Simple Steps (Sharing Our Faith) Part 1 of 4

This blog series is the sermon teaching how to share our faith in Jesus Christ easily and naturally. Sermon given by Ryan Stratton on Sunday, September 21, 2014.

The Scripture reference for this sermon is Luke 15:1-7

“When he was the pastor of the Methodist church in Scarborough, William Sangster had an eccentric member who tried to be a zealous Christian. Unfortunately, the man was socially inept and usually did the wrong thing. While working as a barber, the man lathered up a customer for a shave, came at him with the poised razor, and asked, ‘Are you prepared to meet your God?’ The frightened man fled with the lather on his face!” (Wiersbe, Warren. Wycliff Handbook of Preaching and Preachers)

Warren Wiersbe paints this story of how some people try to be “creative” in their evangelistic and witnessing methods.

We all know the saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” This is absolutely true since our lives are to represent the good news of Jesus Christ: by how we move, how we speak (how do we speak to those who serve us), how we interact with others (peaceful or downgrading or demeaning), by our actions (actions really do speak louder than words). But there comes a time when we must speak and use our words to convey the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:15 (CEB) “Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it.”

1 Timothy 2:4 (CEB) “God wants all people to be saved AND to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Today’s story of the lost sheep, in Luke 15, will be our guide to see why we should bear witness to our faith and how we should go about it so we can follow our Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

First, we’ll talk discuss this story–hopefully shedding new light on it–then we’ll explore how this relates to our everyday lives and finally see what God may have to say to us about sharing our faith.

This is really an interesting chapter since it consists only of 3 parables that Jesus taught: the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son. If we pay attention, we’ll see some interesting points to consider that we could easily overlook. First of all there are 100 sheep; then there are 10 coins; then there is 1 son. Jesus is funneling down the numbers to show us what is important.

As the Pharisees were listening to these stories, can’t you just imagine them trying to figure out why these stories were being told and how they are applicable to them?

The similarities in each of these stories is simply this: something is lost and then it becomes found. Isn’t that true of us here and our friends and family who do not know or believe in Jesus Christ did not realize we were lost and searching for God; but all of this time God is actively seeking out his flock–and he uses people like you and me.

More important than this, we see the owner, the leader, the parent who is concerned and searches (sometimes through the situations themselves) for the lost item, animal, person AND THEN rejoices and throws a party because what once was lost is now found!

This chapter starts off with the Scribes and the Pharisees chastising Jesus for socializing with sinners (people “beneath” them). But Jesus welcomed and still welcomes anyone and everyone who will listen and follow.

We always have people that will say negative things about us or make fun of us for whatever reason. Most of the time it is because those making fun of us do not really understand what is really going on.

Jesus did not let their comments bother or deter him from doing what he thought he should be doing. He just keeps on doing what he knows is the right thing to do: reach out to show and tell ALL PEOPLE HE CAN about God’s unconditional love to ALL. So he begins with a parable about a shepherd and his sheep.

Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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