Greg Laurie - Why Share the Gospel?
I am in the Hoboken Terminal here in New Jersey. This is one of the cities, states I lived in during my childhood because my mom well she had this habit of getting married and divorced a lot. Seven times in total. So I lived in summit, New Jersey. I lived in Hawaii. I lived in California. I had this turbulent childhood. I had to grow up fast. In many ways I had to become a parent to my mother. By the ripe old age of 17 I felt like I was 70. I tried pretty much everything this culture has to offer to make one supposedly "Happy" and I was empty inside. I was desperately searching for meaning and purpose in my life.
On my high school campus in Newport Beach, California I came upon a Bible study of Christians and sat down close enough to hear what they were saying but not so close that they would think I was joining up. I sort of eavesdropped and I ended up hearing for the first time in my life the Gospel. I believed that message. As a result I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life. He changed it. It wasn't long after that that I realized I had to tell someone about what God had done for me. The Bible says, "If any man be in Christ, he is an altogether different kind of person. The old things have passed away: behold, everything becomes fresh and new".
Then one day as a new Christian I read a passage in scripture that is known as the great commission. Have you heard that? It is when Jesus says, "Go in to all of the world and preach the Gospel to every living creature". Yes I am talking about evangelism. That is a word that makes a lot of Christians cringe because we think, oh no you mean actually go up to a complete stranger and talk about my relationship with God. I don't want to do that. Do you know what happens? The great commission as we call it becomes the great omission.
Let me tell you something that might surprise you, but I believe it is true. I think to not share my faith as a follower of Jesus Christ can be a sin. You are saying, "Greg you are going too far. It is not a sin". Wait though. There are sins of commission and omission. Right. A sin of commission is when you do something you should not do. Listen. A sin of omission is when you don't do something you should do. The Bible says to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Let's say that you were walking along the beach and there was someone out there drowning in the ocean. You just kept walking. You didn't call for help. You didn't call 911. You just kept walking. Would that be wrong? That would be criminal really. In the same way it is even worse when we think of the fact that everyday we walk by people that are drowning in their sin and we don't even take a break in our little schedule to engage them with the message of the Gospel.
Did you now that 95% of all Christians have never led another person to Christ? A very small percentage even attempt to engage people with the Gospel message. So listen. I want to help you to change that if that is the case in your life. Let me say something that may also surprise you. I believe evangelism can be fun. Fun you say? Yes fun. Because it is exciting to be used by God. You know what? When God is looking for someone to use, he is not looking for a qualified person. He is looking for an available person. God is not looking for ability. He is looking for availability. God doesn't call the qualified. Listen. He qualifies the called. That means that God can use you. He can use anyone to start talking to others about Jesus Christ. But we have got to get started.
That is what I want to talk to you in this series about. How you can engage people. How you can reach people and yes how you can lead people to Jesus Christ and experience some of the greatest joy you have ever had in this life. Jesus said, "There is joy or happiness in heaven every time a lost sinner believes". Every time a sinner comes to repentance. If there is happiness in heaven over a person believing there can certainly be happiness on earth as well. Let's discover together how we can find the joy of sharing our faith and how we can see others come to know Jesus Christ.
Let me ask you a question. And be honest in your answer. Do you really care about people that don't know Jesus Christ yet? I know the automatic Christian answer is oh yes I care about them. But do we really? Because if we did why do we not engage them more with message of the Gospel. Far too often I think we regard nonbelievers as the enemy. They are not the enemy. In fact the Bible says they are bound by the enemy. That is the devil who has blinded their eyes so they will not believe. No we should not see them as enemies we should see them as people who need Jesus.
In fact I think we need to get mad. I don't mean get mad at non-Christians. In fact I have seen sometimes believers yell at people who don't know the Lord. That is not going to reach anybody. I think we need to get mad at the sin that binds them. You know the Bible tells us in the Book of Acts the 17th chapter that the apostle Paul had his spirit stirred when he saw that the whole city of Athens was given over to idolatry. That phrase that is used there in the Bible his spirit was stirred could be translated he was righteously indignant.
I think we need to get angry righteously at the trap people find themselves in. Angry enough to take action. Let me ask you this question. Are you a bridge or are you a barrier to people coming to Christ? Are you a stepping stone or are you a stumbling block? It is time for us as Christians to infiltrate this world with the Gospel as opposed to isolating. You know sometimes Christians want to isolate into a subculture. We eat in Christian restaurants and we buy clothes made by Christian people. We talk about Christian things. It is all great but there has to be a point where we go out and engage nonbelievers. Don't forget that Jesus himself was called the friend of sinners. How can I ever reach someone if I don't engage them? So let's do everything we can to tell someone. Let's all get busy doing that right away.
So here is my question for you. Are you willing to lose your dignity so to speak to engage someone with the Gospel? Are you willing to leave your comfort zone? Are you willing to well go into all of the world? Go into all of your world and share the Gospel? You know the apostle Paul said, "We warn everyone we meet and we teach everyone we can all that we know about Jesus Christ". Listen. So we can bring them to full maturity in Christ. See that really is the great commission. Jesus says, "Go into all of the world and preach the Gospel making disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit".
Our objective as Christians is to by God's grace lead people to Jesus and then help them get on their feet spiritually. Get them growing. Help them reach maturity and then go do it again and do it again and do it again. And do it for the rest of your life. And encourage those you led to the Lord to do the same thing. And through that reproduction we can reach the world. But you have got to start with your world.
You know sometimes people say I feel called by God and I want to cross the sea for Jesus as a missionary. Hey why don't you start by crossing the street? All around you is a mission field. Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes and look. The fields are white to harvest". But then he says, "The laborers are few". God is looking for someone to labor in the harvest. He is looking for someone like you. Let's not be guilty of the sin of omission because the Bible tells us, "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin". Let's obey the Lord. Understand also as we obey the Lord he will bless us. And there is joy as I shared earlier in sharing your faith.
So let's get on with this. In fact why don't we just pray together that God will help us to do our part? Let's all pray. Father we acknowledge that we have not always taken advantage of the opportunities that come our way. Sometimes that are dropped in our lap. Help us to, as Jesus said, lift up our eyes and see the harvest. Help us to see people as you see them. Help us to care enough to share. Use us Lord we pray to bring others into your kingdom. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.