6/28 When Caring is Sharing Acts 8:26-40
We have all been told or have told another to share. Share your toys, share your food, share words of encouragement, share some of what you have with another who doesn’t have. And we know about caring. We care for our families, parents, siblings, children, spouses. We care for friends and neighbors. We care for people who mean something to us. We started a summer series called What’s your Story, with this Sunday’s focus being on “When Caring is Sharing” Everyone has a story to share. There’s nothing better than a family gathering and hearing stories shared, both old and new. It’s how we learn about our families, how we can connect with our families, how we can help our families. This isn’t only true in families, but in any relationship with people. It’s building friendships, trusts, sharing a part of you and them sharing a part of their lives with you, When Caring is Sharing……...
In those conversations are we open to share our faith? Or is there an unspoked agreement that says, but let’s not talk about religion? You can believe what you want to believe, and I will do the same. Is that where this conversation stops. Some will agree, I don’t want to talk about religion, but I would like to talk about Jesus and what he has done for me, but I’m afraid to bring it up. I wouldn’t want to offend someone, after all I like them, I care for them. Do you? Probably so, but how then should I bring up talking about Jesus? Sharing the Gospel is telling someone about God’s love for them. It is something that should come easy, but it really doesn’t. It takes us out of my comfort zone. We might even say, I don’t really care, I’d would rather leave it for those who have the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism.
How committed are you to your faith? How obedient are you when we are told to go and share the Good News?
This week we viewed several videos in RNM. To get good answers as to why we believe what we do, take time to view and gain a deeper understanding in Quick Answers with Sean McDowell: Volume 1 – Starters Guide to Sharing your Faith. This series gives answers in under 5 minutes to over 15 questions on Does God Exist? The Moral Argument? Do all roads lead to God? What is the evidence that Jesus rose from the dead? And so many more. These are quick answers to questions we all have had. Answers written with supporting documents and evidences. This series is a great learning tool to confirm why we believe the things of the Bible. It’s solid. It’s true. It’s all there for everyone to know.
Tom Davis’ illustration in Sharing from Scripture in a Post-Modern World talked on the importance of reading scripture for ourselves. As Christians, he says, we need to embrace absolute truth and be able to defend it. He refers to Philippians 1:9-11 where Paul writes, “This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between good and bad and will choose the good; that you will be pure and without wrong for the coming of Christ; that you will do many good things with the help of Christ to bring glory and praise to God.” Paul writes that we are to love, grow in faith, allow Christ to work through us to bring God glory. From Sunday’s message we heard about learning, growing in faith, claiming it as true, a real without a doubt kind of faith. RNM has messages to help us learn, grow, deepen our faith so that we will want to share it. But it is each of us taking that step forward in our faith. Okay, so when do we know it’s the right time to share our faith?
Pete Briscoe has a great series on evangelism titled Sharing Life. He shares that we all need a heart change. Hearts change when they break. We will never grow in evangelism until our hearts are broken for the lost. Evangelism, he said, is God’s way of preventing eternal death and presenting eternal life. In Matthew 10:28, “don’t be afraid of people, who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is the one who can destroy the soul and the body in hell,” (the devil). Pray for it, Christ longs for us to have a heart for the lost, break my heart for what breaks yours.
In Session 2, Pete talks on sharing life. Evangelism is sharing life; it’s not about selling Jesus. To share life (little L) with another is to care for them. A deep abiding love for another, like a nursing mother who cares for her children. To share Life (capital L) with another is the Life of Christ flowing from us with the people we are sharing life with. Pete says we are to be open to the Spirits leading. Sunday scripture from Acts 8:26 begins ‘’An angel of the Lord said to Philip”…vs. 27 “so Philip got ready and went” vs 29 “The Spirit said to Philip” vs. 30 “so Philip ran towards the chariot” vs. 35 “Philip began to speak…about Jesus”. The Ethiopian eunuch was ready to hear about Jesus, Philip just responded to the nudging of the Holy Spirit.” Philip was open to the Spirits leading.
Session 3 was on What’s the best ‘next thing’. Pete refreshed our study, so far, we’ve learned that first we are to Develop relationships, build a friendship; then Discover their story, where are they coming from, give them empathy in their hurts and pains. Then we are to Discern the best next thing, by depending on the Spirit. Ask the Spirit for the best ‘next thing’ for this person, this situation. Holy Spirit you know this person better than me. A person needs to be receptive to hearing the GOSPEL, but until then we are just to share life with them. In John 6:44 Jesus is speaking, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws them.” You never know when the Spirit will be drawing them. Now, or not yet, or maybe it’s for someone else to share the GOSPEL with them. The Spirit might empower us to speak, (Mark 13:11), the Spirit might prevent us from speaking (Acts 16:6), we are to allow the Spirit to work through us. To be available to help a person in whatever they need. Ask the Holy Spirit, what the best ‘next thing’? What comes to your mind? If it’s not contra-biblical, do it! It’s the Spirit talking to you.
Session 4 of Pete Briscoe series on Sharing Life, is Share the Story, tell your story, listen to their story. Let people know you care, let them know that I believe in you. What is the ultimate goal of evangelism? Pete’s answer is to have a life transformed, a story changed, to experience Christ for real!
And in closing Session 5, Here I am, Send Me. In taking our faith seriously, When Caring is Sharing, do we still want to say, I just don’t have it? What is “it”? training, knowledge, communication skills, experience, the spiritual gift of evangelism. “It” isn’t any of these things. “It” is necessary, “it” is available to all of us. The primary work of “it” is done through the Spirit, one thing we bring to “it” is a foundation attitude, a decision we make to live everyday with a biblical attitude. We are to be on call 24/7 to the Spirit’s nudging. We never know when God will move someone’s heart. It could possibly be a long-term relationship, or it could be a simple as a side comment we make that will change someone. Regardless, Pete says, we all need vision – see to it that no one misses the Grace of God.
So, as we begin this summer series: What’s your story? Are you ready to share how God has made a difference in your
life? Start with a story anytime because we now know the difference it can make, When Caring is Sharing………...
Larry and Darlene