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Acts 8:26-8:35 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
Sermon Series: Authentic Christian
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TEXT: Luke 14:15-24;Luke 15:1-32;Acts 8:26-35
INTRO: Today we will continue to look at the attributes of an Authentic Christian.
So far we have discovered the importance of having a “Righteous Lifestyle”. An authentic Christian understands that they are not the same. That they have allowed the Holy Spirit to “transform their way of thinking”. Understanding that we are no longer slaves to our old self, and selfish desires, we are now to be slaves to righteousness. This is good stuff Church!
We are looking at being REAL Christians!
· R- Righteous Lifestyle
· E- Evangelical Passion
Evangelical Passion. Now there is a fraise, a label that many believers may not consider a must for every believer. However, Passion for Evangelism, IS a must for every believer.
Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary defines evan•gel•i•cal adjective1 : of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels; emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual
related words ardent, fervid, impassioned, militant, zealous; missionary, propagandizing, proselytizing
Passion on the other hand is simple to define: Passion is anything that you invest time, thought, energy and money to.
Matthew 6:21 Jesus tells us: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
You are passionate about what you treasure the most:
I for one am passionate about :
· My Wife Julie- she is always in my thoughts, I day dream about her, I treasure her, I am passionately in love with her.
· My children- Reagan, Allison, Hunter and Jack- again, they are all, always on the forefront of my mind.
· During their respected seasons, I am passionate about certain sport teams.
But all these things take a back seat to the most important thing on my mind. My relationship with Jesus Christ!
You can easily tell what a person is passionate about- Just listen to them for a while, what do they talk about, what is on the forefront of their mind, where is their treasure?
For the REAL Christian- Evangelical Passion is a MUST! What we talk about the most, will define what we are passionate about.
ILLUS: Did you read about the little boy who returned home after his first Sunday school class? His mother asked, “Who was your teacher?” and the little boy answered, “ I don’t remember her name, but she must have been Jesus’ grandmother because she didn’t talk about anyone else.” Does our conversation reflect our love of Jesus? Would our words give away our relationship with him? James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 490.
PROP.SENT: The Bible teaches us that the things we are passionate about will be the things we act upon. Evangelical Passion is the sign of a true believer, because he or she is busy telling everybody they meet about their faith.
I. PASSION’S REASON
A. Salvation that saves!
Ephesians 6:17a Take the helmet of salvation…
More than anybody or anything on the face of the earth, those of us who are truly saved, have a reason to be passionate. Because of our Salvation.
Until we really understand what salvation means, we will never understand it’s importance. When we talk about Salvation, we are not talking about some intellectual knowledge of whom Jesus Christ is. We are talking about a saving knowledge.
· Salvation covers the PENALTY of sin (Justification - past experience).
· Salvation covers the POWER of sin (Sanctification - present experience).
· Salvation will also cover the PRESENCE of sin! (Resurrection - future experience) Pastor Dennis Marquardt
Paul tells the Roman Christians to- Take the helmet of salvation. It is a very important piece of armor for the soldier. A head wound is very serious in combat. Paul likens our salvation to this helmet the Roman soldiers put on everyday.
We must protect our thoughts; surround our minds with the protection of our salvation.
· our past sins are forgiven-Justification
· we have power over the temptation of sin- Sanctification
· the presence of sin will one day be gone- Resurrection
This should give us ample reasons to be passionate. There is not one thing that you can experience on this earth that is worthy of more of our thoughts, time and energy.
B. Souls to save!
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
In this passage, God shares his passion for souls. Lost souls matter to God!!
If this were not the case, God would of just wipe the slate clean after Adam and Eve sinned. He would have started all over. But his love for sinners, his love for every souls compelled him to passionately do something to save them.
Do lost Souls matter to you? What do you do, to find the lost things?
ILLUS: Marlon Brando wandered so much on his way to kindergarten, that his sister Jocelyn eventually had to take him to class on a leash. E. Lucaire, Celebrity Trivia, 1980.
Obviously, he was important to his sister. Out of her passion, not to see her brother stay lost, she did something about it.
Luke 15: Jesus tells three stories. 1) about a lost sheep, 2) about a lost coin, 3) about a lost son.
To show the importance, the passion for lost things, Jesus tells us what those involved did about the lost item.
1) The shepherd, leaves his other 99 sheep to go out and look for the one lost sheep.
2) The women who lost the coin, works real hard, sweeping her house, not stopping, burning extra lamp oil, until she finds her coin.
3) The father, who lost his son, waits at the edge of his property, looking, praying, hoping, and making himself available for his sons return.
We all know people in our lives that are lost. They matter to God, they should matter to you.
Jesus tells us the importance of someone’s soul in:
Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
There are many reasons why we should be passionate, however, if it were only because of the lost souls out there, that should be enough.
ILLUS: Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman, famous evangelist, said that the New Testament records tell of forty people, each suffering from the same disease, who were healed by Jesus. Of this number, thirty-four were either brought to Jesus by friends, or He was taken to them. In only six cases out of forty did the sufferers find the way to Jesus without assistance. Of the vast number of people who find their way to Jesus today, most of them reach Him because the friends of Jesus are concerned about the welfare of their souls. Tan, P. L. 1996, c1979. Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Bible Communications: Garland TX
II. PASSION’S RECOURSE
A. Passion for Obedience!
Acts 8:26,29 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."; 29The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."
Philip was not only a faithful preacher, evangelist; he was also an obedient personal worker. Like his Master, he was willing to leave the crowds and deal with one lost soul.
The angel could have told this Ethiopian official how to be saved, but God has not given the commission to angels: He has given it to His people. Angels have never personally experienced God’s grace; therefore, they can never bear witness of what it means to be saved.
ILLUS: D.L. Moody once asked a man about his soul, and the man replied, “It’s none of your business!” “Oh, yes, it is my business!” Moody said; and the man immediately exclaimed, “Then you must be D.L. Moody!” It is every Christian’s business to share the Gospel with others, and to do it without fear or apology.
Philip’s experience ought to encourage us in our own personal witness for the Lord. To begin with, God directed Philip to the right person at the right time. You and I are not likely to have angels instruct us, but we can know the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our witnessing, if we are walking in the Spirit and praying for God’s direction. 1
Philip was obedient to the Spirit, going where God led him. He knew Christ as his own Savior. God’s method for winning others does not use organizational machinery, worldly attractions, or high-powered promotion.
God uses people—dedicated men and women who will obey the Spirit. Philip was the kind of evangelist who was willing to leave the public meeting with its excitement to help a soul find peace in a private place where only God could see. 2
How many times have you heard the Holy Spirit say, “Go tell that person I love him!” “Go give that person a bible, a meal, a article of clothing.?
It is much easier to be obedient, when you are living a Righteous life. When you “Live by the Spirit…” you will be obedient to the Spirit.
Church we need to look for Devine appointments…ask God to send you to the right person so you can share your faith.
B. Passion and Enthusiasm!
Acts 8: 30a Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet….
Now check this out- Philip RAN to the chariot! He did not kick his feet, and slowly make his way over. Church this is PASSION!
Now a lot of us may reluctantly decide to obey God when he tells us to go to someone, but how to we do it.
Have you ever asked your kid’s to do something? To go clean their room, pick up some trash, do the dishes. Don’t we just love it, when they say, “OHHH, do I have to? Cant it wait till tomorrow? They take more time complaining about it, use more energy, trying not to do it, than if they did what you asked them to do in the first place.
How do you think our father in Heaven reacts when we do the same thing when it comes to evangelism?
ILLUS: The other day, Hunter my 6 year old shocked me as I came in the door. He said Dad, did the trash man come yet? I said, “I think so,” he said,” Good, I will go get the trash can and bring it in.” I thought, “ I am such a great leader, I have taught my son the responsibilities of taking care of and taking pride in his chores. I watched him run to the curb, and joyfully bring in the trashcan. As I was sitting eating my lunch, reality hit. Hunter comes up to me and says, “Dad, it sure is hot out there, do you think we can go swimming?” Now- I did not know, what just happened here? Was I being set up?- Was he only performing his chores because he hoped to gain something, or was he doing it out of enthusiasm?
When we react in obedience to God, is it because we are trying to set God up? Or are we obedient out of passion??
Our enthusiasm is contagious.
The three stories in the book of Luke I talked about earlier show the by-product of our enthusiasm.
1) Once the shepherd found his sheep, he called all his fellow herdsman and they celebrated.
2) The women after finding the coin called all her women friends and they had a party.
3) When the father found his son, they killed the fatted calf and celebrated.
The excitement did not stop there. In all three stories, we read that there was rejoicing in heaven going on, at the same time.
Luke 15: 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Luke 15: 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
ILLUS: Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace. -Thomas Kampis.
C. Passion for Knowledge!
Acts 8:30b-34 "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.31 "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.32 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth."34 The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?"
It is easy to scare ourselves out of anything. One of the greatest fears, evangelical Christians face, is their lack of confidence in knowing how to share their faith.
Lets face it, if your faith did not mean anything to you, you most likely would not be here today. Your faith does matter.
Philip had confidence to run up to the Eunuch, because he was confident in his faith. He understood what it meant to put on the helmet of salvation.
Yes Philip was an evangelist- However that does not give him and edge over you. The same resources were available to him, as we have. Matter of fact we have more.
What gave Philip and edge, was his passion for knowledge!
Philip knew the word of God, and was prepared to answer the Eunuchs questions.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
We do need to have knowledge of what we are sharing.
1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
That is why we encourage you to attend church regularly, to read your bible daily, to fellowship in our L.I.F.E. groups.
Reading the word of God, expanding your knowledge of His Love for you, will empower you to become a passionate evangelical.
Here is another point- The Eunuch was interested in Spiritual matters!
Satan would have us believe that NOBODY cares! That our friends and family could care less about spiritual matters. It is a Lie from the enemy.
People are more concerned about spiritual matters today, than they were in the Bible times.
But you do not have to wait to you get a doctorate in theology before you can share. Your testimony, is the easiest thing to share.
Some people can argue interpretation of scripture, but one thing they can not argue is your testimony, it is your story of what God id in your life.
ILLUS: I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior. John Newton (1725-1807) - Edythe Draper, Draper’s Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entries 9795-9797.
A passionate evangelical will always increase his knowledge of the Word of God.
When Jesus was tempted in the desert, he fought off that temptation with his knowledge of the Word of God.
D. Passion for the Message!
Acts 8:35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
Philip understood what he was passionate about. It was JESUS!
Philips Message was Jesus! We can never go wrong if we keep our message simple, keep our message on the main topic, Jesus!
Philip did not preach his experiences, he did not preach about the disciples, he did not preach about his latest revival meeting. He did not try and preach some hyped up emotion- He preached Jesus!
Jesus is the answer, he is the hope, in Him is where we find our salvation, our forgiveness, our hope. He is what the world is looking for. He is our message. Jesus!!
CONCLUSION: Evangelical Passion is the sign of a true believer, because he or she is busy telling everybody they meet about their faith. Are you busy telling people about your MESSAGE about your JESUS. We are called to live authentic Christian lives. A non-evangelical Christian is an oxymoron. Evangelism is the only thing God tells us to do, that we can not do in heaven. We only have a short time to share this message of PASSION!