There are, simply, an awful lot of lost people in the world.
Lost people are “…darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God…” Ephesians 4:18
The lost are “…without hope and without God in the world…” Ephesians 2:12
And by people, you know, I mean your son or daughter, your spouse, dad, mom, co-worker, fellow student, next door neighbor…
Although I am talking in generalities, you know, I’m talking about that person you are very, very close to.
It’s time to get this through our heads and into our hearts…
For lost people, evangelism is a matter of life and death.
Evangelism – The art of persuading people to surrender to Jesus.
· Evangelism is your moral responsibility
· Evangelism is an integral part of your destiny
· …and…Evangelism is one of the greatest opportunities of your life because it affords you the greatest joy imaginable when your lost loved one surrenders their life to Jesus – it’s an explosion of wonder and delight.
Just take a second to imagine that…
So, let's get after it…time to get better at evangelism for the sake of the world and your loved one…
Today another story from the gospels about an interaction between Jesus and a lost young man.
Maybe one of the most common type of lost people in America.
But before we do let’s talk application first: (normally at the end)…
Identify your “1”.
Pray like mad for them.
Get in the room and stay in the room with them.
Tell them your story.
Talk about Jesus.
Persuade them to surrender to Jesus.
…and one other thing I want you to determine to do…
Invite them to Grace Church with you.
· Internally we are preparing for you to do that:
o sermon series – Nov-Dec-Jan that hopefully will be appealing to your friends.
§ November “I wonder”… how do we know there is a God, how do we know what is true? Why is their evil? Why so many religions?
o we’re modifying all of our other first impression systems (eventually from the time people enter the parking lot)
o We will take on a decidedly “Guest focused” look.
· Reminder – Why? Getting lost people saved is our “white hot why”…and the core reason fro everything including re:generate!
So, again, we all need to get better at loving and reaching the lost…
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
In one verse we can pick up an awful lot about this young man:
· Matthew says he is young - Luke says he was a ruler
· 20-30 something …high achieving…mover and shaker
o either very effective in business or inherited a boat load of resources and property
· Clearly and eager – driven – goal oriented guy
o the man ran …fell on his knees …
o immediately starts “working” Jesus - “good” – internally or morally good…you’re a good man
o what should I “do” – what am I missing here…what’s the missing ingredient? what’s the missing action?
o so I can - inherit (once and for all)…get my piece of the action…
§ of eternal life (nor heaven… the quality of the life of the heavens)
· I may be too hard on him but based on the entire story…
o he sounds like Solomon in the OT
o has it all and yet Like that old U2 song – “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”
· Do you see why I suggest that this guy is so common among us today?
18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.
· Curious response by Jesus:
o either he knew the dude was working him
o or maybe Jesus was trying to be coy about his identity
o or maybe he was trying to point the man in the right direction to God
19 You know (have come to know…or were taught) the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"
· he doesn’t get through the list of the ten commandments before he is interrupted…
20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
· Yeah…I know…I’m good…I’ve got all that covered…but what more do I have to do??!!
The next phrase is the stunner…
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him.
· Jesus looked at him – lit. looked at him intently…scrutinized…examined
· Jesus loved – agape – wanted the best for him
o not “like” but selfless love
o nowhere else in Mark does it say Jesus loved someone
· Here then is our prime posture toward our “1”…the foundation of evangelism
And then Jesus gets real with him…
21 (cont.) "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
· “one thing you lack” – goes right at the man’s insecurities
· Come and follow me!
o become my disciple like these others (Peter, Mary, Martha, Matthew, John, James)
o but to do that you’ll have to divest yourself of your stuff
o and while you are at it…give some to the poor
· Jesus was steely eyed clear about how this man could find life. He didn’t do this to all wealthy people but for this one he knew what it would take.
22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
· our translation doesn’t capture hi horror - his response was a strong one…shocked, appalled,
· we can assume that his response was no…not interested
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
· “hard” – emphatically said … impracticable – unworkable … it just doesn’t work does it?
· enter the kingdom of God – not about entering heaven
o KOG is life under the reign and rule of God (which in time does include heaven)
o to surrender to the rule of God and step down off personal pedestal is crazy hard.
24 The disciples were amazed (worked up all at once) at his words.
But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" 27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Mark 10:17-27
· Jesus repeats his concern about the wealthy lost but adds an important caveat: with God, all things are possible
o no one is beyond the reach of God
o there is always hope
What do we learn from Jesus in how he approached this young man?
You must love your “1”.
· you don’t ignore their deficiencies …like Jesus we must scrutinize them , but we love them despite
· you’ll “get in the room and stay in the room with them”
· you’ll determine to love them with a love that seeks their highest good
Side note: is your lost friend getting saved their highest good? Is that the best thing that could happen to them? We better start acting like it.
If you love your “1”, you’ll not be put off by their self-sufficiency.
Love is patient, love is kind…it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (excerpts)
· Love is patient but it is insistent
· Love is kind but it is direct
· Love is not easily angered but it is also not easily intimidated
When your lost loved one gives off that vibe of “I’m good”…love them, circle back and go after it again.
If you love your “1” you’ll not “dumb down” the gospel.
· Jesus did not tell him to “accept me as your personal savior so you can go to heaven”
· He did not sugar coat the surrender necessary for this guy…and neither should we.
· We are calling people to surrender to Jesus and enter into his rule in this world
o yes – that guarantees eternity
o but yes – it demands whole life surrender
o and yes – it demands entering into the mission of God
The gospel, the heart of our evangelism message is not an oversimplified offer of getting to heaven after we die but an invitation to enter now and forever into a state of being under the reign of God and engaged in his mission to change this world.
· We’re not calling people to believe something but to dive into something
· We’re not calling lost people to the the intellectual but volitional
· a true surrender to Jesus results in reshaped values and a reformed mission in life, as well as a post-morten life in glory.
Do not sugar coat or dumb down the gospel!
If you love your “1” you’ll pray like mad for God’s intervention in their life.
· Remember what Todd said last week – Jesus is the ultimate seeker. The holy spirit is roving and snooping, and tweeking, and pushing and pulling all the time…the lost just don’t know what it is.
· And when you add you love and persuasion…in many cases it isn’t all that hard!
Story of the “workout women”
· a key is our daily prayer…praying like mad!
It’s your prayers that change the eternal plot-line. The more you pray the more holy surprises will happen. Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker
The time has come for holy surprises to become common place around here. For our “white hot why” of reaching lost people to penetrate all of this community.
For evangelism to be as normal as filling a green bag.
For us to be overwhelmed with the joy of hundreds of baptisms in our presence!
But…let’s start with “1”. your “1”.