Fourth Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
WE NEED THE HEART AND EYES OF A MISSIONARY IN ORDER TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST. (Mt. 9:36-37)
Are we "put off" by the unbelieving world around us?
Are we repulsed by them and want to remain free of their "contamination"?
This was certainly the view shared by the Scribes and the Pharisees.
There is a real temptation that we withdraw from the world so that it can't touch us or hurt us.
In one way we do wish to remain apart from the world:
The Scriptures tell us to be "in the world, but not of the world."
To not be of the world means to have the mind of Christ in the midst of the world.
Never is there any indication by Christ, either by Word or example, that we would not be around unbelievers.
Some movement in Pagosa Springs by the Christian community to boycott New Age businesses...What goal?
Christ ate and socialized with sinners so that they might know Him.
We do want to protect and equip our children for life in the world.
It makes absolutely no sense to throw our children to the world when they are the least equipped, and most vulnerable.
That is one of the many reasons that we have invested in the sacrifices needed to have a Christian school.
Do we see the masses of unbelievers and have the compassion of Christ?
If our hearts to not feel genuine pain and a sense of loss when we think of the many people we know who do not know Christ, then there is far too much of the Pharisee and Scribe inside of us.
Vv. 36-37 describes the heart of Jesus with regard to the lost world.
Remember, hell is a real place that will be filled with real people who will suffer forever because they either did not know Jesus or have rejected Him.
The Great Commission is still in effect for the Church today.
We know the grace and love of God...will we share it?
We have the means of grace: the Word and the Sacraments...will we keep them to ourselves?
ILLUS: The firehouse...just polish and scrub or get to the rescue!
The great privilege of the Church is to represent Christ to the world.
II Cor. 5:20
ILLUS: A Chinese pastor was speaking with a new convert...(428)
WE WITNESS TO CHRIST WITH OUR WORDS.
Here is where we put about 90 per cent of our energy.
Yes, our words are critically important.
If we have nothing to say, it doesn't matter what we do.
We have the greatest news the world has ever heard, and we would be crazy not to publish it loud and long.
To be sure, Word and Sacrament ministry is the heart of faith and the center of the Church.
But Word and Sacrament must have its effect on us.
Word and Sacrament are not isolated from our lives, but are an integral part of who and what we are.
Let us be careful that we do not "institutionalize" what we have to say.
We are talking about relationships, not organizations.
We seek to provide the Gospel of Christ to people who will then be in a relationship with the Living God.
Witnessing, therefore, seeks to let the Word build a relationship with one of God's lost children, not merely get him through the church door.
Frequently, we spend far too much time and energy with "Evangelism" programs and forget that witnessing is personal, informal and one-on-one.
Study after study has indicated that 85 % of people who come to church did so not because of:
Formal Evangelistic programs.
85 per cent came because a member of family or a friend invited them in the context of a meaningful, personal relationship.
WE WITNESS TO CHRIST WITH OUR BEHAVIOR.
It doesn't take "Unchurched Harry or Mary" very long to know what's really important to us.
People who love God make it evident with what they do.
Worship of the Lord is something that no Christian would want to miss.
Wanting to offer ourselves to God is the most natural thing in the world to someone who loves God.
The Gospel of Christ is a living thing inside each of us that moves us to live life with joy, purpose and a sense of direction.
Where is it written that Christians should look like they work the night shift at the mortuary?
Where is it written that we should look like we were baptized in lemon juice?
It seems to me that witnessing needs to be seen like we see our favorite hobby.
We make time for our favorite hobby!
We can't wait to go fishing, skiing, golfing or hunting.
We purchase magazines and watch TV shows about our sports.
It's usually one of the first things we talk about to others.
As a congregation, worship and Bible study lead us to witnessing:
It's a natural progression!
Even our mundane decisions ought to be centered on our witness to Christ:
Child care for young couples, etc.
Does what we do offer an inviting opportunity to have unchurched people hear the Gospel?
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