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The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith: Fishers of Men

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 29, 2021 3:00 am

The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith: Fishers of Men

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 29, 2021 3:00 am

When you think back on your spiritual journey and how it was that you came to Christ, most likely there was at least one human being involved in the process. Aren’t you thankful for that person? Well, we each have the opportunity to be “that person” for someone else. It’s God’s plan for disseminating the Good News.

And today on A New Beginning, as part of his series called Refresh, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how refreshing it is when we follow through with our evangelism privilege and responsibility.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. God's primary way of reaching people is through people, not just preachers, not just missionaries. We're all called to go into all the world and preach the gospel. When you think back on your spiritual journey and how it was you came to Christ, most likely there was at least one human being involved in the process. Aren't you thankful for that person? Well, we each have the opportunity to be that person for someone else.

It's God's plan for disseminating the good news. And today on A New Beginning, as part of a series called Refresh, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how refreshing it is when we follow through with our evangelism privilege and responsibility. Okay, well, how many of you are fishermen? I'm not much of a fisherman myself. Years ago I was in Alaska and I went on a little fishing trip for king salmon.

I was with very seasoned fishermen who knew what they were doing. I didn't even know how to beat my hook. Well, anyway, well, we're all just waiting for a bite and one friend of mine kept saying, I just got a hit. I just got a hit and he hadn't got a hit. And I asked the guy who was with us, our guide, how will you know when you get a real bite?

He says, you'll know. And it's like almost right after that, whoom, my pole moved and I start reeling away and I got a big king salmon on my line. I was so excited and I worked at this one for a while for maybe 20 minutes. I'm reeling away. Finally, we get that fish right at the side of the boat and the guy gets his net in there and he misses it and the fish breaks away. And then, of course, when you tell someone that story, no one believes you because we all talk about the one that got away.

But in my case that really happened. But I'll tell you a story about a fisherman who got a beast of a fish. It's called a muskellunge fish.

Ever heard of those? So this guy is testing an outboard propeller on his little boat on a lake in Ohio. And as he's cruising along he sees this massive muskellunge fish right near the surface. So he casts his line in the direction of the fish. A couple of times the fish disappears. So the guy goes back to testing his motor. Half hour later the fish appears again.

It's right near the surface. So this guy grabs a leather glove, gets right behind the muskie, grabs it behind the gills and is wrestling it onto the boat. The fish was so big another fisherman nearby came and helped him get this beast of a fish on his boat. And when it was all said and done it weighed more than 53 pounds. Had he caught it properly, if you will, with a rod and a reel it would have set the record.

So this is what makes me laugh. This fisherman was interviewed afterwards and how did you pull this off catching this fish with a glove by hand? And his response is, well, I was at the right place at the right time and I guess I was just fool enough to grab it. You say, Greg, what are you talking about? Is this a message on fishing?

Yes it is. It's a message on fishing for men. Jesus said, follow me and you will be a fisher of men. A literal translation of that is, catch men alive.

I suppose we need to be at the right place at the right time and be fool enough to grab it. I want to talk to you in this message about how to lead a person to Christ. Now as you know we are in a series we are calling Refresh. And last time we talked about the refreshing power of sharing your faith and this is a part two to that message. And you will remember I pointed out to you that when you reach out to others, when you put your focus on others, it spiritually refreshes you. Remember Jesus said, given it shall be given to you, pressed down, shaken together, running over with the same measure you give it shall be given back to you. Jesus said it is more blessed or literally happy making to give than it is to receive. There is a happiness in giving the gospel out to others. And of course over in Proverbs 11 25 it says, He that refreshes others will be refreshed himself. So I want to help you share your faith. Now last time I mentioned if you know John 3 16 you are armed and dangerous. John 3 16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. That is the gospel in a nutshell. You know that.

You can go out and cause some trouble in a good way. So let's in this message talk about the who, the where, the why, and the when of telling others about Jesus. Let's start with the who.

Who is called to go into all the world and preach the gospel? Short answer, we are. I am. You are. Jesus said in Matthew 28, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

And lo I am with you even to the end of the age. By the way in the original language that is addressed to everyone. Not just preachers. Not just pastors.

Not just missionaries. It is addressed to students. It is addressed to athletes. It is addressed to men. It is addressed to women. It is addressed to older people. It is addressed to younger people. It is addressed to older people who think they are younger people. The point is it is for everyone.

No one gets off the hook, if you will. We are all called to go into all the world and preach the gospel. the gospel. Now where are we to preach the gospel? Again everywhere. And to all of the world.

Let's localize it. Go into all of your world and preach the gospel. Go into your sphere of influence with the message of Jesus Christ.

Number three. Why are we to do this? This is important. Why are we to do this? Because God's primary way of reaching people is through people. And the primary way we do that is through the verbal articulation of the gospel. You say well I will just be a good example and I will be a model of what it means to be a Christian and that will be my form of evangelism.

By all means be a model. By all means be a good example. In fact to be honest if you are not going to be a good example I would rather you did not preach the gospel. So be that godly example. But that in effect earns you the right to articulate your faith. The primary way God brings people into the kingdom is when they have had the gospel verbally articulated to them. In 1 Corinthians 1 21 Paul writes, in the wisdom of God the world through wisdom did not know God. It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those that believe. There is power in this message being communicated to a person.

Number four. When are we to share the gospel? Answer. All the time. All the time. You know the Bible says be instant in season and out of season. Or a modern translation puts it this way.

Be on duty at all times. Now I have an illustration for this of when God called upon me at a very unusual moment. So I was in a department store. This is some years ago and I had to go to the restroom.

Yes preachers have to go to the restroom too. So I took my seat in the stall trying not to visualize this. And I am there and there is someone in the stall next to me. He clears his throat. Ok someone next to me.

Whatever. And then I hear a voice say to me, hi. Now look I don't know about you but I don't talk to people in restrooms.

I mean my objective is to get in and out as quickly as possible. He says hi. I didn't really know what to do. I said hi. Then a moment goes by and I hear this voice say, were you supposed to meet me here? I am like what? Were you supposed to meet me here? No. No I wasn't supposed to meet you here. Who is this person?

Getting kind of irritated. And then suddenly it occurred to me what if the Lord wants me to share the gospel with this guy? But wait. In a bathroom?

Could God use you in a bathroom? And then he says, well do you have something for me? I am thinking what is this guy?

What is going on? And I said what is it you are looking for? He says some drugs.

Ah I get it. So the guy was wanting to make a drug buy. He thought his drug dealer was going to meet him in the bathroom. And I said well I have got something better for you than drugs. He said what?

He is very interested. I said a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Again I am thinking I can't do this in a bathroom. Well I was doing it. And then this is what the guy says.

I already tried that. You already tried accepting Christ? Yes the man says. I said well did you go to church? Yes he said. I said where did you go to church? He said I went to Harvest Christian Fellowship.

I said really? Did you? I said do you know who I am?

He said no. I said I am Greg Laurie the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship. And then he said oh my God. I had to laugh.

It was hilarious. I said to him buddy God must really love you. He said your pastor into the bathroom where you were trying to make a drug buy. I want to talk to you afterwards. So I waited for him.

It was in the sock section as I recall. So he comes out of the restroom. He was easy to identify.

He was a guilty looking guy. And I just said the Lord loves you. Stop running from him. And I prayed with him and he recommitted his life to the Lord. So you never know what God will call upon you. When are we to present the gospel?

Whenever an opportunity arises. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody Greg Laurie here. You know my uncle Fred Jordan had one of the first Christian TV programs out there. It was called Church in the Home.

I remember watching it as a little boy when I was living with my grandparents. Well we have Church in the Home for you every weekend. It's called Harvest at Home and you can find it at Harvest.org. We have worship and a message from God's word.

So join us this weekend for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is offering us the fundamentals of sharing the gospel. The who, what, when, where, and why. Let's continue.

Point number five. How are we to share the gospel? Now this is where the rubber meets the road. And frankly this is where it falls apart for many people. They just don't know how to get started.

And even more once they have got started they don't know how to finish. They don't know how to make that invitation for a person to come to Christ. So we are going to look at John chapter 4 together. A very familiar story of Jesus and the woman at the well. And here we see Jesus as the master communicator. Yes He was God walking among us. Yes He was the Savior of the world. He was the Messiah. But He also was the greatest evangelist of all time. And He models for us how to engage people with His message. The Bible says of Jesus, the common people heard Him gladly. That simply means Jesus never spoke over anyone's head.

When He communicated people understood Him. It was Albert Einstein who once said quote, You should speak in such a way that your grandmother would understand. End quote.

I like that. Let me expand it. We should speak in such a way that a child could understand. I want children to understand what I am saying. Sometimes I get letters from kids you know eight, nine years old that will watch Harvest at Home. And I am so glad when I get a letter like that because I want the kids to understand. Maybe they don't understand everything I am saying. But maybe they will hear a joke or an illustration. We will connect with them.

But I want to connect to those people. And as we are sharing the gospel we want to connect with people and bring it to them in a way they can understand. That means we have to avoid what I call Christianese. Do you know what Christianese is? It is sort of verbiage we use that doesn't make sense to a non-believer. You walk up to someone who isn't a Christian and you say, Hey you heathen. Have you been washed in the blood? Sanctified?

And are you part of the body of Christ? Do you know how weird that sounds? You just ask the person if they are washed in blood and if they are part of some body. All they know is they don't want to continue to have a conversation with you. You have got to communicate in a language that people understand.

And Jesus certainly did that. You know sometimes people take that which is so incredible and so beautiful and they make it unnecessarily complex. Even worse they make it boring. I can't stand boring preaching can you? So we need to make it understandable.

We need to connect with a person that we are talking to. The objective is not to win the debate. The objective is to win the soul. The objective is to not burn the bridge.

The objective is to build the bridge. And Jesus did that so perfectly. Listen. Everything doesn't have to be a sermon. You might be surprised to hear that from a preacher.

But sometimes you just need to be a friend and make that initial connection. And try not to be a weird person. Try to be half normal if possible as you talk to people about Jesus.

Listen to this stat. It is interesting. Seventy-nine percent of unchurched people agree with the following statement. I don't mind talking to a friend about their faith if they really value it.

I mentioned this last time. I don't mind it says almost 80 percent of the public talking to a friend about their faith if they really value it. So you can see there is an audience for what we have to say if we go about it in the right way. So when you are communicating with a non-believer take the time to listen to them. Take the time to hear what they are saying.

Try not to cut them off. You need to discover something that is called tact. Tact.

Tact is the intuitive knowledge of saying the right thing at the right time. The apostle Paul used tact so perfectly when he presented the gospel to the people in Athens at a place called Mars Hill. It says where all the intellectuals would gather to debate and discuss the latest philosophy that was coming along. And so Paul stands up at this place called the Areopagus. In fact I have stood at this very site where Paul stood and delivered a message. And so it is very exciting to be in this place where such a historical moment happened.

But here are all these people with all these different philosophies. And Paul had spent some time in Athens looking around the city. And there was lots of idols in Athens. Lots of false gods. And lots of altars erected to false gods. So Paul is looking at all of these altars erected to these false deities. And he comes to one that is erected toward the unknown god.

I guess the people of Athens figured well in case we miss one we will put this one up. To the unknown god. So Paul stands up before the people of Athens and all these philosophers and says, men of Athens I can see you are very religious. And I was walking around your city and I saw this altar erected to the unknown god.

That is the one I want to talk to you about. He could have said, men of Athens you are a bunch of idol worshipers. You are pagans and you are all going to hell. Would that have been true? Yes it would have been. But Paul wanted to build a bridge instead of burn one.

That was a good beginning. Some years ago I was in Hawaii and I was in a cab. The cab driver's name was Tom. So we are cruising along and there on the road was what they call a ghost bike. A ghost bike is a bike that has been painted white. Sometimes there are flowers in front of them to commemorate the fact that someone riding a bike was killed there. And unfortunately there were a few ghost bikes out on that particular day. It was a very well used road there on the island the big island of Hawaii. And I saw the ghost bike and I went oh a ghost bike.

That is sad. And Tom the cab driver says yes I have a friend that was riding on this highway and was killed not long ago. So I said well Tom what do you think happens after we die? And so Tom the cab driver told me his philosophy. He believed that you would come back as another life form and talk about it for a while. I didn't interrupt him. I didn't contradict him.

I didn't roll my eyes. I just listened to what Tom the cab driver had to say. So he finished his talk about what he thought happens after a person dies. Then Tom says to me, well what do you think happens after a person dies?

See that is a give and take. And then I told him what the Bible says. I said well I believe that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ you go straight to heaven. And I expanded on that a bit and after I was done Tom said I like your version of the afterlife better than mine. I said well Tom it is not my version.

It is God's version. But my point of bringing this up is I was establishing a conversation. A dialogue with a person. Pastor Greg Laurie, pointing out how we need to be ready to share the hope of Christ with Tom the cab driver or Mary the cashier or Wilson the next door neighbor. Good insight today on a new beginning and there is more to come from this message. It is a study called The Refreshing Power of Sharing Your Faith Part 2. Well we are making a new book available that is just fascinating called The Jesus Music.

It talks about the rise of contemporary Christian music and how it wasn't always smooth sailing as some in the church opposed it. But I found it fascinating Pastor Greg that at one point Billy Graham wanted to make the music in his crusades more contemporary and invited Michael W. Smith and DC Talk to be his music guests at a youth event. And Billy was in his 70s at the time.

Fascinating story. Billy was always a person who was willing to take risks for the kingdom of God. So going back a few years when Jesus music was just exploding there was an event in Texas called Xplos 72.

It was described as a religious wood stock. So 80 to 100,000 young people or really people of all ages gathered there in Texas and artists like Love Song and Larry Norman and Johnny Cash performed before thousands of people and Billy Graham spoke. So it was sort of like the seal of approval from the leader of evangelicalism at that time Billy Graham. Okay now fast forward many years Billy has been doing his crusades and he wants to reach younger people. So the idea came of let's put Christian music that's contemporary on the stage. I can tell you not everyone supported the idea.

I know because I was there. It became a little bit of a debate among the members of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Board of Directors because I've been on that board for 25 years. Some opposed it.

I stuck up for it and said this is a great idea. This will reach more young people and indeed it did but I have to tell you Dave I was at one of those concerts and Michael W. Smith played and DC Talk played and the young people loved it but when Billy Graham walked out he got the greatest ovation of the night and this was just his willingness to do whatever he could to bridge the gap and reaching culture with the gospel. So this music is played a significant role in the church for the last 50 years but I bet a lot of you do not know the origin story.

You don't know how it got started. You don't know who were the sort of pioneers of this music and now turning into the music you love today on the many Christian stations around the United States and indeed the world. So there's this brand new book out called The Jesus Music written by my friend Marshall Terrell.

I've written three other books with Marshall. He's an excellent writer, a great researcher and you're going to learn a lot and I think this book is going to be a blessing to you and frankly you would pay a lot for this hardcover book with glossy pages and photographs and stories of these artists through the years but we're going to give it to you for your gift of any size. So whatever you send to us we will send you this book The Jesus Music in return but I'm going to encourage you to be generous because whatever you send us will be used to get the gospel out and to teach the word of God. So thanks in advance for whatever you can do and let us send you a copy of this new book The Jesus Music. Yeah, you know, we wouldn't be able to bring you these studies each day without the support of listeners like you.

We have no other way to cover the costs of broadcasting other than the generosity of those who listen. So thank you so much for your investment and with your generous donation today be sure to ask for The Jesus Music. We'll send it right out and we'll only be able to mention this resource a short time longer so get in touch right away. You can write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock.

That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well next time more insight from Pastor Greg on personal evangelism. We're learning how to share the gospel Jesus style next time. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-16 12:06:59 / 2023-07-16 12:16:32 / 10

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