In Acts 10:38, Peter described the life of Jesus by saying, “He went about doing good . . .” If one described the life of too many Christians today, however, he would have to say, “He simply went about!”
This isn’t as it should be, for the Bible says we are sent into this world, even as Jesus had been sent by the Father (John 20:21). We’re called to be the body of Christ at work in this world for Him. But look at the church today, ask the questions from the casting Crowns song: But if we are the body, Why aren't His arms reaching? Why aren't His hands healing? Why aren't His words teaching? And if we are the body, Why aren't His feet going? Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
Believers are to go as Jesus went. Which means . . .
We need to see as Jesus saw
Jesus saw beyond people’s facade to recognize their true need. They were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” We too need to recognize the lostness of those around us!
If all the unredeemed people in the world were lined up in single file, that line would circle the planet 30 times. That line would grow at a rate of 20 miles a day. If you traveled beside that line at a speed of 50 miles per hour for 10 hours each day, it would take you 4 years to reach the end, and by the time you reached the end, the line would have grown to be 50,000 miles longer!
Chuck Lawless, of Southern Seminary said “A single 30-minute sermon is more time in the Word than 3 billion+ people in the world have had engaging the Word in their entire lifetime.” -
And all those people are helpless and harassed, like sheep without a shepherd. Furthermore, they are searching. We might be surprised to discover who among those who don’t know Christ would respond to an invitation to know Him and serve Him!
According to a Gallup poll, there are at least 160 million non-Christians in the United States. Of this 160 million, 80 million said they would be open to hearing more about the Christian message from a Christian, and could possibly see themselves becoming a Christian themselves.
We need to see as Jesus saw, recognizing the number of lost people about us and that are ready to respond to the Good News, if given an opportunity; and God calls us to make sure they have that opportunity!
We need to feel as Jesus felt
It is estimated that more than 150,000 people around the world die each day. Based on the lostness of the world, we can assume that most of these people do not know Jesus. This fact should break us and move us.
Jesus had compassion for the people who were lost without Him.
The Webster dictionary defines compassion as “sympathetic consciousness of another’s distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”
If we are going to feel about those who don’t know Christ, in the way Jesus feels about them, we will care to the point that we cannot help but get involved in their lives!
“Loving the lost is the first step in leading them to Christ.” - Anonymous
Theodore Cuyler, a Presbyterian minister, was inspired by the life of Robert Murray McCheyne. He wanted to know all he could about him. He once asked an elderly man who knew McCheyne, “Can you tell me some of the texts or outstanding quotations he used?” The man said, “I’m sorry, I don’t remember any.” Cuyler then asked, “Don’t you remember anything about him?” “Oh, that’s a different question,” said the gray-haired Christian. “I'll never forget the time McCheyne came to our home to visit when I was just a lad. He said to me, ‘Jamie, I’ve come to see your sister.’ Then he looked into my eyes. And added with deep emotion, ‘And Jamie, I’m very concerned about your soul.’ I’ve forgotten his sermons, but I can still feel the tremble of his hand and see the tears in his eyes. His concern for my soul resulted in my conversion.”
God could have chosen other methods to spread his message, and probably they would have been more effective. Angels could have done a better job, but God chose saved people to tell lost people his message.
When was the last time we wept over our unsaved family & friends?
As we pray, let us recognize that . . .
God is the One in charge.
God is the One Who directs us.
We are His laborers.
We need to ask God to use us as His instruments to reap His harvest!
We need to use the “Be” Attitudes of Witnessing:
1 - Be praying.
2 - Be available.
3 - Be ready.
4 - Be expectant.
We’ve no right to pray for God to send out laborers if we aren’t willing to be sent out ourselves! We are called to be co-laborers with God.
We need to not only do as we say, but do as we pray. We must pray for the salvation of the lost, but also be willing to be used to reach them! For either we’re drawing people to Christ or turning people away!
The magazine Christianity Today reported that in 2013, the U.S. sent out and received more missionaries than any other country. In some ways, other believers around the world recognize our lostness more than we do.
Thom Rainer CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources says “between 8,000 and 10,000 churches close each year”
What can turn it around? We can turn it around.
What did Jesus do?
Jesus got involved in the lives of people! Likewise, you and I need to “get out of our comfort zone,” and reach out to people where they are - in confusion, in despair, in sin, and share with them the truth about how Jesus Christ can set them free.
Christian Author and Church Growth expert, Kennon Callahan points out our God is One who visits. He points to Luke 1:68, which says, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them” (NRSV. He says “God had to get personal with us in order to redeem us”.
Likewise, we need to get personal with nonbelievers in order to share with them about that redemption.
Dave DeVries is the founder of a ministry called, “The Missional Challenge.” Their mission statement is “Aligning Every Believer with the Redemptive Mission of Jesus!”
Dave says “I think there are a lot of Christians that are choosing to be Jesus’ hands and serve like Jesus AND to be Jesus’ feet and to go where Jesus would go. This is fantastic! And we need more Christians to stop thinking it’s enough to go to church on Sunday and hang out with other Christians. Followers of Jesus need to head out and truly follow Jesus into the darkness of the world to tangibly meet needs. But that’s not enough! To ‘Be Jesus’ to those in the culture around you, you must also choose to be the voice of Jesus. This requires saying what Jesus would say. I used to hear Christians say, ‘I witness with my life.’ That statement became an excuse for not sharing the message of the gospel or calling sinners to repent and believe. Is that what Jesus did? Did He just go where the hurting people were and serve them? No. He actually called people to follow Him. He directed them to repent – to turn from their sin. He literally said, ‘Go and sin no more.’ I think it’s time for Christians to incarnate the gospel by being Jesus’ hands, feet and voice!”
How are we going to help people discover the truth that will set them free? By realizing that we must not only commit to use our hands to serve and our feet to go, but our voice to speak the Good News, to make a conscious effort to share the Gospel with them.
Let’s be the body! Let’s commit ourselves to seeing others as Jesus saw them, feeling about others as Jesus felt for them, praying for others as Jesus prayed for them, and doing as Jesus did!
Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) wrote: “Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks with compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world., yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours, yours are the eyes with which he looks with compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Let’s be the body! For the sake of Christ’s work and for the sake of a lost, scared and hurting world.
‒ Pastor Pam