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Purposefully Sharing the Gospel This Christmas

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(12/20) And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

Our Christmas series this year is about intentionally focusing on the 3 great Commandments of the Bible. Two weeks ago we focused on Intentionally Celebrating Jesus this Christmas. That is, to purposefully take and make Christmas about remembering and celebrating that God kept His promise and sent a Savior to ransom and redeem us.

Last week Wayne shared how to purposefully love one another as Jesus loved us this Christmas. This is one of the best times of the year to demonstrate the love of Christ by reaching out to those in need. These are the two supreme commandments of the Bible. This morning we will consider the third great commandment and explore some ways to obey it this Christmas.

The third Great Commandment is what we call the Great Commission. The last thing that is recorded that Jesus said before He ascended into heaven was, "18"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:18-20)

Now, I have said many times, that if I were God, (and I am not), I think it would have been a whole lot more efficient and easier to do what He did here in Luke 2. That is, to send angels to everyone and say, "Have I got a message for you?" Remember Monica and Andrew? They were the characters from the TV show, Touched by An Angel. They would just show up on someone’s door step and say, "I am an angel sent from God with a message for you. God loves you and…." Wouldn’t that take a lot of pressure off of us? What if everyone got a visit on their 13th or 21st birthday, from an angel sent from God with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ?

If you look in Revelation 14:6-7, you see that in some way, angels are going to be part of taking the gospel to the whole world during the last days before our Lord returns. "Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 And he said with a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."

That would take a lot of pressure off of us wouldn’t it. They would not only speak the truth but, like with the Shepherds, they might invoke a little of the fear of God to whom they were sent.

But that is not God’s plan. God’s plan is that we who have heard and received the grace of God would in turn care enough about our family, friends, and the world around us, to tell them of His grace and love in Jesus. After all, Good news is for sharing and for celebrating. The war is over; She said, "Yes," He went to Jarrod’s; We have a baby; I have been promoted with a raise; I won the lottery; My son who was dead is alive and is home; The miners have been rescued from their would-be grave, I have been rescued and am now a child of God.

But for many of us, we find this to be harder than we like to admit. Many of us hope and pray that someone else will tell them for us. Or, we hope and pray that those we love will go to a church that speaks of Salvation and that they will earnestly listen to the truth and embrace it. Or, we hope that the message on or in the Christmas card will speak to their hearts, or that God will haunt them as He did Ebenezer Scrooge, or they will ask us, like the Philippian jailor, how to be saved.

None of us have trouble understanding what Jesus came to save us from or what He saved us for. But let’s list some things. What did He save us from and what did He save us for? Let’s take a moment and list them:

• From Sin and Its Power

• From the Punishment of Sin

• From Yourself and your Selfishness

• From the guilt of your past

• From a purposeless existence

• For good works

• For freedom

• For a Life with God forever. Now there may be more, but these are

essentially what He saved you from and what He saved you for.

Now, Christmas along with Easter and Thanksgiving are probably the easiest times of the year to begin a conversation about Jesus. But though we sincerely want to, we often do not because of our inhibitions. Let’s list some of our inhibitions?

• Fear of rejection

• Fear of not knowing what to say

• Fear of ridicule

• Fear of persecution

• Fear of losing a friendship

But Jesus said to Go and Tell and he also said, "As the Father sent me so send I You." There are less stressful ways to share the gospel this Christmas. You can send gifts and monies to organizations like Samaritan’s Purse or to your favorite missionaries or organizations like Lottie Moon.

Let’s remind ourselves of our purpose. Look back again at Luke 1:76-79. JB had a purpose. His purpose was foretold over 700 years before he was born and distinctly stated by his father. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,

78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

You also have a stated purpose. God rescued you, showered you with gifts and promises, but He has an objective purpose for your life. Look at a couple of 3 scriptures with me. First, Paul says in 2 Tim.1:8-9; Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, God had a purpose for rescuing you. Go back one book to 1 Timothy1, and listen to Paul state His purpose. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life, (1 Tim. 1:12-16). Do you get that? God wanted to demonstrate that if He can rescue me, He can rescue anybody.

Thirdly, here is your purpose: Peter states it clearly in 1 Peter 2:9-10, "9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." Praises or excellencies are the virtues of God. God’s purpose in rescuing you and setting you apart as special is so you can tell people what He is like and what He can do.

That is one of the three great purposes that you have a Christ Follower.

1. God wants you to love Him with all your heart, in a personal relationship.

2. God has given you a gift, a special ability to minister His grace to others and has come to reside in you to enable you to love others as Jesus Loves you.

3. God wants you to tell others about Him. They don’t know Him. They may know a little about Him or use His name as an expletive or to swear but they don’t know Him personally, and don’t know how to know Him. They are stumbling around in darkness, thinking this world can be fixed and happiness and peace and purpose can be obtained without Him. And God is saying, "I revealed myself and my truth to you, and I want you to tell others about me and how to know me." You are now my, John the Baptist.

And listen carefully, your purpose is to share; it is God’s purpose to save when people hear the truth. That is the essence of Romans 10:11-17, "For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Preaching or proclaiming doesn’t mean to stand on a soap box or behind a pulpit it just means to state the truth. It is the Holy Spirit who drives the truth into the heart that you share with your mouth. So I want to help you a little.

The paper you have before you has a few things that should be helpful for you.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman