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November 4, 2012, 12:05 PM

Showing the Way: Sermon Text


Sermon. November 4, 2012.

Evangelism 101:  “Showing the Way” Sermon #5 of 7 John 12:20-22

REVIEW

Once again, we review where we've been and preview where we are going today.

Summary:

Why?  Just Go!  Matt. 28:19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.... (ESV)

What?  God's Love!  John 3:16  For God so loved the world.... (ESV)

Where?  Here!  1 Cor. 14:25  Worship God and declare that God is really among you. (ESV)

How?  As you go!  Acts 8:27a  And [Philip] rose and went. (ESV)

Today:  How?  Showing as you are going

Showing as you are going.  What I am getting at today is primarily about your attitude as you go along the way sharing the Gospel.  Sometimes, the only Jesus that people will ever see is the Jesus they will see in you.  The Jesus that you show them.  The only time they will ever hear the Gospel shared is from individual Christians who will either put a positive, gracious, genuine face to the Faith or a cold, indifferent harsh spin to it.  By your attitude, you will either affirm the goodness and truthfulness of the Gospel, or you will make it out to be a lie.

Your attitude towards the Gospel shines through, whether you know it or not.  Do you believe it?  Do you try to live it out in your life?  Is it important in your everyday, ordinary life?

What we are talking about this morning is essential to evangelism.

Showing as you go along the way means that you show Jesus Christ.  It means that you show the Good News of the Gospel.  How you do it.  How you say it.

I want to illustrate this concept of showing as you go with some examples of the apostles in the Gospel of John.  The way they respond when the opportunity arises.

1.  YOU SHOW THE WAY BY YOUR ENTHUSIASM. (John 1:35-41)

...John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, "What are you seeking?" And they said to him, "Rabbi"..., "where are you staying?"  He said to them, "Come and you will see."  So they came and saw where he was staying... One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah".... (ESV).

Look at how Andrew responds when he see's Jesus.  He can't contain himself.  The sense of the text is that he rushed to tell his brother, Peter.  This was the first thing he did.  Nothing else mattered.  Nothing else took priority.  He had to share this news.

When Andrew reaches his brother, his excitement; his enthusiasm can't be contained.  "We have found the Messiah[!]"  This is it.  There ain't no other.  Can you believe it?!

As I thought about this point, the Steven Curtis Chapman song, Live Out Loud came to mind.

Think about this:  Try to keep a bird from singing after it's soared up in the sky

Give the sun a cloudless day and tell it not to shine

Think about this:  If we really have been given the gift of life that will never end

And if we have been filled with living hope, we're gonna overflow

And if God's love is burning in our hearts, we're gonna glow

Wake the neighbors

Get the word out

Come on, crank up the music, climb a mountain and shout

This is life we've been given, made to be lived out

There's just no way to keep it in...So, la, la, la, la, live out loud

Is this what you are showing as you are going along?  Does your faith in Jesus shine.  Does it overflow?

Perhaps the reason that Presbyterians have been so bad at evangelism in recent memory is that we've been taught that we must bottle it in.  That we must be reserved.  That we must be dignified.  That holiness means being low key.

2.  SHOWING THE WAY DOES NOT MEAN HAVING ALL THE ANSWERS. (John 1:43-46)

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."  ...Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."  Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"  Philip said to him, "Come and see." (ESV).

I love this.  Philip, not the same Philip from last week, this is the apostle, not the deacon.  This Philip was found by Jesus.  Jesus says, "Follow me" and Philip, like Andrew, does so enthusiastically.  He gets up and he goes.  But he also finds his friend Nathanael first thing.

However, the catch is that Nathanael is a tough minded person.  He doesn't get excited easily.  He is someone who needs more than just enthusiasm to believe something.  He says snidely, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"  Philip didn't panic.  He didn't have a crisis.  He just said, "Come and see."

When Nathanael does encounter Jesus, he finds that Jesus is indeed all he needs, and the rest is history.  That's instructive.  Far too often, we get it in our minds that in order to do effective evangelism, we need to have all the answers.  We need to be polished and professional.  And nothing could be further from the truth.  You don't need to have all the answers.  I certainly don't, and I know you don't either.

Not one person has ever been argued into the Kingdom of God.  Not one person has ever been strong-armed or cajoled or even reasoned into the Faith.  God certainly uses us to do great things, but evangelism isn't contingent upon our salesmanship or our vast grasp of the Gospel.  We need to be honest and earnest when we show the Gospel to people.  You don't have to have all the answers.

3.  YOU SHOW THE WAY TO A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP. (John 12:20-22)

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.  So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."  Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. (ESV).

This point kind of flows from the previous point in that it's not about having all the answers, but taking people to see Jesus.  The Greeks

who were in Jerusalem for Passover came to Philip and made a request:  "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."

I think it's revealing here that these Greeks didn't say anything about discussing ideas.  They weren't asking for an explanation of Jesus' philosophical basics.  They simply wanted to see Jesus.

In some of the pulpits that I've used, I have seen this verse on a plaque fastened to the pulpit.  "Sir, [Mr. Preacher], we want to see Jesus."  Meaning that, we don't want to hear about you or your thoughts; we want to see Jesus."

Christianity is not supposed to be some abstract idea that we construct reams and reams of theology around.  The Faith is not singularly about the life of the mind.  Becoming a Christian and living the Christian life is about receiving and embracing and walking with the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is about being transformed and renewed.  It is personal.

When we do evangelism, we simply are introducing people to Jesus Christ.

CONCLUSION

As you go along the way, God will provide opportunities to share the Faith.  When those opportunities come, you must be ready to show what it's all about.  That it is real.  That your calling is to point to Jesus and his Gospel, not to answer every hard question about the Faith.  And, finally, you must show that the Faith is personal.  About a personal God who sent his own Son wrapped in human flesh, to call people personally to come back to him.  To have a personal, vibrant, growing relationship with him.

You have heard the Word of God.  Now, consider it so very well.   Amen


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