Our Values: Healthy Relationships
Well I'm feeling a little bold today so I'm I'm going to call it you ready. Time of death for summer two thousand and seventeen Oct eighth nine twenty nine A.M. There it is done.
Yes cannibal How do you think that we're safe I think that this might be the year you check the weather in and we only have just a couple more days that are going to reach the ninety's in the morning did you walk out this morning that was little cooler I mean we're almost there so I'm excited I'm sure you're excited I love fall fall is by far my favorite time of the year I think everyone in Phoenix probably would agree that we have what we like we like that and one of the things I like about Paul is my wife really gets into fall I guess Renee she and Jackie They brought out some of the decorations which is what ladies do I guess and just put in pumpkins and leaves all around the house and all right whatever but the thing that I like more and more about the mood that she gets in is she likes to do all those baked goods those fall baked goods Alberto's like that's right so yesterday she's like I'm going to make pumpkin bars and she needs these really good pumpkin bars and has a sly cream cheese frosting on it is really good and so I'm going to give you the ingredients to my wife's pumpkin pie recipe you don't have to write this down OK but I'm going to give it to you right it's one cup of all boil two cups of sugar one can a pumpkin three eggs two cups of flour one teaspoon of baking soda to keep teaspoons of baking powder half teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of cinnamon so she takes all that stuff she puts it in she mixes it up she puts it in the pan she puts it in the oven and we're like we're get excited you know twenty more minutes you know ten more minutes and we can smell it and we're getting excited the alarm goes off she runs out she pulls it out and she looks out and she says I'm watching football and I hear her in the kitchen boy this looks different. And did I forget in the ingredients so she walks over and she looks at the. Greetings and she's kind of going through step by step and she goes Oh I forgot something now all those things that I told you besides the obvious can a pumpkin she put that in there she she forgot ingredient What is the most important ingredient of those do you think it needs to be in pretty much every big good.
The flour she forgot the flour so basically looked like pumpkin flavored oatmeal it was just like sludge and we're like is it still good kids should we try and so I was like oh we're not throwing this away yet so Kyle tried it that you know we're throwing it away it wasn't very good so we scooped it in the garbage no big deal if you know she'll make another one that's fine I'm really glad she did it because now I had a sermon illustration so I really appreciate that she did it just for me but I as I thought about that missing one ingredient you can get so close and if you miss that one ingredient. It's worthless.
We go through this life and we can have so many different experiences some are bad but I would say most of life is good at least maybe that's the way I choose to look at life in someone can go through their entire life and have all these wonderful positive encouraging experiences but if they forget the one most important thing in this life at the end of their life it's going to be absolutely tragic and that one thing is Jesus Christ without Jesus Christ in our life at the end it's going to be tragic and for those of us who have Christ in our lives it's important for us to share that with others so that they can have the hope that we have all right now we are going through our mission statement and our values and we are talking about our values you know our mission statement I've been repeating this for the last few weeks it's developing committed followers of Jesus Christ of the teaching and encouraging to God's words word and we have for values that we as a church say in order to develop follow. And price were in a practice these things were not healthy relationships practiced discipleship of Bible center teaching and preaching and faithful service and so we do those and a couple weeks ago I mentioned to you that I came across a pastor that I really admire in his church they they talk about what a follower of Christ looks like and they say and maybe this is the the easiest way for us to understand this if someone is a follower of Christ what do they need to do and God gives it to us very simply through the two greatest commandments obviously it's a little bit more complex than this but a follower of Christ is someone who's going to love the Lord their God with all their heart soul mind and they will love their neighbor as their selves and so that's what we've been talking about these last couple weeks and will continue today and when we talk about as a church we want healthy relationships we're talking about our relationship with God the Father with each other and with those that are outside the church and this phrase that I'm borrowing from on this pastor's church and you Stanley in album in Atlanta Georgia he says this he describes it this way and I like it so I'm borrowing it I'm going to use it here he says that they want people to grow in their intimacy with God in. Their community with insiders so we talked about last week and their influence with outsiders and so last week we talked about what it means to build our community among us inside the church and the things that we do is we use our words we use our actions and we also use our presence we need to show up and be there for each other but today we're going to talk about growing our influence with outsiders or those who are outside our church and specifically those who might not have a relationship with Jesus Christ yet now as we begin to talk about this I'm sure everyone here would agree that sharing our face whether it's through our words or our actions and evangelizing the loss is an extremely important thing for us as believers to do right. I think everyone would agree and yet we also get terrified thinking does this mean I'm going to go have to knock on doors and I'm going to have to confront people on the street no not necessarily so I'm hoping that through today's message that all of us will be really encouraged and inspired to make this something that we are intentionally doing in our lives but the people who do not yet know Christ and so today we're going to do a couple things we're going to look at why this is our responsibility why God tells us that this is a ministry that is given to us and then we're also going to look at how we should go about sharing our face and we're going to use a really great example from God's word There's a many examples in there but we're going to look at one from the Book of Acts But first before we really get into this before we look at our first passage just let me ask you this question a couple questions are how do you know when you meet somebody for the first time how do you know if they are married
usually that's a good indicator right if they have a wedding ring on chances are most likely they are married how do you know if someone is an Arizona Cardinal football fan.
There's a trick question their hair is falling out because there's no I usually probably have Arizona Cardinals shirts on there talking about the games are excited about it on the how do you know if someone is a the going. They'll tell you Don't worry about it they will tell you OK.
All right and how do you know how do you know if someone is a follower of Jesus Christ
that's an important question is it and there's many different answers but the question that we need to ask ourselves is if someone is known as a follower of Christ is that a good thing or a bad thing is the example that they're setting to the world is that good so what I want you to do is I want you open your Bible to second Corinthians Chapter four.
I have quite a few verses that we're going to look at today most of them I wrote down in your sermon also you can kind of follow along but as you are turning a second Corinthians Chapter four I'm going to read just a couple quick verses.
And I'm going to ask and I'm going to answer this question the question is why should we grow our influence with outsiders and the answer to that is because God has chosen to shine the light of His truth through us to the world God has chosen to use you and me to shine the truth to the world and we see this we love the principle of this in just a second but I want to read a couple verses for you before that in problems for sixteen.
It says but the past of the righteous is like the light of dawn which shines brighter and brighter and tell whole day the way of the week it is like deep darkness they do not know over what they stumble if someone is a follower of Christ if there are a believer in God their life should exude brightness there should be wisdom in the way that they live their life Another one is found in Matthew in fact in most of the gospels you find us now with a little song maybe some of these saying as a little kid this little light of mine I'm going to let it shine hide under a bushel No that comes from Matthew Matthew is one of the places where we read this Matthew five fifteen it says nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a stand and it gives light so all in the house in the same way let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven. But also guard or verse for today which seven Christians beginning in chapter four.
And this is talking about Paul Paul is kind of defending his ministry and so the primary application is this is what policy and God has called him to do but the application is for us as well we have this same ministry that God gave to Paul seven grantees chapter four beginning in verse one
therefore having this ministry by the mercy of God We do not lose heart but we have renounced disgraceful underhanded ways we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word but by the OPEN statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our Gospel is veiled it is veiled to those who are perishing in their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God and then he says this verse five for what we proclaim is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord with ourselves as your servants for jesus sake for God who said Let light shine out of the darkness as shown in our hearts to give the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and so Paul is saying this is the message that all of us should get is this all of us go through life and we are all proclaiming something most people go around proclaiming themselves a Paul says God has given me the gospel the truth so that my light will reveal the truth of him this is God's calling on his life and our life as well look at verse six again or six As for God who said Let light shine out of darkness has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ that's us we are the light in the darkness.
So I try to get personal here how many people in your life in your sphere of influence whether it's family friends coworkers really you know whatever it is you do on a daily basis how many of them know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ how many of them know and just as important if they know are you make. Ensure that your life is a good representation of follower of Christ and as a pastor it's very difficult for me it's been very difficult for me to say you know this is how I'm doing this is so I'm being a good example to nonbelievers because you know if you're a pastor you usually spend almost all your time with people who go to church and so I finally have something in my life it's crossed it going to the gym it's been about twenty years since I've had something like this in my life where I was around other people who don't know Christ that was back in college when I worked at different restaurants a number of I think I've told you when I worked at the I helped me and another pastor friend of mine John Lauder they called us the Bible boys that I hopped and you were just trying to be a good example and so finally now I have crossed it and I'm around people I try to go on there about four or five times a week I've been pretty consistent in doing that and depending on my schedule you know whatever's going on at church I'll either go in the morning or the afternoon and I'm seeing some of these people three or four sometimes even five times a week and eventually as you're meeting with these people and you're working out together you start talking and eventually they find out what I do for a living it's not the first thing that comes out but eventually they find out that I'm a pastor and I'm hoping that by that time that they ask me what I do for a living that I have at least set a good example for them and then I'm very encouraging and so I make it my mission when I'm eating with people you know well somebody for the first time go up shake their hand hey how do you do when I'm trying to be an encouragement to them because soon as they find out that I'm a pastor then I want them to say wait a second that was a nice guy in oh by the way he's a pastor. And and I really need to watch how I act there because they all know I'm a pastor like for example this last week we had this workout. A warmup and they usually don't do this I think this is on Wednesday I'm not going to Zach and Ashley because they go to the same cross a place that I go to and and what we did is we did this warm up and we tried to get from one side of the room to another side of the room and it was the lava game was kind of done. Number the law again when you're a kid you go from one side of the room to the other and you can't step on the carpet Otherwise you're dead Well they decided to do that is kind of silly they put us into teams of four and each of us had a ten pound rubber weight like this big and about like that thick and as he was a four you'd take the weight and you would put it out and then all four of you would have to go and you get to the side of the room and as he's explaining this he says now you can't step on the floor because it's law if you step on the lava you're dead and you have to start over well everybody was kind of standing off the lava and for some reason I was standing in the log and so our coach said and look at Josh Josh is standing in a lot of us so Josh should be dead but it's OK because he's a pastor and he said that he actually said that and it was funny and we all laughed but it was just so interesting in his mind not all the dots are connected yet but in his mind he has a relationship with God there is life after death so he'll be OK if he dies there's a really interesting they're watching me and they're watching Zac and Ashley two of them they're hedging other people and that's it that's a good thing and as I get to know these people I really have developed a heart for some of them and it's great as I'm talking to some of these people some with.
Some more than others because I see them more often and how would that leave me alone you try this kind of hard.
But I'm talking to some of them and some of them will ask questions for me and the questions they progress they've started asking hey where's your church oh yeah OK you know you know where that is you know what time are your services we actually had someone came from our cross that I think actually invited someone you know she was here a couple weeks ago I'm hoping that eventually those conversations will get to so why are you a pastor you're going to deepen those those questions I'm very grateful and excited that I have a genuine mission field what about you.
I know you probably don't go to cross with some of your. But you all probably have a job you work go to school for those of you who work how many of your coworkers know.
That you're a follower of Jesus Christ.
Is that ever come up how about kids I know in high school and junior high in elementary school I guess although measures to all kids are there out here I think the main goal is to get out alive or wants to just survive junior high and high school and everyone wants to just fit in and so sometimes there's a temptation when you're in high school or junior high to compromise your face so that people like you but let me just say this to those of you who are in that situation the people that you're trying to impress right now.
In just a few years you're probably never going to see him again so leave them an example of what a follower of Christ is don't try to to get them to like you by compromising your face.
Well what is a good way for us to make sure that our light is shining among those people in the world one of my favorite verses is in Philippians chapter two and you can turn over there really quick flip in chapter two.
Beginning in verse fourteen
I wish it was just this easy but at least it begins here Libyans to beginning in verse fourteen says Do all sayings without grumbling or disputing. That you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation among whom you shine is lights in the world so all we have to do to be shining lights is did not argue and complain no obviously there's a lot more to it but there's something very significant about this the Christian life is about unity and fellowship and peace and a person who is constantly grumbling in disputing and complaining they are working against of those things that the Christian life is about a person who's always arguing complaining they're they're interested in themselves not about creating unity among other people but when we do find a person who who lives like this in a selfless they truly shine is lights in this world and when we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and to control our lives is as opposed to the flesh that's what happens and the light God shines in us will shine into the world around us so so this is why this is why we are to shine his lights or why we are to build our influence with outsiders is because God has chosen to shine the light of the truth through us well now let's talk about how how can we do this how are we supposed to build our influence and let me give you two forms of strategy and the first is this The Bible tells us in a couple different places and I want you to open to both of these the first ones and cautions in the next ones and first Peter but the Bible tells us one strategy for building our influence with outsiders and being able to share the gospel with them is this the first says we need to be ready to answer their questions we have to be prepared to explain why we are a follower of Christ. In cautions Chapter four verse five. Paul says this. Walk in wisdom towards outsiders making the best use of the time let your speech always be gracious season with salt so that one so that you may know how you want to answer each person and so Paul is even saying as you're out there dealing with people that are outside the face be very careful how you speak to them make sure there's always season with grace first Peter think this is an important one hopefully you've heard this before first Peter chapter three beginning in verse fifteen.
First Peter three fifteen
this passage says but in your hearts on are Christ the Lord is holy always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you you do it with gentleness and respect and this is this is a good question if someone were to ask you why are you a follower of Christ are you prepared right now to answer them and you might say well I have got a few different reasons and some of you probably heard the phrase you need to have your elevator pitch ready you know if you're in the elevator or somebody got two minutes with them what would you say and I'll tell you what I would say to somebody and maybe this is probably changes over time because there's many reasons why I'm a follower of Jesus Christ but if someone were to say why are you a follower of Jesus Christ I'd probably say something like this the main reason or the first reason I'm a follower of Jesus Christ is because Jesus fulfilled the prophecies in the Old Testament proving that he was sent by God to die for our sins that's probably the first thing that I would say and that's the foundation upon which my faith is built Jesus is the fulfillment of those prophecies and I'm hoping somebody might say What are you talking about how ill and go to another question What do you mean prophecies and then I can have a chance to explain will the Old Testament was written four hundred years before Christ was even born and Jesus fulfilled according to some scholars say up to three hundred fifty three prophecies in the Old Testament and that might get someone thinking I want to know a little bit more about this but that's why I believe Jesus is the Son of God because he feel fulfilled those prophecies and so that's one of the ways that I would answer a person if they asked me and I actually want to look at some of these verses and I should I put in your sermon notes some verses so that if you're not prepared maybe you could use these verses to be prepared because maybe this week this is how it usually happens you hear someone say something and then that week you know you have a chance to do something sometime this week maybe somebody in this room might be asked by a for. And or a family or coworker hey why are you a follower of Christ or why do you go to church and now hopefully you'll be prepared on the verses that I want to highlight the first and most important one I think is first Corinthians fifteen I want you to turn to that one with me and I'll just read the other ones or at least reference them.
First Corinthians fifteen verses one three or four
this is this is an extremely important passage this tells us how a person is saved and what essentially is the gospel that saves us and it deals with the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled Paul says in First Corinthians fifteen beginning in verse one. First Corinthians fifteen one. Now I would remind you brothers of the gospel I preach to you which you received in which you stand and by which you are being saved if you hold fast to the word I preach to you unless you believed in vain For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received they Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures those are the prophecies that he fulfilled it was in the Old Testament that he was going to die for our sins first for that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures Those are all prophecies that Jesus fulfilled and if a person believes that the death and resurrection of Christ they are saying that's what Paul says there are other verses I think that are extremely important to share all my I put that in their acts four twelve John three sixteen and seventeen Romans eight ten nine ten and the Fusion's two eight nine.
I think Acts four twelve as I like Khalid very forward it is it says and there is salvation and no one else for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved but I leave those in there in the Bolton or in the sermon notes for you to have reference and maybe you could underline those in your bible or on your phone I don't know how that works I'm sure there's a there's a way you could do that but that's the first way that we. Help build our influence with others and really be prepared to share our faith and that's we are prepared to answer that question it's the second thing and the second strategy is this. Chances are someone in your life might ask you this question but chances are just as great probably even greater that they're not going to ask you a question and so the second strategy is you. Ask them a question you start a conversation. In our Thursday morning men's Bible study we just went through a portion of X. and I want to highlight a couple observations that we made from Acts Chapter seventeen so open your Bibles to Acts chapter seventeen this is the last passage we'll be looking at out of the Bible
and here in Acts Chapter seventeen this is really interesting this is Chronicle ing Paul's journey and he meets with three different groups of people that's when I call Bria and those in Athens and all three groups respond completely different to the Gospel that Paul presents and I'm not going to worry about the other things for this morning well just look at the book of or his encounter with the people in the city of acids and any give you the observations that we made this last Thursday morning and so as we go through it you'll be able to see them the two observations that I made and this is the way that Paul kind of introduced the truth to them the first thing that he did was he started off with something positive and he actually complements the people in Athens it kind of opens their ears in their hard to whatever he's going to say so he started off with something positive about them and the second thing is he found some common ground that they both agreed with so this through that common ground he can present the truth. So let's read Paul and his dealings with those in Athens Acts Chapter seventeen beginning in verse sixteen X. seventeen sixteen so just notice Paul strategy here.
Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols and so you reason in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons in the marketplace every day with those who happen to be there some of the epicurean and still a philosopher is also going to burst with them and some said what does Babel wish to say other said he seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities because he was preaching Jesus on the resurrection and they took him and brought him to the area opposite saying May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting for you will bring some strange things to our ears we wish you no therefore what these things mean now all the Athenians in the foreigners who live there would spend their time in nothing except telling our hearing something new and now listen to Paul strategy he starts off with a compliment verse twenty two So Paul standing in the midst of their obvious said men of Athens I. See that in every way you are very religious and it's hard to pick this up from this verse they'll do it was there on Thursday morning and he said that this word for religious is good is a very positive sense and so Paula say hey man you all are brilliant people you realize that there are there is a power outside of yourself and so he complements them how many times have you had a conversation with someone and they complimented you at the very beginning and it made you want to listen the more I write that happens all the time now if someone starts a conversation with you and they say then you're really dumb you are you know listening also they say probably not so Paul says I see that you're very religious he's given them a compliment and now he finds this common ground upon which he can present the truth verse twenty three.
So as I pass along and observe the objects of your worship I found also an altar with this inscription To the Unknown God was there for you worship is unknown this I proclaimed you and so Paul is saying hey I believe in a power higher than me too and now let me tell you who this unknown God is and this is what he says the God who made the whole world and everything in it being Lord of Heaven and Earth does not live in temples made by man nor is he served by human hands as though he needed something anything since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything and he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth having determined a lot of periods and boundaries of their dwelling place that they should see God and perhaps feel their way towards him and find him yet he is actually not far from each one of us for in Him we live we live and move and have our being and even some of your own poets have said for we are indeed his offspring. Being then God's offspring we ought not to think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone an image formed in the art of the magination man the times of the ignorance got overlooked but now he commands all people everywhere to repent because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the. World in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead and when they heard of the resurrection of the dead and some mocked but others said we will hear you again about this so Paul one else in their midst but some of the men joining him believed among them also were Dionysus the area up a guy and a woman named the Maris and others with them so democracy isn't in the first service today but apparently she was there so she she knows who tall is. Oh she's in the second service a good I'll say that too but listen this is a great method a positive approach usually works so well he says I see that you're religious you realize that there's something else out there and then he says Now let me tell you about this thing that you don't understand this God that you worship is the one true God and he brought around and shared their face with them you know for us what is some common ground that we can use in talking to our friends and family members. Obviously as you're you're meeting with people that you know you're having you have subject to come up and sometimes maybe you can work work in a spirit of conversation but one thing that's been happening just so much lately I think is a good way for us to bring in the Gospel or all of these tragedies that are happening I mean just this last week the shooting in Las Vegas and we have the earthquakes in Mexico and we have the hurricanes and people are dying how many friends and family members do you talk to people who do not know Christ and you talk about these things and we're all going to feel compassion and outrage over all of these tragedies one thing that you can say one thing that I can say to them is as you're talking about this so you know what those things happened far away from here but eventually something might happen in Phoenix and if it happened to you and you were part of a tragedy. What happened next to you.
That's one way to bring that common ground so you're. Causing them to think about their eternal existence that's something that you can use just as an example. Where God clearly wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves and that includes us inside the church our church family but also includes outsiders people who don't yet know Christ and one way we can do that is to be intentional about growing our influence with them in the hopes that God might shine His truth through us was we've been going through this this morning I wonder has God put any person on your heart or in your mind someone you know that if they were to die today they would not spend eternity with them and you care for that person because they're your friend. Maybe God's leading you in prompting you to start a conversation with them. I just hope and pray that all of us will be willing to do that if necessary Well if you're here today and you've placed your faith in Jesus Christ you have the hope of eternal life and a relationship with God right now and that gets us through this life and into the next and God has chosen to share this hope with the world through you and me so let's I was God to give us the courage and also the opportunities to be used in this way let's bring.
Joy to thank you so much for revealing to us the truth of our sinfulness and the solution which is the death and resurrection of your son or we thank you so much for sending him into the world and giving us this knowledge we thank you for the people that were in our lives that shared this message that we can have the hope of eternal life and Lorida you want us to love our neighbor as ourselves and we know all of us have people that we know that don't have a relationship with Christ and so help us to be very aware and conscious of this this ministry that you've given to us you want to shine the light of your truth through our lives and so help us to be intentional by growing our relationship with those outside of the church so. That lowered in your grace and in your time if that if it's your will that they might be led to Christ and we might become a part of that process that is our prayer as individuals and that's definitely our prayers a church here of grace by the Church of Phoenix I pray this in Christ me in that.