Where Does It Start?

January 15, 2005 John 13:17

I.  How would you answer the question: Where does it start?

Input:  How would YOU answer the question?

- the answer to this question really determines the direction of the whole series

  • If the answer is more pragmatic:  It starts with practical ways to share our faith . . .

>  then we run to the well of methodology and techniques (some may work, others don’t)

IMPORTANT:  Sometimes people/churches are not very smart or alert to good techniques/methods of reaching people!

- the mentality is: “We’ve always done it this way!”

- So, they don’t change as the culture changes, so they keep doing the same thing all the time without asking the question, “What’s most effective way to reach out to people?”

Example: In the first century, they didn’t have basketball and baseball, computer games, sports clubs with workout machines

- but we can be culturally sensitive and try to use these opportunities as an outreach tool

Point: Our series will include elements of practical application and/or being sensitive to our culture

- that’s why we are not committed to doing the Living Nativity every year – we’ll do it as long as it is an effective tool  -- but we’re not going to be engaged in activity just to be doing something

  • If the answer is more theological:  It starts with an understanding of Who God is, what He’s done for us, and why He did it . . .

> then we open our Bibles and let the Word of God speak in such a way to motivate us to share our faith and be the salt/light Jesus spoke in Matthew 5

- My answer to the question is PRIMARILY the 2ndanswer:

*  The problem is a . . . combination of theology and the heart of man!

i.e. not just an issue of ‘knowledge’ – knowing facts about God, intellectually understanding truth, etc.

- the argument could be made that, biblically, you really don’t KNOW something until you put it into practice

- think about what Paul said:

  • Titus 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness

Point: If you really know something, biblically, it’s going to translate into ACTION (godliness!)

- that’s why Jesus said:

  • John 13:17 "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

- that’s why James wrote:

  • James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

- So the answer to the question, “Where Does It Start?” is that it starts with good theology in a heart that really knows God and wants to love God and love people

- if that is true, then you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the PRAGMATICS of it all – a growing believer will get it done!

ILLUSTRATION:  Dave Ketchum, one of our missionaries, shared with me recently how he baptized a new convert – they took of a picture of the event – the new convert had a T-shirt on with a Nike check mark and the phrase “Just Do It” – that sums up his goal our Christian life –JUST DO IT

- that’s the point I’m trying to make – the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, and our obedient heart will help us to JUST DO IT – to GET AT IT – to MAKE IT HAPPEN BABY!

Input:  How would you complete this sentence:  A person who really loves God and loves people will _____________

  • Be creative in ways they reach out to others
  • Pray for people who are unsaved (ouch! – how long is your prayer list for the unsaved?  Do you pray for unsaved people regularly?  Are you teaching your kids to pray for lost people?)
  • Will not necessarily have to be taught HOW to witness – they’ll just do it

- In part, it’s what Jesus was saying in:

  • Matthew 12:34 . . . for the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

>  The reason many don’t speak up for the Lord is the love of God and the love of people is NOT in their heart

> they don’t have much to say because they don’t have much in their heart

- a lot of other stuff is in the heart, but not the 1stand 2ndgreatest commandments:

  • Matthew 22:35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And He said to him, "'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38 "This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'

- we’re going to get more specific with this next week, but let’s close by thinking about

II.  Three Key Areas to Consider

A.  Who is God? [Input question – get some answers, we’ll start with Creator next week]

 

B.  What has He done for us?

  • Revealed Himself to us in His Word, in the heavens, through His Son, the plan of redemption, planning heaven – cf. John 14 “I go to prepare a place for you”
  • John 3:16 (quote it)
  • The empty tomb
  • Other examples of what He has done for us

- tie this in with the Psalmist repeatedly referring back to the Exodus, crossing of the Red Sea

Q: Why did the psalmist write like that?

>  to remind himself and Israel of the greatness of God

Note: They tended to FORGET it sometimes (like somebody else we know!)

C.  Why did He do it?

  • To bring glory to His name
  • By demonstrating love, grace, mercy, patience, wisdom of a plan of redemption
  • By demonstrating His holiness, righteousness, justice, etc.
  • Because of our sin and awful pit from which we have been rescued

 

  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned --

 

 

Point:  A person who has a proper understanding of Who God, what He’s done for us, and WHY He did it will be drooling about his faith in Christ, he/she will be motivated to reach out to others

Q: What’s the alternative?

  • Laziness
  • Apathy/Indifference
  • Neglect
  • No spiritual growth
  • God is robbed of His glory and people die and go to hell