Net Questions

1. What are some of the reasons people don’t engage in telling or sharing their faith?

2. While we are called by God to share His story, telling should not be something we force ourselves to do or force on other people, but should come naturally from the overflow of our relationship with God as we build relationships with others. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:16 (NIV) keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

3. If you have experienced Christ’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and purpose, you certainly have a testimony to share with others. What are some of the ways your witness to Christ’s work in your life could help someone else?
Phil 2:1  If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
Phil 2:2  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Phil 2:3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Phil 2:4  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

4. When we engage in telling, it is imperative we listen to God’s Word and let His Holy Spirit lead us! Also, our lives should back our words. Why are each of these so important as we engage in telling? Paul’s words to the church at Thessalonica may help.
1 Th 1:5  because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
1 Th 1:6  You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
1 Th 1:7  And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.


Sermon Notes

Engage in Telling

Here's one of the coolest Scripture verses and it really could be a mission statement for a church! Acts 10:36. Listen...

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Acts 10:36 (NIV)

"telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all."

Isn't that a powerful statement?



There are some basic principles to understand if we are going to engage in telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

Let's PRAY and ask God to show us how we can be engaged in Telling!


PRAY!

Let me sum up the first four sermons of the engage series; When you engage in following Jesus, He will cause you to become a leader who serves because you care!

As we've talked about the last few weeks, we have to put actions to our words! We have to engage our faith by taking action. Some people talk the talk, but never walk the walk! Today we are going to discuss another issue some people have...

"People who walk the walk, but never talk the talk!"

In other words, they've accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. They've accepted His forgiveness, His salvation, His promise of eternal life, but they never engage in telling others about Christ.

Engage in Telling Principle One:

Talk the Talk!

Talk: If you never make the connection between what you do and why you do, people just won't know!

I'm not talking about getting in people's faces and being rude or trying to pressure people into coming to Christ.

I'm talking about being so excited about what God has done for you and what He is doing in your life, that you simply can't help but talk about it.

When something happens in your life that is good, you talk about it. When you get a good deal, you talk about it. When you catch the big fish, or get the big buck, you talk about it. You talk about the stuff you're excited about.
Football, concerts, hobbies, grandkids. Hopefully this week, Debbie and I will have our first! Get ready for some grandkid stories.

Now when it comes to our relationship with God a lot of people like to put it this way...

"Well religion is personal. It's not something you talk about. It's private. Just between me and God."

Really? Come on, really?
You're going to tell me you don't think a person should talk about their relationship with God?

Now I'm not trying to be mean. I'm sure we've got some folks in here today who've said this. But think about it for a minute. I'm not talking about going around bragging, or using your relationship with God to act like you're better than everyone else.

I'm not talking about using your relationship with God to put others down or to make them feel less of a person because their relationship is not as strong as yours. If you're doing such things that is pride and God hates pride!

I'm talking about a relationship with God that is so strong, powerful, meaningful, and life changing, you can't help but talk about it.
In fact, if you have that kind of relationship with God, it's going to effect the way you live in such a way, people will ask you to explain the good they see in your life!

Are you going to tell them, "Sorry, can't talk about that, it's personal"?

There are some people who can't stand the thought of talking about religion or their relationship with God because they've know someone who claimed to follow Christ who was braggadocios, pharisaical, argumentative, and just mean spirited.

If this has been your experience, let me apologize to you for them.
They do not represent the way God wants His followers to act.

Now some folks may be a little in your face when they first come to Christ, just because they are so excited, and maybe because they want so bad for you to find what they've found. God will grow them to understand how to be excited and bold without being offensive.

Now you know we've been using Saint Peter as an example the last few weeks. Today, he again finds himself at the center of our story.

Peter had the talk the talk part down, but God had to teach him the other principles of engaging in telling!

In our story today, Peter learns the other principles of engaging in telling!
It's a fascinating story of God's love, once again told through Simon Peter!

These principle are important for each of us because
every believer should be engaged in telling!

This morning we're going to look at the context of our text. The story around the verse I said would be a great mission statement for a church. We will read together a powerful story, and then see what it can teach us about engaging in Telling...

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.
Acts 10:1 (NIV)

He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
Acts 10:2 (NIV)

Just a quick note, Cornelius evidently was a Gentile who had accepted the God of Israel to be the One, True God. Although he had never been circumcised, he was trying to follow all the other Jewish laws. He obviously wanted to know the truth and had asked God to reveal it to him. God heard his prayers...

One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
Acts 10:3 (NIV)

Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.
Acts 10:4 (NIV)

Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
Acts 10:5 (NIV)

He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
Acts 10:6 (NIV)

When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.
Acts 10:7 (NIV)

He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
Acts 10:8 (NIV)

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.
Acts 10:9 (NIV)

He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.
Acts 10:10 (NIV)

He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
Acts 10:11 (NIV)

It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.
Acts 10:12 (NIV)

Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
Acts 10:13 (NIV)

“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
Acts 10:14 (NIV)

Another quick note: here's another man, even though he knew the truth, trying to follow the letter of Jewish law...

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
Acts 10:15 (NIV)

This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
Acts 10:16 (NIV)

While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate.
Acts 10:17 (NIV)

They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
Acts 10:18 (NIV)

While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you.
Acts 10:19 (NIV)

So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
Acts 10:20 (NIV)

Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”
Acts 10:21 (NIV)

The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.”
Acts 10:22 (NIV)

Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along.
Acts 10:23 (NIV)

Another note: Peter took some brothers along, because he wanted witnesses who could vouch for why he went to a gentiles home and what he did while there.

The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
Acts 10:24 (NIV)

I love this...did you notice, he was expecting Peter to come? Cornelius had such trust in God and he knew Peter was going to share truth with him so he invited family and friends to come hear the message Peter would bring.

As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.
Acts 10:25 (NIV)

But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”
Acts 10:26 (NIV)

Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.
Acts 10:27 (NIV)

He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.
Acts 10:28 (NIV)

So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”
Acts 10:29 (NIV)

Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me
Acts 10:30 (NIV)

and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.
Acts 10:31 (NIV)

Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’
Acts 10:32 (NIV)

So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”
Acts 10:33 (NIV)

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
Acts 10:34 (NIV)

but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
Acts 10:35 (NIV)

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Acts 10:36 (NIV)

You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—
Acts 10:37 (NIV)

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Acts 10:38 (NIV)

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,
Acts 10:39 (NIV)

but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
Acts 10:40 (NIV)

He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
Acts 10:41 (NIV)

He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.
Acts 10:42 (NIV)

All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Acts 10:43 (NIV)

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
Acts 10:44 (NIV)

The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
Acts 10:45 (NIV)

For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,
Acts 10:46 (NIV)

“Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
Acts 10:47 (NIV)

So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
Acts 10:48 (NIV)

Principles for engaging in telling are all over this story!

Principle Two:

Tell Everyone!

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
Acts 10:34 (NIV)

but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
Acts 10:35 (NIV)

The Jewish people had been chosen by God to be a special people, set apart and different from the rest of the world, not so they could be considered a superior race, but so they could be examples to the rest of the world that "God so loved the world!"



But they got to the place where they not only saw the practices of pagan people as unclean, but considered the people themselves to be unclean and no good.

Even Peter still struggled with this, but God showed him the truth...

He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.
Acts 10:28 (NIV)

So remember, everyone needs Jesus!
Everyone needs to hear the good news.

Again, this doesn't mean you go out there and try to cram it down their throats, but you look for opportunities and open doors and you build relationships so that you can engage in telling!

Principle Three:

Listen to God

Did you notice that Peter said, "God showed me!"

We've got to take our cues in telling from God's Word! We need to be able to let people know why we believe what we believe.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
1 Peter 3:16 (NIV)

When we engage in telling others about Jesus, they don't need our opinion, they need God's truth. God told Peter that his opinion about gentiles had been wrong. When engaging in telling, it is imperative we pay attention to God's Word!

And what about the timing of sharing our faith? How will we know when it's the right time? How do we know when to engage in actually telling the gospel and when we are to engage in relationship building and wait for God's timing?
The answer to that is found in our next principle...

Principle Four:

Be led by the Holy Spirit

The example for this principle is found in our text and was lived out by Jesus Himself...

You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—
Acts 10:37 (NIV)

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Acts 10:38 (NIV)

Led by the Spirit; He will lead you who to share with, when to share, and what to share!

There are times when God has led me to share with someone I've never met and never had the opportunity to build a relationship.
It was just the right time.

Paul puts it like this...

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
1 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
1 Corinthians 3:7 (NIV)

The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:8 (NIV)

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Corinthians 3:9 (NIV)

Someone has to plant the seed of the gospel.
Others will water that seed.
God will make it grow, and at just the right time, God will give someone the privilege of being the one to harvest.

What can really mess things up, is when a misguided person tries to harvest fruit that is not ready. This can cause great problems and may turn someone away from the gospel.

How do you know the right time?
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and to help you see when a person is ready. It may be they are asking just the right questions. It may be that they are hurting and the fact that you first show you care by loving them in a difficult time, opens their heart to the gospel.

I know what some of you are thinking. "I'm not an evangelist! I wouldn't know what to say, even if it were the right time."

If you know Jesus as your Savior, you know more than you think!

In fact, this leads us to the next principle of engaging in telling...

Principle Five:

Tell your Story

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,
Acts 10:39 (NIV)

but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
Acts 10:40 (NIV)

He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
Acts 10:41 (NIV)

A witness is someone who has seen something or who has information about something. If Jesus has changed your life by what He did on the old rugged Cross, then you are a witness!! You have a story to tell.

You don't have to have a seminary degree.
You are the only expert when it comes to your story. When the opportunity presents itself, just tell your story. It's called sharing your testimony!

People can argue with and debate you on a lot of subjects, but it's hard to debate your personal experience with Christ.

But what if they hear my story and then want to know how to receive Christ? That's were I get nervous.

It's as simple as the abc's!

Just tell them to...

A
Admit they've done wrong and need Jesus!

B
Believe that Jesus died to save them from their sins!

C
Commit their life to Jesus by inviting Him into their life!

What if they ask more questions?

Tell them what you know, and then invite them to join you in the exciting journey of discovering and growing in Christ every day.

Principle Six:

Lift up the Name of Jesus

All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Acts 10:43 (NIV)

Remember, it's not about you! It's not about the witness, it's about the One your witnessing about. Jesus. It's about bringing glory to Christ by bringing people to Christ.
It's not about meeting your quota's or advancing your glory as a great evangelist.


Becky Manley Pippert put it this way in her book, "Out of the Salt Shaker & into the World

"To evangelize, it seemed, required insensitivity and an inclination to blurt out a memorized gospel outline, without inhaling, to every stranger you met. It never occurred to me that my pre-Christian, unredeemed, almost common-sense understanding about how to relate warmly to people might be valid...

For instance, I knew how offended I had been as a non-Christians when someone tried to push religion on me, without even discovering who I was or what I believed. That was a proper response, I see now, for I should be offended when I'm being treated as someone's evangelistic project instead of as a person."

And our final principle...

Principle Seven:

Give them your time

“Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
Acts 10:47 (NIV)

So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
Acts 10:48 (NIV)

Engaging in Telling will lead us to engage in Discipling, and that takes time and will be the subject of the message week after next!

Talk to
Everyone about your faith
Listening to God's Word
Led by the Holy Spirit
Inspired by what you've witnessed
Naming the Name of Jesus
Giving them of your time

Let's Pray!