very privileged to work with a group of boys in an organization called the Boy Scouts.
This is a great organization that serves the young boys of our community from the first grade up through the twelfth
grade and there is a program called Ventures which boys can be actively involved in until they are twenty-one years old. Two
of the things that a Scout has to help guide him are called the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.
The oath goes like this, “On
my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times,
to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The twelve points of the Scout Law are, “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and
reverent.” These two things, the oath and the law are
what a Scout is to model his life after. In the oath he is pledging on his honor
do his duty to God and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people and to keep himself strong in body, keep his mind active
and to stay true to the morals that he has been taught. And when a Scout comes
to the Scoutmaster to have a Scoutmaster conference to see if he is ready to be promoted to the next rank one of the things
that the Scoutmaster asks is how that Scout has lived the Scout Oath and Law in his everyday life – how does he apply
it to himself. Now take a look at that Scout Law for a moment. Does it kind of remind you of another law? The Scout law has
12 points to follow and the other has 10. Can you think of 10 guidelines that
were given for people to follow? Yep, it’s the 10 Commandants.
am not saying that the Scout Law is equal to or even in the same ballpark as the 10 Commandants but it’s a good guideline
for Scouts to follow. And what I would like to propose is that it’s also
a good guide for everyone to follow. We can all take a lesson from the Scouts
and the codes that they follow and apply to their lives. If we as Christians
took the Scout Oath and Law seriously and applied them to our everyday lives imagine what it would do.
There are several parts of the Scout Law that
I would like us to look at and the first one that I would like for us to see is the last one.
A Scout is reverent. Just
what does it mean? Basically it means that a Scout has reverence towards God and he is faithful to fulfill his religious
duties and he is respectful of the beliefs of others. The other part of the Law that I would like to point out is that a Scout is obedient. He obeys his parents, Scout Leaders, teachers and others
in authority. We as Christians also need to be reverent and obedient. We need to be reverent to God and obey God but does being obedient to God mean that we have to disobey
the laws of our community? No it doesn’t.
Titus 3:1 says, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities,
to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility
towards men.” We are to also obey the Word of God. In Luke 11:28, Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who
hear the Word of God and obey it.” It’s a fine line that
a Christian walks. We must obey God and also obey those who are in authority
brings me to this. In the last part of Matthew, Jesus gives us some instruction,
marching orders if you will. Matthew 28:19-20 states, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”. The question is – are we doing what we were told to
do? Are we following the instructions that Jesus is giving us? Are we being obedient?
As I said these verses can be looked upon as our marching orders to evangelize
our neighbors, community, and so on. But there is one thing that we must consider
when we receive our marching orders. We must accept them. We have to accept the call of God.
I got involved with Boy Scouting when one night my wife came home and told me how
our son Jeff was crossing over to Webelos, which is the forth and fifth graders, and that since they didn’t have a leader
I was it. I didn’t have to accept that call to be a Scout leader. I could have gone on with my life and not be involved with Scouts at all. But I did accept and I know that over the past eleven plus years I have been personally involved with and
made a difference in the lives of hundreds of boys. You have to accept the call
and become involved in the lives of people because you can make a difference because if you don’t there may be someone who will never hear the Word of God.
Several years ago Bill Cosby did several skits about Noah and the coming flood.
In the first one he relates how Noah was down in his work room sawing on some wood and God called him, “Noah!” and Cosby replied, “What? Who’s there?” Then he goes back to work. God once again calls Noah, “Noah!” And Cosby says, “Who’s there? Who’s calling me?” God
replies, “It’s me Noah, God.”
And Cosby gets this strange expression on his face and sarcastically replies, “Riggght. What do you want with me, I’ve been good.” And it was a great skit, it was awesome. Sometime I wonder
if we are a bit like Noah in Bill Cosby’s skit. When God calls us do we
respond like Noah, “What do you want with me?
I’ve been good.”
Let’s take a look at one that heard the
call of God and jumped right in. In Isaiah
6:8 we read, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom
shall I send? And who will go for us?’
And I said, ‘Here I am. Send me!’” Isaiah took the call of God seriously and made a personal commitment to be in His service – to go
where God sent and to do what God asked. Are you willing to make that same kind
of commitment to God? Jesus has made the call and you accepted Him as your Lord. The question is, are you ready to follow through with your commitment to Him. Jesus gave us our marching orders in Matthew
28, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Are you willing as Isaiah was willing to step out in faith and say, “Here I am! Send me!”
We have to be willing to be in God’s service and follow His commands. If
we are, then before we take off to spread the good news of the Gospel there are some things that we must know before we can
be effective witnesses for God. One of the first things that we need to know
is just what the Gospel is.
simplest we can look at the Gospel as three things.
First it’s a record of God’s love for us. It’s
His love letter if you will.
Second it’s a record of the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf.
Third it’s about the salvation that God grants us through His Son Jesus.
God’s love is displayed throughout the Old and New Testaments but no where is it shown more vividly as in John 3:16 and 17, “For God so loved
the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” How much more could God do to show His love us.
This one verse sums up the
entire Gospel. It tells us that God loves us and that He has provided a way redemption
that can be found only through His Son and that this salvation is open to everyone everywhere.
Jesus wasn’t sent to condemn us or judge us but to save us. Every
one of us has memorized this verse at one time or another in our lives. It’s
the most quoted Scripture in the world. Let’s look at it in a more personal
way. Where it says “the world” insert your name. “For God so loved Mike that He gave His one and only Son,
that if Mike believes in Him Mike shall not perish but have eternal life. For
God did not send His Son to Mike to condemn Mike but to save Mike through Him.”
It becomes just a bit more personal doesn’t it?
God loves us so much that He was willing to give
up His Son for us. It wasn’t like God was doing this just for those who
were trying to be good or for those who tired but just missed the mark. He sent
His Son Jesus to everyone everywhere.
He gave His Son for the drunks,
murderers, thieves, liars, drug addicts, prostitutes, rich, and poor. He sent
Jesus to everyone and if anyone accepts Christ they will receive eternal life. Look
at John 3:16 again, “…that
whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
everything about you. He knew you before you were born and has kept his eye on
you. Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” God
knows us – He knows everything that we have done and yet He stills loves us so much that He gave us His Son. How many of us are willing to let our child be executed so a murder can go free? I seriously doubt if any of us would. But God did. That’s love beyond measure.
3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to us, but why? Why
did God send Jesus to live in the midst of a world full of degenerate people? Turn
with me to Romans 5:6-8. Here we
read, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ
died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though
for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own
love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. Christ
Jesus was born for one reason and that was to die in our place. Christ was born
to die. It is through His atoning sacrifice that the penalty of sin was paid. That your
penalty and my penalty was paid.
Now Jesus sacrificed more than we could ever
imagine to be our Savior. Jesus lived with God the Father in a place more glorious
than we can ever dream about. Living with God there was no pain, no sickness,
no death, no hunger, no tears, no sorrow, or anything like that.
There was never
ending joy and contentment being with God the Father. But Jesus left all of that
and became flesh and bone. He became human.
He was born in a lowly stable to humble parents. I’m quite sure
that Jesus, while growing up learning a carpenter’s trade, more than once smashed his thumb with a hammer or got stuck
with splinters and that hurt. John 1:14
says that, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” He took on our human frailties and became one of us.
He had the same feelings the same hurts and temptations as we do. Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable
to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without
gave up paradise to live with us teaching us about the Kingdom of God. But He knew that there was no way that we would ever enter the Kingdom on own accord. There was no way that we could ever be good enough or righteous enough. So Jesus then faced the greatest trial of all. Humiliation,
beatings, pain beyond belief and crucifixion and death – this was a hard situation that Jesus faced and I know that
he didn’t look forward to it even though He knew what the end product would be.
Look at Luke 22:42-44, “Father,
if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An
angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish,
He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” This was a tough situation that He was facing but He went through it for one reason and one reason only
– us. He knew that it would take His death to make atonement for our sin,
our disobedience to God.
So He let Himself be taken,
beaten beyond recognition, have a crown of thorns shoved onto His head with the thorns cruelly piercing his scalp, be spat
on and humiliated, and then brutally nailed to a rough wooden cross. He did this
for you and me. He gave Himself as the sacrifice for us. But why did He do this?
It is so we can have salvation. So we will be able to enter into God’s presence. Salvation
is a gift that God has given to us through His Son. Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through
faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Salvation is a gift, a free gift that has
been offered to us. But a gift is only a gift if you do something with it. At Christmas we received presents. Did
you just leave them under the tree? Not me, I grabbed them, tore them open, and
enjoyed the gift that had been given. If I hadn’t accepted that gift, if
I hadn’t opened it, I could have never enjoyed what was inside. That’s
my point. God has offered you the gift of Salvation through His Son Jesus. But you must accept it. You must open
it. There is only one gift and no other.
Acts 4:12 tells us, “Salvation
is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Only in Christ do we have Salvation.
Now we have a good idea of what the Gospel is
about – it’s about God’s love, it’s about Jesus’ sacrifice, and it’s about Salvation through
Jesus – now we need to figure out why we have to evangelize. What motivation
do I have to tell others about God’s plan of Salvation? Why should I even
the first thing we must know is that we must glorify God in everything that we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether
you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Even in the simplest things that we do,
such as eating and drinking, we must glorify God. God deserves glory. He is the creator God who set time into motion, who spoke creation into existence and blew the breath of
life into the first man. We need to give glory to the Lord of Creation. 1 Peter 4:11 says, “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.
If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through
Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” Whether we are witnessing to others by telling them about Jesus or we are showing
love through our service to others, it should all be to the glory of God.
Next we are commissioned by Jesus to be witnesses for of all that He has said and done.
Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore
go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surly I am with you
always, to the very end of the age.” Like I said earlier, you can look at this verse as your marching orders. What are the four actions that
must be taken here?
The first is that we must go. You
cannot be an effective witness for
sitting at home watching soap operas and such. We have to
follow what Jesus says to do. We
have to go out to the neighborhood
and our community. We have to witness at work and at play.
The second is to make disciples. Now
what is a disciple? Is a
some ‘holier than thou’ person? No being a disciple simply
being a follower of Jesus. You and I are disciples if we are
after Christ. And the Lord has told us to make disciples,
means that we are to help bring others into a saving knowledge
of whom Jesus is.
third we are to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit. But it doesn’t stop with baptism.
And finally we are to teach them. But you cannot teach unless you
They need to become involved in a local church. They
to find fellowship with other Christians so they can grow into Spiritually mature Christians.
But why did Jesus leave these instructions? Can’t people hear about God on the radio and television? Can’t they just read the Bible and come to know the Lord? Remember
the Ethiopian eunuch that Philip witnessed to? Acts 8:30-31 tells us, “Then Philip ran up to the chariot and
heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are
reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless
someone explains it to me?’” He was reading Scripture but
he didn’t understand what he was reading. He needed some explanation of
what he was reading and Philip did just that. Sometimes we also need explanations
because we don’t understand what we are reading. And if we need explanations about God’s Word think about the people
who are in the world who have no clue about what Scripture is truly about.
is another reason we need to be out evangelizing and spreading the Gospel message. How
many of us remember the old song from around the 70’s called ‘I Wish We’d All Been Ready’? It talks
about what happens when Jesus returns and calls His church home and the unsaved were left behind. It tells how bad things become and what happens to those who are left behind. Jesus doesn’t want anyone left behind. Neither should
we. I want my relatives, my neighbors, my friends all standing with me when God
says, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Jude 22 says, “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch
others from the fire and save them…” If we don’t tell others about Jesus there may be no one else
who will. You have to step out in faith and trust in the Lord and He will make
clear what you must do.
Ok so now we’ve looked at what the Gospel
is and what our motivation to evangelize is but how do I do it. Well there are
five things that you need to know to be an effective witness. They are What,
Who, How, Where, and When. So let’s take
a look at the What. Romans 1:16 tells
us, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for
the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” There is no magic formula that we have to recite, no special music that must be played, and no special
setting that we have to be in. We have to relate the Gospel to them. The Gospel means Good News. And the good news is Jesus. We have to relate Jesus. Now I am not
going to get into what is called the ‘Romans Road’
on witnessing. We can look at that another time. I just want to go over a few
things. What we are to be doing is sharing the Gospel with others and the Gospel
is the power of God for everyone’s salvation.
Ok if we are sharing the Good News of the Gospel, whom are we sharing it with – Everyone! Everyone needs to know about the Salvation that can be received only through Christ
Jesus. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, what type of education
you have, or what type clothes you wear. It doesn’t matter if you have
nose rings, tongue studs, or tattoos. Everybody needs Christ. Everyone including
everyone here are sinners.
Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, there is no one righteous,
not even one; there is no one who understands, no one seeks God. All have turned
away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” The only difference between Christians and those who are in the world is that we Christians are ‘forgiven’ sinners.
Everyone needs Jesus.
Just how am I going to be able to witness? I
can’t muster up enough courage to start up a conversation with my neighbor. I
get cold feet if someone asks me to pray in Sunday School. My palms start to
sweat, I get cottonmouth, and I get queasy in the pit of my stomach. How am I supposed to tell someone something as important
as this. We are talking about their eternal soul.
You’re right. You can’t do it on your own and Jesus doesn’t
expect you to. You have been given an awesome power to help you. Look at the first part of Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” You can rely on the Spirit to give you the strength and courage to talk to others. The Holy Spirit gives the power and guidance when you need it. Look
at Peter when he addressed the crowd in Acts chapter 2 after the crowd heard them speak in tongues. Peter spoke with authority and confidence. But Peter was just
a fisherman. He wasn’t a public speaker or a rabbi. He had just received the gift of the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to be a Billy Graham or a Robert
Shuler, you just have to be you. All you have to do is rely on Him and He will give you confidence and strength to be a bold
witness for Him.
Now the question is where. Do I have to go on some special mission trip to a far away
country where I don’t speak the language, sleep in a mud hut, eat unidentifiable foods and fight off biting insects? Let’s look at the last part of verse 8 in Acts chapter 1, “…and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Sameria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus told the disciples to start where they were at, Jerusalem then to branch out to
their neighbors, Judea and Samaria and then move on to bigger
things. Start small. Start
with your family who might not know Jesus. Talk to a neighbor or a co-worker
or a fellow student. Serve meals down at the Salvation Army and talk to the people
there. Get involved. Our mission field is right here in our own
back yard. I’ve said it before and I will say it again – America desperately needed evangelizing! America needs a revival
right now – let it start with you. God is calling, “Whom shall I send?”
will I know to witness? Is there ever a good time? You have to be ready at all times. When the opportunity presents
itself you need to be ready. 2 Timothy
4:2 says, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season…” A pastor friend of mine told me about one of the ladies in his congregation that was
visiting her fiend in the hospital. Her friend asked her about Jesus and she
picked up the phone and called her pastor and asked if he could come over and witness to her friend. He politely told her that he couldn’t make it there but he had full confidence in her to be able
to witness and he hung up. So she said a silent prayer and then hesitantly began
and as she continued she began to feel surer of herself. And as a result of her
witness and testimony her friend gave her life to Christ.
to be ready at all times. You could be on the scene at an accident and the chance
to witness arises. Will you be ready? Are
you prepared? Are you willing to step out in faith and answer the call of God? God has been and still is calling, ‘Whom
shall I send? And who will go for us?’ Is your answer the same as Isaiah’s – “Here
I am, send me!”