Contagious Christianity

Becoming a contagious Christian – “What’s my part anyway?”

SERIES: Becoming a Contagious Christian.

 

#1 – “What’s my part anyway?”

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Life can be quite complicated sometimes – May very complicated a lot of the time!

It would be nice if life could be neatly packaged and clearly labelled – it might be rather boring that way though!

Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do – what is the right decision. What subjects should I take for GCSE / A-levels / which University / which job / who should I date / who should I marry??

Last week we talked about the will of God – it is not easy – in terms of God’s will for my life I find it gets more difficult to know the specifics rather than getting easier!

 

This is first in a series of messages on being a witness or – “Becoming a Contagious Christian”

 

Can be very confusing?

– firstly, all the jargon that is banned about {OHP} What does it all mean?

– secondly, how does all this fit in with God’s agenda for his creation?

– thirdly, in the present day and age in which we live is it not an

impertinent interference into the lives of people to be telling them they

should believe in Jesus?

 

How do we begin to put all this into perspective and make sense of it?

It is sometimes helpful to step back and look at the big picture!

 

 

1. GOD’S RESCUE PLAN.

 

ILLUS.: this week [25/04/2014] we saw the rescue of Tony Bullimore – Brotish yachtsman who capsized in the Southern Ocean – rescued by the Australian navy.

Things went wrong and he was in deep trouble {Literally}

he had no long term resources to survive {chocolate – water – air = all limited}

No means of rescuing himself.

 

 

If Tony Bullimore’s life was going to be saved he needed outside intervention.

The Australian Navy with great effort and at great cost did save Tony Bullimore and a Frenchman Thierry {?} .

 

This is a very vivid picture of our plight – spiritually.

If you are a Christian – God has, with great effort and at great cost to himself, rescued  you from your pitiful plight – BUT it is not just MY salvation – as important as that is to me and those close to me – I need to see my salvation as part of a much bigger picture – God’s great rescue plan for humankind.

 

 

  • Creation – good perfect
  • Eden – a perfect world – with perfect people – [Adam and Eve] – in perfect freedom.
  • Sin – attempted dethroning of God through disobedience – a damaged world resulted including the people
  • Flood – in time people so far from God that he destroys all except Noah and Co. [8 people is all] and some animals
  • BUT its people with a disobedient streak – they didn’t learn!!
  • Babel – make a name for ourselves – God steps in and comfuses their languages – [he was preventing they from ultimately destroying themselves]
  • Abram – [Gen. 12:1-3]

Genesis 12:1-3

1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (NIV)

  • Abraham chosen BUT ALL peoples the target of God’s rescue plan!
  • David and Solomon  — Psalm 67 – salvation to all the earth — Solomon at dedication of temple  …. God of the earth/nations …
  • God’s chosen people – reduces to God’s chosen ONE – CHRIST [Messiah]
  • Christ inaugurates the kingdom of God – Through his incarnation – crucifixion – resurrection and ascension Jesus makes it possible for individuals to be reconciled to God –
  • Damage done in EDEN now repaired – Jesus invites all to come to him – by coming and accepting him as Saviour and Creator  – sin is forgiven and a relationship with God is begun –
  • Those Jesus called and who responded and followed him entered into his kingdom –
  • After he ascended back into heaven the Holy Spirit came and the Church was born  — since then every person who come to God through Christ comes into the Church —  REAL CHURCH [universal church] made up of people who have personal relationship with Jesus [not talking about denominations or local congregation with lists of members]

BUT local congregations are expressions of the Universal Church.

 

2. GOD’S RESCUE PLAN HAS A WORLD-WIDE FOCUS.

 

From the beginning God’s target has always been all peoples – not just the Jews {Yes they were chosen – but remember it was for a purpose}

 

Genesis 12:1-3

1 The LORD had said to Abram, ……       2 “I will make you into a great nation

and I will bless you; …… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (NIV)

 

Isaiah 42:6-7

6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.

I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people

and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind,

to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

 

Isaiah 49:6

6 he says:

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant

to restore …. Israel ….

I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)

 

God chose the Jews to be his witnesses – representative – to the world – to tell the world about their great Jehovah God.

 

When we come to the NT – What do we see?

We see Jesus choosing / calling people to be part of his kingdom – [these become the first members of the church – Acts 2]

What does Jesus tell them??

 

Mark 16:15-16

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (NIV)

 

Luke 24:47-48 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. (NIV)

 

John 20:21

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (NIV)

 

 

Acts 1:8 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.” (NIV)

 

OHP

Matthew 28:19-20 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)

 

It doesn’t matter which way you look at it – it is abundantly clear that it is the Church’s responsiblity to tell the world about Jesus.

 

3. GOD’S CHURCH & GOD’S WORLD ARE MADE UP OF

 

God rescues/saves individuals  – these are brought into the Church {Universal} — these individuals gather together in local congregations – which are part of greater Church [OHP]

 

We gather together for fellowship and worship and prayer and teaching and to a degree our gathering together can be a witness BUT then we SCATTER into the community [world] to be witnesses.

 

Hear the Church talked about as a nebulous organisation.

“The Church does this or that –or the Church should do such and such!”

Even here at Binscombe “Why doesn’t the Church …?”

We are the Church! Those who know Jesus personally!

If you are a Christian then it is because God rescued you – WHY? because he is interested in you as an individual! People are important to God!

 

Are people important to you and me?

  • IF we believe that salvation is attainable only in this life and that if a person dies without knowing Christ they go to HELL –WHAT  are we doing to share it??
  • Do we enjoy God’s forgiveness YET keep it to ourselves?
  • NT tells us we are Christ’s ambassadors [representatives] YET we fail to go.
  • We declare that the Bible is God’s inspired word YET we disobey it.

 

We agree that salvation is only through Jesus and that he calls us to be his agents to communicate and demonstrate this to others – he doesn’t just want us to agree that this is true  – What he wants is not just agreement but commitment ….

 

You see ….. He doesn’t ask to just put in a word for him now and again!

In Acts 1 Jesus said the following … 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.”…

 

Notice that Jesus doesn’t say “I want you to put in a word for me from time to time!”

 

ILLUS.: Image standing on the foot bridge at Farncombe station – hear the train coming – look down to see it pass – as you look over you see a man push a lady in front of the Express and he runs off – you see it happen and you get a clear view of the murderer! YOU ARE A WITNESS!!

 

You may choose not to tell anyone BUT you are a witness!

 

If you are a Christian – you are a witness – the question is what kind of a witness are you??   God’s heart/ his passion is for people –

John 3:16   “.. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)

 

4. HOW TO GO ABOUT THIS TASK.

 

The big question now is how?

  • Do we hire Blly Graham to set up a tent on Longbourne Green?
  • Do we put adverts in the local press?
  • Do we link up via satelite to world famous Evangelists?
  • Do we print Bible verses on leaflets and push them through all the letterboxes in the area?
  • Do we provide community facilities to get people into the Church building?
  • Do we organise community fun-days?

 

ILLUS.: The Gospel Blimp – man wanted to tell he neighbour about Jesus. Organised a big Rally – printed leaflets – hired a Blimp to drop them all over town.

His neighbour didn’t come – while picking up the leaflets in his garden – chatted to his neighbour over the fence doing the same – CONTACT!!

 

In the end it comes down to person to person conversation.

BUT even then How?

The world we live in has changed radically in the past generation – people’s outlook in life is very different to what it was 30-40 years ago.

Young people are growing up in a different world – NOT just drugs and sex – that was there in the 1960’s and before … It is a different worldview! In many cases people don’t even have a worldview! Or if they do they are often not sure what it is! [a Worldview is not necessarily what you believe but rather what you base your beliefs upon!]

 

How do we understand our society?

How do we reach a world like this? Clearly the methods of the 1950’s will not work today – The message has not changed – Jesus is the same as yesterday and his gospel is the same – BUT how we communicate it may need to be different!!

 

It is quite clear that every Christian has apart to play in God’s plan –

It is easy to talk in generalities – {AD last Sunday} – be more committed!! How? Specifically what? ……

 

You may be thinking “I can see God’s plan and that I have a role as a Christian BUT WHAT?  Gray you haven’t told me how?” YES I know — come back next week!!

Hope over next few weeks we will begin to understand more clearly our role –

That God will challenge us to act in specific ways!

 

 

What is absolutely clear is that God uses His People to communicate to those who have not yet believed in Jesus.

 

Peter in writing  a circular letter to a number of Church tells them this

 

1 Peter 2:9

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. (NIV)

 

In the Message

You are the one chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, ti tell other of the night-and-day difference he made for you – from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.”

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