I Believe…

Apostles-Creed

I Believe
Romans 10:7-13
8 What does it say? ” THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart”– that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
11 For the Scripture says, ” WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him;
13 for ” WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Introduction

Read the Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

The Difference Between a Large Map and the Inset on a Page

A Large Scale Map

  • Gives all the details of topography
    • Swamps
    • Bogs
    • Cliffs
    • Climbs
    • Etc

A Small Scale Map

  • Gives Smaller Details
    • Trails
    • Places to Stay along the Way
    • Interesting Sites to stop and view

The Bible and Creed

  • The Bible is a million word Large Map – Gives all the Details
  • The Creed is the Inset on the Page – Marks out the Trails

Review from Introduction

  • Creeds Define the Faith
  • Creeds Defend the Faith
  • Creeds Declare the Faith

Another Consideration:

Creeds were originally designed to be a statement of faith for a person who was about to be baptized. Over time these baptismal creeds were incorporated into the worship service for recitation by the entire congregation as an expression of their common faith. Later, creeds were used by a communion of churches to express their common understanding of the Christian faith.Because the Apostles’ Creed is a summary of Biblical truth, we should study it and be edified by the Biblical truths it contains and conveys.

The Crux of the Creed – I BELIEVE!

What are Some Things You Have Believed In?

  • Santa Claus
  • Tooth Fairy
  • Ghosts
  • Particular Political Ideology
  • The Undying Love of a high school Girl/Boyfriend

Many of these beliefs have let us down and fallen short in the crunch.

In Reality, those beliefs don’t require much investment or commitment.

What about God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? The Church? Heaven?

IT MATTERS WHEN I SAY: I BELIEVE – CREDO

“I Believe” is Personal

  • First Person Singular “I”
    • I cannot speak for anyone else but myself.
      • My wife
      • My children
      • My congregation
    • Some creeds begin as a collective statement “We Believe”
    • The Apostles’ Creed Keeps it Personal, what I myself Believe

“I Believe” is Professional (It is a Profession of Faith)

  • Stirred to a Declaration

Matthew 16:13-16 (NASB77)
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
15 He •said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

  • Who do THEY Say I am?
    • A general overview of popular opinion
    • Not committing anyone to a particular belief
    • John the Baptist (recently killed by Herod)
    • Elijah (Who didn’t die but was transported off the planet)
    • Jeremiah (perhaps because Jesus was moved with compassion)
    • One of the Prophets (A general reference to teaching/miracles)
  • Who do YOU say I am?
    • Now it gets personal.
    • I picture some squirming, because people squirm when challenged
    • Peter rises to the challenge with a Passionate Profession
      • You ARE…(not might be or could be)
      • You are THE CHRIST…
      • You are the Christ, THE SON…
      • You are the Christ, the Son of THE GOD…
      • You are the Christ, the Son of the God, THE LIVING ONE.

“I BELIEVE” IS A PERSONAL PROFESSION OF MY BELIEF/FAITH

“I Believe” is Powerful

  • Believe/Faith – Pistos (gk)
    • Complete Dependence
    • Complete Reliance
    • Complete Trust
    • Another way of stating this is: “I am believing into…” (a common Gk. Phrase)
      • I’m leaning into God…dependence and trust
      • I’m leaning into Jesus…dependence and trust
      • I’m leaning into the Holy Spirit…dependence and trust
      • I’m leaning into the Church…dependence and trust
      • I’m leaning into Heaven…dependence and trust

Think back to what we once believed in:

  • Santa
  • Tooth Fairy
  • High School Sweetie

There may have been a measure of faith and trust, but not UTTER DEPENDENCE

  • I believe” is a POWERFUL Personal Profession of Utter Dependence

“I Believe” is Purposeful

  • Think About the ways we Demonstrate Faith Daily
    • I Demonstrate my faith in my car by turning the key.
    • I Demonstrate my faith in a chair by sitting upon it.
    • I Demonstrate my faith in a step by stepping on it
    • I Demonstrate my faith in a plane by purchasing a ticket.
    • I Demonstrate my faith in a physician my making an appointment.
  • I Demonstrate my Faith in God by looking ahead to Heaven
    • Something only He could Accomplish
    • Something only He could Make Possible
    • Something only He can Complete

Conclusion
A creed is a statement of personal belief. That is why it is so important that you know what it is that you are affirming. It does no good if you recite the words of the Apostles’ Creed but you don’t know what it really is that you are reciting, or worse, that what you are reciting is not an affirmation of what you truly believe.

A mid-western church rented a theater to watch The Passion of the Christ on opening weekend. Afterwards they gathered for dinner, discussion, and prayer. The pastor later returned home in a somber and contemplative mood, deeply reflecting upon the sacrifice of Christ.

When he opened his mail that night, the first letter was from a local church, inviting him to visit their “Special Community” They listed the ways they were unique:

  • No religious dogma: We encourage the freedom of individual belief.
  • A humanist view of life: Our faith is based on celebrating the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
  • Warm, accessible services: Our Sunday services typically include a mix of readings, music, moments of meditation or contemplation, and a sermon.
  • Our children’s religious education program: We teach our kids to be accepting of differing beliefs and the importance of each person seeking his or her own truth.
  • We study the world’s major religions and draw on the core values of each faith tradition.

“So,” the letter concluded, “if you’re looking for a congregation that cherishes freedom of belief and opinion, with a warm sense of community and fellowship, please visit us.”

The pastor had just watched the horrific suffering of Jesus and heard him say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Hours later he opened an invitation to visit a group where truth doesn’t matter. The contrast was overwhelming.

Truth does matter. It matters a great deal what you and I believe.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave

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I Believe: A Look at the Creed

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I KNOW WHAT I BELIEVE – WHY WE NEED A CREED
2 Timothy 1:12-14
12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED AND I AM CONVINCED THAT HE IS ABLE TO GUARD WHAT I HAVE ENTRUSTED TO HIM UNTIL THAT DAY. 13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

Introduction

THE APOSTLE’S CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;

the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic** church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Introducing The Creed

· A Basic Statement of Belief

· Needed due to false teachings from outside

· Needed due to false doctrine rising within

Acts 20:28-30
28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

The Word Creed—Latin Credo—“I Believe”

Why We Need a Creed

· Every Church requires some form of faith confession.

o Consider the Constitution of our Church

§ “Having been lead as we believe by the Holy Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

o Each of us have a creed that declares what we believe

§ Sometimes this creed is spoken

§ More often this is a creed that is displayed in actions

· The Churches that do not have a creed are in Danger

o They do not have a foundation for their faith.

o They do not have a theological filter against error

The Purpose of the Creeds of Faith

Creeds Are Designed to Define the Faith
Church historian Philip Schaff wrote in his book The Creeds of Christendom that “the first object of creeds was to distinguish the Church from the world, from Jews and heathen, afterwards orthodoxy from heresy, and finally denomination from denomination.”

· Has anyone ever asked why you are a Baptist?

· Have you ever stopped to consider why you are a Baptist?

I tell people that I am a Christian by birth (being born again) and a Baptist by Choice, discovering a church that believed and practiced what I believe.

· Consider for a moment that question. Why are you a Baptist?

Creeds Are Designed to Defend the Faithful

· As already mentioned, Creeds defend believers from

o False Teaching

o Doctrinal Deviation

· This Leads to Some Disturbing Questions”

o How can a Christian convert to a cultic religion?

o How can a Church with a strong heritage turn from truth?

o How can a pastor or church neglect teaching/preaching Bible?

§ The people have requested that their ears be tickled.

· This Also Provides an Encouraging Truth

o A Creed (i.e. The Apostle’s Creed) can defend the truth.

§ This simple statement addresses false/cultic claims

§ This simple statement addresses objections

§ This simple statement addresses our own doubts

Creeds Are Designed to Declare to the World

· How many of you are preachers?

o How many of you are called to preach the Gospel?

o How many of you are called to declare Christ to others?

o So…how many of you are preachers?

· The Creed Becomes a Simple Sermon

o As you will see through this series, it is a systematic message.

o As you will learn through this series, it is a simple message.

o As you will learn through this series it is a salvation message.

· Next time you’re Asked what you Believe…Remember the Creed

Conclusion

What is your creed? Could you write it down?

You will be able to before this summer is over.

When Life is Unbalanced

WHEN LIFE IS UNBALANCED

A Bible study

Believe it or not, even the pastor’s life can sometimes seem “out of balance.” At times I’m pressured by the urgent to lose sight of what matters most. Priorities get out of line, boundaries get out of place, and my life gets out of sync. It’s subtle, but can have serious consequences if I let it go.

SYMPTOMS

Here are some of the symptoms that tell me there’s a problem.

  • I feel fatigued physically, mentally, and spiritually.
  • I’m more easily discouraged.
  • I get frustrated and aggravated by small things.
  • I lose sight of the blessings and focus on the burdens.

The answer to getting back in balance is found in a variety of places in Scripture.

  • Matthew 6.33 reminds me to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
  • John 15 reminds me that He is the vine, and I am the branch. I need to remain in Him.

DELIGHT, COMMIT, and TRUST

Psalm 37.4-5 offers me three quick keys to regaining balance when I find I’m spiritually unsteady.

4 Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act,

  • Delight – Find joy and pleasure abiding in the presence of God
  • Commit – Turn it all, everything, over to Him, because He has the best plan.
  • Trust – Patiently wait and watch as God works things out His way in His time.

REST AND REMAIN

Resting and remaining appear to be critical components in the spiritually balanced life. Frequently I’m tempted to rush about trying to fix things, worried about what people might think if they see my flaws and realize I am less than perfect. God invites me, then and always, to focus on His priorities, maintain healthy boundaries, and connect (or reconnect) to the Vine, the source of His purpose, presence, and productivity.

John 15.4: Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.

Potholes on the road can damage a car’s tires, causing the vehicle to vibrate as the auto is driven.  This happens because the damaged tire is out of balance and needs to have a skilled mechanic repair it and rebalance it. When life’s potholes get us out of balance, we need to pull up to the only one who can get us back in balance, and let Him have us for a while.

Questions for Papa: My Life Verse

This year at the close of Bethel Camp Meeting I asked the students I was leading to write some quick questions for me.  This series of Video BLOGS and writings are answers to those questions.  Feel free to add your questions to the list in the comment section, or via email at papa.dave.bentley@gmail.com .

MY LIFE VERSE:  Romans 5:8

God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

For full explanation go to Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFgRrgrfAPs

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Hung Up on Jesus

Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
Luke 19:47-48 (NIV)

This week is a critical week for the disciples of Christ, then and now, as we observe and commemorate this final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In a few short days Jesus would go from being hailed as a king to being hung as a criminal. Events happened fast and peoples sentiments changed abruptly, and they still do.

In the verse from today’s reading a quick phrase caught my eye. “the people hung on His words.” Perhaps you are not a religious person, and maybe you are even anti-religious, but would you be willing to participate in a small experiential experiment with me? Find a Bible, or just save this post, and read the following passage each day from now through Sunday. (Verses are at the bottom of this post) As much as the people hung on the words of Jesus, this week I’m going to hang on these experiences with Jesus. The death that paid the price for the evil and sin of man, and the resurrection that shattered the seal of death and opened that way to eternal life. Why don’t you “hang with me?”

John 19.1-18 & John 20.1-18

John 19.1-18
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.
4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
7 The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
The Crucifixion
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others–one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

John 20.1-18
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
Jesus Appears to Mary of Magdala
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

'Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him.  Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words. 
Luke 19:47-48 (NIV)

This week is a critical week for the disciples of Christ, then and now, as we observe and commemorate this final week of Jesus' earthly ministry.  In a few short days Jesus would go from being hailed as a king to being hung as a criminal.  Events happened fast and peoples sentiments changed abruptly, and they still do.  
In the verse from today's reading a quick phrase caught my eye.  "the people hung on His words."  Perhaps you are not a religious person, and maybe you are even anti-religious, but would you be willing to participate in a small experiential experiment with me?  Find a Bible, or just save this post, and read the following passage each day from now through Sunday. (Verses are at the bottom of this post)  As much as the people hung on the words of Jesus, this week I'm going to hang on these experiences with Jesus.  The death that paid the price for the evil and sin of man, and the resurrection that shattered the seal of death and opened that way to eternal life.  Why don't you "hang with me?"

John 19.1-18 & John 20.1-18

John 19.1-18
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face. 
     4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!" 
     6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" 
     But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him." 
     7 The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God." 
     8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" 
     11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." 
     12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar." 
     13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. 
     "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. 
     15 But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" 
     "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. 
     "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. 
The Crucifixion
     16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. 
     So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others--one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 

John 20.1-18
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" 
     3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 
Jesus Appears to Mary of Magdala
     10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 
     13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" 
     "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 
     15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" 
     Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 
     16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." 
     She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 
     17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" 
     18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.'

Go: Evangelism Jesus’ Way (FBCW March 22, 2015)

GO: EVANGELISM JESUS’ WAY

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Matthew 10.5-15

5 Jesus sent out these 12 after giving them instructions: “Don’t take the road leading to other nations, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. 6 Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge. 9 Don’t take along gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts. 10 Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a walking stick, for the worker is worthy of his food. 11 “When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12 Greet a household when you enter it, 13 and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it. But if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 I assure you: It will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

EVANGELISM: CALLING ALL BELIEVERS

Evangelism, it sounds like something that is the job of someone on a church or ministry staff, but it’s really the calling and responsibility of every believer in Jesus. We are all given the command to share the message of Jesus with the people around us. Some will do that in a very public way, but the majority will do this one on one with the people God has placed in their sphere of influence. Whatever platform God has given you to share this Good News with people, there are some elements that are important to grasp.

YOU’RE GOING! (5-7)

Go Where I Tell You to go

  • Jesus said “As You Go…”
    • He does not say “if,” or “when,” but “as you go!
    • In other words, “You are going!”

Say What I Tell You to Say

“The Message is that God’s kingdom is here…so believe”

MEET NEEDS (8)

Physical Needs

  • Don’t ever underestimate the Need to Meet Physical Needs
    • Read Matthew 25:31-40
    • “People won’t care what you know until they know you care”
    • It’s hard for someone to see their need for the Savior when they are confronted

Spiritual Needs

  • Don’t focus so fully on the Physical that you Neglect the Spiritual
    The danger is that we can become so focused on meeting physical needs that we forget or neglect the most important need, a saving relationship through faith in Jesus Christ. This happens very subtly, but the result is catastrophic.

WHY IT’S EASIER TO FOCUS ON PHYSICAL NEEDS

    • Meeting Physical Needs is More Welcome
    • Meeting Physical Needs offers More Visible Results
    • Meeting Physical Needs provides instant Gratification
    • Meeting Physical Needs is what people expect of the church

 

THE RESULT OF FOCUSING ON PHYSICAL NEEDS

    • The church ceases to be the carrier of the Gospel
    • The church ceases to grow with new believers
    • The church ceases to fulfill the Great Commission
    • The church ceases

The sad fact is that the landscape around us is dotted with empty church buildings that are no longer functioning as places of Christian fellowship. Travel the roads of Vermont and you will see stately spires rising above the landscape in communities throughout the state, and yet Vermont has the auspicious honor of being designated the “least churched state” in the nation because those stately steeples and numerous church buildings no longer represent communities of faith focused on sharing the message of hope found in faith in Christ.

TRUST HIM (9-10)

God will Meet Our Needs as We Follow Him

Don’t Pack Anything

  • If you have ever taken a road trip you know that one of the most important things in preparing for the journey is packing. You want to be sure you have everything you need for the trip, and then some. Suit cases get packed, trunks get loaded, and seats get filled with items you know will be needed and useful on the trip.
  • Jesus, however, wants the disciples to understand that all they need is Him. By telling them not to pack anything or bring anything He is calling them to an incredible level of faith and trust. Can they (can we) believe that Jesus really is enough for us? He is assuring them (and us) that He will provide for them as they are going along the way.

Phil. 4:19

And my God will supply all your needs
according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

RESULTS AREN’T OUR RESPONSIBILITY (11-15)

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I am not ashamed to say that I like Taylor Swift. Her latest album, 1989, has been a huge success, driven by fun songs and catchy music, she has captured a fan base that was hungering for her sound and her example. In the area of popular music I have few reservations in recommending people listen to Swift’s music.

One of those mega hits is the song “Shake It Off.” In the lyrics Swift encourages people who may have been mistreated or put out by others to “Shake it Off” instead of letting it get them down. Interestingly, this seemingly contemporary advice is the same thing Jesus told His disciples 2000 years ago.

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10.14)

Here’s Why This is Critical

When a person is faced with rejection it becomes very easy to get discouraged a quit. I’m certain that there are many in the pews of the church who were once convinced of the need to tell others about Jesus. Perhaps they were inspired by a sermon or song or Sunday School lesson. Whatever got them ignited, they charged out into the world determined to share the love of Jesus and see people get saved.  Unfortunately, not everyone we share the Gospel message with is going to receive it. Not everyone we encounter is going to eagerly listen to us tell the story of Jesus. Sometimes people are going to turn their back on us, ridicule us, and reject us.

Here’s where Taylor Swift’s unintended Biblical reminder comes in. She would say, as Jesus did, “Shake it off.” When people reject or discount what we tell them as we share the Gospel with them, we need to remember that they are not rejecting us, ultimately they are rejecting the grace and love of God found only in Jesus Christ. We simply need to shake it off and keep on sharing. There are others who need to hear the story of Jesus. Our responsibility is to be faithful by going where He sends and saying what He tell us to say. We are to be like the ancient watchmen found in this passage from Ezekiel:

  • 1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of that land select a man from among them, appointing him as their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people. 4 Then, if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet but ignores the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. 5 Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but ignored the warning, his blood is on his own hands. If he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. 6 However, if the watchman sees the sword coming but doesn’t blow the trumpet, so that the people aren’t warned, and the sword comes and takes away their lives, then they have been taken away because of their iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.  (Ezekiel 33.1-6)

Can You Imagine:

  • A person who sees a fire but doesn’t pull the Alarm
  • An engineer who doesn’t blow the locomotive’s whistle
  • An Air Traffic Controller who leaves pilots to fend for themselves
  • We are not responsible for how they accept our message (warning),
  • but we are responsible to give them the message (warning)

THERE MAY BE DANGERS (16)

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Like Sheep Among Wolves

It is more than a little ironic that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, states that He is sending his disciples out as “sheep among wolves.” Everyone knows that the shepherd’s responsibility is to keep the sheep safe from danger and provide protection for the flock. Jesus understands, however, that the little flock He is sending out, both then and now, would face times of peril. He doesn’t want them (or us) to be shocked when difficulty and dangers arise.

Think about it, the people Jesus was sending out, the original 12 disciples, didn’t have an easy road ahead of them. They were going to be rejected, despised, persecuted, and eventually most of them would die because of the message they proclaimed. It does not make sense that we should think that believing in Jesus will miraculously make life easier or better, at least in this world. What it does is assure us of eternity with Christ in the glory of Heaven. THERE we will experience life free from sin, suffering, and sorrow (Revelation 21.3-4).

We must be “Shrewd as Snakes” and “Innocent as Doves”

Because it won’t be easy, and so many things are against the followers of Christ, it is important that we be “shrewd as snakes” while being “innocent as doves.” This is as needed today as it was when Jesus was issuing this marching order to His disciples.

Being shrewd requires that we be creative and clever in finding ways of sharing the message of Christ. We have the most important news the world has ever heard, and the world desperately needs this news. Even though the message is thousands of years old, it’s impact and importance have not waned. In addition, the message has not changed, nor can it be changed. We must find innovative and advanced means of telling the ancient story of Jesus. As we go we are to be proclaiming an unchanging message to an ever changing world. Discovering how to share that message in our community and culture is part of our responsibility as “snakes for the Savior.”

As important as being innovative is that we be people of integrity. Being “innocent as doves” requires that our motives and morals be pure and honorable. Unfortunately many self-proclaimed religious leaders have had little trouble with being “shrewd as serpents” but have fallen short in the area of being “innocent as doves.” As a result people are increasingly skeptical of those professing to speak for Christ. The disciples were sent out to proclaim the message of their Master, and they were given the power and authority to act as He would (Healing, casting out demons, etc…). They were to be a representation to the world of Jesus, and so are we. Therefore, we must have the integrity of Christ as we carry out His mission.

INVITATION – Summary of the Message

  • You’re Going – It’s in our DNA as Disciples
  • Meet Needs – Physical & Spiritual Needs need to be addressed
  • Trust Him – He’s going to Provide as You Follow Him
  • Results Aren’t Our Responsibility – Shake it Off and Move On
  • There May be Dangers – Expect that Hardship may be ahead

Do You Dare to be Vulnerable?

Being involved in evangelism means making yourselves vulnerable. Therefore, we must be clever and creative in our efforts, but also be people of integrity. We can’t let the negative responses of people dissuade us from the mission of proclaiming Jesus to the world. Shake it off, because there is someone that needs to hear about Jesus’ love for them. Be faithful to go where He calls you to go, and tell people the story of Jesus.

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