Storeroom Sermons of David Chadwell

Sharing Jesus

Read with me as we listen to John 8:21-30:
Then He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

To put your thinking in the correct perspective for this lesson, ask yourself this question: "How often have I . . . ?" Have you got the question? "How often have I . . . ?" "How often have I been distracted from my schedule and failed to remember to do something important?" I am a very schedule focused person. I have my "routine" for leaving my home and going to my work. One morning this week something important broke into my routine. Later, I realized I forgot to take my medicine. When my routine was broken, I did not think to take my medicine. Has anything ever disrupted your routine and you forgot?

"How often have I been so focused I failed to see the obvious?" We often refer to such incidents as being distracted. You know well the love affair most men have with the remote controls to the television. The other day I collapsed into my recliner after a demanding day. Out of habit I reached for the remote control as I picked up the paper. (I know it does not make sense to have the TV on while you read the paper--but I do it anyway.) The remote control was not where it was supposed to be. That got my attention quickly! Suddenly, I started searching for the remote control, and I could not see it anywhere. Joyce started laughing--the remote control was on the arm of the recliner--the opposite arm where it never stays! Have you ever failed to see the obvious?

"How often have I been so sure I knew what a person was going to say that I got ahead of the person and was wrong?" One habit I had to break years ago as a preacher was assuming I knew what a person was going to ask before he stated his question. As a result, I found myself answering questions people were not asking. What I thought was a "short cut" (I always was in a hurry) just made a mess. Have you ever thought you knew what people were thinking before they expressed themselves?

  1. For a second reading, I want you to read with me 1 Corinthians 15:1-19.
    Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
    1. I want to call two things to your attention from this reading.
      1. First, the gospel Paul preached and the Corinthians accepted was person-centered or Savior-centered.
        1. A man who was the Christ died.
        2. A man who was the Christ was buried for three days.
        3. A man who was the Christ was resurrected, brought back to life in a form that was never to die again.
        4. This resurrected man who was God's promised Christ appeared to a lot of people including Paul.
        5. The reason the Corinthians were Christians was due to their faith in this man.
          1. It was what God did in this Savior that converted them.
          2. It was what God did in this Savior that expressed God's grace.
    2. Second, unless they placed their confidence in God's resurrection of this man, their faith was useless.
      1. If there was no resurrection of this man, the preaching they believed was useless.
      2. If the resurrection of this man did not occur, the preachers who said it did happen were liars.
      3. If the resurrection of this man did not occur, their faith in this man is without value.
      4. If the resurrection of this man did not occur, they are still hopelessly enslaved to their sins.
      5. If the resurrection of this man did no occur, dead Christians are just dead.
      6. In fact, if the resurrection of this man did not occur, Christians are to be pitied above all other people--through their deception they waste life.

  2. See one point very clearly: the message of the gospel is Savior-centered; it is not religious system-centered.
    1. It is too easy for us to assume that everyone believes the Jesus of the Bible is the Christ.
      1. For many of us, the people we associate with believe Jesus is the Christ if they religiously believe anything.
        1. Many of us are simply not accustomed to associating with people who do not believe Jesus is the Christ.
        2. Many are accustomed to the religious emphasis of the South--and in America in the past, the South strongly believed Jesus is the Christ.
      2. For some of us adults, and for most of our children, we associate with people who do not even have Jesus in their faith system.
        1. Rapidly our country is becoming multi-religious--religions not based on Jesus Christ are becoming more and more prominent even in the South.
        2. An increasing number of adults associate and become friends with such people.
        3. Almost all of our children in public schools know and associate with people who are not Christian in their religious perspective.
      3. Within a short time, it will be common for most adults to know as many people who have a faith that is not centered in Jesus Christ as people who do believe Jesus is the Christ.
    2. To note the significance of the change religiously, just look honestly at our outreach messages.
      1. Our conversion messages basically are structured for other religious groups who definitely agree that Jesus is the Christ, but who are not in agreement over how a person gets into Christ.
        1. Thus, our "gospel outreach" messages are (a) often designed for people who already believe Jesus is the Christ and (b) are often designed to declare which church is superior.
        2. The result is that the "gospel outreach" messages are far more likely to be church-centered than man-centered.
        3. To see the contrast, ask yourself the question, "What message do we have for people who are religious but do not even know what the words "Jesus is the Christ" mean?
    3. Increasingly, we as Christians must deal with the fact that we have to share with people who do not place their faith in Jesus.
      1. Such people are here, a part of our country and society.
      2. The message of Jesus is as relevant to those people as it is to us or to anyone else.
      3. Through the centuries, the gospel of Jesus has been shared far more with people that did not know Jesus than with people who did know Jesus.
      4. To me, the relevant question that honestly acknowledges the world we are part of is this: "How is Jesus good news to people who do not know him?"

  3. There is an object of faith that is more fundamental than faith in the church.
    1. In fact, confidence in the church should exist only if the more fundamental faith exists.
      1. The church is what we become when we enter Christ.
      2. It is the result of the more fundamental faith.
      3. Each Christian should be able to say, "I am what I am, I live like I live, I serve like I serve, I do what I do in my life because of this more fundamental faith."
    2. What is this more fundamental faith?
      1. It is faith in the fact that Jesus is the Christ.
        1. The man Jesus is God's reconciliation plan for our world.
        2. He did die for our sins.
        3. He was raised from the dead.
        4. He is Lord and Christ.
        5. All our assurances from God rest in Jesus, what he did, and what God achieved and proved through him.
      2. Jesus is "good news!"
        1. Our purpose as Christians is not to assume that everyone else knows him.
        2. Our purpose as Christians is (1) to know him and (2) to introduce others to him.

  4. We urgently need to be people who share Jesus.
    1. If you wish to be evangelistic, allow Jesus to become the basis of who you are.
      1. Act like you act in your marriage because of Jesus' principles.
      2. Act like you act as a parent because of Jesus' principles.
      3. Act like your act in your job because of Jesus' principles.
      4. Treat others as you do because of Jesus' principles.
      5. As a person, be who you are because of Jesus' principles.
    2. If you wish to be evangelistic, devour the gospels.
      1. Share the man by knowing the man.
      2. Understand what God did for people through his death.
      3. Understand what God did for people through his resurrection.
      4. Know the blessings God offers us through life in him.
      5. People will want to know about your church when they see the Savior changing and guiding your life.
      6. If Jesus is not changing your life in ways people can see and respect, your church becomes irrelevant to those who do not know Jesus.
Jesus once said, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

Know the man. Let him shine in your life so people will glorify God. By doing so, you will save yourself and others.

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