Helping people follow Jesus

Can we fulfill the daunting task of sharing our faith alone? Discover how Jesus, with “all authority in heaven and on earth,” promises to accompany us, empowering us to proclaim the gospel and inspire repentance, faith, and the joy of eternal life. Ready to explore this divine partnership?

Ian Kerr


Transcript (Auto-generated)

Good morning everyone good to be here this morning I'm glad you're here and I'm say hello to those people who are watching online I hope you had a good week there some of you know one of my hobbies is collecting poos of unusual signs I've got a few for here this morning just a couple first one is cows please close the gate a lot of cows are educated these days and um they don't have hands but they just give the gate a bit of a bump with their High quarter and U it closes nicely the next one ask an associate for a demonstration I'm not going to go into that except to say what were they thinking now this one I've started to um produce my own cartoons this one says um have you been a good boy and it says yes I wake Dad up after the sermon simet could you wake Brendan up in the service that would be appreciate that I'd like to begin this morning by telling a story of man who moved into our neighborhood a couple of years ago Fred's not his real name but this is a real story about a real person and the first time I got into conversation with Fred he made this statement he said but I'll tell you what if there's one thing I can't stand it's religion I wonder how you'd respond to such a statement on another occasion at a an 18th birthday party A Man Called George not his real name he asked what I do for a living I said I'm a Baptist pastor he said well I'm an atheist and I'm proud of it how would you respond to that on another occasion a lady said to me something along the lines of but all religions are basically the same aren't they as long as we have something that we believe in I could go on telling similar stories and imagine that you could do the same you could tell about you could tell stories about people you have met and they've asked questions and you you've told them the gospel and I'm sure that they responded immediately they became a Christian and they attend Sunday every church every Sunday now is that true not as true it's not easy to share our faith is it but in the first letter the Apostle Peter gives this command he says 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 this verse makes it very clear that we need to be ready to respond to the opportunities that come to us fairly regularly opportunities for us to talk about our faith to talk about Jesus and if you're anything like me you don't find that easy especially if it's member of your family and especially if it's someone who is older than you I wonder why that's the case for many Christians we know we have a responsibility to share our faith and sometimes we might even feel guilty that we don't do it and yet we are reluctant to do so from my observation we don't do it because we don't know how to do it or at least we're not confident in doing it or we might think it wouldn't work if we did who's going to listen to me so for this reason the Pastoral team at this church at Kabula Baptist have invited me to lead an evening series on personal faith sharing it's likely that the series will take about six weeks I'll lead the first five Pastor Dave will lead the sixth and everyone from this church is invited to attend and some people from other churches who shown some interest as well when it will happen still to be decided but in the next few months I would imagine so what are we going to cover in that series let me give you a bit of an idea first we'll talk about the Theology of Faith sharing that sounds a bit heavy doesn't it really talking about our go our role God's role and response that we're looking for in people we'll talk more about that later on this morning and secondly we talk about the context in which we're working in a secularized society that we live in people don't respond to the same kind of arguments if you like same kind of proofs that we used to give the Apologetics now they're more convinced in what works and that's where our personal tesy comes into effect we need to know how to share that in a way that people understand then look some tools for sharing the gospel of course it's like Christianity explained and Alpha they're great great they've been used in this church they're excellent and we can learn from them but there's also ways we can learn to talk to people without jargon or minimum jargon in ways that they can understand to explain the gospel and then we'll look at questions that not yet Believers ask questions like um if God is a god of love why doesn't everybody go to heaven we can't see God so how do we know that he exists why do you believe the world was made in days when prominent scientists believe that it was made through a process of evolution why do Christians think that they are better than everyone else there are many religions in the world some as long some as old as Christianity how can we be sure that of which one is right why do you believe in life up a death of tried Christianity doesn't work I could go on and I'm sure you could add to the list but I want to say that it's important to develop skills in knowing how to answer these questions what to say and what not to say and then in the fifth session sharing our personal testimony in a way that is real without jargon the way that people understand we can learn to do that with practice on each other we learn how to share it and the fifth is using social media to share the gospel I don't use social media no experience or expertise Pastor Dave does and he's going to lead that session but today what we're going to do is look at a little bit of that first topic and that is the Theology of Faith sharing sounds fairly academic doesn't it but it's not we're simply going to look at some of what the Bible says about sharing the good news about Jesus with other people let me begin with some key verses and I say to you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it Luke 1910 for the son of man came to seek and to save the Lost 3:16 for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life in Luke 5 Jesus answered them it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick I have not come to call the righteous but Sinners to repentance then in Acts 17 in the past God overlooked such ignorance but now he commands all people everywhere to repent for he has set a day when he will judge the world with Justice by the man he has appointed he has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead there's lots of similar verses I could have chosen but I wonder what's missing from these verses did you pick it up what's missing who's missing Jus I think you'll fine that the answer is you you're not there your name is not mentioned my name isn't mentioned the verses are all about people coming to Faith people becoming Christians becoming Disciples of Jesus but none of them mention you or me so what is that saying to us I want to put it to you this morning and this is a starting point in sharing our faith with others I want to make this statement and that is the task of making disciples is in the first instance God's task the task of making disciples is in the first instant instance God's task I'm not saying that we can't be involved but I am saying that it is God who takes the initiative in helping people come to Faith making disciples is essentially God's work I'm not making this up I'm not saying it because I have any leaning towards reformed theology I'm saying it simply because this is what the Bible clearly teaches Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith Jesus is the one who came to Earth to seek and to save the Lost Jesus is the one who who calls on people to repent and put their trust in him Jesus is the one who provides forgiveness who gives people hope the hope of eternal life in heaven with him do you believe that I do and if I didn't I wouldn't be game to leave my house in the morning and look for opportunities to talk to people about my faith I'd like to move now to the passage that we heard before it's a passage that you're all very familiar with we call it the Great Commission in in Matthew 28 Jesus himself says therefore go and make disciples of all Nations baptizing in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you it's a command from Jesus himself isn't it however I want to put it to you this morning that if this is the Great Commission then this and this is what I'm being called to do as a Christian then it scares the living daylight out of me why does it scare me what if Jesus is seriously considering that a feeble person like me can go out there and convince people that they should become a follower of a man who lived on earth 2,000 years ago mighty immediate response is that of John mackenro you can't be serious I just don't have what it takes so what can I do well in the first instance I can look at the passage that is the real Great Commission and what do I find I find in there in verse 19 at the very beginning the word therefore and you know very well that when we find the word therefore in Scripture it points us back to what was written before it puts it in context and when when we look at the previous verse we find Jesus statement all authority in heaven and on Earth has been given to me why is that so important I want you to imagine a primary school student knocks on the principal door and says please sir can I have the key to the technology equipment store room you got that slide there you go there he is he's come into to the principal how's the principal going to respond probably a bit like John mcar again you can't be serious why on Earth would I give you the key to a room that is is filled with thousands of dollars worth of delicate equipment but now imagine that the same student comes to the same principal and this time he's got a note from Mr Jones the principal he says Mr Jones sent me I have a note that he signed and this time the principal's response is different the student hasn't come in his own name and Authority he has come in the name and authority of a respected teacher and so the principle responds in a different way he says of course here's the key can you see the difference if I come to a person to share my faith in the name and authority of myself I'm not going to get anywhere however if I come to that person in the name of Jesus things could be different because I'm coming in the name of the person who said all authority in heaven and on Earth has been given to me people may think that ultimate Authority lies in the superpowers like China and the US and Russia and so on but ultimate Authority is actually held by a single person and that person is Jesus Christ the son of God so when we come to make disciples we don't come to people in the name and authority of Mr Smith the principal or Russia or China or the us we came we come in the name and authority of the one who has all authority in heaven and on Earth and that is Jesus Christ the son of God and the only way that we can help people become followers of Jesus is if we do it in the name of Jesus and in his authority do you believe that I do but it gets better let's go back to the great command commission and see what appears at the end some words I left out before what do we find there at the end and surely I Am With You Always to the very end of the age so first we know that the task of making disciples is in the first instance God's responsibility God's initiative God's show then second for some reason God has chosen you and he's chosen me to be part of what he's doing and making disciples and third we've discovered that although the task of making disciples is a daunting task it is made possible by the assurance that we can do it in the authority of the one who has all authority in heaven and on Earth and then finally we discover that that person Jesus has promised to be with us always he's with us in the process of making disciples does that encourage you certainly encourages me the task of sharing our faith is daunting but it's not impossible it can be done if we do it God's in God's way and through the authority of Jesus so what is the part that we are called to do well in the first place we're called to demonstrate the kingdom of God that means living in such a way that people see our lives and they want what we've got not our material possessions but they want our joy and our love and they want the kind of way that we respond in difficult situations and the reality is that Australians can recognize hypocrisy a mile off in the dark I remember some years ago I was called to um spend time with a man whose wedding I conducted 5 years earlier I know he had cancer and just dying and I shared the gospel with him I got nowhere because his sister and brother-in-law who were Christians seeking to witness to him had tried to rip him off in a business deal years before and he saw Christians as being Hypocrites I got nowhere with him Australians can recognize hypocrisy very easily they know when people have had in and when we when they are not and for them to be attracted to the gospel it will help if they see us living authentic lives authentic lives of Faith as followers of Jesus it doesn't mean that we have to live smooth lives we probably won't but the way we respond to difficult circumstances or not can have a big impact on other people so in other words as much as we can we need to live the way that Jesus lived he had perfect Integrity didn't he he was uh he demonstrated the kingdom of God perfectly but demonstrating the kingdom isn't enough in addition to that we need to do something because if we just demonstrate the kingdom people might think we' got happy hormones might they they might think we're on drugs but we need to explain to them that the reason that we are the where we are is because Jesus loves us Jesus loves them he died for them so that they can be forgiven people know need to know that they can become a part of his family right now that they can have the hope of Heaven Living With Jesus forever and this information or this message the technical term we use is the gospel good news or good message we don't have time this morning go into detail of what that message is and most people here will know it anyway but what people are generally less sure about is to how to share that message in ways and in language that people understand and there are lots of ways we can do that there's lots of stories and illustrations that we can use and in this series we're going to talk about some of those but at this stage I simply want to say that our role in discipl making is to demonstrate the kingdom of God by the way we live and to share the gospel in a way that people understand and it goes without saying that we also need to pray because we recognize our own weakness we recognize we can't do it in our own strength we need the one who has all authority in heaven on Earth to be guiding us and leading us and con convicting people of sin granting faith and so on let me summarize this our part is to demonstrate the kingdom tell the good news of the gospel and to pray and recently I um I've been producing some cartoons and this one might demonstrate it that's um Pastor Paul and is a member of the Church of polus and there they are working together it's based on one Corinthians where Paul says I planted a Polish watered and God gives the growth we have opportunity to work with God in the process of disciple making now when we share the gospel with somebody we're looking for a response aren't we we're looking for a positive response so let's spend a few moments thinking about what response we'd like to see in a person who responds to the gospel well what can we say about a not yet believer well the first thing we can say is that they are a sinner it's based on this verse in Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that's one of the ways in which the Bible divides people up into two groups they divide people up into the good and the bad there's a problem with that it's true but the problem is that everybody is in the bad group including you and me we all fall short of the glory of God don't we so everyone's in the bad grve except one person and that's Jesus so in one sense that way of dividing people is not helpful so the difference between a Christian and a not yet Christian is not to do with goodness and Badness we're in the same group the difference is found in this verse for the son of man came to seek and to save what was lost so the difference is being between being lost and being found we're all bad we've all sinned and fall short of the glory of God but Christians have been found by the Good Shepherd who is looking for lost sheep John Newton put it well in Amazing Grace when he talked about becoming a Christian he said I once was lost and now am found so if we before we become a Christian we are someone who is lost and we will remain lost unless we are found by the Good Shepherd who goes out looking for lost sheep this is what people are like before they become followers of Jesus they are sinners and they are lost so what needs to happen so they can become a Jesus follower the first Clues there in verse in Acts 17 in the past God overlooked such ignorance but now he commands all people everywhere to repent and the first step is repentance sounds like a technical word word doesn't it jargon but all it is is a change of heart or a change of Direction remember the partical sun when he's in the pig pen and he's sorry being doesn't get him anywhere does it being sorry for our sins doesn't get us anywhere things started to happen for the prodical son when he turned around and went back to the father and that's what repentance is it's turning around going in a New Direction going to towards in this his case his father and repentance is turning away from our whole life from all and turning towards Jesus putting our trust in him so that's the first thing we need to do we need to repent but the second thing we need to resp way we need to respond is there in John 3:16 for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life so the second response we're looking for in people is Faith they need to take Jesus at his word when he said I am the way and the truth and the life no one comes to the father but by me they need first to believe that Jesus is is who he said he was the Son of God he is God and they need to believe that he died on a cross and that he rose again and in so doing he conquered death and gave us the hope of eternal life with him in heaven they need to believe that Jesus is the way to heaven and the only way to heaven and then acting on this belief they are able to hand their life over over to him and when they do that God welcomes them into his family as one of his children and he gives them the hope of eternal life a life that starts now and continues on after death into eternity that's good news isn't it is that what you've done are you a lost sheep who's become a found sheep if you're not I'd love to talk to you I'm sure the Pastors in this church or one of your friends would love to talk to you about it in 1978 I came up with a way to try and summarize um the response that we look for when people become a Christian and there's three aspects to it there three words turn trust and travel and the turn is repentance turning away from our old life and turning towards Jesus the trust is believing who Jesus is and trusting him to forgive us and grant us eternal life and travel is there because we're living a new life in which we seek to live by God's principles we seek to live with Jesus now as our Lord he becomes Our Savior when he forgives us but he becomes our Lord when we start to live a life in obedience to him and if you'd like a copy of that maret's quite a number and I'll have some with me feel free to ask and we can give you one it explains how to become a Christian with some verses and in terms of turn trust and travel got a lot of ground this morning haven't we please allow me to try and summarize what I've said and that is that personal faith sharing can be daunting making disciples is God's initiative it's his show and God has chosen you and he's chosen me to be involved in the process of making disciples sharing our faith is Dawning but we can obey the great commandment because of Jesus who said that all author Authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to me so we can do it in his name and with his authority we can't do it on our own making disciples involves God it involves us and involves not yet Believers and our part is to demonstrate the kingdom and to share the gospel in ways that people can understand and we're also called to pray and the response that we're looking for is repentance and Faith Can I conclude this morning by asking this question does the gospel still work I mean it worked back in the first century didn't it we read in the book of Acts that there were some days when there were thousands of people came to Faith but what about now in Kabul and in the surrounding suburbs what evidence do we have that the gospel is still working around us isn't it just look to the person beside you or in front of you or behind you we are all examples and illustrations that the gospel still works and last Sunday we heard as four people were baptized we heard four stories about the way in which God had worked in their lives and if you listen to their stories and if you think about your story it will involve other people it would involve Christians Christians who took the time to share the good news news about Jesus with you do you believe that God could use you to help another person to become a disciple of Jesus for some of you it's already happened and if it's happened you'll know the joy you'll know the excitement that's there and I want to put it to you this morning that God can use you to help other people people to become followers of Jesus if you do it God's way in his authority in his strength and you look to him as you Proclaim his message let me close with a verse from scripture and then I'll pray for I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to all who believe let's come before God in prayer thank you Father that you sent Jesus to seek and to save lost sheep thank you that because of the life death and resurrection of your son you made it possible for people to be forgiven and receive eternal life thank you Lord for those who took the time to share this good news with us so that now we too have the hope of heaven and this morning Father we thank you for the privilege that is ours to be involved in your mission to make disciples help us we pray to demonstrate the kingdom well teach us we pray how to share the good news of Jesus in a way that people understand and as we depend on you in prayer when may we have the joy and the privilege of seeing lost sheep become found sheep May those who may those who lead us that you lead us to hear and respond to your gospel so that they might have the same hope joy and purpose that is ours because of Jesus continue to guide us and teach us and lead us we pray we ask it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ amen