Last year around this time I presented what I consider “the” core Christian evangelism message. It only took me a full year before realizing I should be sharing this to encourage my other brothers and sisters, so here are my notes; let His spirit fill in the blanks for you:
Flyin’ Solo – 7/29/2014
You ever try to fly solo… do something COMPLETELY on your own? “Bro- I got this…” But you really don’t… and then after hours of struggling, a friend helps out and whatever you were trying to do, is now taken care of in no time… We weren’t made to do everything on our own! If you often find yourself in that kind of situation, you might need to change something. (The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.)
Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs of two… (Eccl. 4:9-10) because working in couples or small groups allows for encouragement, accountability, and efficiency!
I want us to look at a passage in scripture where a man tries to get something done, escapes town to go do his own thing, has an encounter with God in the process, and finds his solution in the place he least expects it.
The problem: Exodus 2:11
Years later, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his own people and observed their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.”
The failure: Exodus 2:15
When Pharaoh heard about this, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well.
The solution: Exodus 3
I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.
God gives an order to Moses… He sends Moses on a mission. Don’t confuse law with mission. I know people know of old testament law (levitical law) and [hopefully] learn that BECAUSE of Jesus we are free from it now. Tattoos, shaving your sideburns, etc. (Leviticus reference here) [Galations 3:23-25] (Obviously could go into a much deeper technical study, but that’s not the point)… When God sends you on a mission, there are no “laws” to follow… in fact, you might have to break some rules to get God’s mission accomplished. Going against the grain of society. When you break the rules, you might even offend some people. And that’s OK. (Martin Luther broke a rule because you couldn’t put the Bible in the hands of the people… Now everyone has a Bible! Society said the Gospel couldn’t reach Celebrities… Judah Smith and Carl Lentz reach out to Justin Beiber and Kevin Durant)
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
MOSES knew he had NO power or experience to accomplish the mission God was sending him on, so he tried to tune out God’s request because he knew only what he (Moses) could do. How often do we tune out the missions God tries to send us on because we consistently rely on our own abilities? Something inside of you wants to have a conversation with that homeless person (It’s the Holy spirit knocking on your heart)… You want to have a conversation with your classmate about faith but it just doesn’t happen. Christians have excuses MASTERED! I used to say to myself “I can’t do that until I’ve read the entire Bible… I won’t be able to answer every question… I need to finish this study first… I need to learn more… or BEST yet… “IT’S NOT FOR ME.””
Here’s ONE truth to set you free from excuses: (John 14:12) – If you have placed your life in Jesus’ hands, then you are now a people reaching vehicle. The method (how you accomplish a task) can and will change but the mission (reaching people) remains the same. The SAME spirit that conquered the grave LIVES in YOU. It’s NEVER been about what you could do- but the moment you accepted Jesus, your life has changed to be ALL about him AND what He can do THROUGH you.
He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name? ’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “ I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you’
As a Christian, you surrender your name for ONE name that is greater than all others. You know what’s awesome? We don’t need to have it all together either- in fact, Paul encourages us to acknowledge and WORK WITH our weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) So if you feel unprepared for the task God has set before you, here are TWO reasons to work with your weaknesses: 1) God is WITH you. What was Jesus to be named? Emmanuel- which means God with us. (verse 12) Jesus has ALWAYS been on your side and with you WHEREVER you’ve been & will be. 2) You are PREPARED. Whether you’ve been a Christian for 3 minutes or 30 years- both are JUST AS **ABLE** to reach people. Got a ticket? Oh- I know officer Ed. Need to get hooked up with VIP access? Tell ’em Tom sent you. (Verse 14) God hooks Moses up with His name.
There is another verse that many of you are familiar with and it’s found in Matthew 28, verses 16-20. Here, Jesus sends his disciples on their life mission… (verse 19-20). Jesus reminds us the SAME thing He reminded Moses about back in Exodus. ALL authority has been given to Him and He is with you ALWAYS. You don’t need to have established a name for yourself, you go as “I AM” because his name has already been established. What’s interesting too, is that verse 17, after they see him and worship on the mountain, some STILL doubted. Some were ALREADY tuning out Gods request.
ONE warning if you find yourself Flying Solo: Don’t be so absorbed in LIFE that you MISS or don’t even get to take part in the miracles happening around you. Luke 6:11 man w/ shriveled hand… The Pharisees were FURIOUS because Jesus just HEALED the guys hand. The reality is that these men should have been celebrating instead of muttering.
A word of encouragement: You know where you should be and what Jesus has commanded of us… To go out and make disciples… 1 Corinthians 15:58 says this: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always ABOUNDING [overflowing] in the work of the Lord, knowing that IN THE LORD your labor (whatever you do for Jesus’ cause) is not in vain.”
So this isn’t the traditional message about evangelism and going door knocking, as much as it is about embracing and DOING the mission of Jesus. Make friends with strangers, start a conversation with someone on the subway. There WILL be awkward moments, but you are already prepared.
In closing- 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. If you don’t have LOVE and share it, your belief in Jesus going to waste. We can’t reach people if the only place we can be found is in our sanctuary (surrounded by other Christians, in bible study, etc).
Addtl scripture: 1 Cor. 9:16