Leon Fontaine - Reaching Out With Tact
You often hear me say the famous saying that everywhere I go share my faith and when necessary I use words. Some people have taken that to mean that I don't talk, but I almost always talk. Your life just needs to be a reflection of what you talked about. It's crucial for us to speak up. Nobody on the planet seems to be embarrassed to share their crazy ideas about religion, sexuality, gender. The craziest stuff you've ever heard in your life. The only people not talking, are Christians.
Spirit Contemporary is one of our top values here. We often share that that we must be for people who are spiritually alive, no compromise but we must also be contemporary. So that we share in a way that is relevant, current, able to help people understand this Jesus and this gospel. I was reading a book by E. W. Kenyon, who's by the way one of my favorite reads, tons of books by a brilliant man before his time. He wrote a book on evangelism and he did an entire chapter on Spirit Contemporary. But he didn't call it Spirit Contemporary. You know what he called it? Tact. T-A-C-T. And so I looked it up and tact is the ability to communicate without giving offense.
Now, it doesn't mean they're not gonna take offense. You're not in control of that, but you don't give offense. You share with love. You share with the sense of caring about the person, when you share your faith with them. And I thought what a beautiful word, I'm gonna incorporate that word. But seriously, when I study some of the great men and women of old and read through their stuff. It's almost like every decade or two someone rises up with verbiage about being spiritually alive but contemporary and relevant. Speaking with tact, having a heart that is faithful of love so that you are driven.
You know, I remember times as my dad who some of you, actually many of you had the chance to hear him preached for about five years of Springs here before he went to be with Jesus. When you heard him talk about the word "souls", soul winning. He would be moved to tears. There was everyday I'd see my dad pray on his knees. But there were sometimes I'd wake up a little bit early or I'd pop up late at night, see him on his knees and hear him at times crying as he prayed for souls. And so today, I wonder how many people that are here that your prayers other than your health, your spouse, your sex life, your kids, your future, your job, your career, your mind, actually pray for the lost. And when you pray, it's not out of duty but it's out of a love that moves you to tears.
Where did you get that kind of heart? Well, it's not a normal human heart. That heart comes from Holy Spirit. Only Holy Spirit can give you this burden, this desire to see the lost one. And unless the church of Jesus Christ gets that desire, your kids will not grow up in Christian countries and you won't see countries be favorable towards the Christian faith. They are stealing and eroding our rights and privileges as we speak because the Christian majority are silent and at the best reactionary. Where's the voice of men and women and leaders who from area to area, from politics to, you know, schools to business who stands strong and speak what God's Word says. Everyone says silence is golden but I believed it's yellow. If we don't speak up, who will?
In today's world that's all about safety, security, advancement, blessing, God lifting me up, putting me somewhere. This is not the way the early church taught. It's totally contrary. A lot of the people who are against prosperity, who are against the promises of God are very wonderful teachers and well-meaning. And when they knock it, they're looking at kind of the overflow of this, that Christians would live their whole lives to be blessed, rather than to live their lives to be fishers of men. Jesus did not say follow Me. I'll make you rich, healthy, whole, and healed. Now, that's secondary. He said follow Me and I'll make you fishers of men. He was all about reaching people. It was all about anointing. It was all of the presence of God helping you to be a witness so effective that the loving you was moved to reach out and share.
Here's how they prayed in Acts 4:29. They're in the middle of a crisis, people are about to be killed. They're gonna be killed by the thousands and the tens of thousands and here's what they're saying. Lord, behold the threatenings, grant into your servants, protection, healing, safety. It's not what they said. And they're in trouble because they're already bold. And they pray, and grant into Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching forth Your hand to heal, signs and wonders will be done at the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together and they were all filled with Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
The word "boldness" is all through Paul's writings. When he said pray for me, he never once said pray for me that I would get out of prison. That they wouldn't behead me. That they wouldn't kill me. We know history tells us that they beheaded the apostle Paul. At some point he knew his time was up. He was going home. He was done his job. He was fine with that. He never prayed for protection or healing. Those were after effects. He was healed so many times of things that when you read the Bible, the bones in his feet were beaten so bad, that they were busted up three separate times and he would never have walked when he was beaten with rods and God healed him, raised him from the dead. Over healing? Not a problem. He wasn't pursuing it because it followed him. It was one of the benefits of serving God. What he pursued was winning people. What he pursued was reaching the lost.
And here they prayed Lord we want boldness to speak your Word, not protect us, help us, stop us, keep us. You know, we strike that guy dead and that judge over there and this Pharisee over there. No, Lord. And then it says the place was shaken and they went down and spoke the Word of God with boldness. Well, forgive me but their boldness is what got them in trouble. They wouldn't back down. History tells us that when the Roman Emperors tried to stamp out Christianity some of them did the most atrocious things. Some things I wouldn't repeat from the pulpit. You can read them in your research. But one of the things that really touched me was that, they would go into homes and dragged out Christians and killed them in the coliseum, where they would feed them to lions or light them as torches or skinned them and rolled them in salt. It just incredible things. And they said that when they started going into homes, when they found out he was about to play the games and start capturing Christians. Christians would line up at the coliseum and say, "Kill me first".
Now, somebody is getting scared go, "Do I have to do that to be a Christian"? You probably wouldn't face stuff like that. We're living in a country where if you, you just use a wrong word, they'll lock you up, so you'll probably safe. But I think it needs to stir us up that the heroes of our faith gave their lives. I was watching a television program on MIRACLE CHANNEL today, and the guy was going through the underground passage ways of the cities where the Christians would bury their dead. He saw this inscription of a young man who wrote, "Here lies my wife and my little girl killed in the coliseum for the glory of God".
Now, I don't know about you, but that's probably not something that people would write today. Would have been, "I miss my wife. My so sweet little girl. They killed them in the coliseum. I miss them so much". He literally wrote, your stand for Jesus was so moving, so it's such a part of your DNA. That nothing could shut you up. The word witness meant that I will share my faith and you can't shut me up. You try, I'll go to jail. You can kill me but I will not back down from the Jesus that I served. And because of that their kids and their grandkids had this incredible faith to serve Jesus. How much do you talk about your Jesus? How much is He a part of your family lunchtime on Sunday? My dad used to jokingly say that a lot of the congregation go home and have a roast pastor for lunch. What they don't like about church, what they think about this.
But what about our kids? What kind of an example are we for our kids and our grandkids? That we will stand strong for truth and integrity. We will be honorable and live with this ethics that is the Word of God takes us far beyond the law. What is with it? Because our kids are watching and we need to understand you can't just live honorably. You must speak and preach the gospel. I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation. There's power in sharing the gospel but someone's got to share it. There's a unique verse story in Mark chapter 4, where it says the sower sows the word. You guys remember it? Some falls on the path, birds ate it up. Some falls on shallow soil, burns up by the sun because they haven't got enough roots. Some goes into stony ground and it's not going up. Some go into thorns and thistles, when it grows up it chokes them out. Some goes to the thirty, sixty, and a hundred-fold and they just prosper incredibly.
When you share the gospel, God's Word, the good news with somebody, it goes into their heart soil. You are not responsible for their heart soil. You're the sower. You're the planter. You're the person that is sharing your faith and it must come from the Word of God. And when you share your faith, and it comes from Gods' Word, not your weirdo ideas and your little bent on doctrine. You must share the Word. The Word of God must grow. Where the Word of God grows, it says the churches grow daily. Where the Word of God grew, souls grew. We must know the Word. But we must understand that as you share the Word, you might not see them get saved. Paul was saying how that, you know, Paul planted, that Paul has watered but God gave the increase. You'd never know who has shared their faith with this person. It's not your job. You might not be a harvester this time. You might be a planter.
I had to laugh with my dad because preparing this message he just came in to my mind so many times, because that dude was a harvester. I don't know how he sensed it or knew it, but he knew. I remember a young man in the church sharing this story with me. He was, dad was doing a hospital visitation and he was along to learn and watch and grow. And he said, "We're late for our next appointment Pastor Ken. We gotta go. We gotta go right now". And so they walking down the hallway like this and they as walking he looks at the man, a bunch of guys in a wheelchair. He looks at one man sitting in the wheelchair. He turns around and he goes right over to the one guy and he says to him, "Sir, do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior"? And the man went like this, "No". He says, "I can pray with you right now if you'd like to give your life to Jesus". Let's do it.
And thirty seconds he closed and turned around and walked off. How did he know that in this entire hospital, this one guy was the guy? God guides us. Holy Spirit anoints us. Our love, our passion for souls only comes from the Word of God living in our lives. Holy Spirit being anointed in our life. And now, it's not about me, me, me. God is trying to show us that the blessing is a benefit not what we pursue. It's a benefit. It's not what, we gotta understand that. Why are we so focused in using our faith on prosperity and healing and blessing? Of course, use it there. But the Bible teaches us that these are the benefits says Psalm 103. Matthew 6, it simply says there that we are to live for the kingdom. Seek the kingdom first and all of this will be added.
Why are we pursuing what's following us? If we could get this, church would become something so vibrant, so alive. As we don't have to worry about gossiping, backbiting, and backstabbing because everybody just so in love with reaching people and loving them, accepting them, forgiving them, just the way they are. When they prayed, they prayed for a boldness. And this boldness they did not mean like preaching at people and judging people. It just meant there was this look in your eye. You know, reminds me of the story of the boardroom of the new guy in this company. And he walks in and he sees the head of the table. He's the newest guy in the team, for this team. So he sits at the foot of the table and he just far away because he's just brand-new.
And he looks the second guy walking in and he's the CEO. And the CEO doesn't sit at the head of the table. He comes in and he sits right beside this young man. Now, he's just shaken. I mean, sweating because, you know. And he looks at the CEO and he can't hold his tongue and he goes, "Sir, sir, the head of the table is up there". The confident gray-haired CEO. You know, not have anything to prove looks at the young guy and he says, "Young man, wherever I sit is the head of the table". You see, when you meet somebody. Give Jesus a hand. When you meet someone who truly has the leadership gift, who loves, who cares about others, and isn't so focused on building their own self. You'll notice a wittiness about them. There's a kindness, a joy, a beauty.
Interesting now, did you know the word "anointing", one of the other synonyms with this is the word "witty"? That when the presence of God is on you, there's a wittiness about you. You don't have to act it. You don't have to put it on. You don't have to negotiate it, talk it, try to get. You just be who Jesus calls you to be and you're gonna find that people will be attracted to the presence of God in your life. Everyone says silence is golden but I believed it's yellow. If we don't speak up, who will? We sow the Word. We're not responsible for their reaction to the Word. I mean that in every sense of the word. I'm not responsible.
The other day I talked to young pastor who's just going through it and he can't seem to get people to change. Woo, woo, stop, stop, stop. That's not your problem. What do you mean? It's not your responsibility to get people to change, to restore marriages, and get people saved. You're responsible is to preach the Word. Paul said it this way, "I am free from the blood of all men because I taught you what I know". He stops right there. You know how freeing that is? To know that if I do my best to teach the Word and the pastors around me share the Word, get anointed, and do our best. That our responsibility ends at making your life change. Getting you born again. Getting to start.
Now, when you do, when you come, of course, we're gonna nurture and teach you the Word and disciple you. Don't get this in the ditch. I'm just talking about getting a salvation, getting a miracle. These things are up to the person's heart. We must understand that this boldness is got to be on. Measure your story that is so miniscule in the Bible that you'll miss it. It's in Mark 15:43, if you can put it up for me. Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly to Pilate, the guy that just crucified Jesus, and craved the body of Jesus.
I want you to notice that word "craved". He did not demand it. He did not go in there dictating as you have to give it to me. He went in there craving. In other words, he wouldn't back down. Now, twelve disciples run. Someone would ask them, "Do you know"? Oh, I don't know. And even curse to make sure they weren't acknowledged as anybody that follow Jesus. They didn't wanna die beside Him, with one cross and then twelve cross. They run for their lives. Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counsellor. He had a lot to lose. This was an honorable counsellor in the community, who had everything to lose. Walked right into Pilate, the most powerful man, his office, and he says, "I would like the body of Jesus".
The word "craved" had to be put in there because it wasn't, "I would like the body of Jesus. If it's okay with you guys, it would nice to have it. Whatever works for you but I just thought I'd mentioned it". Not a chance. He went in there and there was this move and this boldness about him that wouldn't back down. He sent a soldier to confirm that Jesus was dead and then gave him the body. And he fulfilled prophesy as he buried Him in the tomb, had Him wrapped in spice and all that went on with Jesus. Because Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counsellor in the community would not be embarrassed about Jesus. My instruction for you today is please don't be a fair-weather Christian, that just goes with the flow. Stand for something.