Sermon: 2016 at Faith

Blog Post:

Happy New Year 2016

Points:

Let us resolve as a church:

  1. To be a Great Commission Church. (Matthew 28:16-20)
  1. To be Willing & Ready to Change for the Sake of the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Illustration: Jonny & Robert

  1. To Spend Time Alone with God (Mark 1:35)

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How Will Emporium be Fixed?

There is one message that is going to bring real change to our broken community and this message has to start with you.  The message is the Gospel.  What is the Gospel? The Gospel is the good news that Jesus became flesh, fulfilled the law, died on the cross for us, and was raised to assure us that those who repent and believe in him have freedom from sin and eternal life.  Do you believe this message?  Have you experienced this message?  When I say “experienced”, I don’t mean have you said some prayer and asked Jesus for forgiveness.  What I mean is have you recognized you utter sinfulness to the point where you realize the only place you can go is to Jesus and when you get to him, you lay your entire life down before his feet and cry out “it is all yours Jesus!” This is what I mean by have you experienced the gospel.  If you have not experienced it, then you don’t understand it and you need to run you God’s word and cry out to him that he would open your eyes and help you see his beauty and your need for him (Start with Romans 3:21-31).

The gospel is the power of God that will change our community and it has to start with you.  You may be thinking, “why does this guy have so much confidence in this story about a man who lived over 2,000 years ago?”  My answer to you: It’s what the bible says, Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”  Paul here says that this gospel, this good news, leads to salvation and is the power of God.  We can’t save people, we don’t have the power to.  We can only present the gospel to those in bondage to sin around us and pray that they believe, because if they do, they will be free from sin.

As you go about your day, think about the people in need in our community.  Think about those who are entrapped in sin blind to the reality of eternity (It may be you). Think about those who are trusting in their good works to save them yet inevitably, have no freedom from sin because they have not turned to Jesus (it may be you).  You have the answer that they need.  The gospel that you have is the only hope they or you have of a better day and an eternity with Jesus.   Freedom from sin in our community is not going to come merely through hard work and determination.  It is only going to come when the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes our focus, our song, and our message.

What is the Content of Faithful Proclamation?

As we think about preaching and evangelism, we want to have a biblical perspective of the content of the proclamation.  Whether you are a Mega-Church Pastor preaching to 3,000 people or a mother telling your neighbors about Jesus at a playground, you need to know what the content of your “proclamation” must be so that the words you speak can be more fruitful for God’s kingdom.

When we survey what the bible says about proclamation, one particular thing sticks out more than anything else.  That is the word euangelizō which means to proclaim the gospel.  It’s like a special word created to describe a certain type of proclamation.   A proclamation who’s content is the good news of Jesus.  This word is used 54 times in the New Testament!  So when we talk about the content of preaching we need to remember that the heart of the New Testament authors was to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Whether it was the apostles preaching in the temple and from house to house in Acts 5:42 or Paul desiring to preach to the Roman Believers in Romans 1:15, the heart of the content was the good news of Jesus.  The Gospel is the content of proclamation in evangelistic encounters and the content of faithful preaching in the local church.  A pastor is not being faithful to his task if he teaches about how to make life easier or how to reduce conflict without relating it directly to what Jesus did on the cross.  A well meaning christian is not being faithful in his task if he is telling people to go to church or to trust that God is real, if he does not clearly explain that there is forgiveness of sins found in Jesus Christ when the lost turn from their sins and trust in Jesus.   The gospel is the primary content of faithful proclamation.

Now that we have it established that the primary content of biblical proclamation, We need to consider how the authors of scripture give us more detail. The content of preaching is identified as the gospel of the grace of God, the kingdom, he whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24-27), Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1–5), the word (2 Timothy 4:2), repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3), repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations (Luke 24:47), the Christ is Jesus (Acts 5:42), good news of peace through Jesus Christ (Acts 10:36), not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:5), not man’s gospel (Galatians 1:11), the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8), the word of God (Colossians 1:25), Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David (2 Timothy 2:8).  Their are many other passages that speak about the content of preaching but I think this list is a good starting point.  What sticks out to you here?  What sticks out to me is the riches of the gospel of Jesus!  What an amazing task that we have been given by God!  May we be faithful in the content of our proclamation!

Let us go out and Proclaim the Gospel!  To our neighbors, our friends, our grocery store clerk, our coworkers, our spouse, our kids, and everyone else we come in contact with. Read these two passages to yourself out loud and may God help you see the mission that he has called you to do.

1 Corinthians 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Romans 10:13–15 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 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!”

This is blog two is a series on Biblical Proclamation.  Check part one: The All Day Sermon About the Law: The Example of Ezra for Preaching 

How Should we React to God’s Choosing of us?

John 6:44 says “No one can come to me (Jesus) unless the Father who sent me draws him.” In other words, apart from God drawing us, we would reject Jesus eternally and would be without hope. What effect should this reality of God’s adoption and election have on us?

  1. It should humble us. Titus 3:5 says “he saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”. You did nothing to earn a right standing with God. You can do nothing. This reality aught to lead us to the throne of God in humility.
  2. It should cause Thankfulness. When you realize that you did not save yourself, that God did all the work, you will be thankful. I think of Ephesians 1:4-5, “God chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will to the praise of his glorious grace.”
  3. It should bring Hope. Because of that fact that salvation does not depend on man’s ability, because of that fact that it is God who is in charge of salvation, you can have hope for those who are lost. No matter how dead in sin they are, no matter how resistant they are to the gospel, all it takes for them to come to Jesus is God drawing them to himself by opening their eyes to the beauty of the gospel. Salvation is rooted in God’s mercy and God’s power, not man’s ability.
  4. It should lead to Prayer. If no one can come to Jesus apart from the father drawing them, then praying is the most powerful tool in evangelism. You can prepare all you want. You can have all the right bible passages memorized. You have all of the most “effective” evangelism techniques. But if you are not falling on your face before God asking him to open the eyes of your lost neighbor, asking him to change the heart of you family member or coworker, you will be working with your own ability, witch is useless without the power of God.
  5. All glory goes to God. Biblical texts that deal with God’s choosing, election, and predestination say that it is all for the sake of God’s praise and Glory: “ChosePredestined…to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6), “Predestined…to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12), “God’s purpose of election…to show my (God’s) power… and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Rom. 9:17 & Ex. 9:6) “to make known the riches of his glory…which he has prepared beforehand for glory– even us whom he has called” (Rom. 9:23)

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism

By Mark Dever


The Gospel and Personal Evangelism is packed full of help for the believer that is having trouble sharing their faith or maybe just wants to be more competent in spread the gospel. Their was several different themes that stood out to me in this book but I will only talk about a few important ones.

One big idea that Dever hits home is the necessity of a strong gospel understanding. he lays the groundwork for evangelism, a proper understanding of what the Gospel is and what it is not. Dever makes clear that the gospel is not just good news, the gospel is not simply God’s love or that he want to be our friend. The gospel is not primarily concerned about social justice or community survive. The gospel is the good news that Jesus died on the cross to reconcile sinners to God. This is naturally applied to my life in ministry through the way that I share the gospel. When sharing my faith, I am not simple sharing my opinion on life. It is not just about sharing simple steps to living a moral life. I am sharing the good news that sinners can receive forgiveness of their trespasses and can be transferred form death to life.

Another aspect of personal evangelism that Dever hit home for me is the reason that we should evangelize. Within a few pages, the reader is exposed to biblical reasons why he or she needs to be involved in evangelism. We are called to share the gospel because God command us too, we love the lost, and we love God. This applies to my personal life in ministry during times that I am not motivated to share the gospel. I am reminded by this book that it is my calling as a Christian to share the gospel, and I should be motivated by a love for God and a love for the lost. Often times I loose site of why I should be doing evangelism but these reasons applied to my ministry remind me of my mission. I can apply this section of the book to my ministry by keeping these think in mind when I am not motivated to speak the truth or when I want to keep to myself. This is not what we have been called to do as Christians.

The biggest overall help that this book provide is a better understanding of the gospel and its application of everyday evangelistic opportunities. By going through the scriptures use of word good news, we see that the gospel has many different parts. The coming of Christ, his life, his death, his salvation, his work in believers, his return and several other thing are all part of the gospel. In other words, the gospel is not necessarily one specific simple thing but rather a collection of events and realties that come together to make the gospel good news.   You can apply Dever’s teaching about the gospel every time you interact with a lost person. This book is worth your time and will benefit your everyday ministry.

This book review was written by Pastor Jonathan Ahlgren.

You can buy this book here.