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Reasons Not to Share the Gospel

First Baptist Church http://fbcbartow.org

“Reasons Not to Share the Gospel”

Series: Sharing the Gospel [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

December 16, 2018

Introductory Comments:

Have you ever given a bad reason as to why you didn’t do something?

(pause)

Here are a few famous bad reasons for things:

The actor, Woody Harrelson, punched a reporter who was holding a camera. When asked why he did so he said because he thought the reporter was a zombie. 

Sammy Sosa, who was fighting for the home-run record in Major League Baseball was caught using a corked bat, which helps the ball go farther. When he gave an explanation, he said, “I accidentally grabbed a practice bat.”

This reason is common among both athletes and fans: “It was the referee’s fault!”

How about this one: “My alarm didn’t go off.”

Or, perhaps the most famous bad reason: “My dog ate my homework.”

Sometimes we like to give reasons why we don’t do something, and often times they’re quite ridiculous. 

Well, this morning, we’re going to look at four reasons not to share the Gospel. 

We’re continuing our series on sharing the Gospel, and today is the final part in that series. 

Let’s go to God in prayer as we begin. 

(prayer)

I think by now we all realize that followers of Jesus Christ are supposed to share the Gospel, right? 

Any serious student of the Word of God cannot help but walk away from a reading of the Bible and realize that he or she should be telling others about the saving love of Jesus Christ. 

Yet, some of us do not do this, or at least, we don’t always do it. 

So, let’s look at some reasons not to share the Gospel. 

First, . . .

  1. I’m afraid [on screen]

This is not an unfamiliar reason for people to not do things. We use this excuse often for reasons we don’t want to do something. 

I can’t ride a bike, because I’m afraid. 

I can’t swim, because I’m afraid. 

I don’t like speaking in public, because I’m afraid. 

I won’t travel internationally, even for a mission trip, because I’m afraid. 

I won’t share the Gospel with my family member, neighbor, coworker, or whomever, because I’m afraid. 

(pause)

We teach our kids from a very young age to be brave, but the truth is, we’re not always brave ourselves. 

Do you know that to be brave or have courage doesn’t mean that we’re not afraid?

Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is doing something in the face of fear. 

Listen to God’s Word.  The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” [on screen]

God did not rescue us from spiritual death, raise us up with new life, seat us in the heavenly places, give us the righteousness of His Son, and fill us with His Holy Spirit so that we could be led by fear. 

No! He’s given us a spirit of power! Courage in the face of fear!

(pause)

There are some things that are worth doing, even when we’re afraid. 

The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important message in all the world. We should not let fear deter us from sharing it. 

Paul also said this in Romans 1:16, “ . . . I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes . . .”  [on screen]

We should not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. 

Do not let fear keep you from obedience to God, and the experience of the power of God manifested through you when you share the Gospel. 

(pause)

Another reason not to share the Gospel is . . . 

  1. I’m unprepared [on screen]

Do you know what it means to be unprepared?

Perhaps there’s never a more obvious sign of being unprepared than when you’re leaving a shopping center to go to your car in the back of the parking lot and the Central Florida sky opens up with a herculean thunderstorm. Right? You’re looking at the car, then looking at the rain, and you think, “What do I do now?”

Illustration: I remember when I was completing my entrance work for my doctoral degree, part of the process was taking the GRE test, the Graduate Record Examination. I studied a little for it, but not nearly enough. Whenever I started the exam I felt woefully unprepared. By God’s grace, I scored high enough to enter my doctoral program, but I was concerned for a while. 

We all know that being unprepared is a terrible feeling. Worst of all, you have feelings of potential failure when you’re unprepared. 

I’ve said this before, but remember this: the only way to fail in sharing the Gospel is to fail to share the Gospel. You only truly fail if you don’t share the Gospel. 

So, if you feel unprepared when it comes to sharing the Gospel, consider these two biblical reactions to this feeling:

First, do your best to prepare.

Paul says to Timothy, a young preacher, in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” [on screen]

This advice from Paul was to a preacher, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, this verse from God’s Word is for all of us. All us must study God’s Word and know it well so as to share it well. 

Further, Peter says in 1 Peter 3:15 to be “ . . . ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”  [on screen]

So, first, let us prepare ourselves. 

Second, we must remember that success is not up to us; it’s up to God. 

God is the One who saves! God is the One who opens blind eyes! God is the One who softens hardened hearts! God is the One who shows our great need for Jesus! It’s God, not us. 

Paul said in Romans 1:16 (as we read earlier), it is the power of GOD for salvation. Not mankind, God. 

Further, Jesus said this in John 14:15-17, “15 If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit . . .” [on screen]

(pause)

When we are obedient to Jesus, when we follow Him, we will feel the equipping of the Advocate, the Helper, the Holy Spirit. 

He will lead us. He will bring salvation as He sees fit. It’s up to Him. 

We must prepare ourselves as best we can by knowing the Word of God and knowing how to share the Gospel, while at the same realizing that ultimately the results are up to the Sovereign God of the Universe. 

(pause)

The third reason not to share the Gospel is . . .

  1. I’m not sure it’s my job [on screen]

Have you ever asked someone to do something for you, whether personally or professionally, and they reply, “That’s not my job?”

Doesn’t that really frustrate you?

That’s a terrible attitude to have in general, but especially so when it comes to doing important and loving tasks such as sharing the Gospel. 

Worse, yet, that statement is dead wrong. 

If you are a follower of Jesus IT IS YOUR JOB TO SHARE THE GOSPEL!

Jesus told His followers in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” [on screen]

It’s not just the job of the preacher, it’s not just the job of traveling evangelists, it’s not just the job of the super godly people in the world, it’s not just the job of people who are outgoing; it’s the job of every professing follower of Jesus Christ. 

How many of you are followers of Jesus? It’s your job; it’s my job. 

To say that it’s not my job is false information. It’s fake news. It is your job. 

(pause)

The final reason not to share the Gospel is . . .

  1. I’m concerned I’ll be offensive [on screen]

Can I just go on a short rant and say for a minute that we all need to stop being so easily offended?

Now, don’t get me wrong, we shouldn’t be jerks either. A lot of us need to just work on being loving and kind. 

At the same time, though, what happened that we Americans have become so soft? Why are we so easily offended?

Let’s toughen up a little bit!

Ok, rant over. 

The reality is, as a result of everyone being offended by everything these days we are concerned that we will be offensive if we share the Gospel. 

Let me just take the wonder out of this for you: people will be offended at times if you share the Gospel. You don’t have to worry about if they might, because at times they will.

I’ll tell you this, if you share the Gospel in love and discernment, most of the time they will not be offended. However, from time to time they will. 

Listen to what Paul tells us about this in 1 Corinthians 1:23,   . . . we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.”  [on screen]

Paul said that his message of the Gospel was offensive to Jewish people and foolish to non-Jewish people. That covers everyone: Jewish and non-Jewish!

Jesus said in Matthew 10:22, “You will be hated by everyone because of my name.” [on screen]

That’s pretty drastic, right? People may hate us because of our devotion to Jesus and because of our sharing of His message. 

Well, what are we to do about this?

(pause)

If we let the potential for offense hinder us we will miss out on two monumental blessings: the blessing of obedience to our Lord and the blessing of the declaration of love to the world. 

Jesus has clearly commanded us to share, and we are blessed when we obey Him. 

Additionally, the Gospel is the only hope of salvation for the world and the purest kind of love we can show, and the world will not receive the blessing of that love if we do not share. 

Do not cower in the face of potential offense. Share the Gospel. Share it with truth and share it in love.  

Here’s the bottom line for this week:

Bottom Line: There’s no good reason not to share the Gospel. [on screen]

(repeat) 

Some of you already picked up on that.

We should not let anything keep us from the proclamation of the Gospel, particularly whatever lame excuses we can think up. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge:

  1. List reasons why you don’t share the Gospel. [on screen]

Be honest.

What keeps you from sharing the Gospel?

Identify your lame reason, as I identify my lame reason. 

  1. Commit to sharing the Gospel this week. [on screen]

Overcome any excuse you can throw out or any obstacle that the devil can put in your path. 

Share the Gospel!

Concluding Thoughts:

As we conclude our series, let this not merely be a four-week emphasis. Let this be part of our DNA as a church. 

Let’s develop disciples, starting with sharing the Gospel with them. 

(Gospel Presentation)

(Show Three Circles Final Slide)

Invitation Song: Lord Here Am I

Benediction:

If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or Pastor Richard and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

Come tonight as we start a short series on the names of God. We’ll see you here at 5:30 tonight, and then we’ll go Christmas Caroling to the homes of some of our shut-in members. 

Let’s dismiss by singing the Doxology. 

(Sing Doxology)

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