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March 1, 2021 7:00 am
You know I went to seminary back in the early 70s we studied Greek, we studied Hebrew, we studied systematic theology, and it was a capital seminary and the president of the entire school watching Bible college. Dr. George Miles would come in once a year at the seminary chapel and talk to the whole seminary student body that he never to study Greek he'd never studied Hebrew. He didn't have a seminary degree.
He'd been an engineer, whom God called out of secular work in the starting Washington Bible College, but he came over every year and he always preached on the exact same verse every year and that was Mark chapter wanted to see on the screen. This verse, and he always had the exact same message from the same verse every single year I taught at capital five years after I graduated. So for nine years in a row.
I heard this message and here's what he would come over and say to us every year he would say, gentlemen and ladies, it doesn't matter how much Greek you know it doesn't matter how much Hebrew you know it doesn't matter how much systematic theology. You know if all of that dozen issue out it in a love for people and a concern for people's eternal destiny and In-N-Out spoken this for Jesus Christ in this world than it is all worthless and you know 25 years later I'm more convinced than ever.
Dr. George Miles had it exactly right now he's with the Lord today, but he had it exactly right. The friends we can study the Bible, we can memorize the Bible, we can meditate on the Bible, we can pray and fast all day, but if all of that dozen issue out in a passion for sharing Jesus Christ with other people than we have. Ms. the whole point.
Now that's what we want to talk about today and it grows out of a passage in the life of the apostle Paul's look at the passage first then will come back and say well what difference does that make to us little bit of background. Remember your next 20. The apostle Paul is in Miletus, Wachovia map the port town not far from the city of Ephesus, and from this little town. He asked the leaders of the church of Ephesus to come join him while he was passing through knowing that this was the last time he was ever going to see them on this earth. He gives him a little speech, which is what were studying and in this speech. The apostle Paul shares with them the basic principles that shaped his life and drove his ministry and made him the man of God that he was and I've told you a number of weeks now in a row that if you want to be a real man of God, a real woman of God you really want to be a great servant of God. This is the most valuable speech anywhere in the Bible for you and me because in this speech, Paul bears his heart in this speech God.
He gives us a glimpse of what really made him the man that he was and if we can emulate those things in our life then we can see God use us in the very same way now. We've already covered two of the five principles he gives in this speech.
Principle number one is this principle of obedience.
Principle number two is we saw last week is the principle of absolute surrender and the third principal to talk about today is a passion for evangelism a passion for sharing Jesus Christ. So let's look verse 25. Paul says no. I know that none of you, among whom I've gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see my face here on earth again. Remember, Paul. Paul spent three years preaching the kingdom in Ephesus. He started off in the Jewish synagogue very spent three months in the synagogue. Eventually his enemies in the synagogue succeeded in running them out.
Acts 19 says that when the Jewish people refuse to believe and began to publicly maligned the faith. Paul left them, and he taught the word of God daily in the school of Taranto's for the next two years. Now it's interesting that when this same thing happened in Corinth that is when the Jewish people in Corinth ran them out of the synagogue. There he had something to say to them in Corinth that I'm convinced he said the exact same thing to the people in it Ephesus, and here's what he said. He said acts 18.
Your blood be on your own heads. I am now clear of my responsibility. Paul says hey if you Jewish people. If you miss eternal life. Now, after everything I've done to reach you. It's now your own doing it your own responsibility. It your own liability on clear and friends. This explains why Paul says what he says next look at verse 26 and speaking of the Ephesian elders. He says therefore I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
Why, because I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Not a whole purpose of God.
We know from what Paula said earlier in verse 20 is simply the gospel message is simply the message that heaven and eternal life or free gift that it's a free gift that God gives to everyone who embraces Jesus as their personal savior who trusts the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to be there payment for sin in the sight of God and the message concludes by saying that whether you're Jewish or whether your Gentile or anything else. This is the only way to get to heaven and get eternal life. That is the gospel message and noticed it. Paul says I am innocent in verse 26 of the blood of all men not just you guys in Ephesus I Minnesota the blood of all men, because every person that I have ever met in every place that I have ever visited.
I have told them the gospel message so that now. If any of them miss eternal life. Anybody who's ever come across my path. It's their responsibility.
I discharge my duty. I told them what they needed to hear. Now, folks. That's an amazing statement. Think about that. What a statement that I have never met a person who I didn't give the message of Jesus to so that I can say I am innocent of the blood of every person that is come across my path. What an unbelievable statement and what this shows us is the passion that the apostle Paul had for sharing his faith. It was a passion that just bubbled up from his deepest being and it didn't matter where he was or who he was with her what the consequences were going to be.
Paul was going to tell you about Jesus Christ is just that simple. He was like John Wesley who said it is as it is my bound duty. John Wesley said to declare to all who are willing to hear the glad tidings of salvation.
So let's summarize this then is the third great principle that the apostle Paul shares with these Ephesian leaders. He says to them, and friends.
He says to us hey if you want to be mighty servants of Christ like.
I am hey if you want to see God use your life the way God use in my life than here's what you gotta do there's some nonnegotiable's number one is obedience not nonnegotiable. Number two is absolute surrender of your life and nonnegotiable number three is that you've got to have a passion for telling people about Jesus Christ and that's as far as we want to go in our passage because it's time to ask our our our significant question and you know this is going to be the last time you going to do this before the beginning of next year so I mean this is it, make it worthwhile by Scott a Laster couple weeks now, so your body ready, here we go.
123 yeah Ceylon.
So what say you know tell me how this makes any difference for my life. Well, I want to do that, you know, this passion for evangelism the Paul talking about friends what is telling us is we need one of them in our lives are progressing God use us like to use Paul so it's worth asking the question, why, why did Paul have this kind of passion for evangelism for sharing Christ as we can figure out why Paul had it, then maybe we can emulate that and it will help us out right. So why did Paul have been have such a passion. Well, I think there are two reasons.
Reason number one is I think Paul genuinely cared about other people. I think he really cared about whether people went to heaven. I think he really cared about whether people got eternal life. I think you really cared whether people miss eternal life in the afterlife.
I think that really matter to Paul. He cared about people, but I think that was a second reason that was even more compelling than reason number one. And that's this that Paul also knew that he carried a spiritual responsibility for every person that he met responsibility to tell them that Jesus Christ is the only way to get to heaven a responsibility to tell them that the only thing that will work. The only payment for wrongdoing. God will accept is not good works, not religious activity, not human effort, but the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to pay for our sin, and he also knew this, that once he had told somebody that he had discharged his duty he had done his responsibility and is verse 26 says he was now innocent of their blood if they miss eternal life. That was no longer his problem now want to expand for a moment on the second reason if you let me and that is this idea that we have a spiritual responsibility to share Jesus Christ with the people that we meet one of the most compelling passages in the Bible for me is the book of Ezekiel chapter 33. Let me read you this. It says if the watchmen on the wall sees danger coming and he blows the trumpet to warn the people that if anyone hears the trumpet and does nothing and loses his life, his blood will be on his own head. It's as though that person's own responsibility. However, if the watchman sees danger coming, but does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and if the people perish.
I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood. Now I do not have any of you saw the movie meet Joe Black. But if you saw the movie remember the Brad Pitt is this young handsome guy in this movie any meets this beautiful girl in the coffee shop and have a cup of coffee together and he so enamored with this young lady did they go walking out.
He turns one way she turns the other way and he starts across the street and he can't take his eyes off this young lady keep looking back at her and he steps out into the street and all of a sudden this card that he never even saw columns from his blindside hits in those them up in the air and kills it not have a happy ending.
So you know it's all right but my point is, if you were standing there on the street corner watching this tape plays watching and step out into traffic. Looking back at this beautiful lady sing a car headed for him and knowing he doesn't see it in this car is going to hitting friends if you stand there and do nothing.
If you will stand there and don't do a word I don't say a word of warning, don't scream at him. Don't grab him. Don't do something and he gets hit and killed wooden everyone of us on the human level say when you know I mean your partly to blame for this something you saw what was about the happening.
You did nothing.
This is partly your fault. I certainly feel that way will that's all God saying and then he goes on to make a really personal, he says, Ezekiel I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel when I say to unbelievers that they will perish in Utah warn them. I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn them, and they choose not to change they will still perish, but you will have exonerated yourself, you will be clear responsibility.
Now this doesn't mean that if I fail to share Jesus Christ was somebody on me that I've condemned them the missing having no friends. God is powerful enough. He can and he will send somebody else to tell him, but it does mean that when I stand before Jesus.
When I get to heaven you'll say to me you know lot I covered for you with that person I gave you the opportunity it was your responsibility.
You dropped the ball. I had to cover for you.
There is not about you folks but that's not a position I want to be in when I face the Lord Jesus, I want to be in a position of Paul was in where I can say Lord I am innocent of the blood of anybody that ever came across my path who would let me talk to them about Christ. I told I wish I could tell you today that I can say that.
Honestly, I can't. There been some people.
I dropped the ball on in the years of gone by when I made my sworn goal. I'm never going to drop the ball again because I want to minimize the number of people that God has to say to me lot I covered for you. I covered for you.
That was your responsibility.
Every time I share this. I get cards and letters. Maybe you can write me a card or letter and maybe you're going to say to me lawn you know what this really bothers me that the how dare you motivate people to share their faith by wood with guilt and what obligation would duty. I think that's totally wrong well wrong or right on just trying to interpret the Scripture friends and and if we were under no spiritual responsibility to share Jesus Christ if we had no liability if there was no onus on us and why would God say when he said to Ezekiel is all I got an easy answer to that that was the Old Testament RI woman let's move into the New Testament and asked why did the apostle Paul say to those unbelieving Jews in Corinth and in Ephesus.
I am clear my responsibility now.
What responsibility is he talking about, if not the responsibility he had to have told them about Jesus to have told them what was going to happen to them if they rejected Christ and why did Paul say in acts chapter 20 I have declared to both Jews and Gentiles that they must turn to God in repentance and Joe faith in the Lord Jesus. Therefore, I am innocent of the blood of all men, why would he say that if there wasn't a spiritual responsibility that he felt on him. That is also on August to share our faith is allied art art art may be right.
But if you are right that answer this lawn. How come I don't see more people out there sharing your faith Okamoto Seymour, followers of Christ, passionate like Paul was about sharing their faith well you know it's great question and I don't think there's a single answer, but I'll tell you what I believe is one of the big reasons. One of the big reasons.
Very simply, as Dell sitting in this church auditorium this morning and sitting in church auditorium is everywhere in America this morning are people who doubt that the what the Bible says about people outside of Christ is really true that it's really going to happen and folks, if we're going to have the passion that we need to have for sharing Jesus Christ. We must be absolutely convinced that every person we need is headed for disaster in eternity and that those people's only hope. Their only hope is Jesus Christ. If we are not absolutely convinced with that it will undermine our passion for Christ. It will weaken our passion for sharing Christ and eventually it will dissipate any passion we have for sharing Jesus Christ.
Because if people can get to heaven some other way than the data about Jesus Christ. Why the world should we put ourselves in sum, harm's way in terms of relationship in terms of ridicule. Why should we do that if there's other ways for people to get to heaven. The only way were going to have a passion to share Christ if we believe there is no other way to get to heaven and we have the data people need and without that data, they can't close the deal and there people who doubt that in every church auditorium in America today.
There are some EU who doubt that the Jesus is the only way to get to heaven. So let's see what is the Bible say about this. Well it show you few versus John 336 whoever believes in the son, Jesus Christ. As Jesus said this has present tense eternal life, but whoever rejects the son will not see eternal life. For God's wrath.
God's judgment remains on that person. Jesus said, John 14 six on the way the truth and the life. No one noticed that no one comes to the father gets eternal life gets into heaven except through me.
Jesus said that first John chapter 5 and this is the record that God is given us eternal life in this life is in his son the Lord Jesus. He who has the salt look at this has eternal life, and he who does not have the son of God does not have eternal life. How can you say it any simpler than that any clearer than that. I don't know how you could be more explicit. This is why Peter said acts chapter 4 salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we can be delivered and just in case there's any doubt, listen to what Paul said. Second Thessalonians 1. He said God will punish those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and will be shot out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power, while that's only a smattering of what the Bible says you say will lawn you know what I got some serious issues with this position. Well, okay, what are the semi-first issue is why the world would God be so unfair, so cruel and so mean as to do this with friends just to simply ask that question shows that you got the fastest on the wrong sellout incident. What I'm saying.
Let me tell you what I mean. I mean you looking at this all wrong. Romans chapter 5 says. Therefore, sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so death passed upon all men. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden they brought on the entire human race, a flaw called the sin nature.
Every human being is born with. It is like a defective gene that we all get an Ephesians chapter 2 says because of this, everyone of us is born spiritually dead, alienated from God separated from God under God's judgment that is the natural state of every human being alive now. God in his mercy stepped in and made her way out. God in his mercy stepped in and created an escape plan for you and for me and every human being on the face of the earth, but both of a person rejects the escape plan and ends up experiencing the consequences that God's warning them are out there. How does that make God cruel and mean. I don't think it does. They just simply didn't listen to what God was telling them about how to escape the consequences that were common. That doesn't make God unfair to many of you know Ali trips Israel and I had a lady a few years ago called me up two days before we were leaving before departure and she said you know I change my mind. I've gotten a little sick and I don't want to go. Could you please send me all my money back and I Superman modeled on the tour company, but I can tell you the answer is no. I mean they've already bought your airline ticket paid for your hotels. You know, and dates that mom know and it'll look in your contract. Two days before departure, you lose 100% your money. I mean, you knew that what I said. I wrote you over and over and over and told to take out travel insurance center for letters in big capital letters on the letter I said take out travel insurance. Why did you do that. She said I would Artie want to spend the money. I still am sorry she saw don't understand. Why would the tour company be so unfair to me that they won't give me my money back. I said ma'am, listen, if we write you four times and tell you to take the escape plan so that you have education needed, and you choose not to. And then you suffer the consequences that we warned you might happen. How does that make us unfair that we eventually work it out.
She was happy we we were able to make some arrangements for her. But you see, the point is, a lot of people take that same attitude towards God. God writes us over and over and over again in the Bible and says take the escape plan. I'm warning you.
There's some bad stuff out there. If you don't take the escape plan, and if we don't. Does that make God unfair friends is not that God is unfair to sometimes people are stupid but that doesn't make God unfair.
Let me just say if you're here then you never trusted Christ to the real and personal way. You need to hear this, God is begging you take the escape plan and friends. You need to be wise enough to do that these consequences are out there. They are real, they are going to happen to people who don't know Jesus I'm telling you that in the escape plan done cost you a thing God paper all of it taken the smart Solana got one more objection and that is this what if a person is a really sincere, but in another religion. What if there is sincere Buddha storm sewer sincere Muslim or sincere Jehovah's Witness or Mormon or Jewish person. What if there sincere secular American who recycles and you know and and does at all that I mean won't that be okay. You know it is not enough that there sincere and that whatever religion there following friends, the answer is no know a thousand times. Know what Jesus say he said no one gets to the father unless they come to me is that yeah but but if there really sincere in this other religion can't, God won't God's order credit of the blood of Jesus to them. Even though maybe they don't know about it. No friends. God won't. He says in the Bible. That's not how it works.
Listen Romans chapter 10 says if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, not if we confess the Buddha is nice. Not if we confess that Mohammed is a prophet, not if we confess the Joseph Smith saw an angel. Rabbi Schneerson thought he was the Messiah on try to keep the 10 Commandments.
If we confess with our mouth. Jesus is Lord and if we believe in our heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead.
It then that God credits us with eternal life and will be saved. Romans 1017, so then saving faith comes by hearing the date of the facts about Jesus Christ and that data comes from the word of God.
The Bible is clear, the most sincere, Muslim, Jewish person, Buddhist, secular American blood matter in the world until they hear the cognitive facts about Jesus Christ, his virgin birth is deity. His sinless life is death on the cross to pay for our wrongdoings, his resurrection from the dead's offer of salvation until they hear that data and until they believe that data they are lost and they are headed for an eternity in hell. The Bible is clear. God doesn't credit anybody with the blood of Jesus. You gotta hear the facts and believe the facts and that's what the Bible said what that means is every body you see on the Metro everybody. You see in the mall everybody in your neighborhood, everybody that works in your office every body that goes to your school and every family member you have every one of them is headed for disaster in eternity and you have the data they need to change if you know Christ. You know what years ago I knew a man he work actually worked there on our staff would been in the Korean War and in the Korean War. He told me a story to story that happened this was before he was a believer. He was in a foxhole is a fraud manner and the Korean War was in a foxhole hunkered down. They were taken.
Artillery fire coming in and up to an artillery shell hit in the foxhole directed directed a few yards from him and it was a soldier in there and he crawled over on his belly rolled into the foxhole and rolled his wounded soldier over told him in his arms and the soldier looked up at him and said to the small guy that I knew.
He said the do you know anything about Jesus Christ and this man, of course, because he wasn't a believer look back at him and said no I don't and the soldier lying in his arm said to him.
Sure wish I did, and died in the man's arms.
A few minutes later and you say yeah but lawn listen it if somebody told that wounded soldier about Jesus Christ.
A month before when he was drinking in the bar, he wouldn't. He would've paid any attention will maybe not, but friends he would have the data later on. Lying in the foxhole that he needed to do business with God and you know you in when you and I go out and we share Jesus Christ with people that not everybody is going to respondent and give their life to Christ right away every body. Paul share Jesus with in responding to the life to Christ right away, but the point is, later on when people need the data and they want the data they have the data and even more importantly, we have discharged our duty, we done our job responsibility and so this is what I'm trying to drive that today is to get everyone of us to feel that same sense of spiritual responsibility about every person we passed that the apostle Paul felt that's part of what made him the man of God that he was. He lived every day with an acute awareness of that spiritual responsibility and that's how God wants you and me to live. Remember friends.
My goal is not to build McLean Bible church into an evangelistic church here this carefully. My goal is to build every one of you into an evangelistic person understand the difference. We will be an evangelistic church make an impact on the city if everyone of us becomes an evangelistic person that's our goal is a lot only have one real problem remaining and that is I don't know how to do it. I mean, I don't know how to share my faith. I'm a little embarrassed to say that but I really don't how to do it. So when God gives me the opportunity I will not ever take it because I don't know what to say or do. Who can we help you all weekend. You know friends, sharing your faith is a learned skill. Nobody comes out the womb.
Knowing how to share their faith. This is a learned skill. Every body was ever learned to share their faith learned in some class somewhere and so we got a wonderful class for you to call Christianity. 301, you can sign up right out in the lobby we start in mid-January and in six weeks will teach you how to give a compelling verbal witness how to explain to people how to come to Christ.
How to share your personal story in two minutes or less will explain all that will teach you how to do all that. If you just give us a chance, but you know what to stand before Jesus and say well you know I didn't really share my faith, Lord, and the reason was I didn't know how friends that's not going to work.
He's going to say wait a minute Solomon stood there in December 2003 and told you about Christianity. 301, you know you could go Christianity 301 Monticello and model. No Lord you want to be in a position friends if you don't have to share your faithful teacher go out there and sign up in the lobby. Let's go out every day with an awareness that we have this responsibility and let's discharge here in Washington DC.
Heavenly father, thank you for the opportunity to talk a little bit today about sharing our faith. Thanks for reminding us that this is not issue of choice. This is an issue of duty and I pray that you would motivate us here to discharge that duty with all of our heart and all of our soul and to have a passion like the apostle Paul did, because we understand people's eternal destiny.
And we know we have a spiritual responsibility. So God speak to our hearts today make us into evangelistic people here in Washington and use us to change this city to change. Thousands of people's eternal destiny in the city for Jesus Christ and we pray this in your name. Amen