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Loving Others to Christ … with Intention

posted Jul 27, 2014, 10:25 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Aug 28, 2014, 7:15 AM ]

July 27, 2014

Key Passage: Colossians 4:2-6; 3:12-18

 

“Loving Others to Christ … with Intention”

For the seniors, I thought I’d end our time together by re-stating a truth we’ve shared all year long … we live in a world full of people dying and going to Hell … we may not be able to change the world’s future, but we can certainly be instrumental in changing the course of destiny for those we do interact with – including friends who are “in the church.”  Consider these dandies from George Barna surveys: upwards of 75% of church members most likely are not genuinely saved (!), and only 53% of born again Christians feel any sense of responsibility to share their faith with others.  See any common denominator here?  Finally, consider the fact that fewer than 7% have EVER shared their faith.  Now, couple all of this with the reality that we’re facing the most “plugged in” technologically but “plugged out” relationally generation in history and you can see we’ve got a real problem here.  The real dilemma is how to effectively share your faith without further cementing the perception that all Christians care about is ramming their theology down the throats of an already saturated society…and bad news for all of us who believe “my life is my witness.”  So, your life is so magnanimous that when you walk into a room people fall on their knees in repentance?!  Folks, Jesus himself had to tell people who he was and why he came.  Today, Paul uses Jesus’ example to teach us how to share our faith effectively.  We’d be wise to listen, or we’ve got some explaining to do when judgment day DOES arrive and friends go to hell.

 

First, let’s consider some popular myths, accompanied by the difficult reality (taken from the excellent book UNchristian, a read I can’t more strongly recommend):

 

  • Myth – Church is the best place to reach the lost.  Reality – The most effective efforts to share faith are interpersonal and relationship-based.  Most people come to Christ because of people they know very well, usually in the context of “everyday” interaction.
  • Myth – We can’t worry about offending people.  Reality – Obeying the command to make disciples doesn’t give us the right to offend people.  Jesus and Paul both showed true compassion and concern first, and seasoned their words with grace and salt.
  • Myth – People embrace Christ because of logical arguments.  Reality – No one has ever been argued into Heaven.  Whether we like it or not, most people’s sense of individualism, their loyalty to peers, and their emotional and experiental outlook on life guides their spiritual pursuits.

According to Colossians 4:2-6 (and 3:12-18), people are much more interested in our walk than our talk. 

  • Pray – private prayer goes before public witness.  Before you talk to a person about Jesus, talk to Jesus about that person.  The most powerful tool we have in witnessing is prayer … period.
  • Walk in a way that differentiates you from the joyless, unauthentic world.  People don’t draw their conclusions from a bible study – at least not at first – they figure out if what we’re saying is true by watching us.  How we handle stress, anger, and heartache are the keys to reaching out.
  • Watch our words carefully.  Paul says they are to be seasoned with grace and salt.  Simply put, our choice of words decides whether we are going to affirm the positive or dwell on the negative; spotlight growth or accentuate weakness; celebrate the victories or rehash failures; think the worst or assume the best; draw people to Christ or push them away.

Q: What would you say on Judgment Day if your unbelieving friend turns to you and asks why you didn’t speak to him with more directness about this matter of eternal life?  How can/will you share your faith?

Bottom Line:  Seriously – we can talk about the lost, whine about the state of the world, and pray constantly for revival; however, nothing is going to change unless someone, somewhere shares the Gospel with those who are lost.  The problem is that we think more people understand the Gospel than actually do. Either we share our faith with others or we don’t.  Our response defines the difference between Heaven and Hell for someone who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Christ.