Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Sharing Your Faith

By David Edgren

Introduction

Story: Asleep in the Mud

The world is wallowing in sin and don’t know they are dying!

Your story may wake someone up

Prodigal Son (Luke 15:13-17)

Came to his senses

When a sinner is hungry he goes to the pig slop,
but when he is starving he goes to the Father…

IF…

He knows THERE IS A FATHER

He knows THE FATHER IS LOVE

Point 1: They want to hear your story – your Christory

Christory – When your story and God’s story became UNIFIED. Jesus’ story has been going on from eternity. Your story only began relatively recently. When you met Jesus your story became part of History!

We need to be willing to share

Take the time – Ferry

Have the guts – Reading Bible in public

Be willing – take the opportunities the Spirit gives you

Pentecost: 3,000+ people come to hear the Apostles story (Acts 2:1-12; 38-41)

They wonder, “How can these men be doing these things?”

The Holy Spirit was active in their lives and people were drawn to them

When the Holy Spirit enters you, your true worth to God is made evident

Story: John’s Vase – bought for $2 – sold for $9,500 – John knew that it was valuable

People see us – earthen vessels – but there is something drawing them to us
– the Holy Spirit in us!

Started with PRAYER – 10 days of prayer/1 hour of preaching!

God knows your real value. When you go to Him in PRAYER – you are sent out with HOLY SPIRIT power!

Our access to God and His power is PRAYER!


Point 2: They need to know we are LOVING

Story: John’s Question: “Does it make you angry that I don’t believe what you believe –

when it is your job to make me believe?”

My Answer: “No! I believe life is a journey and every person and event we encounter is a stepping stone in that journey. Our paths crossed because God made it so. That’s what I choose to believe. I will be praying for you from now on. And I will be thinking about all that you have told me today.

John’s Response: And I will be thinking about all you have told me today!

Stepping Stones!

John – I don’t need to FEAR Christians

Me: People see Christians as more AGENDA than RELATIONSHIP

Loving them is the all important first step!

We MODEL who we SERVE.

If we serve a JUDGEMENTAL God we will be JUDGEMENTAL in the way we treat others.

If we serve a LOVING God we will be GRACE filled and LOVING to others

Point 3: They want ANSWERS

They already have the QUESTIONS. They want answers to their QUESTIONS not ours! We need to listen for the real questions!

Philip and the Etheopian (Acts 8:26-39)

Do you understand what you are reading?

How can I when there is no one to explain it to me?

Philip gives answers – from where? The scroll the man is reading!

Our answers need to MAKE SENSE – they need to START where the person is.

Story: Robert and Isaiah

“Is that the Word, brother?” – Breaky and chat

Can I ask you two questions in private?

1. Off the wall question – listened and admitted ignorance – “I don’t know anything about that.”

a. Often the world has confused people and given them the wrong questions. Keep listening and responding. Keep the dialogue open. Don’t be aftraid to say, “I don’t know!”

2. Can you prove the Sabbath is still valid today?

a. Which text would you use?

i. “I’ve been to Dan & Rev Seminars, Satellite Downlinks – I know all the proof texts. But, can you prove it is still important to keep the 7th day Sabbath today?”

b. Malachai 3:10 – Tithing is a promise – You pay, God blesses
Sabbath keeping is also a promise – You keep it, God will bless you

c. Challenge: Keep the Sabbath for 6 months and see if God blesses you

i. Big smile – “my wife and I have been keeping the Sabbath for quite some time now. And God has been blessing us!”

Stepping Stones!

For Robert – validated his experience and answered his question

For me –the value of experiential answers to Biblical Questions – a test vs a text!


Story: Australian Outlaw – Bikie

Logo “1 %er” – means no common law, no politics, no religion

Me: “What would happen if you found God?”

Him: points to patch on other shoulder “God forgives, outlaws don’t.”

Laughs.. then, “Nah, I guess we all believe in God in one way or another… But I gotta be honest.

I don’t believe in God at all. I used to wonder, now I’m sure. My 13yo niece died from cancer 1 year ago. Now I know – There is no God. If there was, why did he let my niece die?”

Do you see the stepping stones of his faith in God?

1. We all believe

2. I wondered for years

3. Now I know… God is Love … or nothing at all.

The big Question: How do I share my faith?

  1. Prayer
    1. Who are you sending me too?
    2. How should I get to know them?
    3. What are their needs?
    4. When & Where shall I share my faith?

Before sharing Christ with others spend time in prayer. Ask God to reveal to you one or more persons in your life who don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

As those names come to you, write them down. Make a commitment before God to build a stronger relationship with each person.

· Be genuinely interested in the other person. Take time to listen and care about the difficulties they are experiencing.

· Do things together. Go to a sports event, the market, or take a walk around the block.

· Be pro-active, yet patient and loving. Never resort to high pressure, but actively and lovingly seek to bring others to faith in Jesus Christ.

Commit right now to spend time with the people on your list this week. Just a few minutes of heartfelt conversation could be enough. Don't put it off. They may be ready to receive Christ right now.


  1. Prepare
    1. Study the Word daily
    2. Reflect on Christ Daily

i. On His life - EGW said 1 hr a day spent on thoughtful reflection of the life of Jesus!

ii. On His ministry in your life - how Jesus is present and active in your life

    1. Know your own Christory

i. When did your story and Jesus’ story first intersect

ii. Write it down, read it out loud

iii. Know it and plan how to share it! – 3 minute testimony

    1. Minister the Needs of Others

i. Physical – food, clothes, money

ii. Social – friendship, family, camaraderie

iii. Spiritual – Example, guidance (answer questions)

  1. Present
    1. When they ask – be ready to answer!
    2. 1 Peter 3:15 “Always be prepared to give an ANSWER to ANYONE who asks you the reason for this HOPE!”
    3. See yourself as a STEPPING STONE

i. Glenn Townend, “I can CONVINCE you, but only the Holy Spirit can CONVICT you.”

ii. The HOLY SPIRIT is always the last stepping stone to Christ. Not what you say or do!

Conclusion

Story: John - church in Lue, NSW.

Grew up going to the Protestant Church. It was a tiny town. The only other church was the Catholic Church and it was directly across the road from the Protestant church. His family never set foot in the Catholic Church – not for Christmas, Easter, weddings, or funerals. It just wasn’t done!

About 10 years ago the Catholic Church closed down. Sat unused for 5 years and then had an auction to sell it’s wares – pews, paintings, rostrum, supplies. John went to buy a pew – and ended up buying the church!

First bid - $35,000 Going once, twice… John bid $37,500 to get the bidding going… but he got church!

Five years later he sold it for $345,000. John knew the value of that little church.

Far too often I think we undervalue the church. We look around on a Sabbath morning and say, “We’ll it’s alright here at Rosny, but I don’t think my workmates or family members would get it.” And we miss the point. We don’t get it. Jesus gave his life to buy the church. Not the bricks, boards and pews. Not even the music, prayers and preaching. Jesus died to buy you. And me. And your workmates. And your families.

When we look around this church this morning our primary focus shouldn’t be who’s here, but who’s missing. Jesus said, “go into all the world (your work and home is a good place to start) making disciples, baptising them and teaching them everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always!”

Jesus’ great commission didn’t call us to do church or be the church but to build the church by bringing the lost to salvation. So, let’s get to it! The World desperately needs the love and freedom that Jesus offers them. Let’s start setting as many Godly stepping stones as possible in the lives of those around us!

Remember:

They want to hear your story

But 1st - They need to know you are loving

Then once they trust you – it’s time to give them the greatest answer mankind can know – JESUS!