3:1—“word of the Lord…spread rapidly”; 1 Tim 2:1-4—“all men…kings…authority…desires all to be saved” save the lost!
2. Andrew Murray said at World Missionary Conference in 1910, “We shall need three times more men, four times more money, and seven times more prayer.”
3. Before we talk to people about God, we must talk to God about people. All the time and money and sweat spent in evangelism training, organizing outreach events, studying latest methods of evangelism, going to conferences is wasted if we don’t pray.
B. Clarity for a confused church—We have “good news”—what exactly is it?
1. Church of America confused: Much is weak: “You can wear jeans and have fun!”; Much is dangerous/false gospel: More than 1 highly visible preacher (claiming to be evangelical): “no literal hell”; another emerging movement wants to “rethink Christianity”—they say: let’s talk about “restoring relationship with God,” but stop talking about “salvation from God’s judgment”; others responding by adding requirements to the gospel—free gift of the grace of God; confusing and unclear! Recent outreach event—pastor’s “good news” was vague, “touch from God”—what was he inviting us to do? Would an unbeliever understand that?
2. Message for the world? Christ went to the cross for it; apostles martyred over it; Paul: “Guard what has been entrusted to you!” like a soldier on guard duty! How? We must be clear—know it and communicate it clearly: 1) “gospel” (good news) is broad, multi-level message—God offers peace, purpose, fulfillment, joy; good news is that we can know Him and put off sin and put on righteousness, etc. for believers; but for unbelievers (pre-believers/unsaved) “gospel” is much more simple and specific: 1 Cor 15, Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead—Why? So that we could be “saved” from eternal separation from God and receive eternal life with God; response required is to believe (trust; John 98X; KAT)—a free gift! (Rom 6:23; Eph 2:8-9); cannot have a relationship with God without first trusting Christ alone for salvation—only then peace, purpose, fulfillment, etc.; Death and resurrection of Christ removed barriers b/w Holy God, sinful men—good news!
3. Illus: Parachute make flight more comfortable? No! Save your life? Yes! Be clear!
C. Boldness for a hostile world
1. No longer post-Christian but anti-Christian; Golden Compass—first in trilogy anti-Christian, anti-God; author Philip Pullman 2003 interview “My books are about killing God”! Boycotting McDonalds? Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce—actively promoting homosexuality; must be bold missionaries in a hostile world!
2. Peter at Pentecost (Ac 2) and Paul Acts 26:1-29—that’s boldness!
3. Not lack of fear—letting boldness win over fear; You’re on a mission from God, sharing God’s message, with God’s authority!
4. Boldness does not mean be obnoxious, loud and mean: Mt 10:16; 2 Tim 4:2; 1 Pet 3:15
5. Pray for boldness and be bold! (Ac 4:29-31; 13)
D. Unity for a damaged witness
1. Perhaps greatest evangelistic tool? John 13:35— Love for one another; many voices calling for unity, but what is it? Not sameness (husband/wife have unity, enjoy differences), but unity of purpose—primary purpose: Great Commission!
2. How do we get true, Biblical unity? Jn 17:15-23 (Set apart by truth—word; us v.20; “that they may all be one”; unity of mind, purpose like Trinity, why “oneness”? that the world may “believe”). We cannot have unity with those who deny God’s Word (truth)—but we can and must have unity with those who believe it (even if we don’t agree on every detail of doctrine).
3. Different is okay/good! Division among true believers (those set apart by the truth of God’s Word) is result of carnality (flesh; sin) acc. to 1 Cor; too often as the world has looked on—as they have visited our churches and heard about our marriages and read our books—they have witnessed a church full of divisions and strife. Not love.
4. You and I have different histories, cultures—those differences are real (should be enjoyed and celebrated); but our commonalities far outweigh our differences: common ancestors (Adam & Eve); Ken Ham (AIG) “we all have the same coloring pigment in our skin: melanin (I have very little)…we are literally different shades of one color; common problem (sin) and common solution; common authority—the Bible—which gives us common standards of right and wrong for individuals, families, churches and societies; Eph 4: one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all; common values: we value prayer, worship, Bible study, community, spiritual maturity, stewardship, servanthood; common message that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead; common future—someday in the presence of Christ, reign with Him and enjoy His righteous rule forever; in the meantime—common mission: the Great Commission—to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded. Our differences shrink back in insignificance compared to what we—as brothers and sisters in Christ—have in common.
5. Brothers and sisters: We have opportunity in this day to renew our witness! By this the world will know that we are followers of Jesus: by our love for one another! For the cause of Christ and the sake of a lost and dying world, let us be united in love for one another! Do you have anger in your heart from a brother? Has your relationship with a sister been damaged? Has a brother or sister hurt you and you have allowed it to cause division between you? Let love rule in your hearts. Let love wash away the division and strife. Forgive one another as God in Christ has forgiven you.
1. Will you pray that God will do His impossible things in and through us?
2. Will you wipe away the confusion taking the clear and simple and free message of God’s grace to the world?
3. Will you be a bold missionary a hostile world—letting compassion be your motive?
4. Will you be united in your love for one another so that the world may know that we are His disciples?