Monday, April 30, 2007

Spiritual CPR


I preached the following sermon at Morningstar Christian Chapel, on Sunday, April 29. You can download an extended version of this sermon, if you prefer to listen to the audio.

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Passage: Mark 1:16-18

“And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And they immediately left the nets and followed Him.”

Introduction

Christians around the world are looking for ways to re-ignite a spiritual life that has grown stagnant. Many professing Christians have lost the zeal they once had. Their desire to spend time daily in the Word of God has waned. They don’t pray, as they should. They don’t give, as they should. They don’t serve, as they should. And they don’t share, as they should. They find no joy in their relationship with Christ. To tell someone that they are Christian is no different than telling someone that they are Italian, or German, or French, or Scandinavian.

Granted, for many professing Christians around the world the problem is that they are unregenerate. They are not saved. They are false converts. They are rocky ground hearers who, at some point in their lives, gave an intellectual assent to the truths of Jesus Christ, but they fell away the moment any kind of affliction came their way. They continue to call themselves Christians, as if occasional church attendance or a prayer uttered at a low point in their life has somehow made them right with God.

But why is it that those who are genuinely saved lack joy and zeal, particularly when it comes to evangelism? Why, particularly here in America, is the church so spiritually lazy, and seemingly unconcerned with the death and eternal destination of the myriad of lost people around the world? I think one of the reasons the Christian walk leaves so many men and women appearing as no more than a dead person is this. They are in need of spiritual CPR.

During my twenty years in law enforcement, I have been called upon to perform CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) a few times. The first time was about sixteen years ago. I was new to patrol. My training officer and I received a “shots fired, assault with a deadly weapon call.” When we arrived, the suspects were gone and a young man lay barely clinging to life in the driveway. He had been shot in the chest—an apparent victim of a drug-deal-gone-bad.

I dropped to my knees to check for signs of life. He was not breathing and he had no pulse. I ordered a bystander who was a friend of the victim to begin breathing for the man, while I administered compressions to his chest. I frantically pumped on the man’s chest. I will never forget the sound of his ribs cracking under the pressure I was applying to his body. With each compressive thrust to his chest, I watched the man’s life’s blood slowly flow from his body.

Paramedics soon arrived and took over the life-saving effort. It was to no avail. The man died there in the driveway.

In a career filled with intense moments, that winter evening so many years ago is forever etched in my memory. I will never forget performing CPR on that young man who died before my eyes. And as I look out at you, and as I talk to Christians in other churches and on the streets, I see many people in need of spiritual CPR. Why is that? Why do I see some of you here this morning, and far too many Christians around the world this way?

The reason is this. When it comes to evangelism, when it comes to reaching lost and dying people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, too many Christians lack a heartbeat. When it comes to having a love for people bound for hell, too many Christians have no pulse. When it comes to having a love for people bound for hell, too many Christians have stopped breathing. This is evidenced by the fact that they are not pushing any air across their vocal cords to speak to people about the only One who can save them from the wrath of God to come.

The primary function of God’s church, and therefore the primary reason of existence on earth, for each and every true follower of Christ is not fellowship. It is not personal or corporate Bible study. It certainly is not self-preservation. The reason the Lord has not returned to take His Church home is because there is still work to do. And that work is evangelism. There are two things Christians will not be able to do in heaven—sin and evangelize the lost. For in heaven, there will be no sin, and there will be no lost people.

So, this morning we are going to perform a little spiritual CPR. Returning to our passage in Mark, we are going to use the acronym CPR this way. In this passage we find a command to obey, a promise to believe, and a response to give. Look again at Mark 1:16-18.

“And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And they immediately left the nets and followed Him.”

A Command to Obey

The “C” in our CPR acrostic is a “Command to Obey.” And the command in our passage in Mark should be quite obvious. Jesus said, “Follow Me.”

In considering what Jesus meant when He said, “Follow Me,” many thoughts probably come to mind. While Jesus attaches this command to several different activities throughout Scripture, there is but one purpose for the command. Jesus’ command to follow Him is a command to do what He came to do.

Jesus said this about His purpose for being in the world. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). While Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed the hungry, and taught the people, all of these activities were merely aspects or fruits of His primary purpose. His primary purpose was to save lost people.

Listen to the words of Jesus’ first sermon, which we find immediately preceding this morning’s passage. “Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). Herein lies His purpose for humbling Himself to take the form of human flesh. That purpose was to call lost people to repentance and faith in Him, and then to die on the cross and rise again in order to make their salvation possible.

John Piper wrote this: “Therefore, when [Jesus] demands that we follow him, he means that we join him in the task of gathering: ‘Whoever does not gather with me scatters’ (Luke 11:23). There are no neutral followers; we either scatter or gather. Following Jesus means continuing the work he came to do—gathering a people in allegiance to him for the glory of his Father.”[i]

What a powerful statement Piper makes. “There are no neutral followers; we either scatter or gather.” Are you gathering today? If not, then you are doing more than just simply sitting on the sidelines. You are actually helping to scatter. You are actually helping to perpetuate the unbelief of lost souls by your indifference and complacency.

Jesus’ command to follow Him is not only a command to follow His evangelistic example. It is a command to follow in His footsteps—to follow Him where He went. And the last steps taken with His human feet upon the dirt of this sin-stained world were taken upon a place called Golgotha—the place where they would nail Him to a cross and crucify Him.

If you are going to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to give up your profession. Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John away from their nets. He called Matthew away from his tax collecting business. He called the rest of His disciples away from whatever their vocation may have been.

If you are going to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to give up your most treasured, earthly possessions. Consider the rich, young ruler. “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me’” (Mark 10:21).

If you are going to be a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to give up your relationships with other people—even your family and friends. “Another also said, ‘I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:61-62).

Now, listen carefully. I am not saying that you have to quit your job, or sell your house and your car, or leave your family behind to be a follower of Jesus Christ. And doing any of those things certainly will not save you, for it is by grace we are saved through faith. I am saying that you must be willing to do these things and more, if through your God-given conscience, you are called upon by our Lord to do so. If you are not willing to give up everything to follow the Lord Jesus Christ you cannot be His disciple.

Hoping that I’ve made myself clear, I need to go a step further. Not only should we be willing to give up the creature comforts and pleasing relationships of this life, we must be willing to give up our very lives to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We must be willing to suffer and die for Him in order to be counted among His true followers.

Again, listen to the words of John Piper. He wrote, “Continuing the work [Jesus] came to do even includes the suffering he came to do. Following Jesus means that we share in his suffering. When Jesus calls us to follow him, this is where he puts the emphasis. He knows he is heading to the cross, and he demands that we do the same.”[ii]

The book from which I have quoted John Piper is What Jesus Demands from the World. In the margin of the page from which I drew the last quote, I wrote this question. “Can American Christians handle this?”

I believe true converts, genuine followers of Jesus Christ can handle it. Why? Because we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. But no false convert will truly follow Christ to the point of sharing in Christ’s suffering.

This may come as a shock to you, but I actually pray for the persecution of the American Church. Why? Because it will be through persecution, through testing by fire, through living in a place where it actually costs something to be a Christian that the true Church will be revealed.

When I worked patrol on a regular basis, I loved to work the graveyard shift. The reason I liked working those early morning hours is because it was much easier to spot a bad guy driving down the street. When I worked day shift it was much more difficult, because there were so many cars on the road, so many people on the street. Everyone seemed to blend in with everyone else.

It was much easier late at night to discern between a couple coming home from dinner and a movie, and a couple who was planning on breaking into cars and houses. The same will be true when persecution comes to the American Church. It will be much easier to discern between true and false converts, because the only people left in the church, when persecution comes, will be people who truly obeyed Jesus’ command to follow Him.

If we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ then we must willingly take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). Jesus also said, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:38).

No one is worthy to be counted among Jesus’ disciples. We cannot earn or deserve the free gift of everlasting life He extends to those who, by faith, repent of their sin and place their trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. That being said, only those who take up their cross daily and deny themselves—who are willing to face and experience physical death for the cause of Christ (which is to see lost sinners saved), are counted among His disciples. And only His true disciples will see heaven.

The apostle Paul knew this when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is not longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

The first step in spiritual CPR, the first step in reviving an otherwise lifeless walk with Christ, is to obey Jesus’ command to follow Him. Are you doing that this morning?

A Promise to Believe

Having given His disciples a command to obey, Jesus then gives them a promise to believe (the “P” in our C.P.R. acrostic). Jesus said, “I will make you become fishers of men.”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus employed a fishing analogy to describe evangelism, to describe fulfilling the Great Commission? Well, one reason could certainly be that He was talking to fishermen, so he employed word pictures to which they could relate. I love the way our Lord painted with words—His Word!

While the reason just mentioned is valid, I think there is more to it than that. Listen to what the Prophet Isaiah wrote. Isaiah 57:20-21 says this:

But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’

When Jesus told His disciples that He would make them fishers of men, He may have been simply continuing the word picture He painted through one of His prophets. The implication is this. In order to be actively engaged in evangelism, in fishing for men, you must go to where the fish (lost people) are. You must take to the sea.

Fishermen head out to sea because they have no chance of catching fish from the couch in their living room. They can’t catch fish by standing on the dock waving to other fishermen who have taken to the sea.

Likewise, Christians have little chance of reaching lost people with the gospel of Jesus Christ from the comfort and relative safety of their homes. And we will not catch any fish if we remain huddled within the comfort of our church, or Sunday school classes, or fellowship groups—waiting for the fish to jump into a boat that is tied to the dock, so to speak.

The ocean fishing industry, such as sword and crab fishing, is traditionally one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet. But every season, fishermen take to the sea. For many it is an occupation. For many it is a source of income. However, there are other ways to earn a living—safer ways to earn a living. Most fishermen, however, take to the sea because they love fishing. They are passionate about fishing. They weep at the thought of not being able to fish.

And so it should be with the Christian when it comes to evangelism. Instead of trembling in fear because of what you perceive to be the inherent dangers and risks associated with evangelism, you should weep bitter tears at the thought of not following Christ Jesus by reaching the lost with the gospel.

Many of you are hearing what I am saying and, right now, you are thinking: Tony. I can’t. I don’t know how. I have a hard time memorizing Scripture. What if I’m asked a question I can’t answer? I’m not good at talking to people. I have a hard time starting conversations with people I know, let alone with people I don’t know. I want to learn. I wish it was as easy for me as it seems to be for you. I’ve tried in the past—really I have. It’s just too hard for me.

If you are thinking this way, or close to it, I want to say something to you. And I say this because I care about you. Yours is not an issue of fear. Yours is an issue of faith. When will you set aside your fear and begin to live by faith?

Don’t you believe the Word of God? The Bible says, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline [or sound judgment]” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Don’t you believe the Word of God? The Bible says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Don’t you believe the Word of God? The Bible says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Don’t you believe the Word of God? The Bible says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident” (Psalm 27:1-3).

Don’t you believe what Jesus says in the passage we are studying this morning? Or have you just missed it. Jesus does not say that you will become fishers of men, if you follow Him. No! He says, “I will make you become fishers of men!”

Maybe you are afraid of evangelism because you realize your own inadequacies. Good! The moment following Jesus becomes more about what you can do for the Lord instead of what He has already done for you and, by His great power, what He can and will do through you, you become useless to Him. The moment you think it is about you instead of Christ, He might as well take you home, because any service you give to Him will be sullied by your sinful pride and arrogance.

Maybe you are thinking that you cannot do enough to make yourself an effective ambassador of Christ, an effective witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Good! Very good! There is nothing you can do to make yourself an evangelist. Yes, you can and should do the work of learning how to do evangelism; but it is the Lord who will give you the heart of an evangelist—a heart that is desperate to see lost sinners saved. Listen again to what Jesus said. “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

The inevitable and glorious result of true submission to Jesus Christ is seen in what he will make you. He will make you a person who desires seeing unsaved people drawn to repentance and faith. And it will be more than a warm feeling of praise and thanksgiving in your heart when you hear stories about how other people are reaching the lost.

If you will submit to Jesus Christ and follow Him as He commands, He will make you like the fishermen past and present who long for the sea, even with its dangers and mystery—who long to go fishing and catch fish because of their love for fishing and the sea. He will make you a person who wants to share the good news of Jesus Christ with lost people, whether they are friends, family, co-workers, or total strangers. You will love to fish for men so much that it will not matter to you what kind of fish you catch, or where you are fishing.

A Response to Give

Jesus gives each of us the command to follow Him. He then promises to make us what He wants us to be—namely, fishers of men. To complete our efforts in performing spiritual CPR, let’s now take a look at the response we are required to give.

To learn how we should respond to Jesus’ command to follow Him, and to learn how we should apply to our own lives the promise Jesus made to those who follow Him, all we have to do is look at the response the disciples gave and do the same. Mark 1:18 says, “And they immediately left the nets and followed Him.”

The word “immediately” is correctly translated from the Greek text. It can also be translated as the phrase “at once.” Peter and Andrew did not hesitate to obey Jesus’ command and believe the promise. They followed Him at once.

What I love about this verse is its simplicity. There is no room for gray-area thinking. So, don’t waste any of your time or brain cells trying to figure out if your particular situation somehow exempts you from following Peter and Andrew’s lead in responding to Christ’s command to follow Him.

We really don’t need to spend much time on this. When should you follow Jesus Christ? When should you take up your cross and follow Him? When should you take up your cross and follow Christ, and do what He came to do, which was to call people to repentance and faith? Immediately. Right now. At once. To do otherwise, to even hesitate in your obedience, is to sin against God. James makes this clear to us. It’s one of my favorite verses. James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

The Scripture says that the disciples immediately left their nets. Probably the most important word in this verse is the word “left.” It is translated from the Greek word aphiemi (af-ee-ay-mee). It is used many times throughout the New Testament.

For instance, the word is used in Luke 4:39 to describe stopping something in its tracks.

"And standing over her, He [Jesus] rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them."

It is used in a similar way in Revelation 2:4.

"But I have this against you, that you have left your first love."

So have you left your nets to follow Jesus Christ? What in your life is more important to you than obeying the command of your Savior to drop whatever you’re doing to follow Him?

What is more important to you than to obey Christ’s command to follow Him in what He came to earth to do, which was to call people to repentance and faith, through the proclamation of His gospel—the good news that He would suffer and die on the cross taking upon Himself the punishment for the sins of man, and then three days later He would rise again forever defeating death?

Hear what Jesus said! We find it in Matthew 11:37-39. "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.”

What nets in your life are you unwilling to immediately drop in order to obey the One who has given you the gift of eternal life? Your job? Your family? Your friends? Your time? Your personal comfort? Your reputation? Your safety?

Is it that you think you don’t have to obey the Lord’s command to follow Him? If that’s the case then, according to Jesus, you are not worthy of Him. If you are unwilling to follow Him and obey Him, then the likelihood is that you do not belong to Him. The likelihood is that you are not saved. If this is you, stop looking to the Lord Jesus Christ, thinking He is your God. The truth is that your god is whatever you are unwilling to sacrifice in order to obey the Lord you profess to know and worship.

Is it that you don’t believe the promise that He will completely equip and empower you to do what He wants you to do? If that’s the case, if you don’t believe Jesus will do in you what He promises to do, then how can you look in the mirror and say, “I belong to Jesus. I’m a Christian.” If you don’t believe His promise to make you a fisher of men, do you really believe in Him at all? Do you really believe that He has saved you?

I cannot answer these questions for you.

If you do believe the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ—the promise that He will make you fishers of men, then you have but one choice. You must, out of faith and obedience, respond as the disciples did. You must follow Him immediately, with a genuine love for God and a love for others that is expressed through your active participation in bringing the gospel to lost people bound for hell.

Conclusion

There are times when we can all use some spiritual CPR. CPR, rightly applied, is done with considerable force. In order for CPR to be effective, the rescuer must depress the victim’s sternum 1 ½” to 2”. As I experienced all those years ago when I performed CPR on the dying man in the driveway, CPR can sometimes result in the victim receiving a few cracked ribs. But better to have a few cracked ribs and live, than not receive CPR and die.

There might be some of you here this morning feeling like a few of your spiritual ribs have been cracked. I hope you understand that this spiritual CPR has been performed on you in order to help you, not to hurt you. Hopefully the spiritual CPR you received today has reminded you that you have a command to obey, a promise to believe, and a response to give. Hopefully, in the process, your spiritual heartbeat and breathing has been restored, especially as it pertains to evangelism.

When a victim is revived as a result of CPR, they often have a new perspective on life. They often come away from the episode with a new appreciation for life and a greater determination to live life the way they should. My hope is that we will all come away from God’s Word this morning more determined than ever to live in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ’s command to follow Him, more confident than ever in His promise to make us fishers of men, and resolved to drop everything and anything in order to respond obediently to His command.

Gospel Presentation

For some of you here this morning, the situation is more desperate. You are the dying man in the driveway. You have been shot in the heart with a high-powered round. It is called sin. Like the young man who lay dying in the driveway all those years ago, who was shot because he was involved in a drug-deal-gone-bad, you, too, are a Law-breaker. You have broken God’s Law.

See for yourself. Answer the following questions honestly?

Have you ever failed to put God first in every aspect of your life?

Have you ever committed idolatry by creating a god of your own imagination—one who will overlook sin and will not judge those who break His Law?

Have you ever taken God’s name in vain—taking the name of the God who has given you life and used His holy name to express disgust or flippant or careless excitement?

Have you ever dishonored your parents through your disobedience and disrespect?

Have you ever committed murder in your heart by harboring anger, resentment, bitterness, and hatred in your heart toward another person—all the while justifying it by saying and believing the person has it coming to them for what they’ve done to you (real or perceived)?

Have you ever committed adultery in your heart by lusting after another person?

Have you ever stolen from others? The value matters not.

Have you ever told a lie? Coloring them white matters not. Labeling them as fibs matters not.

And have you ever coveted by wanting things that do not belong to you—by being jealous of the “haves” and by longing to disassociate yourself from the “have nots?”

Maybe hearing this you are thinking to yourself, “Well, I’m not that bad. I’m only guilty of breaking a few of God’s commandments.” Before you breathe a sigh of relief and self-confidence, hear what the Word of God says. “For whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10).

The Bible also says, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). That young man in the driveway all those years ago likely had no idea that evening would be his last on earth. The same is true for each of us. No one knows the exact date and time of their last breath. That being said, the time to get right with God is not when you are standing before Him waiting to be judged. Like a criminal standing before a judge in a human court, on that day you will receive the just punishment for your sins against God. You will receive justice as He sentences you to eternity in hell. God must do so because He is holy, righteous, and just. He is a good God who will not leave the guilty unpunished.

The Bible says this. “For the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8).
The Apostle Paul gave us this clear warning when he wrote to the Christians around Galatia. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forwarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

But there is hope for you. There is good news. While you sit there in your seat, bleeding to death from the mortal wound of sin, God has provided the only way of escape from His just wrath to come.

Two thousand years ago God came to earth to perform CPR of another kind. God came down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, fully God and fully man. He lived a perfect, sinless life. And He went to the cross, suffering a horendous, bloody death in order to take upon Himself the death sentence that is rightly yours. He paid the penalty you deserve for every time you have broken His Law in thought, word, or deed. And three days later He rose again, forever defeating death; and He is alive today.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18).

If you are here this morning and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you now realize that if you were to die today in your sins you would spend eternity in hell as the just punishment for your sins, and the thought of such a horrible, eternal existence concerns you, then hear and obey what the Lord Jesus Christ said. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). And listen to what the Apostle Paul said. “Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Cor. 6:2b).

I beg you to repent. I beg you to turn away from your sins. Confess them before Almighty God and beg for His forgiveness as you never have before. By faith, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Ask Him to save you and to be the Lord and Master of your life. Do it today, while you still have time.

The promise is that when you stand before the God who gave you life, instead of receiving what you deserve, which is eternity in hell; you will receive what you don’t deserve, which is His grace and mercy and the gift of eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

And to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ: there is one more thing I want to tell you.

When I had finished giving the young man in the driveway CPR, my hands were covered in his blood. My training officer immediately grabbed me by the wrists and escorted me into the house; where he washed my hands in the sink. He was concerned that I would contract AIDS, hepititis, or some other communicable disease, because I came in contact with the man's blood.

I must admit to you that sixteen years ago I was more concerned about getting the man's blood off my hands, than I was with where he would spend eternity. The fact that He was standing before the holy and righteous God of the universe meant less to me than cleaning my hands. I thank God that He has brought me to the place where I now care more about where people will spend eternity than the thought of getting my hands dirty. My hope is that you will be willing to get your hands dirty for the cause of Christ--to see lost sinners saved. My hope is that where people will spend eternity will be more important to you than keeping your hands clean.

[i] Piper, John. What Jesus Demands from the World, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2006), p. 70.
[ii] Ibid. p. 70.

4 comments:

WayneDawg said...

Dude -

What an awesome sermon! God is using you in a mighty way. Can you come speak to my church in Georgia........?

Better yet, can I use some of this sermon to speak to my Sunday school?

Currently, I am leading the Way of the Master foundation course on Wednesday nights at my church. We started with about 20 folks (In a church that has about 1200) and now we have about 10 who still faithfully attend going into the 6th week.

I can't wait to go fishing with the remaining group in week 7. Each week I give them a street witnessing encounter that I have had so they will feel more comfortable about doing it themselves.

Keep up the good work and fighting the good fight.

Tony Miano said...

WayneDawg,

Feel free to use any portion of the sermon you think will be an encouragement to the class. And feel free to download the audio and copy it for free distribution.

Regarding coming to your church in Georgia, all it takes is an invitation and working out the logistics.

Praise God for the people who remain in your WOTM class! We need to be excited about each and every follower of Christ who comes to the realization that they must be engaged in evangelism, in a biblical way.

It's taken me more than a year to get three or four members of my church family to join me in "street fishing," on a regular basis. But at least they are out there!! Others will come as the Lord works on the hearts of His people.

Thank you for your service to Him, brother.

Renee Heaton said...

I think that I am going to start printing out all your posts and putting them in a notebook so I can just read over and over! Thank you so much for your inspiration for those who have woken up and are trying to obey the call to save the lost.

Tony Miano said...

Renee,

I am very humbled by your comment. And I am very glad that you find my blog to be an encouragement.

All praise and glory and honor to our great God and King, the Lord Jesus Christ!