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The Great Omission: Reaching a New Generation with the Gospel - Part Two

Posted on August 26, 2018

The Great Omission: Reaching a New Generation with the Gospel – Part Two

Luke 10: 1-12; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8

Scripture Reading

2 Kings 7:3-9

3 Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.” 5 So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there. 6 For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.” 7 So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. 8 And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them. 9 Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household.”

Introduction: The landscape of global missions has undergone massive changes in the past few decades. Here are a few examples of the upside down, global shift in Christianity and missions:

  • Christianity Today reported that 85 percent of the members of Yale University's Campus Crusade for Christ chapter are Asian, whereas "the university's Buddhist meditation meetings are almost exclusively attended by whites."
  • The World Christian Encyclopedia recorded that more Anglican Christians worship in Nigeria in any given week than all the Episcopal and Anglican churches of Europe and North America combined!
  • An examination of World Christian Trends reveals that there are now more evangelical Christians in Nepal than in Spain.
  • The historic William Carey Memorial Church in Lester, England, is now a Hindu temple, while the church in India, the traditional home of Hinduism, now sends out over 41,000 cross-cultural missionaries.
  • China can now boast of the fastest growing church in the world, with an estimated 16,500 new Christians every day.
  • Each week fifteen thousand missionaries, mostly from Africa and Asia, are evangelizing communities in Great Britain.

Purpose: Every Christ follower must understand the times they live in and how to most effectively share the Gospel with those in their community

Transition Let’s review where we were and where we left off last week.

Review

Introduction: The Great Disconnect

  • The current harvest fields
    • Millennials – 22 – 37 years of age
    • Generation Z – 0 – 21 years of age
    • 37% of the people in our area are post – Christian
      • Very little if any knowledge of what the Bible teaches or understand the Gospel

Romans 10:14-15

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

  • The current problem with Christians in America
    • I don’t want this sermon to be about guilt in this area
      • Just like praying, I never feel I do enough of sharing the Gospel
      • God has to open doors for you to have spiritual conversation
      • Pray the prayer of peace from Luke 10:5-6

Luke 10:5 – 6

5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.

  • We pray, we are open, we are intentional about starting a conversation with someone when the door opens and the spirit leads.
  • We leave it at that.
  • As a reminder, it is not up to how persuasive we are or how much knowledge we have that will win someone to Christ. It is the power of sharing scriptures and the Holy Spirit that wins people over to Christ
  • The Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

  • We should not be disappointed if people reject the message or are in the process of thinking and meditating on it.
  • Engel’s process for salvation
  • But, the greatest joy one could ever have in this life is to see a family member, a friend, a fellow student, a complete stranger come to faith in Christ.
  • There is no greater joy than to have the privilege to lead someone to Christ
    • Ten kids at the First Baptist Camanche VBS on Friday night

I Corinthians 3:5-7

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

The importance of process

Process + Event = Conversion

  • Experiencing God author, Henry Blackaby teaches and believes that God is at work all around us already. We just need to be available and listening to where He is at work and join in with Him.
  • We are talking about a spiritual mindset. We are talking about having our spiritual antennas up throughout the day. We never know when God is going to bring someone along, young and old who is moving toward a decision for Christ.
  • The change in our culture requires a change in sharing the Gospel
    • Acts 2 approach for sharing the Gospel
      • Peter preached the first sermon shortly after the resurrection of Jesus and just after the Holy Spirit came down upon the 120 assembled people who were praying in the Upper Room.
      • The audience in A.D. 32 were – Jews / Converted Gentiles to Judaism / Pagans who worshiped no god or gods or were agnostic / atheist
      • All were monotheists
      • They believed the OT scriptures
      • They were looking for a Messiah
      • Peter preached and three thousand immediately came to Christ
  • Acts 7 approach for sharing the Gospel
    • Paul is on Mars Hill
    • In the city of Athens, truth was relative not absolute – just like today
      • Situation ethics / Morality by vote of the majority
      • Worldviews that believed there were gods everywhere – make your own religion. A spiritual smorgasbord – just like today
      • No one in the culture knew the name Isaac in the Bible to iPad
      • Paul learned quickly he was not in Jerusalem anymore
      • What was Paul’s approach to share the Gospel
      • Looked around the community surveying the lay of the land and found common ground to begin spiritual conversations
      • They were so tolerant and so pluralistic that the only thing they agreed on was they couldn’t know anything for sure.
      • He was in a city of skeptics and people critical of religion and religious authority
      • He sees an altar to an “Unknown God” and says What if I could tell you that God’s name?
      • He started speaking to them from God’s creation story and laid a foundation to understand the Gospel
  • When you say in sharing the Gospel to someone, “Jesus died for your sins and my sins, there is a lot to unpack there.”
    • Understanding original sin
    • Understanding that God is holy, perfect and without sin
    • Understanding the reasons for the blood sacrifices in the OT to cover over man’s sin – pointing to the cross of Christ when He would be the final sacrifice and TAKE away man’s sin
    • Understanding that Jesus was the substitute for the payment of our sin on the cross.
    • All of that and more has to be unpacked and talked about to explain the Gospel to people who have never heard it before otherwise, we share and it sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher on his TV cartoons. They may be polite, respectful and listen but they are not understanding a word you say.
    • We are not talking about moving from the King James Version to The Message
    • We start with this is a Bible

Application: We need to understand our audience

  • The change in our culture requires a change in how we explainthe Gospel
    • We must pause and reflectwhat our life was like before Christ
      • The curse of Biblical knowledge
      • Avoid Christian “eze” language and insider theology
      • We have forgotten what it is like to be apart from Christ
      • The world around you desperately needs you to remember
        • Gravity – No one taught me how to pray
      • We must always assume that the people we talk to have no prior knowledge of Christianity
  • We must illustrate how being a Christ follower is the best way to live life
    • The book of James is the best book for this for a new believer
    • James is a straight forward, in your face book of how to live by faith
    • I call it the “Faith workout” book
    • It shows how to honestly live in this life and confront the real world with honest faith
    • The younger generations of today are not too worried about the after life and eternity. They want answers on how to cope in this current life
      • How to pay the bills and deal with the emotional upheavals in their culture and personal relationships
      • They want to know if there is a purpose for life and how to have a sense of peace and calm
      • They want to know that their marriages and families are going to work and get guidance in these areas.
      • They want a practical source of constant help for their lives and the Bible and God promise both.
      • So, when we share the Gospel, we must speak to how the Christian life is the best approach for the here and now as well as into eternity. We must lovingly share the advantages of being a Christian right now.
  • We must walk the tightrope of grace and truth

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 8:10-11

10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

  • We must be able to overlook what people who are not believers look like and what they are saying.
  • Too many times we are judgmental and we judge a book by its cover
  • People express themselves in many different ways
  • A lot of times how they look or act points to the depth of the heart issues that are going on.
  • But we can share the Good News of Christ in a relevant way to draw them to the one who can satisfy the longings of their heart.

John 4:13 - 14

13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

  • Not every itch in this life is going to be scratched
  • Not everyone of our needs are going to be met completely the way we want them to be
  • Not every desire is going to be fulfilled
  • Not every wrong will be made right in this life
  • But the one constant we have is that we have Jesus Christ in our hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit.
    • He has promised to never leave us or forsake us
    • He has promised to give us a peace that passes all understanding
    • He has given us sources to bring fulfillment and understanding in this life. He brings and gives us the capacity to have joy unspeakable despite our circumstances.
    • That is why we share the Good News with others and share the benefits we are enjoying in this life
    • The search is over if we will drink from the water welling up inside us
      • We won’t make things or others idols
      • We will be satisfied with where God has placed us
      • We will allow God to use us in the way that He determines and feel in awe that God is willing to use us.
      • God’s commands will not be burdensome but are the ways we find that joy and that peace that passes understanding. The ways to avoid sins consequences and the heartaches of following after the culture’s wisdom.
  • We must be able to share the Gospel in a compelling and succinctway.
    • It is being said that the average young person has an attention span of eight seconds due to screens.
    • The current group of young people are visually driven
    • The internet is a powerful thing. It can be used as a tool for good and a tool for evil.
      • Isis has learned how to use it
      • Pornography has mastered the use of the internet
      • The media and news know this is the “real” medium to reach the next generation.
        • Print magazines and newspapers are shrinking away
        • We have to use relevant means to share the Good News of Christ and to further disciple those who come to Christ
      • There are a lot of YouTube videos out there as well as from other websites that are good ways to visually share the Gospel from a screen.
      • The most powerful and undisputed way to share the Gospel comes back simply to your testimony. To your life before Christ, how you received Christ, and how your life has changed after receiving Christ into your life
        • In many ways that is the most compelling and natural way to share the Gospel
        • No one can dispute what you have experienced. They have to respect that.
        • I always attempt, when I am sharing the Gospel that when someone is not ready to receive Christ to end the conversation building a bridge to hopefully have a future conversation.
        • Always leave the conversation with someone interested in wanting more
        • So;

Application: We must learn how to share the Gospel with simplicity and brevity

Transition: What are some very practical ways to share the Gospel with a new generation of young people. Let me add by the way, it is not just those who are of the younger generation alone. I am seeing people my age and older adopting the values of the younger generation. Older couples living together rather than marry for financial reasons and more. But notice;

The importance of conversation and listening

  • Questions to ask of others
    • Can I pray for you?
    • In light of current events what should we do?
    • What do you believe about God? How do you view life spiritually?
    • The Questions to ask ourselves
      • What do I personallybelieve about the Gospel?
        • We will talk about that next week as we close out the summer and the series “Summer of Unpreached Sermon topics
          • Is the Gospel merely living a moral life?
          • Is the Gospel just merely managing our sin?
      • Is the Gospel transformative?
        • Does it remove the guilt? Provide forgiveness of sin
        • Does it guarantee the assurance of eternal life?
        • Is it the only way to heaven?
  • What will I do for those whom I know and love to present the Gospel

Dream Small by Josh Wilson

Verse One:

It's a momma singing songs about the Lord

It's a daddy spending family time

That the world said he cannot afford

These simple moments change the world

It's a pastor at a tiny little Church

Forty years of loving on the broken and the hurt

These simple moments change the world

Chorus:

Dream small

Don't bother like you've gotta do it all

Just let Jesus use you where you are

One day at a time

Live well

Loving God and others as yourself

Find little ways where only you can help

With His great love

A tiny rock can make a giant fall

Dream small

Verse Two:

It's visiting the widow down the street

Or dancing on a Friday with your friend with special needs

These simple moments change the world

Of course, there's nothing wrong with bigger dreams

Just don't miss the minutes on your way, your bigger things, no

'Cause these simple moments change the world

Application: I will commit to having one spiritual conversation with someone this week that is not a Christ follower.

Key Thoughts: Process + Event = Conversion

Conversion + Process = Spiritual Growth

Illustration: If you have 50 bottles to be filled with water, you don't take a bucket and dump it out hoping to fill them all. No, you grab the first bottle by the neck, and then you pour in water until it is filled. Then you go on to the next bottle

2 Kings 7:9

9 Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king's household.”

Questions to Ponder this Week

1.    Will I pray the prayer of peace from Luke 10?

2.    Will I ask God to daily be available to share?

3.    Will I be motivated by what I believe about the Gospel to look for opportunities to share?