Why We Evangelize
By Bobby Blakey on September 21, 2014
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
Why We Evangelize
By Bobby Blakey on September 21, 2014
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
Well this week was Back-To-School night at the Blakey house. Anybody else have Back-To-School night at your house this week? I see those hands. I know some of you still have it coming up. I like going to Back-To-School night because you get to hear the other half of the story. It’s good to get the teacher’s perspective and see what they are learning in the classroom. All I hear about at home is lunch and recess. My son came to me the other day and said, “The 5th graders won’t pick me to be on their team." I was like, “Well, you better get used to it kid, you are my son.” The main thing I remember about elementary school is not getting picked every day at lunch. It didn’t matter what sport it was… basketball, football, baseball. Nobody wanted me to be on their team. So I came up with this strategy for why they should pick me. We were going to play football that day and I was sitting there eating my Cheetos. And you know how when you’re eating your Cheetos, you get that cheesy residue on your fingers. That’s when inspiration struck! “I’m Hot Hands Blakey!” So I rubbed the rest of my Cheetos all over my hands and I help up my orange fingers and was like, “Pick me, I’m Hot Hands Blakey.” It didn’t work. It was like I had to sell myself to these guys somehow to give them some kind of incentive to pick me to be on their team. It was probably one of the lowest points for me personally. But I’ve got good news for everybody here this morning. God chooses people to be on his team just because he loves them, not because of what we offer him. Open your Bible to 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5. I want you to see you don’t have to try to be “Hot Hands” to impress God. The great thing about God’s love is he chooses to love you!
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
Paul is writing a letter to the Thessalonians and last week we studied the greeting. He says, “I’m Paul, you’re the Thessalonians and I’m so thankful for you. Here’s one thing I think about you: you have this work of faith, this labor of love, this steadfastness of hope.” Now this week he is going to talk about how God chose them, how God loves them. And there’s a lot of people talking about God’s love these days. And they’re talking like God just loves everybody, everywhere no matter what they do. But when you study the Bible, God’s love is actually much more specific than that. And it says here something amazing, “I know you guys are loved by God because he chose you to be on his team.” God looked down to the end of the line, all the way down there, and he saw who you are, and yet he still chose you. That’s a way God loved you. That’s what the Bible clearly teaches. So I want to talk about God’s love in the fact that he chose us. That’s what it says here in verse 4. Let’s go to Ephesians 1:3-6, the passage we read earlier in our service. This is a clear teaching of the Bible, that God loves people and one way he loves people is by choosing them.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
And why did he choose us? Here’s the answer:
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Here’s what the Bible is saying here this morning, “God chose you for no other reason than his love for you. You had nothing to offer him. God just wanted you to be on his team.” God did not choose you because of the goodness of your heart. No, God chose you out of the goodness of his heart. You were, like me, the kid at the end of the line that nobody else wanted, but God looked at you and said, “I love you.” Now, I find this to be very encouraging! As a guy whose not been picked many times, the fact God wanted to pick me is awesome and makes me want to respond in worship! Because I know myself, in the same way you know yourself, there’s no reason why God should choose me. What did I bring to God? What did I offer to him? What kind of Hot Hands did I impress him with? Turn to Deuteronomy 7:6-8. God’s been choosing people all the way since the Old Testament. You can see here in Deuteronomy 7 when it talks about how God chose the people of Israel. And a phrase that has always stuck out in my mind is “How odd of God to choose the Jews.” I don’t know if you have ever heard that before. But for me, that always makes me think, “Why did God choose the Jewish people in the Old Testament? Why did God choose the nation of Israel to be his people?” The answer is given here in Deuteronomy 7:6-8. Just in case you guys start thinking there in Israel that God chose you because you are somebody special or better than the other nations, check this out:
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Here’s a word to the Jews: “If you think God chose you because you are some numerous people…because you were some great nation… Let’s just remember here why God chose you. It had nothing to do with your goodness and only to do with his. God chose you because he decided to love you.” Why? Because that’s what God wanted to do. And when you think about that personally, that God chose you because he wanted to, the response of the Bible is always that you would want to worship God! You know yourself and so you should be overwhelmed with the fact that God would choose someone like you. Can I get an Amen? Does anybody want to worship God this morning because he chose you? I mean, I don’t want to get personal here, but why did he choose you? That’s the way it should feel. I mean that’s the way it feels about myself. Why did he choose me? There’s only one answer to that question: “Because he wanted to. Because he wanted to love me.” God wants to love people. People like us. This should be such an encouraging thought for sinners like us, but unfortunately, what we have done today in the church is we have taken this idea of God’s love in choosing to save us, and we have made it this very controversial thing. Have you heard about this? Instead of being amazed that God chose me and marveling at his love, we look at God and we’re like, “Why didn’t God choose everybody.” To me, that’s so ungrateful, the attitude a lot of people have towards God about this particular issue. You know how sometimes when a child has cancer, they do whatever they can to make their wish come true? They get a famous celebrity to come and visit them in the hospital. Has anybody seen those videos online? Now, I think that’s a great idea. Does anybody else think that’s a good idea? This child has cancer. Here comes their favorite celebrity. That sounds good. Can you imagine the person in the next hospital room saying, “Well that’s stupid because they didn’t come see me.” “Why doesn’t that celebrity go and visit every child everywhere that has cancer?” No, it’s awesome that celebrity went to see that one child. Let’s celebrate that for a minute. When I was growing up, my mom was into this thing called the Million Dollar Sweepstakes. Anybody else ever hear about this? And Ed McMahon was going to show up at our house one day and give us, at first I heard it was $10M, and then $1M, I was never sure how much it was…but it was a lot of money. And I kept looking at our front door as my mom is licking these stamps and I’m just like, “I don’t see Ed McMahon or Dick Clark or anybody showing up here mom.” But my mom was like, “No, you don’t understand how the contest works. You don’t have to subscribe to anything and you can still win. You just have to mail this in.” I mean she was into this, she knew the contest rules. Later this was revealed as a scam or something, but back in the day my mom was into it! So imagine if Ed McMahon shows up at our door and they’ve got these balloons, they’ve got this big check, and they’ve got the video crew. Can you imagine? Finally my mom’s dream comes true! Here comes Ed McMahon and he’s like, “Here is One Million Dollars for Roberta Blakey” and she says, “Well this isn’t fair, why didn’t you go to my neighbors house too?” Here’s what I’m saying today, “God chose you!” Why did God do that? Before we start asking why God didn’t choose everyone, can we just be overwhelmed this morning that God would choose somebody like you? Let’s give him some glory. Because the truth is- if we wanted it to be fair for everyone- the truth is what God should really do is choose no one. That’s really what should happen. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God. Who can say we are living up to his holy, perfect, righteous standard? It’s amazing God chose one person here, much less a whole new church of people that’s coming together! Wow! We should be so grateful, so thankful! And let’s go back to that celebrity! I think if a celebrity is willing to come visit one kid in the hospital, which I think is a very nice thing to do, then I bet that celebrity would visit another kid in the hospital. You think that’s likely? I don’t think that Ed McMahon just did the million dollar sweepstakes one time. I think he gave away a lot of money. And if God is so loving that he would choose you, you know what I think God would be so good to do? Well, he just might be so good to choose the person next to you. And he just might be so good to choose the neighbor down your street. And he just might be so good to choose your entire block! We don’t know who God has chosen! But when Paul came to the Thessalonians, he said, “I realized then as I preached the gospel to you guys that you were chosen because how the gospel came to you.” If you were here at our first service, we said that when the word of the Lord came to the Thessalonians, it sounded forth! It resounded! It echoed! It was this loud noise with ripple effects spreading outwards in an ever widening circle. Because I could tell that some people here were chosen and loved by God because look at how it came to them. That’s the thing that we should be praying here at our church. Praise God for his goodness in saving me and I want to see God’s love in more people’s lives:
#1. Pray God will show us his goodness to save.
Maybe he has already shown you personally his goodness to save, let’s pray he will show us goodness in saving many more people. Let’s pray he will raise up a church of people here in Huntington Beach. That should be our response. A lot of people ask, “Why didn’t God choose everybody.” Rather we should be thinking: He chose me. He chose you. Maybe he’s chosen somebody else on my block…and I won’t know until I go to everybody on my block so let’s get going. That’s what this doctrine, this predestination, this election, that’s what the point of this doctrine should be… “Wow, God wants to save people. God can do whatever he wants and he wants to save people like me.” I want to see him save many people in his goodness. Now there’s a word I need to you to write down: Antinomy. Here’s something you’ve got to know about God: If we could sit here under these EZ ups this morning and we could figure out God, than the universe has a very big problem! I’m not saying you’re not smart, I’m just saying the collective genius that we have assembled here this morning is not on the same level as the one who created the heavens and the earth. Can I get an ‘amen’ from anybody on that one? We cannot figure God out here this morning. And when people move from revelation to reason that’s where heresy comes from. The Bible always says it in a positive way, “Can you believe God chose you?! Can you believe God loves you?!” That’s how the Bible wants you to think about it. But what people are doing is they are bringing their own reason to the equation, and they’re trying to figure God out. Well if God chose these people, then he didn’t choose these people, than what does that mean? Notice, that’s not what any of the texts we’ve read so far has said. That’s not the point of where you are supposed to go in response. But when you try to figure God out for yourself, that’s where you are going to get into trouble because you can’t figure God out! If you can, please come and explain the trinity up here right now. That’s a head scratcher for me. I believe it because I see three persons of God in the Scriptures. Somebody comes to my door and says Jesus isn’t God, those are fighting words at my door right? Now just because the Bible says it and I believe it, doesn’t mean I understand it fully. I can’t explain how it works with my own reason. It has been revealed to me. I would never know by my own logic that God is one and yet three persons in a blessed trinity. I would never know that unless God told me. So an antinomy is when two conclusions seem to contradict but they actually don’t. There are a lot of antinomies when it comes to God! How can God be one and yet three persons? That’s an antinomy that seems to contradict. But the Bible tells us it is true even though it’s beyond our comprehension. What we’re talking about today is another antinomy. If God chooses to save people then how are people still held responsible for not choosing God? We’ll there’s an antinomy here. We could talk about it, it seems like two things that contradict, but actually in the Scripture they are both true. And who are you, O man, to try to figure out God or to tell God how he should do things. Go to Isaiah 55:8-9. We’re going to turn to Isaiah 55 a couple of times today. It’s actually a very interesting parallel passage to two things we are learning in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 here this morning:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Let’s give God the glory here this morning: He is smarter than us! Even the smartest of all the “smarties” we’ve got going on planet earth today is not going to be able to figure out God. He is above our comprehension. And so when the Bible tells us here’s how it works, “God chose to love you” then we’ve got to take that based on the revelation of God’s word even if we cannot figure it out in a way that feels comfortable to us. We must believe what God says about himself more than what we think about him. And here’s another word you want to write down: Sovereign. Now we don’t really have a sovereign here today in American. Sovereign is the kind of a word that we can’t really relate to because we have a president right. And our president is not sovereign. Can I get an ‘amen’ from anybody on that one? Our founding fathers put some checks and balances into our government! We have our President and our Congress and our Supreme Court and they could be stepping on all over each other’s toes and that’s what makes this a great nation right? And we even have this whole system where we the people get to vote and we get to elect our officials and we like that here in America. So nobody in our nation has sovereign power and I think that’s probably a good thing! But back in the day, the king was the sovereign. The emperor was the sovereign. He had a level of power that no man should have. He can do whatever he wants. What the king says: so let it be written, so let it be done. Which is why if you read ancient documents, if you read the Old Testament, people always come up to the king and say, “O king, live forever.” Because if the king didn’t like you, he could say off with your head and you would be dead. And no one would even question him. He has absolute power and authority over everyone else. He is sovereign. There is someone like this over your life. There is someone like that over every nation on planet earth right now. It is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. He is God and he is the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. And here’s what I’m telling you this morning, the sovereign of all things can do whatever he wants to do in all of the universe and he decided what he wants to do is love a sinner like you. That’s supposed to blow your mind! Why would he choose me? He can do whatever he wants. It was so clear in Ephesians 1, how many times did we read: “according to his will.” Sometimes we over spiritualize that word, you know what “according to his will” means? It means what he wants to do. God can do anything he wants. And he wants to give his one and only Son, to save people like us. Now that’s a doctrine I don’t want to argue about. I don’t think that’s controversial, I think that’s beautiful. I think that’s amazing grace. I think I’m never going to run out of wondering why God would choose somebody like me. How odd of God to choose _______ (fill in your name here). He is sovereign over all and yet he chose to love you. I hope that makes you want to worship and we’re going to respond with worship after this sermon. But what it should also make you want to do it get this incredible good news of the love of God out to more people. Our thinking should be that if God could choose to save a sinner like me, then he can choose to save anybody. As an example, look at the apostle Paul who is writing the letter we are studying of 1st Thessalonians. Before he was the apostle Paul, he was the persecutor of the church formally known as Saul. You could not think of a more dramatic before and after story than going from the guy known for killing Christians, to the guy known for making Christians. Paul points out on numerous occasions that one reason God saved him was to prove God could save anybody. Now the biggest sinner I know is the person I see in the mirror every morning. I know my sin better than I know anybody else’s sin. And I can tell you if God can save me, and he could make me a man who would want to do what he tells me to do, then I’m confident God can save anybody. I’m confident he can save someone here this morning. I’m confident he could save anyone here in Huntington Beach. I’m confident he could save someone in jail. Pick the worst person you can think of this morning and if God could save you than he can save them too. That’s where this doctrine should lead us. And so this doctrine of God’s love choosing people should be a motive for us to go out evangelizing. Look at 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 again:
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
Now we just need to clarify, when it says our gospel came to you the way I would say that in the English language is to “evangelize.” I love this idea of evangelism. You can see that’s the title of our sermon, Why We Evangelize. Or you can just say “gospelize” because that’s what the word means. To evangelize is to tell someone the gospel. Here’s one of the reasons Paul brought people the gospel. Paul had this thought that God has more people out there than are his people right now. And that’s a thought we should all have. The reason we’re worshipping here in the bowl at Marina High School and not in the glory of heaven right now, is God’s got more people out there who still need to be saved. He has already chosen to love other people who have not yet responded to his grace. In fact, we planted this church because we even are going to get so specific as to say there are souls here in Huntington Beach and north Orange County that God wants to save but has yet to do so. We’re praying he’s going to use us to do it. That’s why I like to say: Evangelism is two conversations. We can see it here in our passage this morning. Verses 4 & 5 show us these two conversations of evangelism. The first one was our first point: Pray. The best thing I can do for someone is to pray for God to save them. God is sovereign. He does whatever he pleases. If he loves to save sinners like me, then the best thing I can do for somebody else is to pray God would be so good to save them too. That’s the first and most important conversation of gospelizing anybody. God’s the one with the power. He’s the one who saves. Now turn with me to an interesting account in Acts 18. A couple of weeks ago, we looked at Acts 17, where Paul and Silas started the church of the Thessalonians that we’re learning about. But now, bring your eyeballs over across the page, or maybe turn the page, to Acts 18. You can see from the header here Paul is now in Corinth. In fact a lot of people think Paul wrote this letter of 1 Thessalonians from Corinth. So Acts 18 could be what’s happening while he is writing the letter we’re studying this morning. Look at what happens in Acts 18:9-10:
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
That’s a cool line right there: “I have many in this city who are my people.” Now if you read the context here, Paul’s just getting this church started in Corinth. They don’t have many people, they’re outside, they’re under a bunch of EZ ups, that’s what’s going on here. And it’s like, wait a minute, we’re just getting started, we feel like we are weak and struggling, and what does God say? “No, you don’t understand, I think higher thoughts than you. I’ve got many people right here right now in this city. And I want you to stay here and I want you to go out gospelizing.” What if I could tell you someone on your block is going to get saved? Would you start knocking on doors later this afternoon? If I could give you a word from the Lord this morning, “your neighbor to the right or to the left, or behind or maybe in front…one of them, is going to get saved.” I think you would invite your neighbors over! I think you would all of the sudden start making some brownies and hitting up your neighbor’s houses and invite them to church. Here’s what God is saying in Corinth back in the day. And I think he could say the same thing in Huntington Beach right now, “I’ve got many people in this city. Keep getting my gospel out there, because there’re more people out there! My people!” God calls them, “My people!” Even though they haven’t responded, God has already chosen to love those people and he says, get the gospel out there. You can see the next verse here in Acts 18:11: "And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them." Paul heard God had more people and so he did more ministry in that city. Here’s what I’m saying this morning: I’m ready to be here for decades in Huntington Beach. I think God wants to save more people because I look in the mirror and he chose to save me. And if he would save me, then I think he could save somebody else on my block. That’s how we are all supposed to be thinking. The reason we are still here is more of God’s people still need to be gathered together here in the church and this truth fuels evangelism. And what if we were praying everyday, “God if you’ve got more people out there, direct me to them. Bring them to me. Put me in contact with your people that are not yet your people. And I want to be the one…” I get a little greedy when I hear stuff like this. I think if there are people in Huntington Beach that are going to get saved I want to go and talk to them. I mean, sure I’ll share some of them with you guys, but I think I want to be the one to lead them to Christ. I don’t know if you have had the experience before that every Christian person should want and desire, to actually have a conversation where by the end of it, you you gospelize somebody… All of a sudden the Bible gets open. All of sudden you’re explaining Jesus is the Christ, he died for their sins, and he rose again. And all of a suddent they say, “I want to put my faith in Jesus right now. I want to repent of my sin right now. The new life in Christ you’re talking about, I want it right now!” Have you ever experienced that before? Leading someone to Christ? Because I have, and you know what I felt after I had that experience, I want to do that again! I want many people to know the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ. I want more people worshipping him, I want more people going out and telling others. That’s the point here. It’s supposed to be a chain-reaction. It’s supposed to have this ripple-effect. God chose you and that means he probably chose somebody else you know, so let’s keep knocking on that door until we find that person. Now go back to 1 Thessalonians 1 and let’s talk about this second conversation of evangelism. Look what Paul says here in verse 5: "because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." Now the first time I read that part about full conviction, I think that’s probably talking about the people who heard the word were convicted. That’s usually what I think of when I hear the phrase full conviction. I think of someone who is hearing the Bible preached and the Holy Spirit is convicting them. But, I don’t think that’s actually what he’s saying here. I don’t think Paul’s moved on to talk about them yet, I think he’s still talking about himself. He’s saying, “I knew God chose you and loved you because when I was speaking to you I knew this wasn’t just words going out. There was power to this. The Holy Spirit was speaking through me. This phrase “full conviction” here means I had 100% assurance and confidence as I was speaking to you God was going to save people.” He’s not saying, “Hey, you guys really proved that there was something to it when you responded.” He’s saying, “Here’s how much confidence I have in the power of God’s word…as I was speaking I knew God was in it, I knew some of you were going to get saved.” Now, I don’t know if you’ve had that kind of electrified feeling when you realize you’re not just saying things, but God is speaking through you. Have you ever experienced the awesome wonder of that? Like all of a sudden, you’re the Bible Answer Man, you’re using verses you memorized way back in the AWANA days, and you’re like “How did I say that?” Well, the Holy Spirit is speaking through you. It’s God’s power speaking. Have you ever gone to talk to somebody and been so sure that they were going to get saved. Have you ever had that kind of confidence? That’s what it’s talking about here. Not this confidence in the person hearing it, but a confidence in the message going out. Let’s get that down for point #2, one is to pray, the other is to speak.
#2. Speak with confidence in God’s Power to Save
I believe when I come up here and we open up our Bibles and I speak, I’m not just offering up empty words, but there’s power, there’s the Holy Spirit. I have assurance from the Scripture that what I am saying is from God. And that’s genuinely exciting if you’ve ever experienced that before. People look at me and say, ‘Well, you seem like you’ve got the gift of gab.” People say cheesy stuff like that. “You are good at speaking.” That’s what they are trying to say. “You should be a game show host.” One thing I’ve done is for Focal Point, Pastor Mike’s radio ministry. Pastor Mike is the Senior Pastor of Compass Aliso. He’s a great preacher of the word and he’s got a radio ministry. They have me host their live auction at their annual fundraising dinner. I hate doing that live auction. Can we say that now that we’re over here at this church? Can we get real like that? Every year after I do that people are saying to me I have a future career in being an auctioneer. I don’t want to be an auctioneer. I want to be a preacher of God’s word. I don’t want to come up here and speak to you trying to be funny or trying to entertain you or trying to get money from you. I feel very weak doing stuff like that. But when I come up in front of you right now and I’ve studied the word and I know what it says and I’m speaking it straight to you, see there’s a confidence I have in speaking to you. You don’t like what I’m saying up here, I didn’t come up with it, I’m just telling you what God says. I’m just cutting it straight to you. There is power in that! This isn’t me saying something here trying to impress people. This is the word of the Lord coming through me to you. I’m just the guy standing up front, God is the one speaking to you right now. Once you’ve done that, telling people jokes just doesn’t really cut it anymore. You want the power of the Lord! You want to know what you’re saying is what God said! We need that confidence in the scriptures. Do you have confidence like that that when you speak the gospel, the power of God unto salvation? Do you know the word well enough that you think you can say it and are you bold enough to open your mouth and give it to people. Turn over a couple of pages to 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15:
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
See Paul has so personalized God’s message he calls it our gospel. Wait a minute Paul, this is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is the gospel of grace. And yet he is so personally tied to it that he says, here’s how you guys got saved, when our gospel came to you. Paul was so confident because he had made God’s gospel his own. Paul says, “As I was speaking to you, I already knew what God was going to do because of the confidence I have in God’s Word going out.” Do we have that kind of confidence in the Bible? Do we speak it boldly like it’s the truth, it’s the power to change people’s lives in front of us? Go back to Isaiah 55. I said we’d be going back there again so look at Isaiah 55:10-11. Look at these two verses right after where we left off earlier.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Here’s the sovereign speaking. And the sovereign can do whatever he wants. And what we already learned the sovereign wants to do is choose to love people like you and people like me. Now what he’s saying is not only can I decide what I want to do, but my when I send my word to do something, it does it. There’s no way my word can be stopped from accomplishing my purpose. So when I send a group of people to Huntington Beach and they go gospelize that city, no one can stop me from saving the people I want to save through my word. That’s what God is saying right here. The rain’s going to come down, eventually ending our drought here in California, and it’s going to get everywhere it is supposed to go. God says here’s what we’re actually waiting for, we’re waiting for the word to get everywhere that it’s supposed to go. That’s why you see these weird phrases in the Bible, like, when the day of the Lord is going to come you and I can do something to “hasten the day.” You ever read that phrase before in 2 Peter 3:12? What could we do to hasten the coming of the day of the Lord? Here’s what we can do: We can spread the word of the Lord! Do you have confidence if we go out and preach the gospel, people will get saved? Cause if you don’t believe that, planting a church is probably going to be a very frustrating experience. Cause I’m I don’t think anybody’s going to be impressed by our EZ ups here at this church or by our air conditioning. Nobody is coming to our church right now because of our building. But I do think there’s one thing we’ve got here that will revolutionize people’s lives. It’s the word of God. And I’m going to speak it here and anybody you bring here, we will gospelize that person. And then you know what I want to do? I want to send them to your house or a house where a bunch of you guys are gathering. And I want you guys when someone comes to that house to gospelize that person. And you know what I think we should do? I don’t think we should just keep this among us. I think we should start walking down the streets, and going to the beach, and striking up conversations with others people out in public to tell them the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I’m confident if the word of the Lord sounds forth from us, then we will see people get saved. Can I get an ‘Amen’ from anybody on that? That’s how God works, that’s what he does. His word goes out to accomplish his purpose of saving people. And I want to be apart of it. That’s why I’m here. I hope that’s why you are here too. You just don’t want to celebrate God’s amazing love for you, which we will do here and for all of eternity, but you want to take that love and you want to share it with other people. I’ve had this experience already in the brief history of our church. We’re only on week 3 right now. The first week, we had a great turnout with a lot of friends from Compass Aliso. I went home and was like, “Wow! We did it! After all of the months of preparation, we set it up and the service happened!” But I thought to myself, the point wasn’t just to come and do church. The point was to come and see people get saved. And I was sitting there at my house that Sunday afternoon I just got this burden for people to get saved. And actually the college kids come over to our house on Sunday nights and we have some fellowship and talk over the sermon. And some of them are serving in Kid’s Ministry, so they get to hear the sermon for the first time. And so the college kids were coming over and I just had this burden, somebody has got to get saved here tonight. And I started to pray about it, and all of a sudden there was onlyone thought I could think about: Someone is going to get saved at my house tonight! And as people came, I immediately started identifying who are the people who could get saved here. I gave them the biggest handshake and smile. It’s like I am on a search for who God is going to save here. I don’t know who it is, so I’m friendly to them all. I welcome everyone. And as I preach the sermon again I might be looking at some of those people as the word is going out. And we get into this conversation right there at my house, it ended up being in my own garage. And the door opens up as one young man says, “Yeah, I didn’t know that gospel.” And that night the Lord did his work of salvation right there in front of my eyes. And I’m already hearing reports of other people getting saved here at our church. I don’t want to point anybody out here, but there are already people who have been saved in 3 weeks at our church, so let’s praise the Lord for that. That’s awesome. And I think, well if God chose that guy, maybe he chose the guy next to him. And once I get that thought in my head, I want to go and find those people that we are waiting for. And if you flip your handout over, we’ve got a couple of ways you can help us find those people. First of all, if you’re struggling with the theology of this message that we’re giving right now, I want to recommend a book, you can get it right after the service. If you’re like, I’m not feeling the antinomy your’ talking about here. I’m not feeling how God can choose and people still have personal responsibility if they don’t choose God. Here’s a book: Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by JI Packer. If you are confused or disagree with this theology, please at least read this book or come sit down and have a conversation with me. But if you’re feeling the theology and your like, “This is why we evangelize because we believe in God’s love and we believe in the power of his word and we want to see him save more people!” Well, here’s something you can do. Every Saturday morning at 10am we meet at the church office and we go out to knock on people’s doors and we invite them to church. And we have a secret weapon that we pull out of our back pocket, or more like the back parking lot. We have an ice cream truck. And it says Compass Bible Church on it and we take it out on Saturday mornings and we win people over with free ice cream and we invite them to church and maybe that’s why you’re sitting here right now. We’ve had people come here every service so far because of that ice cream truck. So go out gospelizing with us1 Also we’ve got this preaching series coming up, 3 Most Important Words in the English language for 3 weeks in a row there in October: Gospel, Repentance, Faith. For 3 weeks in a row our sermon is just going to be gospelizing. So if you could help bring some more people here to this church. You’ve got a neighbor, you’ve got a friend. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re totally equipped yet to talk to them, well bring them here. So there’s a lot that we can do to go find out the people that the Lord’s got in this city and we can see many souls saved here in Huntington Beach. God, we thank you so much for your love. That you would choose to love people like us, not because any goodness that we have, but because of the greatness of your goodness. That you, the sovereign Lord who we worship here this morning, that you could do whatever you want to do and yet you would love people like us! God, let us be motivated that the power of the gospel that changed our lives is the power of the gospel we can speak to other people. Let everybody here be motivated to be apart of our team of evangelists so we can get out there, whether it’s people we know, friends, neighbors or even people we don’t know. God use us to get this good news out on the streets in Huntington Beach. We believe you have more people in this city, that’s why you sent us here. And God, send us out to find them and save them. Draw them to yourself. Use us. May we see many, many souls saved. God, we thank you already for the people who are professing faith here among us and we pray for many more like them. Thank you for the great goodness that you would save us. Let us be bold in your word, we pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.