I’m real excited to be up here testifying today. I know that [our pastor] wants people to come up and not just tell how we came to Christ, but what God is doing right now in our lives. Recently, something happened to me that has really rekindled my walk with God in the area of soul-winning. I once heard a kid get up to give his “testimony” at a youth thing and he said something like this. “I don’t really have a testimony. I mean, I didn’t get saved from drugs or alcohol or anything like that. I guess I just grew up in a Christian home and always knew the Bible and the plan of salvation from as far back as I can remember, and I probably made a conscious decision for Christ when I was pretty young. So I don’t really have a testimony.” Well, that kid didn’t realize it, but he just gave his testimony. I am in about the same position that kid was in. I’ve been a “Christian” as long as I can remember; my earliest recollection of a conscious decision was probably when I was about 3. But as I have grown older, I have realized more and more the importance of sharing my faith. But we have a problem with current evangelistic thinking. People haven’t been raised knowing the Scriptures, so like Corinthians says “. . . the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Currently the church “fall away rate” is 80 percent. What I mean by that is that for every 100 decisions we get in churches – every 100 people who come to the altar and pray “the prayer” – 80 of them never come back. Our churches are producing backsliders at an alarming rate. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this isn’t working! Who here has heard of Kirk Cameron? He is an actor who played in the TV show Growing Pains and in the Left Behind movies. He has a ministry on the Internet and the Radio based on witnessing the way Jesus did. Appropriately, his ministry is called “The Way Of The Master”. In Mark 10, we get a great look at how Jesus witnessed to people. A rich young ruler ran up to Jesus, got on his knees, and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life? First, take a look at what Jesus didn’t say: “You’ve got a God-shaped hole in your heart that only God can fill. Pretty soon here, I am going to go die on a cross. If you just say this prayer and REALLY mean it, you’ll go to heaven when you die.” Instead, Jesus asked the man, “Why do you call me good?” When Kirk Cameron is speaking, he says that this part made him do a double-take. You know, maybe Jesus could have used a friendship evangelism course. What Jesus did was correct this man’s understanding of what “good” is. He pointed him to God’s standard for goodness: the Ten Commandments. You see, these days we have a major problem. People think that they are basically good! But the Bible says that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. So what can we do to show them that they need to be converted? Psalm 19 tells us that “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” What is perfect and converts the soul? The LAW. Galatians says that the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The law doesn’t help us, it just leaves us helpless. We are saved by grace, but the law shows us that we are filthy, dirty, and in need of God’s cleansing. Now compare this to the current way that a lot of churches evangelize. Many huge mega-churches like to tell people things like this:Pray for me, guys. In Him, David S. MacMillan IIIThere is much more to life than the same old daily routine; but you have to think big. God wants to increase you! Believe God for promotion and He will take you to new heights.I think maybe Paul should have listened to this kind of preaching. Think about it! Paul didn’t need to go through all those shipwrecks, imprisonments, scourgings, or stonings. He just should have “believed God” for an enjoyable life, right? That’s very nice. But it isn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s the Gospel of Second Hesitations. Think about it like this. Let’s say that you are the flight attendant on a plane flying at 25,000 feet. You want to convince one of the passengers to put a parachute on. You can do this two ways. First, you can tell him to “Put this parachute on; it’s going to improve your flight. Your coffee will taste better, and your chair will be more ergonomic.” The guy will be pretty confused at first. How will a 50-pound parachute on his back improve his flight? But if you’re a really good salesperson, you might be able to sell it. He puts it on. He is pretty uncomfortable at first, but he remembers that you told him the parachute would “improve his flight”, so he consoles himself. Before long, the other passengers start laughing at him. He is getting more and more upset. He can’t even taste his coffee ‘cause he’s hunched over in his chair, and his back is starting to ache. Angrily, he rips the parachute off and slams it on the floor. As far as he’s concerned, it will be a long time before someone gets one of those things on his back again. But there is another approach that will be more effective. Try telling the man that in a few minutes he will be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane, and that “this parachute” is his only hope of survival. He won’t notice the weight on his shoulders or the other passengers laughing at him. Rather, he will be grateful to you and to the parachute because he is imagining what would happen if he jumped without the parachute. Instead of telling people that Jesus will improve their flight, we should be telling them about the jump to come! If we do this, people will run to Jesus! The Bible tells us to FLEE from the wrath to come! God commands “all men to repent because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in wrath”. If a person comes to Jesus with the focus on peace joy and happiness without having understood that they are being saved from CERTAIN death ... they won’t find any peace! Peace and joy are legitimate fruits of salvation. But that should not be the drawing card for Jesus. Remember Psalm 19: The LAW of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. People have to understand that everyone has lied, stolen, and blasphemed, and this makes them guilty in God’s eyes regardless of how they see themselves. So the next time you want to witness to someone, ask them whether they think they are a good person. Then, show them to the Ten Commandments. Have you ever lied, stolen, or lusted? Ever had hatred in your heart? I must confess that I have. In God’s eyes we are ALL lying, thieving, murderous, adulterers in our heart. Now remember that we aren’t condemning anyone. Timothy says that everyone is condemned already; the Law just shows people that they really are helpless without Christ! So now, with every eye open, and no quiet music playing in the background, I would like to ask each and every one of you to examine yourselves. Philippians tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling – not work for our salvation, but examine ourselves to see whether we are really in the faith. God has appointed a day that He will judge the world in wrath. But rapists and murderers aren’t the only ones who will be judged. If you have ever lied, stolen, dishonored your parents, or failed to put God first at any time you are also guilty of breaking God’s laws. We all deserve Hell. But isn’t it amazing that God had a different plan! He sent His Son Jesus to die a horrific death on a bloodstained cross, to take our punishment on Himself. It is ONLY by trusting Christ for salvation from Hell that we can escape God’s wrath and have peace and joy through Him. Thank you so much.
Urgent Prayer Request for Tomorrow
Tomorrow I will be giving my "testimony" at church. I love the church we attend, but I would like to see more evangelism. So I wrote up my testimony and I just want everyone to pray for me and for everyone who will hear this message tomorrow morning.