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Jack Graham - Together for the Gospel

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    Jack Graham - Together for the Gospel
TOPICS: Evangelism

Take your Bibles and turn with me to Romans chapter 1, Romans the first chapter and the Apostle Paul, brilliant and bold, had a desire in his heart from the very beginning of his conversion experience to get the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News that saved him to the rest of the world. And so he writes Christians in Rome this Roman letter, the G, the book of Romans. It's been called the Gospel according to Romans because it is a pure presentation of the Gospel, that the just shall live by faith... our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And at the outset he commends the Roman believers for their faith in Christ.

As a matter of fact, verse 8 is one of my favorite verses in chapter one. It speaks of this particular band of believers in Rome; that their faith is known throughout the whole world. Don't you love that? Don't you pray that our faith would be known throughout the whole world? And that we would be busy about this big task of fulfilling the Great Commission in our lifetime until Christ comes again. it's possible... it's the glorious impossible that is possible in our own times. That we could actually in our own day finish the Great Commission, but it will take bold believers, bodacious followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to accomplish this.

And so the message today is the motivation to find your mission, to discover what God has called each and every one of us to do together for the Gospel. We are here today because of the Gospel. We are together in this place for the Gospel of Jesus Christ... in the Gospel because of the Gospel and for the Gospel. And the deeper we grow in our faith... the longer we walk with Christ, our desire to share Jesus should not diminish but increase. We should have a greater passion for this greater purpose of our lives. In verses 14,15 and 16 Paul gives us three "I am's" that I want to show you today. You might even say the "I" Gospel. "I am under obligation", verse 14, "I am under obligation both to the Greek and to the barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. So I am eager to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek".

Paul is saying personally I'm committed to sharing the Gospel. He said, "I am obligated". I am a debtor. In other words, I am responsible. And then he said, "I'm eager... I am ready to go with this Gospel, to expand the kingdom of God, to bring people to Jesus". And then he said, "I am resolved... I am not ashamed of this Gospel. I'm going to keep going until and sharing this Gospel until my last breath". And that's what Paul did. He said first of all, "I am responsible". Say that with me. "I am responsible". He said, "I am under obligation". I am personally responsible and not only the Apostle Paul who was a missionary, not only those missionaries who serve around the world today, not only those pastors and professionals, but rather every one of us. We are all personally responsible. I can't do your witnessing for you; you cannot do your witnessing for me. We are all accountable; we are all responsible with the Gospel. We have been given the Great Commission. We have been given our marching orders. It is clear.

Our Commander-in-Chief has said, "Go into all the world and make disciples". There's no debating that. These are the last words of Jesus before He ascended to heaven. This is what He is called and commissioned us to do. Thus it is called the Great Commission. We are soldiers under command. But we are also slaves under orders to the Master. Paul described himself in verse 1 as a servant... a slave of Jesus Christ. The word that he uses in Romans 1:1 is bondslave... doulos. One who was indentured to the master, totally subservient to the master. Nobody's talking much about being a slave to Jesus these days, but that's exactly who we are and what we are. We are slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore we have an indebtedness to pay. We have a responsibility to fulfill. Why? First of all, because He has given us so much. We have been purchased by His blood.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? You have been purchased by the blood of Christ, therefore, glorify God in your body which is the Lords". What do we sing? "All to Jesus". "Every debt I owe. Lord, I owe everything to you; my life, my soul, my all". "Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe". Because of what He has done for us we have a responsibility to lift Him up. This is the price that we pay; this is the cost of discipleship. Not too many people today talking about the cost of discipleship! He said, "I'm a debtor; I am responsible". But not only are we in debt to Christ but we are in debt to those who come before us... our mothers and fathers in faith; those who led us to Jesus; those who've invested their lives in us.

Think about the fact that you are standing on the shoulders of those who've come before us: Generations before who had been faithful to pass the Gospel on in your own family, or a friend that shared Christ with you. This church... this church is not here by accident. These buildings didn't just pop out of the ground. People gave, people sacrificed, people built, people made it possible for us to be here this morning. We have an indebtedness to give back; not just to take, but to give! And if someone led you to Christ... family member, friend, a pastor, a loved one... you ought to write them a letter; send them an email at this Christmas season... season. It would be the greatest gift. Every now and then... in fact, I'm grateful.

So often I receive letters from people whether it's by the television ministry or from churches that we've served... I received one last week from our church down in Florida that we were..., you know, we were there twenty-five years ago, and... and yet a man went to heaven and... and his wife was saying, "You led him to Christ". Nothing makes my day more than that! Somebody led you to Christ, someone encouraged you in your faith and built you up in Christ, you ought to give thanks to them and follow their example! Those of you who are watching by television... Someone is giving so that this program can be on the air. Someone is sacrificing so that you can hear the Gospel. We have an indebtedness to those who've come before us. We are responsible! But not only that, to the world at large. We have this indebtedness to people.

Paul said, look at verse 14. He said, "I am under obligation to the Greek and to the barbarian". Both the cultured and the uncultured. The whole world need to know Jesus! He said, "I am devoted and dedicated," And if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, not just a fan of Jesus, but a follower of Jesus Christ, you have this certain responsibility ! And together we can do this in the power of the Holy Spirit. I say "together", because there are no exceptions! No Exceptions. That we are to be all in! And if you are not sharing your faith, if you're not going with the Gospel in the name of Jesus, then you're committing a sin. There are sins of commissions... those things that we shouldn't do that we do. But then there are the sins of omission... those things that God has told us to do... commanded us to do that we don't do. These are sins of omission. And statistically, we're told that 95 percent of the church members in America have never led a soul to faith in Jesus Christ. Thankfully we do better than that at our church. Grateful for every person who's sharing their faith.

And remember as Bill Bright said, Campus Crusade founder, "Witnessing is sharing Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God". But if you're sharing your faith, the results will come; you will bear fruit. God has called us to go and bear fruit and much fruit and more fruit. And so are you responsible? How are you doing? Are you sharing your faith? If I asked us to be honest before God and raise our hands... I'm not going to do that. But if I asked you to raise your hand today if you've ever personally led a person to Jesus Christ, could you lift your hand? It's hard enough sometimes to get Christians to even invite someone to church! Paul said, "I am under obligation". But he said something else. He said in verse 15, "I am ready to come to those of you who are in Rome".

Now Rome, he said, "I am ready". He said. Now Rome was the belly of the beast. The powerful imperial dominance of Rome in the known world, certainly there in Israel and all over Europe at that time Rome was totally in power. Caesar was viewed as a god, as lord. If you would not say "Caesar is lord" you could be executed on the spot. And Christians were martyred because they refused to recant their faith to say that Jesus is Lord. And so Paul was saying, "I'm ready to go right to Rome, and I am propelled by this passion and this eagerness". I love that word eager. That I'm eager, can't wait! Get up every day thinking about it; go to bed every night praying about it, take every breath for the purpose and the passion of the Gospel.

Can we say that? Can we grow to that? To say I'm ready to go, ready to give, ready to go, ready to stay, ready to do God's will whatever it takes. Are we willing to say, "Lord, your will... anywhere, any time, any cost"! That's what Paul was saying. He was saying, "I am abandoned to the Gospel. I am given over to this Gospel". So what if God would call you to do something totally different with your life right now, today? I'm talking about leaving your career and going somewhere for the name of Jesus, for the Gospel. Now, frankly, for most of us, your career (whatever you do) is your calling. It's your platform for sharing the Gospel. Your profession is your pulpit. And that's a great thing if you're doing that. But I also know... (it happened here on numerous occasions through the years) that God is calling some of you, disrupting your plans and changing your ambitions and your aim in life.

I'm talking to some young men that God is calling you to preach the Gospel. You've got all these ideas about what you want to do, what you think you're going to do, but God's calling you to preach the Gospel, to be a pastor of a church, to lead a congregation. Or God's calling some young lady here today to go and be a servant of Christ in His church, full time, or to be a missionary for Christ. And don't just say, "Yeah, that's great for all the kids". God's calling some adults to do the same thing. Some of you who are adults, you've lived for success and you've achieved some success in your life, but you're wondering, "Is this all there is? What am I going to do with the rest of my life"? And now you're praying that God would give you something significant to do with the rest of your life! May I recommend the Gospel! Give your life to the Gospel! I'm just saying that God is calling some in this congregation, some of you watching by television, watching on the internet online right now. God is calling you, disrupting your life, turning your life upside down because He wants to get you going for something unique and different and totally radical in your life!

The greatest ability is availability! Say, "Lord here I am; send me"! How long has it been since you prayed that prayer? "Lord, here am I; send me". Steve Jobs, when Apple computer was just developing, was trying to hire a well known executive from the Pepsi Company. His name was Sculley, John Sculley. Jobs was working him hard and I understand that Steve Jobs could be quite persuasive. But to no avail. John Sculley was comfortable and he wasn't leaving Pepsi for this fledgling start-up Apple computer thing. But Jobs finally hit him with his best punch. He said, "John, you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world"? Sculley could never get over that. He said, "I'm coming in". And Apple Computer changed the world of technology.

Do you want to spend the rest of your life in trivial pursuit or do you want to be a part of changing the world together for the Gospel? The great missionary David Livingston said, "I will go anywhere as long as it is forward and God is with me". "I will go anywhere as long as it is forward, and God is with me". Say with me, "I am ready". And then there's one other thing... one other motivation for missions in our lives together and your life personally. He said, "I'm not ashamed... I am resolved". Verse 16, such a great verse. I often when I sign my name on a letter or something I sign Romans 1:16 beside it. A life verse for me. "For I'm not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek".

In other words to the whole world. Jews, Greeks, barbarians, cultured, Romans... everyone. Paul said, "I'm not ashamed". Literally to be not ashamed there means to be totally confident... competent in the power of this Gospel because we know the Gospel will change lives. The Gospel will make the impure pure! The Gospel dynamite... the power... the dunamis, it will blow the hate out of a person's heart! Paul knew he would face opposition and persecution. Ultimately he would die; put his head on the chopping block and die in a martyr's death. Why? Why would a man do this? Because it's not about me; it's all about Jesus! Why would a man leave a comfortable position and professional and start a ministry in the inner-city of this town? Why would a man do that? Because it's not about us; it's about Him! It's about the Gospel!

Today we face opposition. We don't face much persecution here in this country. We do face opposition. Someone said we are living in an ABC culture. What's an ABC culture? Anything but Christ. Seems that you can promote any idea, any bizarre thing including religion... anything but Christ. You start talking about Jesus and you're told to stop it or to tone it down. Most of us, we need to tune it up! We need to start talking about Jesus. Now today a lot of people say, "Well, you know, what I do, I just sort of live for Jesus and I just serve Him, and you know, hope that people somehow will come to Christ".

Look, we must not only show the Gospel, we must say the Gospel! The Gospel of God who loves us and gave His only Son to come to earth, to die on the cross, to rise again on the third day, to proclaim the good news... that Jesus is Lord to the whole earth! You say, "Even to people of different religions"? YES! "Even to people who worship idols and false gods and deities"? YES! You say, "Should we... would it hurt their feelings if we tell them they're wrong? Wouldn't it be cruel to go to these countries and tell people or to go into a city and tell someone that they're living under the wrath of God and need to be saved? Isn't that cruel"? NO! It's cruel NOT to tell them! We're to sow the seeds of the Gospel! That word means to broadcast.

How many of you, when you want to get some news, you turn on the television set for the news and then you mute it so that you can't hear it? "Oh, I think I'll just watch the news". No, you turn the news on for somebody to tell you what's going on! We're to broadcast the Gospel! That they can be forgiven, saved by the power of God! This is our job and it's our joy! Nothing will energize you more in your life than to share the Gospel of Christ and see people come to Christ through your influence and your witness. You're wondering what to do with the rest of your life? You get up and think, "Oh, it's just another day". You turn your life... whatever you do as a mission for Christ and sharing the Gospel and you'll have a purpose to get up every single day. You'll not be waiting for the alarm clock to drag you out of bed to get you going, but you'll get up every day hearing the call of God, hearing the trumpets of God to go in Jesus' name!

Can you walk across the room at a Christmas party this year and engage someone in a meaningful conversation about Christ and the Gospel? Can you walk across the street and tell your neighbor who's been living by you for a while now, that you're a Christian and why you go to church and who Jesus is? When that family member comes to the Christmas season at your home or your family, isn't it about time you say, "Come here a minute". And step outside in the backyard and talk about Jesus. We can't all go around the world, but we can all go around the block or across the street or across the community. What a blessing it is! John Macarthur said this: "Every time you bring someone to Christ you add another voice to the Hallelujah Chorus". I love that!

You say, "Well, I'm not trained, I'm not prepared and I'm a little bit nervous. It makes me anxious, it makes me tense to try to talk about Jesus like that". I understand we don't all do it the same way. We all have different personalities, but every one of us needs to find a way that God gives us and use that way to get people to Christ... every one of us. God will enable you. God has promised to use you. He said, "If you don't have the words, I'll be there to give you the words". "When you're afraid, I'll be there to buoy you up, to bow you up, to do what you need to do". This is Gospel dynamite! Aren't you grateful for a Gospel that is for every person in every place with any problem? And with that to say, "Lord, I am responsive; Lord, I'm ready. And Lord, I am resolved. Here's my life. I'm giving it to You and to Your Gospel".
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