Trinity Assembly of God Midlothian

Made to Share

I am the Church – Part 8

Sharing – March 3, 2019

David and Jason Benham are twin brothers from Texas. After playing college baseball, David was drafted by the Mets and Jason by the Orioles. Each was eventually traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. They continued in the minor leagues for a few years before moving on with their lives.

They settled in Charlotte, North Carolina and decided to go into real estate together. They focused on preparing foreclosed homes for resale. In seven years, they had 100 offices in 35 states.

TLC and HGTV made them offers for a reality show. They chose to go with HGTV. During background research, HGTV discovered that the brothers were vocal proponents of both the pro-life position and biblical standards for marriage. HGTV was okay with that and made plans for 6, 1-hour episodes and then a TV series.

When it was announced that they were getting a show, activist groups went on the attack against the brothers. They were branded as haters and bigots who suffered from various phobias. HGTV made a business decision to cancel the show before it could air because the activist groups would go after their advertisers if they didn’t. The brothers understood HGTV’s decision but refused to back down from their convictions.

After they lost the show, their faces were plastered all over social media. They received a private Facebook message from a man in Chicago. The venom he spewed made them want to boldly defend and debate their positions. But the Holy Spirit had other plans. He helped them understand that the man’s words did not represent a fight to win but a person to love.

They responded to the message by saying, “We see you’re upset at us, but what we know is that you’re simply speaking through your pain.” (They felt that the Holy Spirit laid that idea on their hearts.)

The guy responded with a very long Facebook message about his personal history. He had been abused and faced all kinds of other issues in his life. With every word, their hearts grieved for him.

They responded by telling him how God had transformed their lives and how God wanted what was best for them. They told him that God could do the same for him. They explained that God loved him just like he was but that God  refused to leave him that way.

During the conversation, they discovered that the guy was an avid Chicago Cubs fan. They told him that they wanted to get front row tickets to a Cubs game for him and a friend. The guy politely refused and when they insisted, he broke their hearts by saying, “I don’t have any friends.”

They kept on him until he agreed to go to the game alone. A few days later he sent them this message, “Thank you so much for what you did. I’ve been listening to the song ‘I Can Only Imagine’ for the past couple days and I’ve decided to leave the life I’ve been living and turn my life over to God.”

They put him in touch with a pastor they knew from Chicago. What a story! [1],[2]

Today, we come to the next to last part of the “I am the Church” series.

          We are convinced that life works best when people live in right relationship with God and with each other. We believe these right relationships are described in five purposes for both life and the church:

  1. Worshiping
  2. Belonging
  3. Growing
  4. Serving
  5. Sharing

Today, we are talking about the final purpose, sharing. Specifically, we’re talking about sharing Christ so that we can introduce people to God.

This idea of sharing is rooted firmly in some of Jesus’ last words to his disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

          If you know Jesus Christ as savior, then you have been assigned a mission. Last week, we talked about how we are SHAPEd for service. Well, we are also made for mission. Look at someone around you and say, “I am made for mission.”

          This mission of sharing Christ so that we can introduce people to God is vitally important because the greatest need in every person’s life is the need for a savior.

          Sin has separated people from God, and it is our mission to try to reunite them with God. In fact, our vision at Trinity is to be a welcoming place of love and acceptance where people can find grace and healing as they are reunited with God and his family.

          To fulfill our mission, we need to be willing to open our lives and our mouths to both show and tell the good news of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Romans: Romans 10:13-14 (NLT) For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

          God loves lost people. I don’t mean people who are geographically lost. I mean people who are spiritually lost. He has never made a person he didn’t love and want to have a relationship with. Peter reminds us that God doesn’t want anyone to suffer the consequences to sin, but he wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) …and he has chosen to use us to make that happen.

          So, how do we go about fulfilling this mission? I mean, it’s not an easy task for most people. Showing is one thing but telling can often be a difficult thing. So, how do we do it?

  1. Ask God for opportunities to share your faith.
  2. Ask God for the courage to speak up.
  3. Speak up.
    When you have the opportunity to speak up (and the fear kicks in along with the uncertainty about the opportunity), don’t waste your time wondering if you should speak up. You already asked God for opportunities.

I already pointed out that this mission of sharing Christ so that we can introduce people to God is important because the greatest need in every person’s life is the need for a savior. Here’s something else to think about, you may be the only Christian some people will ever know. That makes your mission even more important and strategic.

Let me go back to David and Jason Benham to help us better understand what we need to do. In their book,  Bold and Broken, they use three illustrations to explain how we often respond when can speak up.

  • Sometimes, we are bullies.
  • Sometimes, we are bystanders.
  • Sometimes, we are a bridge.

So, what determines how we will respond? It boils down to how we understand ourselves and our mission. As the title of their book tells, we need to understand the need to be bold—to step up, step out, and open our mouths—and we need to be broken—recognizing that we are who we are in Christ solely because of his grace. We are no better than anyone else.

The brothers contend that if we are bold without being broken, then we become bullies. Bullies are more interested in making a point, proving they are right, or winning an argument than in winning a person.

If we are broken without being bold, then we become bystanders. We stand and watch lost people wander around in their lostness while never speaking up to point out how they can be found.

If we both bold and broken, they we can become bridges—connecting people to God.

That is our mission—to be bridges connecting people to the God who loves them and sent his son to be their Savior.

          I want to leave you with some next steps and then a quote from Rick Warren’s book as I wrap this up.

Next steps

  • Pray for opportunities to share your faith.
  • Pray for the courage to speak up.
  • Pray for those who will believe.
  • Pray for the rapid spread of the gospel.
  • Pray for more workers—people willing to fulfill their mission by sharing the gospel anywhere and everywhere God will lead them.

          If you’ve never heard me say this before, please pay attention. I don’t believe Trinity is a big as it needs to be. I say this for one reason and one reason only—if there is one person in our area who doesn’t know Jesus, we’ve got room to grow. With that in mind, let me leave you with this thought from Rick Warren: “As long as you know one person who doesn’t know Christ, you must keep praying for them, serving them in love, and sharing the Good News. And as long as there is one person in your community who isn’t in the family of God, your church must keep reaching out. The church that doesn’t want to grow is saying to the world, ‘You can go to hell.’”

          The church can’t say that…we can’t say that…because we are the church!

          Please stand and say this with me, “I am the church and I don’t want anyone to go to hell.”

          As I pray for all of us, I want you to ask God to give you the opportunity and the courage to fulfill your mission—the opportunity and courage to speak up.

[1] Benham, David and Jason. Bold and Broken: Becoming the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth, Chapter 1: Chicago, (Regnery: Washington, DC, 2019), Kindle Edition.

[2] Benham, David and Jason. “Hour 2” The Eric Metaxas Show. Podcast audio, February 20, 2019. https://www.metaxastalk.com/podcast/wednesday-february-20-2019/.

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