Fearless – Part 1
By: John Ankerberg Show
Message, Robby Gallaty
Every member is a minister of the gospel. Many years ago, Billy Graham was about to come into a town to do a revival, a big crusade. And one of the local pastors who was a little bit liberal at times pushed back and said, “There is no way we want Dr. Graham to come to our town. That man will set evangelism back for us 50 years.”
When Billy Graham heard about this, he responded back and said, “Listen, I certainly do not want to put evangelism back 50 years. I want to take it back 2000 years.”
You know, we live in a day and age where we don’t like anything old fashioned, right? Anything old is old fashioned. We want something new. We want something relevant. But let me remind you that the two events in human history that changed the course of things were the renaissance and the reformation. Both of which looked at something in the past or rediscovered something old. And by looking at the past, they were able to take giant strides forward.
Over the next few months and weeks, we will look at the book of Acts. Acts is a strategy, if you will, a process for reaching the lost with the gospel. And what happens in the book of Acts is, we see what happens when the Spirit of God collides with the Word of God through the people of God for the glory of God.
Now the book of Acts has been referred to as Acts of the Apostles. But it actually should be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit because it is a visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the life of people.
My goal today is simply this in our time together. I want to spark within you this fire for evangelism again. And maybe you are there or maybe you have lost that flame in your life. But I want to spark, I want to cause this fire for evangelism to rise up within you, knowing that you evangelize based on Jesus’ promise, Jesus’ power and Jesus’ presence in your life so that you would be courageous in doing so.
If you have your Bibles and I hope you do, turn with me to the book of Acts, Chapter 1, Acts Chapter 1 and we will begin in Verse 4. And when you are there, say “Word.” The Word of the Lord.
“And while staying with them, He ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, He said, “you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in all Judea, in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The Word of the Lord.
I want to show you two challenges for us as believers, two signposts, two spiritual markers in our ministry as we engage in evangelism. The first thing I want you to see is this, write it down, God works in our waiting. God works in our waiting.
The disciples asked Jesus a question. Jesus, is this the time You are going to set up the kingdom of heaven? Now, what has transpired up to this point is that Jesus Christ has already gone to the cross. He has been buried in a tomb. He has risen from the dead. And now, 40 days He has spent with the disciples in His resurrected body. He is about to depart and be ascended into heaven. And the disciples asked Him, “Jesus, are you about to set up the kingdom of God?”
Now, you can’t blame these guys because Jesus has already promised them a seat at the table. The twelve tribes of Israel will occupy a seat and these men will be representatives of those tribes. And so, they are saying, Jesus, is this the time? And Jesus said, You shouldn’t worry about the times or the seasons that have been fixed by My Father. And what He is saying is this – you shouldn’t be concerned when I am coming back or even that I am coming back. You should be concerned as to what you will do until I come back. Do you see the difference?
And what He says is this. You need to wait upon the Lord. And it is interesting because they are between the seasons of Passover and Pentecost. And if you know anything about the Jewish festivals, you know that Passover and Pentecost are two of the three pilgrimage festivals. These are feast days that all Jews are required to leave their homeland and travel back to Jerusalem to worship. This is the second of those feast days, if you will.
So what the Jews would do on Passover, they would begin to count the omars or the days until Pentecost. We know from Acts Chapter 1 that Jesus has visited with them for 40 days. Look at it in Verse 3. “Jesus appeared to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” And so, from Passover to Pentecost is 50 days. Jesus has been with them 40 days and He tells the disciples, I want you to wait, in essence, watch this…another ten days for the power of the Holy Spirit to come upon you.
Now this is not the first time they have been filled with the Spirit of God because we know in John Chapter 20 in the Upper Room, Jesus breathed upon them. And so they already have the Spirit. And what Jesus says is this, Guys, I want you to hold on for just a second. Don’t go out and start your own ministry. Don’t set up that 501(c)3 just yet for evangelism because I have a plan that even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe. And here is the plan. On Pentecost, I am going to gather all people from four corners of the world to Jerusalem. And Peter, you are going to have a platform to preach the gospel and 3000 people are going to be saved. Now, can you feel the weight of that? Imagine that. Not three or 300 or even 500 or even 1000.…3000 people will come to faith in Christ. In essence, what He is saying is, you need to wait.
Now waiting for us is difficult, right? Now I know you have never had a problem with waiting but I have heard of people who have, right? Waiting is difficult. And maybe you are waiting right now. You are wondering, God, are You even aware of my present situation? God, do You even know what is going on in my life. That may be where you are today. But let me remind you, Church, don’t miss this…God works in our waiting. Amen? I mean, think of Noah. God instructs Noah to build an ark for rain that is about to come which no man or woman has even seen before. God irrigated the trees and the vegetation from the ground.
Noah constructed this ark anywhere between 55 and 75 years. I want you to imagine. In the entire time, he is humiliated and mocked for building this ark. You talk about waiting upon the Lord. And the entire time, God is working things out for His glory.
Think of Joseph. He is incarcerated in a prison. He is isolated in a pit. And it takes 11 years before God comes through with the promise that He gave him before.
Well, think of Abraham. Abraham gets this meeting with God that God is going to make him the Father of all nations. He is going to have a son in his old age. And, oh, by the way, you are going to wait 25 years for this to happen. Not two years, not even ten years. Think about it – 25 years!
Hey, Moses, we are going to go on a short-term mission trip from Egypt to Israel. It is supposed to take six months. And oh, by the way, I am going to teach you a lesson….over four decades!
I think the greatest example of waiting is Jesus. Jesus, God Himself, wraps Himself in human flesh. God comes to the earth on a rescue mission to redeem mankind. Jesus Christ waits until He is 30 years old to start His earthly ministry. He could have gone to the cross at 12. He could have proclaimed to be God which He was, but He waited culturally, to be a rabbi, respected in the community at 30.
Friends, listen to me, God works in our waiting. He might not be on your time, but He is always on time, right? And so you know there are certain lessons in the Christian life that can only be learned through waiting, right? There are certain things, like perseverance or endurance or steadfastness or humility. So maybe you are in here today and you are in the midst of that. You are waiting for your business to turn around. You are waiting maybe for that wayward son to come home. You are waiting for that healing from God that you believe in your heart that God is going to grant. Maybe you are waiting for the pain to subside. Maybe you are waiting for the grief to go away. I don’t know what you are waiting for, but I do know this…listen to me carefully…God is working in your waiting. And His plans are bigger than ours.
And so we trust the Lord. The disciples probably wondered in the Upper Room, when is the Spirit going to come? I mean, God, we are waiting, alright? The world is falling apart. We are being attacked from the outside and we are waiting. Where are You? And little did they know, God was going to bring people from all over the world to hear a message where 3000 people would be saved. Friends, don’t get ahead of God. God works in our waiting.
Secondly, God works out His own plan. You see, while we are waiting, God is working. And it is His plan. It is not our plan. Now what Jesus is about to do for the disciples is give them a seminar on church growth. It is very different than many seminars you have heard probably, or even I have heard in the past. And Jesus gives them a three-fold process for carrying out the Great Commission.
The first thing He says is this: I want to talk to you guys about the promise of power. I want to talk to you about the promise of power, He tells them. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. That power is another word for presence. Whenever the power of God appears, the presence of God is manifested.
Now the power of God was promised in the Old Testament. God promised it to Moses. When Moses was meeting with God, do you remember in an encounter with the burning bush, Moses speaks to God and says, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh”, in Verse 11 of Chapter 3, “and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? And God says to Moses, I will be with you. And this will be the sign for you that I have sent you when you brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
Did God keep His promise? Absolutely. What did God lead them with during the day? Audience participation part, by the way. What did God lead them with during the day? A cloud of smoke by day which is a side note here. Whenever you see a cloud of smoke, it is the manifest presence of God. Remember Isaiah when he went into the Temple, the smoke filled the Temple. It was the manifest presence of God. When the people went into the Tabernacle, there was smoke there. When the people went into the Temple, there was smoke there. It is the manifest presence of God. God led them during the day and then what happened at night? The fire pot, the burning, or the burning torch at night, the fire. God definitely kept His promise.
God promised the Old Testament prophets that He would be with them, particularly Jeremiah, right? Jeremiah said, “I am only a youth, God. How in the world would you ever use me?” And notice what God says to Jeremiah. And I believe this is what sustained this man against a hard-necked, stiff-headed generation. How many people converted to Jeremiah’s message? How many people patted him on the back after he preached a message and said, “Brother, that was an amazing word. Thank you for leading us faithfully.” How many people did that to Jeremiah in his entire ministry? Zero. He had to watch first-hand the demise of the Israelites and none of them listened. And I believe…watch this…in the beginning of Jeremiah, God gives him a nugget to hang on to for his entire ministry. It is something we can hang on to as well.
Notice what he says. “The Lord said to me,” Verse 7, “do not say I am only a youth, for to whom I send you, you shall go and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.”
Not only has God given a promise to Moses, not only has God given a promise to the prophets, God gave us a promise. He promises to be with us. You see, in the Old Testament, the saints would experience…follow me here…the presence of the Spirit of God intermittently. God would indwell a person, God would surround the people for a purpose and then He would remove His presence. Remember, David would say, “Oh, Lord, do not take Your Holy Spirit from me,” right? He enjoyed the power and the presence of God.
But as New Testament believers…watch this…the presence of God moves from being intermittent in their lives to indwelling our lives today. You see, New Testament believers, we have the benefit of being filled with the Spirit of God. God is always with us. Did you know the presence of God book ends the Bible? Did you know that? God creates man and immediately after creating man, guess what He does with man, His creation? He walks with him. God is a coming down God. He wants to be with His people. And would you believe, in Revelation Chapter 21, how does the Bible end? John says, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, Now the dwelling of God is with men. And He will be with them and they will be His people and He will be their God and He will be with them. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old things have been washed away, all things are new.”
He is a God that wants to be with His people. Friends, we have this promise that Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God, will not just be by us but be IN us. Aren’t you glad of that? That is the promise of the power.
But Jesus goes on. Jesus talks about the person of the power or the presence of the power. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. And I have to be honest with you. For many years, I actually wrongly called the Holy Spirit an it. I don’t know if you have ever done this before, but in my ignorance, I just didn’t know. Remove “it” from your vocabulary. It is not an it that comes upon you, it is a person, it is a he. He is the third person of the Trinity.
Now the Holy Spirit has been misunderstood for decades and misunderstood by a lot of different people of different denominations. I remember when I was a new believer, I was in a Bible study with men from another denomination. And we said, lets put our theological differences aside and lets come together and win people to Jesus. I didn’t realize that when you do that, you have to define what win means and who Jesus is. But that is another sermon for another day.
But anyway, so we came together and they were from a denomination that believed every Christian needed to be filled with the Spirit of God, which we would agree with, but they had to have the evidence of that filling manifested with the evidence of speaking in tongues. And so, if you did not speak in tongues, it was evidence that you weren’t filled with the Spirit of God. And so what they would say to me as a new believer, listen, you can hang with us but if you want power, so to speak, for your program, if you want dynamite for your ministry, then you need to be filled with the Spirit of God and speak in tongues and you are part of the all-star team. You can hang with us and be a part of the JV team, if you want. And that is kind of how I felt. I have to be honest. And I don’t know if you have been around denominations like that, but I have been around people like that before. And do you know what that did to me as a new believer? It alienated me. It isolated me. I felt like I was lesser than or a lower Christian.
Now when I started to study the New Testament, and you can imagine, this really drove me to study the New and Old Testaments. I have realized that that was a misunderstanding of a couple of key verses in the New Testament. And I want to give them to you.
You see, the first big misunderstanding there is that you can’t profess to have the presence of God and not be filled with the Spirit of God. In essence, you can’t say, I am a believer and not have the Spirit of God. Write it down. The Spirit is the evidence of your salvation, right? The Spirit is the evidence of your salvation.
Turn with me to Romans Chapter 8 Verse 9 and here is the proof text. When you are there, say “word.” “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of Christ dwells in you. Anyone who does not…or the Spirit of God dwells within you. Anyone who does not possess the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.” Do you see what is saying there? You can’t profess to be a believer if you don’t possess the Spirit. Do you see it? So you can’t say, I am a believer and not have the Spirit of God.
Here is the second truth we learn from the text and that is, the Spirit is the guarantee of our eternal glory or future glory. Write that down. The Spirit is the guarantee of our future glory. Ephesians Chapter 1 Verse 13 is the text. We know this one. “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believe in Him,” watch this, “were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, as the guarantee of our inheritance to the praise of His glory.”
And what he is saying here is this. That word “guarantee” is an interesting word. It is pregnant with meaning. It is the Greek word that means wedding ring or engagement ring, to be more precise. When you came to the Lord Jesus Christ, there was a spiritual ceremony by which God placed the Spirit of God as an engagement ring, in a sense, in your life. It was a promise of the future consummation of the marriage at the marriage supper when He returns. You see, the Spirit of God is the engagement ring as a promise for future glory. Aren’t you glad of that? If we have the Spirit of God, we know that we know that we know that we have assurance of our salvation.
Finally, though, the Spirit of God is the sign that you are in the body of Christ. The Spirit of God is the sign that you are a believer in the body of Christ.
Go with me to I Corinthians Chapter 6. I want you to see this one. I Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 19. When you are there, say “word.” “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”
Now, the challenge in English is that the word “you” in singular and the word “you” in plural are the same. So in the South, we say, ya’ll, right? If Paul was a Southern, he would be using the word “ya’ll” here, right, because it shows us he is not talking about you individually. This does not compartmentalize individualistic Christianity here. This is corporate pluralistic worship here. They were thinking as the body of believers together, assembling together. So Paul is talking to the church.
“Or do you not know that ya’lls body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within ya’ll, whom ya’ll have from God? Ya’ll are not your own, for ya’ll have been bought with a price. So glorify God in ya’lls body.”
I know that is kind of a colloquialism. But you get the point here, right? This is what he is saying. He is saying, in the Old Testament, God created a temple for His people. Watch this. In the New Testament, God created a people to be His Temple. Do you see it? In the Old Testament, He created a Temple for the people. In the New Testament, He created a people to be His Temple. That is where wherever you go, the Spirit of God goes with you, right, because the Spirit of God is in you.
So people say, well, Robby, do you believe in a second filling of the Holy Spirit? And my answer is yes! I believe in a second filling. It is a necessity for the Christian. And a third filling and a fourth filling and a fifth filling and sixth filling and an every day filling of the Spirit of God. Friends, you should wake up every single day before your feet hit the floor and say, God, fill me with the Holy Ghost today. Fill me with the Spirit of God.
You see, the Christian life should be an adventure every single day where you are in this Great Co-Mission with God, carrying out His plan. Amen? That is why Paul says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
We could camp out here all day. Think about that. Colossians 1:27. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Do you know what he is saying? Not Christ in front of you. Not Christ beside you. Not Christ to the right or the left. Not even Christ behind you. Christ IN you, the hope of glory.
Can you imagine what it is like to have Christ, the Son of God, God Himself through the Holy Spirit living in you? You see, when I learned this years ago, it radically changed my life. You see, when I realized that I didn’t have to earn God’s favor thorugh meritorious works like doing a bunch of good works to please God, but that I had to yield to God’s Spirit within me in order to please Him. You see, the Christian life is impossible, folks, if you try to do it in your own strength and power. But it becomes easier as you allow Christ who lives within you as you yield yourself to His Spirit, He works in you to work through you for the glory of God.
And so Jesus says, listen, you have not only the promise of power, you have the presence of the power of God. Let me describe it this way. A Kentucky pastor was known for having this old, tethered leather glove that he would have on the desk in his office. And every Sunday when he would prepare, right before he would get up to preach, he would take that old leather glove and he would simply put his right hand in it and he would squeeze it and stretch it out. He did this a number of times. And his pastoral staff watched him and they didn’t know why he did this. And he would then lay the glove back on the desk and he would go preach. And one day, one of his assistants asked him, why in the world do you put your hand in that glove. You never do anything with the glove. You never wear the glove outside of the office. You simply place your hand in it and pull your hand out and place it back on the desk. And the old preacher said this. He said, I do that to remind myself of this vital lesson, that the glove is absolutely impotent and powerless until my hand is slipped into it. And then I say to God, Oh, God, as my hand has activated this glove, I want you, Lord Jesus, to activate my life and I want you, Lord, to enter into me and to inhabit my humanity and live Your life through me. Do you know, that is a Biblical insight?
Do you remember in the book of Judges it says that God wore Gideon like a suit of clothes? Friends, when we yield to the Spirit of God, He begins to use us to carry out the mission of God.
So Jesus says, not only is there this promise of power, not only is there this person of power, but there is this purpose for power. And the purpose of power is not to glorify self but to glorify God. And here is the crux of Jesus’ final words to His disciples. Notice what He says, “You will be,” I love that. He is not saying, you might be. If you guys work hard enough you could be. You may be My witnesses. No, He says, “You will be My witnesses,” it is a great promise, when we depend upon Him. “You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
That word “witness” is the word that means testify. It is basically someone sharing about what God has done in their life. It is a word picture for a mirror. It is the word picture for a billboard. No one picks up a mirror and appreciates the fine glass work or the ceramic handle. Man, this is an amazing piece of work from China. I don’t know how they made this mirror. Nobody does that. When you pick up a mirror, what you are appreciative of is the reflection reflecting back at you from the piece of glass. And that is what we should be as Christians. We are to mirror Christ in our life. When people see us, they should see Christ.
Now that word “mirror” or that word “witness” sorry, is the word for martyr in the New Testament. And wouldn’t you know that Jesus is speaking to twelve men who all of which will give their lives as martyrs but one for the gospel. And to be a witness, you don’t have to be a Bible scholar. Don’t miss this. You don’t even have to have a seminary degree. You don’t even have to go to Christian colleges or universities. You don’t even have to be a believer for a long period of time. You just have to have a testimony, right? And do you know, God brings us through tests in order to give us a testimony.
I tell people, God took a mess in my life and He made it into a message, right? That is what He does. And we all have a testimony. Here was my life before Christ. Here is what happened when I met Christ. And here is my life after Christ.
Now what Jesus does here in Acts Chapter 1 Verse 8…look at it…He gives us a geographical outline for the entire book of Acts imbedded within this one verse.
Jerusalem, you can write in the margin, will be what Acts Chapters 1-7 focus on. They are at the home base in Jerusalem, ministering, sharing the gospel. Then there is a shift in Chapters 8-12 where the gospel goes to Judea and Samaria. But then when we hit Chapter 13, the gospel moves from the home base to the ends of the earth. And we see all the way till Acts Chapter 28, Paul, Silas, Barnabas, John Mark, taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.
But did you know that in Chapters 8, 9 and 10, we see something interesting. In fact, there are three notable men who gets radically saved by the gospel in three successive chapters. Let me tell them to you quickly. Just write it down. In Acts Chapter 8, you may remember, the Ethiopian gets saved. Do you remember that? Gets radically saved, this man from Ethiopia. Then in Acts Chapter 9, we meet a terrorist named Saul who gets radically saved by the gospel. And then in Acts Chapter 10, we meet another man, a Roman centurion named Cornelius who was radically saved. You couldn’t pick three diverse men if you wanted to and they are sandwiched together in those three chapters.
So, Robby, what does that mean? What gives us there is a roadmap for the future of the gospel advancing. And I love this. Dr. Adrian Rogers pointed this out. Listen to what Dr. Rogers says about the impact of the gospel message to the world.
“Now one of them was the son of Ham. That was the man from Ethiopia. The other of them was a son of Shem. That was the man from the Middle East whose name was Saul who later became Paul. And one was the son of Japheth and that was the man, the centurion, the man who is from Italy and you see, there were three men who came out of the ark. The three sons of Noah. Ham, Shem and Japheth. And in these three chapters, you have their descendants and what they do, they represent all of the world.”
You see, if you were in the New Testament times and you would have read that, you would have said, Jesus was right! The gospel works! It is going to the world! It is affecting the nation! And Jesus was right!
Friends, when Jesus says we can’t just be consumed with our own community, what He says is, we need to be about the business of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Jerusalem is your community. Judea would be your city. Samaria would be your country. And the ends of the earth would be the world.
And notice the conjunction Jesus uses here. He doesn’t use the conjunction “or”, He uses the conjunction “and.” Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria or the ends of the earth. Well, we are pretty passionate about going to the nations, but we neglect our neighbors all the time. Is that what He says? He said we need to be passionate about all of them.
I think one of the reasons we are not as passionate about the gospel advancing in our own life, I know in my life personally, is because we are not enamored with the gospel message, I think, like we should be. We may be have lost the wonder of the power of the gospel, right? And maybe, just maybe, we are not consumed with Christ as we should be. That if we were committed to Christ and filled with the Spirit of God, then maybe we would overflow with the gospel message more than we are now.
I think of a man named Patrick. You may know him as St. Patrick of Ireland. Patrick is credited with saving Ireland by bringing the gospel to it. If you study anything about Patrick, you realize that he planted in his lifetime 365 churches. Think about that. Personally. He saw 1200 people convert to Christianity single-handed. He was a man who was known for the breastplate of prayer, the breastplate prayer. You may have heard of it. Supposedly and this is debated, he created this in 433 A.D. as he was about to stand before the great King of Ireland and try to convert him from paganism to Christianity. And what he said as he came up with this prayer before going into his presence…here is what the prayer is. It is a great prayer for us to pray every single day.
He said, “I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in threeness, through confession of the oneness of the creator of creation. God, I ask You, Christ, shield me today against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding so that there may come to me abundance of reward. Christ with me. Christ before me. Christ behind me. Christ in me. Christ beneath me. Christ above me. Christ on my right side. Christ on my left side. Christ when I lie down. Christ when I arise. Christ when I am quiet. Christ in danger. Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me. Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me. Christ in the eye of every man who sees me. Christ in the ear of every man who hears me.”
Do you think our lives would be radically changed if we lived that way?
Dawson Trotman who is the Navigator, wrote a little booklet called “Born to Reproduce.” It is a great little booklet. And in that booklet, he talks about how he interviewed 29 missionary candidates prior to going to the mission field. And he said during his hour and a half conversation, he asked them a plethora of questions, if you can imagine. But there were two questions that he said caught his attention. Now these are Bible students, these are seminarians, these are graduates of Christian institutions and universities and they are all being called to the mission field.
And the first question he asked the 29 candidates was this one. Is your devotional life where it should be today? Do you feel, by your own admission, that your devotional life is where it should be? Guess how many people said yes. Now these are trained men and women about to go to the mission field with the gospel. Guess how many people said yes. One. And he pushed back. He said, why is it that you are not where you should be? And many of them said, if not all, busyness. They said, we have been training here for the last ten weeks. It is like a year’s worth of education in ten weeks. Frankly, we just have no time to get into the Word and memorize the Word and walk with God like we should.
Now I have a sneaking suspicion that if that is happening with those men and women, it is probably happening with you and me as well, right? And so he said, let me get this straight. You are training to go overseas with the gospel, to share the gospel? They said yes. He said, let me ask you another question. How many people have you personally shared the gospel with who have believed in Christ and been converted to be a Christian, who are now walking with Jesus today? How many people have you personally seen saved over the last year? He said, the majority of the candidates pushed back and said, we have never seen anyone profess faith in Christ. And what he was blown away by was the fact that these candidates were willing to go to a foreign land, travel to a foreign city and learn a foreign language and yet they had never been passionate about sharing the gospel in their homeland!
As David Platt says, “Transformation doesn’t happen by aviation.” Friends, if we are not passionate about missions in our home town, what makes us think that we are going to be passionate on foreign soil. Don’t let it be said of Brainerd Baptist that we go to the nations and neglect our neighborhoods, right?
So, Robby, what do we do? We want to be passionate about sharing the gospel? Let me give you two walking points, two simple walking points as we close. And I really think these will be helpful for you, practical. These are two ways you can take the message and walk home. And I pray you do this over the next few days.
The first one is this. We need to be intentional about going to the same places at the same time to see the same people. The same places at the same time to see the same people. I challenged my staff recently about being intentional in sharing the gospel. And I just lamented to them and I said, guys, listen, it is easy for us on a pastoral staff to become domesticated and institutionalized by Christianity. And I am just being honest here for a moment. And what happens is, if we are not careful, we can become insolated because the environment we work around is all Christians, or at least I hope it is on Brainerd Baptist’s staff. I think it is, right? We believe it is. But you get the point. If it happens to us on the pastoral staff here at Brainerd, how much more does it happen to you. And it can happen if you are not aware of it. I mean, think about it. You can be born into a Christian church. You can experience a Christian baptism. You can have Christian friends. You can graduate from a Christian school. You can attend a Christian university. You can have a Christian wedding. You can go to Christian events. You can have a Christian funeral administered when you pass away. And you can never be around lost people your entire life. That may be you. It is easy to be insolated and isolated.
And so the first thing we need to do is be intentional. Go to the same restaurant at the same time to see the same waitress. Go to the same coffee shop at the same to see the same barista. Just being intentional.
The second one. I want to challenge you to join a club, a gym or an organization as an avenue for sharing your life and the gospel. Now this is going to be challenging for some, but I want you to pray about it. Join a club or gym or an organization as a platform for sharing your life and sharing the gospel.
You see, the challenge with evangelism through the years, and I think it is one of the reasons we have found ourselves in the position we are in today in this country and in the world, but particularly in America, is that we have done an okay job, a passionate job about teaching Christians how to share the gospel. But we haven’t done well with teaching Christians how to share their life. You see, we are good at elevator speeches. We are good at Amway presentations. And no offense to you if you have been in Amway. I have gone to the meetings as well. But no offense. But that is what we are good at, right? Hey, if you died today, would you go to heaven or hell? And then we leave and we are good at sharing the gospel in a sense, but we have never been good at sharing our life.
And so I want to challenge you to begin to share your life with other people. You see, people want to know that you care before they even think about what you have to share.
Recently Kandi and I were convicted. We thought, you know what, if we are going to challenge our people, we need to lead out in this ourselves. And so we put our boys in Karate. And the reason I put our boys in Karate…people ask me, why would you put your boys in Karate. Because they were fighting with crazy punches and it really wasn’t formal. And I thought, you know what, if they are going to fight, we are going to teach them how to fight the right way, right? Rig, that is not a good punch. And so we just…and it is actually backfiring on us. But anyway, that is another story.
So they now are learning Karate. And so Kandi and decide we are going to put them in Karate and I am there the second day at this dojo and I am surrounded by people, which I presumed to be many of them, some of them, lost people, don’t know Christ. And I started to think, you know what? Maybe I can join this gym and maybe I can convince Kandi to join it with me. It was a novel idea, if you can imagine. I went home and I said, Kandi, listen. Would you be interested in doing Karate? She said, I haven’t done sports in my life before, how am I going to do Karate? I said, no, listen, we are going to learn how to defend ourselves and then we are going to learn how to wield the sword of the gospel and share Christ with people, right? And thankfully, she went for it. And so we started joining the gym.
Now, one of the things I went there for, I didn’t join the gym, don’t miss this, because I viewed these people as projects that I was going to conquer. That is the wrong idea. I joined the gym because of the burden I have for people who were hopeless and needed salvation. And the thing is this. As I was hurling roundhouse kicks to my partner who was holding the bag, I wasn’t saying to them as I was pummeling the punching bag, hey, listen, bro, you think this hurts, wait till you experience the fire of hell! I didn’t say that, okay. That doesn’t work very well, right? You think this spinning back fist hurts, but anyway. I didn’t say that.
This is what I did. Watch this. I lingered longer after the workouts. I started to arrive early and get to know people. And would you believe, conversations that started about Karate and athletics and the UFC and family and vacation turned to spiritual things. And they realized that they could trust me because I had shared my life.
You see, God opened the door to share the gospel because I was already first sharing my life. And friends, I know what you are saying. But Robby, I don’t think that could work for me because I don’t have faith that I can do that. Friends, when you have disbelief in the power of the gospel, you are not disbelieving in God, you are disbelieving in yourself. And listen to me, it is not about you. When the Spirit of God and the Word of God collide through the people of God, it is for the glory of God. And we can’t lose! We just have to open our mouth.
And so let me ask you as we close, what are you scared of?