But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
We began, last week to look at the issue of helping folks outside of our church follow Jesus.
We saw that ultimately the issue is Jesus’ authority. He has all authority in heaven and earth and so all must submit to Him. Our problem is that we don’t naturally submit as God would have us to. We don’t behave so that we live best. So, we are called upon to follow Jesus’ teaching and example.
In our passage today, the issue of authority is addressed first as well. Revere Jesus as Lord. Set Him as the top priority in your hearts! “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done!”
How can we help folks in 2018 follow Jesus?
- Prepare to Witness for Christ
- First pray for power Acts 1:8
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Power to communicate effectively.
Matt 10: 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Power to demonstrate the reality of God. I Cor 2:
4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
Signs and Wonders
I have this pastor’s meeting on Tuesday. We had a missionary there in our midst that God is doing miracles through on a regular basis. She is working in India, God has allowed her to participate in the raising of the dead, in healings and so on. But, those things are signs that communicate that God is real and that He loves those people who by and large are poverty bound and social outcasts.
I often wonder at my life and how it is that I appeal to folks. Wise and persuasive words are not bad. But, those are also the means of the atheist. Who has the demonstration of the Spirit and power? That is our domain. Now, we don’t have control over it, but I do think we should be asking God to show us when He would want to use a sign to indicate His reality. But, before you seek this pathway realize this, many people have ignored the signs that God has provided. John 6 is again the example here.
John 2: 23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.[d] 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Acts 3 the Apostles healed a man who had been at the temple every day for many, many years. That sign got them beaten by the Jewish leaders.
- Be ready to explain your faith
This means be ready to share your personal reasons why you think it is best to follow Jesus. Your testimony is just that. I tell folks: “Share your faith.” Your faith is your story. Why do you believe? And of what value is your faith.
And don’t be a heretic! Share the gospel.
This means you need to be able to help others to follow Jesus. What do they need to do? Get a grasp on the gospel.
At the very least, invite folks to church. But, everyone is gonna need to confess that Jesus is their Lord. And this is rooted in Jesus rising from the dead. This is the “proof sign”.
And find some good books. “More than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell.
I have the book, “The Case for Christ” in my office. It is one of the books that I give away and it has reasons to believe that Jesus is literally a man of history and God incarnate.
- In all circumstances show love
There is a bridge out in a half mile, folks are driving toward it at a high rate of speed. That is information that they need to know. To show them love is to explain the bridge situation.
Russ Bus, Manna House, Salvation Army, Red Cross, YMCA etc. There are many organizations started by followers of Christ that are directed toward showing God’s love to people. Why?
I John 4: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
No one has ever seen God. Isn’t that really the problem? It’s not a secret in the Bible! Well, even if you can’t see God, you CAN SEE THE RESULT OF GOD ON YOUR LIFE. God lives IN US and God’s love is made COMPLETE in us!
And make sure you do not love in a dependent manner. Express love to people who reject Christ. Serve them anyway. Otherwise we are not showing God’s love appropriately.
- Emphasize the freedom and responsibility to decide
Since we are free to decide for ourselves, then we are responsible to decide the way that God wants us to. Why is God the judge? All authority…
Remember, we will never get away from the need for faith. God will not change the way that the world is. People complain that God is not visible in the way that the physical world is. He is still there, He is just seen through our faith. Hebrews 11:6
- God is at work!
Matt 16 Jesus to Peter: Flesh and blood has not shown this to you, but my Father in heaven.
John 6: 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them,
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?
65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
I think this is why Jesus told His Apostles to remember that He was always with them. When we talk to people about spiritual truths and they understand and believe, then it is Jesus who has shown them. And it is Jesus who is with us to help us also. Expect for Him to help.
- Set your expectations on moving people toward God
What is success in this process? If we are only successful when we have seen someone submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, then we are gonna feel like failures! How do we need to view our lives?
The Gray Matrix and the Engle Scale