Website Copy:Did you know that 26% of Americans are now claiming that when it comes to religion they are “none?” Sociologists are calling this The Rise of the None’s. I believe God has put you and I in the middle of one of the most important moment in America’s history to reach these people, but how do you do that? Tune in today to learn how to have the sensitivity and boldness to make a difference in people’s lives and help lead them back home to Jesus! Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request.Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)
MEMORIZE: Matthew 20:25-28SCRIPTURE STUDY: Matthew 20:25-28, 1 Corinthians 11, Genesis 2
OPENING ILLUSTRATION: Piper falling down the stairs, almost hitting the concrete – leg getting trapped in railing two steps from the bottom… terrifying… -everything stopped -afterwards, debrief, over and over again, “can you believe that happened?” “we’ve got to do a better job…” It was a wake up call for us… WE: Had your share of wake up calls -teenager driving first time in snow slides into ditch -work laying people off and just missed the cut -spouse saying, “I’ll give one more try, but I’m not sure” Wake up calls matter – they make us better This morning I want to give you a wake up call Listen to this quote from Pew Research Center Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009. I want to tell you something, Whether you recognize it or not our country is tumbling towards hell, and God has stewarded us with this moment in history to stop that momentum and save as many as we can. B This is your wake up call maybe you asking question I was as working on this sermon, What can I do about it? read passagePaul wrote over 2,000 years ago? not a new problem… If anything, our world looks more like Paul’s than ever before… Colossians 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders constantly around the 26% – “the nones” 1 reason people don’t consider Christianity no difference from world Stanley Jones – Methodist missionary to India met with Mahatma Gandhi. asked him: “Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?” Gandhi replied: “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.” And Paul would say to you, Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders not a fake it till you make it kind of thing -not advocating for a false religious experience ILLUSTRATION: I used to know a guy who would pray really loud at lunch time to make sure everyone knew that he loved Jesus. not what Paul is asking for Paul is asking for you to have a real faith that impacts the way you treat others, especially those outside the faith Do you consider the words you say? Do you consider how your judgmental attitude comes across? Do you think about the fact that you are more adamant about your political persuasion than your undying love for Jesus – the real King So, what do you do? How do you be wise in the way you act towards outsiders? Paul says this: make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Let your conversation be always full of grace Seasoned with salt had people ask me for an “Evangelism seminar” I understand, we want 5 steps to leading someone to Jesus, -that’s not how leading someone to Jesus works.. Leading someone towards Jesus takes both sensitivity and boldness, not a system. Paul is teaching you sensitivity. B Full of Grace: be gracious, be kind, don’t be a judgmental jerk ILLUSTRATION: Go read how to win friends and influence people. Be kind, gracious, loving, be interested in them – listen to people… Seasoned with Salt: draw out the goodness of the gospel for that persons life. ILLUSTRATION: Salt is an amazing compound – how it works is it actually causes your brain to turn on receptors to flavor in order to enhance the flavors you are already eating – it takes what you eat and it allows you to taste what’s there… What Paul wants us to do… Here’s the main thing I personally do to try and be full of Grace seasoned with salt: -Be unexpected false expectations of Christian, lean into break expectations. [Jo Lynne each of these needs their own slide] I don’t know it all: I let them know I still struggle with doubt, failure, fear, etc. I’M NOT QUICK TO JUDGE: I don’t expect someone who doesn’t love Jesus to act like they do. I’M WILLING TO LISTEN: I listen to their story – not so I can find my little “in” but because I genuinely care about them. I LEAD WITH LIFE: there are a lot of Christians that make me think, “man, I’m not sure I want to go to heaven if that’s what it’s gonna be like”. have fun, laugh at things, have joy, don’t lead with negativity I’M NOT RELIGIOUS: I focus on my relationship with Jesus I KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING: people need a relationship with the risen Jesus, not to believe God created in 6 days, or that Jonah lived inside a whale, or that Mary wasn’t sinless, or whatever other thing they want to argue about. The cross is where life comes from – not winning arguments. CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: This is sensitivity, but boldness is something you are going to just have to lean into. This week, I had the privilege of going to breakfast with a pastor buddy who challenges me. As we were sitting there, our waitress came over and got us our coffee, he asked her name, “Brenda” she said, we chatted with her for a moment and she went back to the back room. When she brought our food out, my buddy said, “Brenda, in a moment we are going to pray, is there anything we can pray for you about?” This woman was so touched that we would actually take the time to pray for her. And we did. Listen, being full of grace and seasoned with salt isn’t hard, it just takes you actually treating people with the love Jesus had and then giving it away. I am praying for God to make a movement of people in our church who view every interaction they have with wisdom of the potential of what it could be for the Kingdom of God, and that maybe, just maybe, you and I will get to be a part of saving someone form life apart from God.