Sermon Recap: Experience Joy Through (Wait for it...) Evangelism
BY MICHELLE WILLIAMS, VOLUNTEER EXTRAORDINAIRE
We’re midway through our Taste of the Good Life series at Grace Church, and the fifth ingredient is Joy. Spoiler Alert: although Dave Rod made us wait half the sermon to reveal the essential practice to experience Joy, I’ll put it up front in the sermon recap – Evangelism. Sharing Jesus Christ with others creates a special, one-of-a-kind Joy.
We turned to Thessalonians 2:1-13,17-20 to read about Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica. The relationship he described with the people there was incredibly unique – particularly considering the violent history of Paul, who underwent a spectacular transformation from terrorist to missionary. He encountered the Thessalonians after crossing the Aegean Sea to spread the news of Jesus.
What makes Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians so unique is that he was not exactly well-received at first. All throughout his travels, he was met with strong opposition. Dave said, “One of the amazing things reading through these books is how often this man had to defend himself.” And yet, through his intense struggles with the Thessalonians, Paul proclaims to have experienced delight and joy because of them.
Paul describes how dear the Thessalonians had become to him, likening the relationship to one shared between mothers and fathers with their children. He recalls how delighted he was to share “not only the gospel of God but our lives as well,” and that they believed. This is Evangelism – it’s sharing life with people and leading them to the love of God through Jesus Christ. It’s sharing your joy with another person that leads to their joy. Whereas happiness from other things in life may be fleeting, evangelism creates an exceptional joy that runs deep.
It wouldn’t be the Good Life without Joy.
Practical Steps to Practicing Evangelism
1) Identify your “1”
2) Pray like mad for them
3) Get in the room and stay in the room with them – engage in a genuine relationship
4) Tell your story
5) Talk about Jesus Christ specifically
6) Persuade them to surrender to Jesus
7) Invite them to church to engage in a worshiping community
You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9 Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory 13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 17 But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18 For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy. Thessalonians 2:1-13,17–20
Try our next Taste of the Good Life recipe: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Flatbread with Cilantro Cream Sauce.