Cross over to the other side (Two part sermon series)
- Facing the Unknown – Settling the Fear and 1st Mar 2015
- Making Him Known – Sharing our Testimony and the Good news. 8th Mar 2015
Colossian 4: 2 to 6 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who areoutside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
The average person takes about ten thousand steps a day and in a lifetime, that is four trips around the earth. The question is will we use these steps wisely? Can you imagine a simple step of faith by taking a “walk” across to someone who does not know Christ? A simple walk across a room may takes about 5 to 10 steps and yet this could impact someone eternity.
God took a walk across the heavens when He came and dwell with the people. He extended His arms of love out to sinful people to establish a relationship and covenant with us. As a matter of fact, Jesus took the ultimate walk, not just being born on earth to become man, but to be sacrificed for our sins as He walked to the cross. His walked of suffering is the ultimate demonstration of His love and forgiveness to us sinners, hopelessly lost and doomed.
We all agree that God expects us to engage in evangelism, but in reality only very small percentage of Christians actually do it. Most believers struggle not because they do not want to, but rather how to get the job done. Facing the unknown in how the people would response toward us and how we feel; the fear, the rejection, difficult people, discouragement, etc. These are obstacles that has prevented many from reaching out to their friends.
Quote of Spurgeon in the bulletin: Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that. The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the brave fireman, who cares not for the scorch or the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set its heart. If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.
Strong words but yet succinctly illustrated the need to reach out. However has it occurred to you that it is the Holy Spirit that convict and convert hearts, not us (John 16:8 (NEB) “When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world, and show where right and wrong and judgment lie. He will convict them of wrong…”)… So RELAX! While it is the Holy Spirit that convicts, but it is us, our lives, our conviction, our testimonies, our preaching that allows the work of the Holy Spirit (Colossians 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person). We will face rejection and possibly ridicule (John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also). This is why we need to learned to overcome the fear of the unknown and to face it courageously.
Luke 8: 22 to 25 (NKIV) Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”
The disciples did not expect to face the storm when they were crossing over to the other side of Sea of Galilee. It is like sharing the Gospel and no one willingly seeks a storm, it is unpredictable, uncertain and these throws us into imbalances and threatens everything in our lives. Looking at the storms, we get scared, frightened and anxious. Though in our mind we know that no storm could last forever, but the question is whether can we hold out and outlast the storm? Crossing over to the other side to share our faith may not be as dramatic as facing such a storm [even though for some they may feel it is worst than facing a storm :-)], what is needful is not just to expect uncertainty but also expect miracles. In the worst of storm, the disciples witnessed the most powerful miracles of Jesus; calming the storm. Has it occurred to you that the greatest storm is to face our eternity without Jesus
Have you notice that the boat the they were on is not designed to be out in a storm. Often if we look our resources, our capacity, our capability, we admittedly realized that we have somewhat become fair-weather Christians. Our boat has been designed for calm weather. So when the situations that are greater than what we think we are able to cope with, we gave in. As we put on our sanctified imagination, we can see the disciples are doing whatever they could in that boat. Frantically they are crying out for help and yet nothing is happening. They are stuck in the boat and there is nothing they can do. Do you feel the same sometimes in your walk as a Christ follower? As if this is not bad enough, we cried out to Jesus, only to find Him sleeping. Sometimes situations make it seems as if the Lord is not concern about us and leaving us to struggle with our problems. The disciples felt the same as they cry out in exasperation, “Master, master, we are perishing”, “Don’t You care about what’s happening to me?”……..
Here is the good news! Do you think the boat will sink and all be drowned? The answer is a definite NO because Jesus is in the boat. Let us not be quick to jump and change our boat, instead expect the miracle of God but calming the storm.
There is a song which we used to sing “With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm”, why? Because Jesus is not only in the boat, but He can calm the storm. If we choose to look at the storm and the boat, we lose heart and even lose faith. The key here is look to Jesus. The Lord always speaks to us in the storm… “Where is your faith?”. The disciples forgot that it was Jesus who asked them to go across to the other side. When it is the Lord who instructs us to cross over to the other side, even when the boat we are in seems incapable of handling the storm, but word of Jesus is more than sufficient to calm any storm. When we forget the Word of Jesus we will always be afraid, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Jesus promised us in “Matthew 28:20 “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end…” and “Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you”. Our call is to preach the Gospel and Jesus is definitely going to be with us. The key to success to sharing the gospel is to keep sowing seeds in the hearts of seekers, keep crossing over to the other side. Begin by developing friendships with those far from God, pray for them daily. Love them by discovering their life stories. Seeking opportunity to engage in spiritual dialogue through their stories. Just be yourself and do not try to fit into the mold of someone else’s method of evangelism: be authentic.
The day come when you lead someone into relationship with Christ, you will begin to experience the joy that is unspeakable. So press on to share the love of God by crossing over to the other side and have the faith to face the storm knowing Jesus is right there with you.
Look at the boat we are helpless, look at the storm we are powerless, but look at Jesus we are fearless – Klein