This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “From Nothing to Something”.
You can listen to the study by clicking here
We ended our message last week saying that we needed to be proclaimers of how amazing Jesus is. About His love, His mercy, His grace, His power, His compassion, His desire is to heal and restore and make broken people whole once again. This is the calling of our lives, to be proclaimers of the goodness of God in Christ.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
How do we do it? How can we be effective at declaring the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His light.
1.) The message of reconciliation
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV)
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
The message of reconciliation is the Good News, the Gospel, the Truth.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (NIV)
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
We have all sinned and God made a way for us in Christ to be reconciled to Him. Christ died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day He rose, which was witnessed by hundreds of people.
His perfect sinless life was given in exchange for ours. He paid for our sins and we can now be reconciled to God.
And having accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, this radical message of hope has been committed to us. We are to tell others so that they can be reconciled to God as well.
2. Empowered by the Spirit
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
And we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses.
We are called to be witnesses, not judges.
We recognize the fact that all of us desperately need God.
We have to live this life out before the world. We get right with God in Christ and then we try and live by doing what is right, by doing the next right thing. We are not perfect and therefore we do not need to run around pointing fingers of judgment.
3. I am not ashamed of the Gospel
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul makes a very interesting comment. He says:
Romans 1:16 (NIV)
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Paul says he is not ashamed, in fact in the verses just before he says he is not ashamed of the gospel he says that he is under an obligation to tell people the Good News.
Romans 1:14-15 (NIV)
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
Paul was so aware of the amazing gift of life he had been given that he felt an obligation to share the good news with people. Because of all that Jesus had done for him, Paul looked at pre-Christians and felt an obligation to help them. He didn’t look at the lost with contempt or disdain, he saw the beauty of their potential and wanted desperately to share the gospel with them so they could experience life in Jesus as well. Paul had experienced the amazing grace of God and wanted to share it with others.
But, in Paul’s day, just like in ours, many pre-Christians just don’t want to hear. Greeks, non-Greeks, foolish and wise alike are often not interested in hearing about the love and forgiveness and mercy and grace of God.
1 Corinthians 1:22-23 (NIV)
22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
Too many, it is foolishness and they don’t want to hear it and don’t want you to share it.
They try and shame you into silence. It is 2017. How can you believe in fairy tales? How can you believe in the Bible? How can you believe that a fish swallowed a man? How can you believe that God came in the flesh? And the list goes on and on.
How do we overcome the shame? The reality that there is only one way for people to be reconciled to a holy God.
John 14:6 (NIV)
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
That is what Jesus is saying. That is what the early church believed.
Acts 4:12 (NIV)
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Only the Good News can bring spiritually dead people to life. Only Jesus can solve the separation that sin has caused between us and a holy God.
Well, that seems awful intolerant. That seems really arrogant. Who do you think you are? You should be ashamed of yourself.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
I am not ashamed, I am obligated. If we go silent, there is no hope for the lost. It must be loving, it must match the way we live, it must be love and grace filled, but we must share the incredible message of Jesus.