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A Faith Worth Sharing
By Mike Burns, PhD
If you are a Christian, sharing your faith is not an option. People without a born-again personal relationship with Jesus Christ are all around us, in our workplace, our neighborhood, our family, or home and, even in our church. These people are spiritually dead and without hope. Yet, there is an overwhelming tendency in the Christian community today to expect that someone else is going to tell them about Jesus – the pastor, a deacon, the Director of Evangelism, a Sunday School teacher or youth worker, anyone but me.
Now, let me ask you the hard question: How many of you have ever been the means by which someone came to know Jesus Christ? The fact is that less than 10% of Christians when asked that question can respond in the positive. Folks, this is serious business. If we really believe that a person without a born-again, personal relationship with Christ is on the way to hell, where is our sense of urgency? We seem to have forgotten our mission: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us (2 Corinthians 5:20a). When we stand before a holy God, are we going to be humbled into the dust because we so pitifully failed to carry out the Great Commission?
Billy Fay, an internationally known leader in the field of personal evangelism encourages Christians to share their faith without fear through friendship evangelism. He says we need to get away from the “win them” mentality. Folks aren’t saved because we cleverly “manipulated” them to believe. Success according to Billy, is not leading someone to Christ but it is acting out your Christian life, sharing the Gospel, and trusting God for the results.
Are you ready to take up the challenge? We need to practice sharing our faith. Every moment of every day, we must be ready to share our faith with others. “That the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus (Philemon 6).” Only with practice will we become more consistent, confident, and competent as a Christian. Then in the words of the old hymn we’ll sing:
I love to tell the story,
‘Tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it,
More wonderfully sweet;.
For some have never heard
The message of salvation
From God’s own holy Word.
“Keys To Running A Good Race”
Most folks enjoy soma good rodeo, but few understand the cost to the participants; the grueling discipline; the years of rigorous training. They didn’t just jump on a 2,000 lb. bull and ride. They don’t just jump on a horse and run barrels.
The same goes for each of us in the Christian arena. Without the right training and discipline, victory will always be out of reach.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 gives us the formula for running our race well; some things the believer must get.
# 1 - Get in the event:
1 Cor. 9:24a, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run...” In order to run the race, we must first begin. There is no way to win a race if you aren’t running. We cannot serve God in the shoots. Winning starts when we cowboy up and enter the event.
# 2 - Get on and hang on:
1 Cor. 9:24b, “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” The race isn’t over till you cross the finish line. If we want to win the prize, we must pursue excellence in everything we do. Victory goes to the one who has victory over himself; the one who realizes that his boss, spouse, or neighbor is not his enemy. He is his own worst enemy because often he doesn’t run to win. The Word of God says the one who wins is the one who presses on.
# 3 - Get yourself ready:
1 Cor. 9:25a, “Everyone who competes in the games, goes into strict training.” An athlete who wants to win, no matter what kind of event they’re going into, goes into strict training. He learns self-discipline. It’s important that believers have control over their appetites and passions. They may be normal; it’s alright to have them, but we must control them, or they will control us.
# 4 - Get focused and stay focused:
1 Cor. 9:25, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever!” In both the Greek and the Roman games, the initial, physical prize was a crown made of celery. In the life of the believer, the crown is not physical, but eternal. The believer must focus on the crown at the end of the race.
# 5 - Get energized:
1 Cor. 9:26, “Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” If we can’t win a prize, most of us won’t enter the event. For the believer, long life in itself should not be a goal. The Peace Corps once had a commercial that said, “If you’re not doing something with your life, it doesn’t matter how long it is.” People must be energized about something. The believer should be energized about Jesus Christ.
# 6 - Get victory:
BANDANA GOSPEL ~ PART 2
And without dying again, He returned to Heaven, where He is today.
Because Jesus is God's Son who died for you, you can become His child right now!
You remember that God loves you so much and wants to be your Heavenly Father and have you live with Him in Heaven someday. But your sin separates you from Him. That's why He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus to die on the cross for you.
The Bible says, "But as many as received Him (the Lord Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12) That means that if you believe with all your heart that Jesus died for you and rose again and receive Him by inviting Him to come and take away your sins, He will make you a part of God's forever family - God will become your Heavenly Father right now, and someday you will share God's home with Him in Heaven.
Have you ever believed and received the Lord Jesus so you could become God's child?
I'm not talking about whether you attend church or have been baptized or if your parents are Christians. Those things are good, but they cannot take away even one sin. He wants you to believe and receive Him.
If you believe that Jesus, God's Son died for your sins on the cross and rose again, would you tell God right now:1. that you know you have sinned.2. that you believe Jesus, God's Son, died for you and rose again.3. that you are inviting Him to be your Savior and your Heavenly Father.
You could pray something like this:
Dear God,I know that I have sinned and done wrong against you. I believe that Jesus is God's Son and that He took the punishment for all my sins by dying on the cross. I believe He came back to life again. I receive you now as my only Savior from sin. Thank you for making your child right now as you promised. In Jesus' name, amen.
If you really prayed these words and meant it, God has just made you a part of His forever family! It's not because I said so, But because He promised (remember John 1:12?), and God never breaks His promises.
Let me show you another great promise for you in God's Word. Hebrews 13:5 says, (God is speaking) "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." Will the Lord Jesus ever leave you? He promises, "No." How about if you sin again? No, God says, "I will never leave you." And Hebrews 13:6 says, "The Lord is my helper." He will give you the power to do what is right.
When you become God's child, He wants you to grow to know Him better each day. The last bandana, the green bandana, tells you how.
Green reminds me of things that grow. (Like trees and grass and plants.) When you become God's child, He wants you to get to know Him better - to grow in how well you know Him.
Sin can keep that from happening. But God promises in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." That means that if you sin you need to confess (tell on yourself) to God. "He is faithful" means He will always forgive you. And "just" means that God is fair to forgive you because He already punished every sin you’ve ever done when Jesus died for you on the cross.
You can get to know God better by reading and obeying His Word, the Bible. I hope you have a Bible at home that you can read.
Another thing that can help you grow in God is by talking to God in prayer.
Going to a church and Sunday school that teach from the Bible will help you know Him better too.
You can also tell others about Jesus! In fact, If you have just become God's child right now, would you let me know? I would like to thank God for what He has
The following message is adapted from "The Wordless Book". It was written as a children's church message but I have used it hundreds of times in many different situations. With a slight tweek here and there it can also be delivered so that even ADULTS can understand it. Pastor Lynn Kirkland
The story begins with the gold bandana. It reminds me of the street of gold in Heaven that the Bible talks about. Do you know who lives in heaven?
God does and He wants you to be in Heaven with Him some day.
You usually like to be with people you love, don't you? That's why God wants you to be with Him in Heaven - He loves you very much! In the Bible, God's Word, He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." (Jeremiah 31:3)
That means that God loved you even before you were born! You could put your name in there and say, "God has loved me with an everlasting love." and it would be just as true.
God wants you to be in Heaven someday with Him, but there is something that can keep you from being there - sin.
This dark bandana reminds me of the darkness of sin. Sin is the bad things that people do. It is anything that you do or say or think or even feel that is against God. It is things like lying, cheating, disobeying your parents, fighting with brothers or sisters or not being kind to someone.
The Bible says that everyone has sinned; it plainly says, "for all have sinned." (Romans 3:23) When the Bible says, "all have sinned", that includes both you and me too, doesn't it?
Yes, you and I and everybody else in the whole world have sinned and done wrong things. The Bible says you and I were born with a kind of "want to" to do wrong. Your mother didn't have to teach you how to disobey, did she? Neither did mine.
You probably get punished for doing wrong things at home, don't you? Those are the kinds of things God calls sin. God has a punishment for sin. It is to be separated from Him forever in a place of punishment the Bible calls Hell. But God doesn't want that.
Remember, He loves you and wants you to be in Heaven with Him someday. In fact, He wants to be your Heavenly Father right now.
But if I were to end the story right now it would seem like no one is going to heaven. Because God will not allow sin in Heaven and everyone has sinned! But God made a way for the problem of sin to be taken care of: The red bandana tells about that.
Jesus is God's perfect Son, He is God the Son. That means that He is God and He became a man and lived a perfect life. The Lord Jesus was the only person in all of history to ever live His entire life without sinning.
You would think that everyone would love someone like that, and yet when He grew up, wicked men took the Lord Jesus and nailed Him to a wooden cross. This red page reminds me that they left Him there to bleed and die.
When He died He was taking the punishment for something He didn't even do. He was willingly taking the punishment for every sin that you and I and everyone in the world has ever done. The punishment was to die. And the Lord Jesus knew that the only way that your sin could be forgiven would be if He would die for you. Jesus died for your sins. The Bible says that "without the shedding of blood there is no [forgiveness]". (Hebrews 9:22b)
As He died, the Lord Jesus said, "It is finished." Everything that needed to be done for your sins to be taken away had been done by Him on the cross.
They buried His body. But three days later He proved that He could take away your sins and give you everlasting life by coming back to life! And without dying again, He returned t
THERE IS A JOURNEY:
“If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes…I will be with you.” I Kings 11:38 (NIV)There is a journey we all must embark upon. The Lord has given us the key through which to complete that journey day by day in His Word. We must also embrace or cherish the vision with all our hearts and not take it for granted. Being Spirit-led is all about sticking to the purpose for which God placed you on this planet. It’s about being an obedient and pliable instrument in the hands of God to accomplish His will. It’s all about hard work and commitment with no personal agenda, other than being the best servant on earth, approved in Heaven. That’s what the Apostle Paul meant when he told Timothy he needed to, “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)We should never give up on our dream/vision. Do you dare to be a dreamer? Do you dare to have a vision? Will you bring them into the light of God’s word and receive His wisdom? Only through obedience to His word and His wisdom can you complete your journey.God told us that Jesus died so we could live an abundant life, filled with the poured-out Spirit of the living God. He did it because He loves us!
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