Robert Jeffress - Shake and Shine - Part 2
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. When we truly admire someone, we usually try to mimic or imitate their attitudes and actions, whatever they like. We like whatever they avoid, we avoid and whatever ambitions they have become our ambitions as well. So if we truly desire to become, like Jesus, doesn't it make sense that we would pattern our behavior after his? Today we're turning to the book of Colossians to talk about the primary passion of Jesus which in turn should become our passion as well. My message is titled, "Shake and Shine," on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
For those of us who are on the narrow road leading to heaven, what's to be our attitude? Are we to be prideful and say, "well, we're on the inside and you're on the outside, too bad for you". Is that the attitude? That was the Jewish attitude. The Jews were glad that they were on the inside, they thought, and everybody else, gentiles, were on the outside. They thought they were the inside, because they were physically related to Abraham and they thought everybody else was on the outside, because they weren't related to Abraham. Paul said, "no". Paul said, "it's not our physical relationship to Abraham, it is our spiritual relationship by faith in Christ that relates us to God". And Paul said, "unlike the Jews", and he himself was a Jew, he said "unlike the Jews, our attitude ought to be, we wanna make as many outsiders as insiders as possible". That's our goal is Christians.
And so he says, "when you live your life, think about outsiders. Think about, is your lifestyle attracting people to the Gospel, or repelling people from the Gospel". In other words, we ought to live our lives in such a way in our own families, that when people see our relationship to our mate, or with our children, or to our parents, that people say, who aren't Christians, "Boy, I want what you have". Makes 'em attracted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not repulsed by it. We ought to be the best employees we can possibly be at work. Working with the highest degree of integrity, with persistence, with diligence, so that when that non-Christian employer, or that fellow employee looks at us, says, what is it that makes you so energetic? Why do you live your life this way? It attracts people to the Gospel.
Students, you ought to live your life at school in such a way that you're morality isn't the morality of non-Christians, but you live in such a righteous way, a different way, that people are attracted to the Gospel. They see the joy you have by keeping God's laws, and they wanna know more about faith in Christ. Paul said, "Conduct yourself with wisdom when it comes to outsiders". Now our conduct, listen to me on this, our conduct is one way we attract people to the Gospel, but it's not the only way. In fact, it is impossible to lead somebody to Christ by your conduct alone. None of us leads a good enough life to ever lead somebody to faith in Jesus Christ. A lot of people like to quote the words, the supposed words of saint Francis of Assisi who said, preach the Gospel, use words if necessary. Maybe you've heard that before.
Now first of all, it's highly doubtful saint Francis ever spoke those words to begin with, but even if he did, it's immaterial. If he did, he was wrong. Words are always necessary. In fact, the only people I know who go around quoting that, preach the Gospel, use words if necessary, the only people I know who say that, are people who are too cowardly to really share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They're using that as a cop out. They don't want to take the chance, and risk somebody being offended by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So they say, "well, just look at my life, don't look at my words". Listen, words are necessary. There is nobody who's ever come to faith in Christ without hearing the Word of God.
Romans 10:17 says, "For faith comes by," what? Not by seeing, "But by hearing the Word of God". And so, if we are going to really make our priority in life winning people to Christ, it's not just through our conduct but it is also through our speech. And that's what he says here beginning in verse six. Look at what he says. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt so that you will know how you should respond to each person". Let your speech be filled with grace. When you talk to somebody about the Gospel, let those words be pregnant with grace.
Now, I think he's talking about, not only the content of our speech, but also the manner, the style of our speech. Yes, our speech to people who aren't Christians ought to be filled with the message of grace. We do need to talk about sin, and God's judgment to come. The fact is there can be no good news, unless you understand the bad news first of all, and the bad news is we've all sinned. We are all deserving of God's eternal judgment, but don't stop there. That's the problem of the pharisees, they stopped there. They just talked about sin and condemnation, they never offered people a way of escape. Jesus Christ came to offer people a way of escape, to be forgiven of their sins, through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross for us.
And we need to always remind people, when we share the Gospel, that yes, we're all sinners, but that's why Christ came. And he offers to forgive us of any, and every sin in our life, if we will only trust in him. Make sure your speech is filled with grace, but also make sure you speak those words graciously. That's what he's talking about here as well. You know, when we share the Gospel, there is no reason to be offensive, arrogant, brash, belligerent, with people. There's no reason to feel prideful. Well, I'm an insider and you're an outsider.
I love the definition of Christianity. Two beggars, one telling the other where to find bread. That's exactly what we're doing, when we're witnessing, one beggar telling another where to find bread. We need to speak graciously with people. Remember what it was said about Jesus, Jesus never watered down the truth. He could be very, very brash in what he said, direct in what he said. But listen to Luke 4:22, "And all we're speaking well of Christ, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from his lips". Yes, it's true, the Gospel is offensive at times. People don't like hearing that there's nothing we can do to earn God's love, that it has to be received by grace and grace alone. But even though the Gospel message can be offensive, we never have to be offensive in sharing it with others.
Let your words be filled with grace. And he also uses this phrase, "Let it be seasoned with salt". And do you know what salt does, besides hardening your arteries? You know what salt does, don't you? What does it do? It, first of all, makes bland food delicious. It adds to the taste of the food, and it also creates thirst, doesn't it? Well, Jesus said, "Let your words be seasoned with salt" now, to use salt effectively, you don't open the lid on the shaker and just dump it out. Some of you may, but you're not supposed to do that, okay? You're supposed to season it. You're supposed to sprinkle it. That's how salt works the best. You turn bland food into delicious food, you also create thirst.
Now, Jesus said our speech about the Gospel is to be the very same way. We read the passage in Matthew 5:13, "You are the salt of the earth". We ought to speak in such a way, when we're sharing the Gospel, that we create interest, spiritual thirst in people. Jesus did that. You know, Jesus never gave the same Gospel presentation the same way twice. He always tailor-made his approach to the individual to whom he was talking. Now, it was always the same message, that forgiveness is possible through faith in God's grace, but he never delivered the same message the same way, he tailored it to the individual's needs. For example, remember when he was calling Peter and Andrew. He saw Peter and Andrew fishing, and as he was walking by, he said, "Hey, you guys are interested in fishing. Come follow me, and I'll make you a fisher of men".
Remember in John 3, he was talking to Nicodemus, the member of the Sanhedrin, high ruling Jewish council. Nicodemus came and said, you know, "What do I need to do to have eternal life"? Jesus said, "Oh, you have to be born again". That kind of peaked Nicodemus' interest. What do you mean born again? Can a man crawl back into a his mother's womb a second time? And then Jesus, knowing that Nicodemus knew the Old Testament backwards and forwards said, "No, here's what I mean". And he used that story of Moses in the wilderness with the bronze servant as an illustration of what it means to have true faith.
In John 4, the next chapter, he took a completely different approach. He was talking to the woman at the well, remember her? She wasn't a learner Jew, she was a half Jew, hated by the Jews. And she came there to draw water at Jacob's well, Jesus was standing there by the well, and he said, "Oh, I see you're drawing water". She said, "Yes". He said, "What if I told you I could give you water that would so satisfy you that you would never thirst again. Would you be interested in that kind of water"? She said, "I certainly would". And he used that approach to share the Gospel. That's what he's talking about when he says, season your speech with salt. Live and speak in such a way that you create interest in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then you're ready to share the Gospel clearly, when you have opportunity to do so.
Now, I wanna share with you three applications from this passage, and I want you to write them down. Three applications that speak to all us today. Paul is saying in this passage, if Christ is central in your life, number one, your life will be driven by a single purpose. If Christ is central in your life, your life will be driven by a single purpose, and that purpose is to attract other people to Christ. D.L Moody said one time, "I view this world as a wrecked ship, God has given me a lifeboat and said, 'save all that you can'".
If you are really becoming like Christ, that's gonna be your perspective on this world. God has left you here for one reason, and that is to save as many as you can. And by the way, we save people individually through our conduct and our speech, but we also do so collectively as a church. And that's why our church exists, in order to reach as many people with the Gospel as possible. And one way we demonstrate that that's our life purpose, is through our giving. It's not only through our speech and our conduct, but it's through our giving. Do you remember what I said at the beginning of this series in Colossians 3? I said, if you want to know whether you're heavenly-minded, or earthly-minded, ask yourself these three questions.
Number one, what do I think about most often? What do I think about most often?
Number two, what do I talk about most often? My conversation, what's the topic that usually comes up.
And number three, what am I spending my money on? Those three questions, what I think about, what I talk about, and what I spend my money on, are the best indication of whether or not we are heavenly-minded or earthly-minded.
You say, "Well, why does how I spend my money, why is that a test of whether Christ is central in my life"? I want you to think about this for a moment. Your money really represents your entire life. When you go to work every day, whether it's working for somebody else, or working for yourself, do you realize that you are exchanging your life for money? That's the deal you make with your employer, or with your career. You say, okay, I'm gonna give a certain amount of my time, it's limited, its finite. God's only given me so much, but I'm going to exchange my life, and receive money in return. Have you ever thought of it that way before? That's the deal you're making, every day you get up and work, you are trading a part of your life for your money.
So, money represents your life. How you spend your money, really is how you're spending your life. What are you spending your life on? And what Paul is saying here is, if Christ is central in your life, that is the purpose that is gonna drive every area of your life, your speech, your conduct, and yes, how you invest your money.
Secondly, if Christ is central in your life, then you will live in a way that's consistent with your faith. That means the guiding principle of your behavior every day will be, does this behavior attract people to the Gospel, or does it repel people from the Gospel? How you conduct yourself in your dating relationship, in your marriage, your ethical conduct, your personal morality. All will be guided by the principle, does this action attract people to, or repel people from the Gospel?
Number three, if Christ is central in your life, you will constantly look for opportunities to share your faith. That is, if this is really your purpose, to share Christ with as many people as possible, you're not just sitting there passively, waiting for somebody to come up to you and say, could you please tell me how I might have an eternal home in heaven by trusting in Jesus as my Savior.
Let me tell you, I've had very few people in my lifetime ever come and ask me a question like that. No, if we're really gonna make this our purpose, we've gotta be proactive like Jesus, and Paul were proactive. That means we ought to look for any and every opportunity, every entry point we can to share the Gospel. For example, somebody shares with you that they're depressed, or that they're having difficulty in their marriage, or with their children. Yes, we ought to be genuinely empathetic with them, but then we use that as a way of sharing the lasting solution to their problem, a relationship with Christ.
Or maybe, and this is happening all the time right now, somebody comes up to you and they're just moaning, and be moaning about what's going on in our country. Oh, it's just so awful what's happening in America. I don't know what's gonna happen in America. You know what you can say? You can say, well I'm concerned about our country, but you know what? I'm really not that upset. You're not. No, I'm not that upset at all. Could I share with you why I'm not upset? Could I share with you why it is no political leader can ever solve our deepest problems in this country, and why I'm looking for another leader to solve the problems. You can use that as an opportunity to point people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Even this shooting in Aurora, Colorado. What a great opportunity to share the Gospel with people. People are saying right now, they may ask you, why did this happen? What is it, do you think caused James Holmes to commit that hideous crime? How do you explain such a thing? What a great chance to say, this kind of crime only proves that the Bible is true. That there's not only a God, but there really is a Satan, that he really is, as Jesus said, one who seeks to kill and destroy. And not only does he wanna destroy people physically, he wants to take their souls eternally to separate them from God. If you're really making Christ central in your life, you'll look for any and every opportunity you can to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That's our reason for existing individually, it's also our reason for existing as a church.
You know, it's very easy, even for a church like ours, to lose sight of our ultimate purpose. To so become involved in other things that we forget the real reason that we exist. The tendency of churches to forget their purpose, is illustrated in that well known parable, by Frank Voight called, the life saving station. I want you to just sit back for a moment. Relax. Don't grab for your keys. We're not there yet, but we will being a little bit, but we're not there yet. I want you to listen to this parable. It may be able to speak to you.
On a dangerous sea coast, where shipwrecks often occur, was crude little life saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat. The few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea. With no thought of themselves they went out day and night, searching tirelessly for the lost. So many lives were saved by the wonderful old station that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station, and they gave of their time, money and effort to support its work. New boats were purchased, and new crews were trained. The little life saving station grew.
Some of the new members of the life saving station were unhappy because the building was crude, and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds, and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now, the life saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they redecorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life saving missions, so they hired crews to do this work. The life saving motif still prevailed in the club decoration however, and a symbolic lifesaving boat dominated the room where the initiation took place.
About this time, a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crew brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half drowned people. They were dirty and sick. Some had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club, where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting, a split took place in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the life saving activities as being unpleasant, and a hindrance to the normal life of the club. Some members insisted on life saving as their primary purpose, and pointed out that they were still called, the life saving station.
They were finally voted down, however, and told that if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwreck in those waters, they could begin their own life savings station down the coast, and they did. As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that occurred in the old, it evolved into a club, and yet another life saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but most people drown.