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Saturday, 31 August 2019

'SHARING FAITH'



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PODCAST LINK - Sunday, September 1st, 2019:

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By Rev. Brian Wilkie                                                                                    

Pastor of St. Andrew's Christian Community
Rockland, Ontario

Rev. Brian Wilkie



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Broadcast Notes:
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‘Sharing Faith

Welcome to Good News In the Morning a program of words and music bringing a Christian message of hope and encouragement to those who are looking for intelligent meaningful and spirited approach to faith and to life.
This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, 96 Pheasant Run Drive, Ottawa, ON  K2J 2R5, Canada, (new address). I'm your host today, Brian Wilkie of St. Andrew's Christian church in Rockland. As always I want to start by thanking you our listeners. We are so grateful for your encouragement and support. Please remember that you can always visit our website for materials to encourage and support you in your Christian walk.
 
If you miss an episode of the show you can go to our website and download the podcast or the MP3 of our broadcast. Details can be found on our website.
Sharing Faith
 
The topic today is reaching out with the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world around us, and the scripture that I’m going to start with today is taken from the gospel of John chapter 4 verses 28 – 42. Now this scripture occurs as Jesus has been traveling with his disciples and they travel into the part of the country known as Samaria.  In Samaria the disciples leave him to go and get food in the village while he waits at a well.  Then a Samaritan woman comes out and has just an amazing conversation with him, in which Jesus reveals to her that he is the Messiah who was promised in scripture.  And this woman having heard this good news does this: (This is where the scripture reading begins.)
 
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.  Even now the reaper draws his wages. Even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.  Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.  I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
 
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers.
 
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
 
What a wonderful revelation these people received as they spent time with Jesus. I pray that as we spend some time in God’s word we will also be encouraged and strengthened in our faith.
 
We’ll look further at what it means to share this faith in a few moments.  But I’d like for you to hear a song sung by the group Glad, from their album Acapella Hymns. This song is a hymn of praise that speaks of the joy of telling about Jesus as it says, O, for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer’s praise.
Charles Wesley, when he wrote that hymn, Oh! for a Thousand Tongues To Sing, wished for a thousand different languages in which to praise God.  And perhaps he also wished for a thousand mouths to speak the praises of God.
 
We have usually only one language. Some of us in the Ottawa River Valley have two or more languages we can praise God in. But we only have one mouth.  And we’ve got to ask ourselves, how much do we use the mouth that we have, and the language that we have, to share the praise of God, not only in church, but also in the world abroad?

For sharing faith is something we do when we meet together as Christians and we encourage one another. And in many ways today’s talk is linked to my other talk, Sharing Encouragement. Because as we remember the encouragement God has given us, as we remember what he has done for us, we have a testimony to share with others. That testimony is sometimes enacted through the deeds we do, by showing the same compassion.  And that testimony is sometimes enacted by sharing the word of Christ with someone who doesn’t know it. When we’re praising God before believers we call it worship, or we call it training and teaching from the word. But when we’re praising God before unbelievers we call it evangelism.
 
Oh, it’s so good to praise God.  It is so good to lift up the name of Jesus.  It’s so good just for us to remember how he saved us; To remember the historical facts, and the love that brought those things into being; To remember the cross of Jesus Christ and his willingness to suffer and die there for us;  To remember how that word first became something we believed in our hearts; To remember how it happened that in the same instant, as the hymn writer John Newton says, “twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.” He spoke of that moment when he realized that he was a sinner and was struck with mortal fear, at the thought he had so much fallen short of the glory of God.  And at the same moment he knew that Christ had died for him, so that his sins might be forgiven, and so that he might trust God for eternal life.
What a great blessing his hymn has been. The testimony of his own coming into faith, that has led so many others to faith.
 
What is your testimony?  How did you come to know God? Was it when you were young in Sunday school?  Was there a Sunday school teacher and perhaps a number of people who just helped you to know that there was a God who loved you?  Before you were even asking questions? Before you were even aware that you were missing God you were introduced to Him by someone?
You know, this Samaritan woman doesn’t bring people to Jesus when she goes out into the town.  She simply tells them what she’s found.  She says,” I have met somebody who told me everything about myself. Could he possibly be the Christ?”
 
She leaves the question open and the people in the town think about that question. They take a look at her.  Many of them seem to trust her. They hear what she says, that he’s acting as prophet telling me everything I ever did.  And they’re struck by the excitement in her. They’re struck by the change in her: The way that she is so confident that she has met someone incomparable, and so some of them begin to believe already.  But she says, “come on out and see”.  They come with her and they make their way to Jesus.  She didn’t have that big a job to do, did she? She had to introduce them to Jesus, and Jesus was right there to meet them, to speak with them, to move in their hearts.
 
Do you know that sometimes evangelism today is just as simple as that? That sometimes people come into a worship service with no Christian background? I just heard from a friend of mine, in fact he’s the current chair of the Good News Christian Ministries board, Tony Copple, and he spoke of a woman who came to church two weeks in a row, having had no Christian background, yet on the second week God became real to her.  She experienced the presence of God, or she experienced the love of God and she heard the word of God and she was ready to trust her life to Christ.
 
Who would have thought it would be that easy to bring someone with no Christian background to the Lord? But somebody invited her to church, and she came and she saw, and she believed, because of what she experienced in the presence of God.
 
That’s what so many of these Samaritan villagers did.  They came out to the well.  They listened to Jesus. They invited him to speak to them some more and what they heard convinced them more and more, that this man really was the Saviour of the world.
 
One of scriptures most effective evangelist was just a woman who posed a question. What do you think about this guy? Could he be the Messiah? Why don’t you check him out?
 
Now, granted, not all evangelism is that simple. It’s not always that easy.  Jesus speaks to the disciples about going out into a field in which the hard work has been done by other people.  He’s drawing a parallel between the groceries that he sent them to purchase. They went into town and they were going to purchase bread and they were going to purchase meats and fish, and they were going to bring that stuff to Jesus so that they could have lunch, but how did that stuff come to be in the store? People went out and worked hard for it. They went to reap where somebody else had sowed with hard work. And likewise, they were about to reap a harvest among the people of Samaria where Jesus had given the witness.  Jesus had warmed the hearts.  Jesus had shown his power and his grace and all they needed to do, was to see people coming to Christ.
 
This is the same today in many cases. There are times when you’re the one sowing seeds diligently,  when you’re the one watering the seeds, and you may find yourself feeling frustrated, wondering if your evangelism is having any effect. You’re showing compassion in the name of Christ. You’re spending time praying for people and praying with people. You’re demonstrating the love that Christ has put into your heart and you’re hoping that it takes effect. And then, perhaps one day, they come to church and the pastor gives a message.  It’s the same thing you’ve been saying all this time, but they come to Christ. Perhaps one day they talk to a complete stranger and learn the gospel in a way that touches their heart and they reap an easy harvest where you have sown.
 
Our friend Billy Graham, the man who’s been responsible for the salvation of so many people, would himself confess that the prayers of the Christians in the towns in which he ministered, and the witness of one neighbor to another is the real foundation of the success of those Billy Graham missions over the years.  The seeds have been sown by others and Billy Graham has had the privilege of sowing new seeds for some, but so often reaping the harvest for which others have labored.  And so the sower and the reaper rejoice together.  This is good news in God.
 
I want to continue to expand upon this theme for a moment, but here is an upbeat tune by Nicole Mullen, a Wow Hits collection from 2003, and she says something quite simple. That we should “Talk about it.”  Talk about our faith.  Let’s listen to Nicole as she sings this message to us. <Music>
Talk about it. Can it be as simple as that? That sharing the faith and simply be talking about it?  You know, so often we think we have to tell the whole gospel to somebody. But simply sharing how you respond in hardship, telling someone you know, “When I go through something  like this, I pray to God.” That tells them that you believe in God. That tells them that you found God to be a great help in times of trouble. It’s not a big theological treatise, it’s just what you do.  It’s just the truth. Sometimes people want to spin their testimony into something fantastic in order to make it more convincing. But your testimony is what God has given you. Your testimony is your honest account of what God done, and just talking about it makes such a difference. Sometimes (it’s) just asking the question.
 
I was just so privileged recently at church in coffee hour and one of the children from Sunday school asked me to pray with him.  He was praying as he asked me many times before to pray for his family, his parents and his extended family. He’s got a tender heart, and this time as we prayed, as he asked God for help to be a better son, a better boy, I asked him if he’d ever asked Jesus into his heart, and he said no. He hadn’t. I asked him if he wanted to, and he asked a few questions about what that meant and then we prayed together.
 
You know, you might think as a minister I’m doing that all the time.  Believe me, I’m not. I wish I were. But I tell you, the joy that you feel when somebody finally responds to the invitation, to trust their lives to Christ and to hope in Him for eternal life,  it’s a great joy. Sometimes it’s that easy, and sometimes it’s just one more step along the way.
 
Are you willing to put yourself out there?  To go to your friends and say, here’s what I’ve experienced?  In the right time and in the right place your words can make a huge difference, and Paul himself reminds us that every time is a right time.  It might not be the right time for loudly shouting on the street corners.  It might be a time for quietly praying with somebody at a coffee table.  It might be the time to simply remind someone that you love them and you’re thinking of them, and that you know that God loves them too. It might be time to ask somebody. “Have you ever trusted Christ? Have you ever asked Him into your heart? To be Lord of your life?”  It might be that simple.  It might be another step along the way.
 
Let’s pray together about this and ask God to just encourage us to do what he’s longing for us to do. That is to share our faith, with a lost and needy world.
 
Almighty God, we have learned from you that you are indeed the Christ, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world. We pray, almighty God, that you will move by your powerful hand in our hearts and minds to take away our fears; To take away our hesitation; To increase our love and to increase our courage and that you will allow us to sow a seed of your love, or perhaps to reap a harvest of salvation, in the lives of the people you love, and we love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Once again I want to thank you listeners for your encouragement and support. We do thank you because you keep us on the air week by week. We want to encourage you to support our ministry financially. Your gift can help us to continue to meet that one vital expense, the cost of broadcasting, which enables us to reach you and over 7000 listeners in the Ottawa River Valley. If you can please make a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries and send it to 96 Pheasant Run Drive, Ottawa, ON  K2J 2R5, Canada, (new address), we will be happy to send you a receipt at income tax time. I also want to encourage you Mark November 7 on your Calendar!  On that evening our Friend Don Hutchinson will be addressing the importance of Our faith in Politics, at St Timothy’s Anglican Church. This event is a chance to raise funds for Good News Christian Ministries, and for us to meet some of our listeners face to face. Details can be found on our website.
 
Be sure to worship in a church where the gospel is soundly proclaimed and lived out with compassion, integrity and resolve. Now to conclude our program I would like to have you listen to a song  from a Celebration of Hymns, Tell me the Old, Old Story from Reflective moments.
 
I do pray that the Lord will hold your heart and you would know Jesus personally and profoundly. May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart, may the heavenly Father surround you with his constant and abiding and accompanying love.
 
- Rev. Brian Wilkie
St. Andrew's Christian Community, Rockland, Ontario
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To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:
 
             

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