The text for this sermon comes from Acts 16:1-5.
The Bible makes it clear that we are missionaries. There is no question about that. The only question that remains to be asked is: What kind of missionary are you?
You are either obedient or disobedient. You either follow Jesus or you don’t.
You cannot just assume that because you live in the buckle of the Bible belt that people know the gospel and they know who Jesus is. Assuming that is dangerous. Assumption alone without clear communication of what the gospel is, leads to a life of checklist moralism. This is what the Pharisees were good at.
You have to be gospel-centered. Everything in your life exists to point to Jesus. When you engage a person in conversation, you are always driving the conversation to Jesus.
Paul meets Timothy in Lystra. Timothy has a Gentile father and a Jewish mother. Timothy had never been circumcised. Under Jewish law, the child of a Gentile father and a Jewish mother was considered Jewish.
Because of the Jews in those places: If Paul had taken Timothy with him and Timothy was not circumcised, it would be much harder for Paul to share the gospel with the Jews. It was that important.
1 Corinthians 9:19-21
Paul did not want to be the reason that the gospel was not made clear to the people he wanted to share it with.
It was not about Paul. It was not about Timothy. It is about Jesus.
When you are engaging people with the gospel, you want to remove obstacles that may interfere with these people listening to you share the gospel with them.
Why are you a missionary?
Before God created the world, He had already designed the works that He wants you to accomplish. He loves you. He gives you the work to accomplish because you have significance and purpose. You are a rescued, regenerated, child of God. If you could not handle the work that God gave you, He would have given it to someone else. The reason you have the works that God gave you is because He designed them especially for you.
Why do we not engage people with the gospel?
- You believe the Great Commission is not your responsibility:
It is the pastor’s job. It is for special people. It is for those weird people that have too much Jesus. It is for the fanatics. Here is the problem with that mindset. If you truly believe that. By claiming the name of Christ and not living like He has called you to live, you have just walked up to the cross, shook your fist at Jesus and told Him that wasn’t good enough. How arrogant are you to tell Jesus that His work on the cross was not good enough to save you and conform you to His image.
- You do not know the gospel:
God created the world and after he created man, He said it was very good. God delighted in His work. Adam sinned. From that time on, man has tried to find his own way to salvation. The people were given leaders and kings but they were all flawed because they could only point to our need for a Savior. They were not a savior. Sin is such a great debt and our hearts are so evil that all we deserve is death. Righteousness cannot be attained through man alone. Something greater had to be done. God foreknew this. The only way God could redeem man and atone for his sinful and wicked heart was to sacrifice himself. He sent Jesus. Jesus lays his life down on the cross and God pours His wrath out for sin on Jesus. On the cross, Jesus gives us His righteousness for our sin. There is nothing that you can do to satisfy the wrath of God apart from being wrecked by the blood of Jesus. You cannot change your behavior. You cannot follow a list of rules. You cannot achieve the checklist. You cannot empty your bank account and give it all to the church. You cannot memorize verses, you cannot achieve righteousness because of your amount of Bible knowledge or perfect church attendance. No amount of knowledge, rules, or behavior modification can get you to righteousness. Only being covered by the precious of blood of Jesus is the wrath of God satisfied. Jesus went to the cross, Jesus shed His blood, Jesus rose from the dead. Not you. Jesus did this so that you can be free. Being covered by the blood of Jesus means that you are now considered righteous and holy. The same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you. It is not about you. You will not be able to go to heaven and stand before God and boast in yourself. You will only stand before God and boast in Jesus. Because you can’t…JESUS DID!!! It is ALL about Jesus!
Why is the church not growing today at the rate at which it did in the first century church?
Because you don’t believe that it can happen.
You do not believe Jesus is as powerful as the Bible says He is.
Jesus said that it was important for Him to go away so that the Holy Spirit could come and because the Holy Spirit would enable us to do greater things. The problem:
You don’t believe it.
Do you have faith in Jesus or not?
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15