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Reaching the Lost - Part 2

"13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit.

19 My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins."
James 5:13-20

Today's Message: Reaching the Lost - Part 2

Good Morning Beloved,
Thank you for joining us today
It is my honor and privilege to again guide you through this most interesting and curious text today.

The most important thing you can do as a Christian is to have a spiritual conversation with someone who is lost. Reaching the lost, bring them to Christ, is the greatest work we've been blessed with in the world.

Beloved, God has entrusted each of us, every believer has this God given each of us, the incredible privilege and responsibility to lead a lost soul to Christ.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for each and every blessing that You have bestowed upon myself, my family, and all those gathered with us today, both near and a far. Thank You for the incredible honor and great privilege that You have so graciously given me in shepherding them. I'm so grateful and unworthy of such a calling. Father, for this great word to us, we give You thanks and praise. I have searched my own heart, and to be honest, I find myself wanting more in my faithfulness to this Lord. Because, for so long of a time, I didn’t even understand it. I am so grateful and thankful to You, for the incredible knowledge that You have abundantly blessed with these past years, and for the discernment, Lord I just thank You, for the daily encouragement and passion You have placed within to continuing in studying Your Word. And after all these years, as You reveal more and more, I find that I'm still in the process of learning and discovery. It truly astonishes me.

Lord, I confess however, my ignorance and folly all of these years of failing to do what had I ought, simply because I didn’t understand. However, the truth was always there, right in front of me. Father, I ask that You would forgive me for my failure, in being as diligent enough to search it out, but thank You for your grace in showing it to all of us. Lord, give each of us all a new hunger for prayer. And Lord, if there are any among us in those gathered here today, who are suffering, who are receiving evil treatment for the cause of Christ. Energize and adorn their prayers.

Gracious and loving Father, make it happen that we would share in our weaknesses, praying faithfully for one another, let us be strengthened by the righteous prayers of those we love.
In Jesus' name

And we must start by asking ourselves the question…
Do I really care? Am I concerned for where others are in their condition with God?
Do I have compassion and do I care that the world is lost.
What am I willing to do in order for me to be a condition so that I can Lead Souls to Christ.
Last time, I began teaching you five simple steps to learn and use when talking to someone about becoming a Christian.

Now, let’s open our Bibles to the book of James chapter 5, for the study of God’s Word today. That's James 5:13-20. This letter from James, has for years been battleground for interpreters for centuries, and still there are many people, even today, who left in confusion as to its meaning. The Roman Catholic Church uses this rich text, to support what they call the doctrine or the sacrament of extreme unction. There are also many would-be healers and advocates of modern-day healing use to advance the idea that we have a guaranteed healing, if we will only pray under the proper circumstances. It is a passage that is used for putting oil on sick people and dying. For centuries, many find this to be an interesting, a curious passage, and as such, it has created even more curious results.

As you may recall, last time we met, we discussed the first step was can you take the bible and show the need for salvation. That there are many ways to share the Gospel. The majority of people do not want to admit they are a sinner. Unfortunately, that also includes many Christians.

For some, just saying you are a sinner and that you need Christ is extremely harsh, critical and mean spirited. I'd like to introduce the idea, that a good presentation of the Gospel must begin with concern, love and compassion. That said, there are all sorts of ways in which we can have a conversation about God, Jesus Christ and eternal life.

Get out your sermon note pads again, as you will again want to write these down. Last time we discussed showing the need for salvation. Today we are going to talk about, sharing the Gospel.
Following along with if you would, while I read to you from this curious passage in James chapter 5.
If you want to get a feel for this remarkable passage, you really need to go back in the text of verse 1-5, where he sets it up the text, he's talking to those who have built their lives around riches that rot, around gold and silver which rusts, they withheld wages from those who worked for them, they didn’t pay their people, the every day common people, the poor people who worked for them.
Therefore they have nothing to look forward to, except in the last days they’re going to be judged for it all.

"Come now, you rich people! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you. Your wealth is ruined and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your silver and gold are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You stored up treasure in the last days! Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived luxuriously on the land and have indulged yourselves. You have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned—you have murdered—the righteous man; he does not resist you."

"Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land.  Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit.

My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins."

When he talks about suffering in verse 13, what kind of suffering is he referring to? When he talks about sickness, in verse 14, what kind of sickness has he in mind? And what is it that the elders of the church have to offer in their prayers that other people don’t. 

Sharing the gospel, that certainly sounds easy enough, right? You just take out the bible, open it up and start to share the Gospel. That's easy, right? So today, let’s start with the mind frame that we step into the world around us everyday.

The word evangelism is scary. There are a great many people don’t like evangelism because they think it is too pushy. And, if we're being honest, I'm sure that we've all known someone, who in spite of their good intentions, they were aggressive in their approach.

The book of James emphasizes faith in action. So, I'd like you to remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. Belief is more than just reading the gospel.
The body of believers are the hands and feet of God, therefore, the hands and feet of the Gospel.
Faith and trust are actions, meaning they are not merely something we simply read and occasionally have a thought or two about.

There are a lot of people, who believe that you need seminary training or some type of advanced training, in order to do it. There is general belief that there is a church on every corner, and there is a pastor for every church. So, there are some who believe, therefore, there is no need for such activities, especially spreading Christianity.

But this is what I believe. This is our heritage, this is our tradition. It is and honor and our great privilege to share the message of the gospel, with those who are yet lost. This is what you sign up for by being a disciple of Christ.

There are basically several primary contexts of ministry, the first of which is field preaching.
Through field preaching early preachers and lay people took the gospel to the people.
However, field preaching is and was not limited to fields, as also occurred in homes, town squares,
churchyards, coal mines, basically, any place a non-church going crowd could gather.

Though many initially resist the idea, especially with the condition of the present culture, however, it is my prayer, that after these messages, it will have taken on greater importance for many of you.
Field preaching became the primary means by which, "God is found of them that sought Him not."
I'd like you to stop and think about that phrase for a just moment, "God is found of them that sough Him not." One of the biggest challenges of the church today, that is how do we take the message of the Gospel to those who have no interest in it.

How do we start small groups? How can we do individual visitation, without being too pushy but also without being too timid? I believe we must be patient and bold. We need to find the middle between being too timid and being too pushy. The Bible teaches us that as a disciple it is just as bad to be too timid as it is to be too pushy.

When Christ returned to the earth, after His resurrection, Jesus taught His disciples for 40 days. The last thing Jesus did was to give all of us, His disciples, the "Great Commission." In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said, "Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Disciple making was the last command that Jesus gave us before He ascended back up to heaven.
We must find the middle ground, between being too timid and too pushy. If you want to have a spiritual conversation you start by thinking: The Harvest is plentiful...RIGHT NOW...TODAY!

We need to change the way we view this command, given to us by Jesus. As a believer, you must first come to realize a few things. You are the person that God is going to use to bring someone to Christ, not your best friend, not your pastor. But you. You are the person God is going to use today to lead a lost soul to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, God will create the opportunities for you to share your faith
One of the best questions you can ask someone, to start a conversation about faith is,"What do you do when you are not doing what you work at?" In other words: What is your passion?
What do you enjoy doing when you have leisure time. And its most likely, that you will get answers like: I love to restore old cars. I love to play golf. I love to read a good book. I love to cook. I love to bake. I love to watch my kids play sports. I love making crafts. And, none of those are bad things, in and of themselves.

But, in all of these are things people really care about. Where is God in that?
Upon asking someone that same question, you will get an answer something like: "I see God in nature, so I spend time with Him on the golf course. Or I see God in the complexity of the mechanics, in the way things working together.
Yes, I see God on the baseball field, in the team work involved in the game.

And, it is also quite possible, they will say no they have never seen God in any of that, in fact, they don't see God at all. Giving you a response something like, "Just look at this world. Where is God in any of this?" That gives you the opportunity to say something like, "How would you like to be able to see God? To see Him with you in the things that you are passionate about?" Opening the door for further conversation.

We must seek and find these opportunities! If we ask Him to reveal them to us, He will open doors for us to engage in conversations about spiritual things. He will give us the awareness to recognize them.

Beloved, there is an urgency, in today's culture, concerning sharing the Gospel.
This is why I want to teach the you, not only the importance of sharing the gospel, but ways in which to do. Take a look around you, this world desperately needs a Savior!

Recently, in talking with some younger children, I was having a conversation with about Jesus. I asked some of them to spell out words and discuss the meaning of words like Salvation, Baptism, Communion, and Christian. I had them give a word to another one of the children, they then gave clues to the remaining children, the clues were geared toward the word we were looking for.

Example, the clues for the word baptism were: water, burial, sprinkle. Then, the clues for the word Communion were: bread, body, wine, blood. Surprisingly, there were a quite a significant number, who understood those clues. One word in particular that gave them some trouble was the word "Potluck" They gave clues that they came up which were Leprechaun, for leaf clover, Irish, and the color green. They got stuck. I really thought they would get the word "Potluck", however, they could not seem to get the word.

So, in an effort to try to help, I offered some clues like, food, plates, fried chicken, mash potatoes, baked beans, macaroni salad and potato salad. They finally gave up. They could not figure it out.
I could not believe that we have a generation that no longer knows the word Potluck.

A little later one of the children said to me that they thought that Potluck must have something to do with weed. Beloved, we are one generation away from losing the meaning of the word Gospel!
 It only takes one generation to fail to teach the next generation for the church to die.
Is it possible, that the church is dying today, because we are the generation, that is failing to share the Gospel message!

People today are more concerned about what does Christ do for them, does Christianity work, more than is the Word of God true, how can a relationship with Jesus Christ, transform my life.
Your Gospel story is about how God has changed you. What areas has He transformed in your life?
How has becoming a Christian impacted you in life?

"Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain,
and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."

Let's be honest, that would be really cool wouldn’t it? If you pray for it not to rain and it didn’t rain.
You pray again this time for it to rain and it downpours. But what do we do when we pray and our loved one dies anyway? After we have pored our concerns out to God. Where is God in that?

See Elijah, like all of us, was a human. He said, I have had enough. Go ahead and take my life. I am no better than my ancestors. It wasn’t that Elijah was some kind of superman with a super power of prayer. We must be remind, that it was God, who caused it not to rain or to rain. Not Elijah!

We often find ourselves, asking the questions, "How is God working in my life when my loved one is sick and dying?"
"Where is God when I lost my job and are out of work, now that the money has dried up?"
How does being a Christian work when my son or daughter has been arrested for drugs or drunk driving?

I'd like to invite you to take some time to thank about all the places in your life in your journey where God showed up in the middle of the struggle in the midst of the storms of life.

Where did Jesus come walking on the water when you were sinking and drowning?
Where has God shown up in the middle of our circumstance?

You see, I find God in the Gospel in John 3:16, "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. "

I see God in I Corinthians 12:26 "So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it."

But what does that looks like in the world we live in today?

Maybe is in helping a senior in your neighborhood,  offering to donate your time to help with some simple home repairs, that are needed, but they cannot afford. Or maybe it is in offering to pick up a few things at the grocery, since you're going anyway. Or maybe, just maybe, it spending time to listen to a child, reading to them, or playing a game with them. You see, these are ways that how we share the Gospel.

Or maybe we find God in Luke 10:33-34, "But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him."

Visits to shut-ins, and helping others with needs that are not an emergency. Beloved, I think that is how we live out Christ's transformation in the world around us.

Rather than focusing only on ourselves, and our families needs, maybe if we focused outwardly on discipleship, hospitality and spiritual formation. Focus on Encouragement, spiritual outreach and in-reach.

Do you know anyone, who will work with you in the community to reach new prospective members and new residents in our community? Assemble a small, or larger group of people, will also work in the church to reconnect members who are inactive and or now live outside our community, by making a phone call, or writing a letter.

Because, this is how we share the Gospel and it will promote the general welfare of others through fellowship, through sharing and communicating the mission of First Church. To worship prayerfully, praise joyfully, serve faithfully and gratefully. The Good News of the Gospel is to be shared throughout the community. You know that I am not introducing a new concept!

Are we really living out the things that we say we believe in? So I encourage you to ask yourself,
a few questions: "How am I doing at spreading the Gospel? How am I doing at showing the love of Christ?" Then give yourself an honest rating on a scale from 0-10.

Ten being you are on fire, you are so hot, you deserve an Evangelism award. You're spreading the love of Christ with nearly every person you come in contact with. And, in contrast, zero being,
I really never talk to anyone about believing or receiving Christ. I never speak out about my faith.
I never say or do anything beyond the walls of church.  I am not involved in any small group, or Bible study. I do not have anyone in my sights, that I am trying to build a relationship with so that I can talk to them about Jesus. That's a zero!

Now, think about where you are on the scale, from 0-10.
What are you willing to do to move forward just one number closer toward 10?
Do you feel that this would be something worth praying about today?

I received an email of a picture this week. The caption said, "You are only confined by the walls you build around yourself." Think about that. I am thoroughly convinced that the biggest obstacle we face in our friends coming to faith is our lack of sharing the Gospel with them. The total lack of a real conversation, an invitation for them to pray and accept Jesus Christ. Perhaps, I'm wrong. Only you and God know the real answer.

So, as we conclude today's message, I ask you, is this something you are willing to pray about?
How you are showing others the need for Salvation?
How are you sharing the Gospel with others?
Are you doing your part to grow the Word of God for this next generation?

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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