Pray that We and Our Children Are Evangelist, Part 2 (Romans 1:16-17; 15:20; 2 Timothy 2:10)
Prepared and Preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, September 23, 2018
Praying Scripture Series
THE TREE TRUNK THAT TRUMPETED LIFE AND TRUMPED DEATH By Pastor Rick Sams
The most popular tourist attraction in Herfordshire County, England is a graveyard. People come from all over the world to see a grave of a woman buried over 200 years ago.
Lady Anne Grimston was a proud, wealthy, and obstinate woman who lived for this life alone.
Toward the end friends tried to encourage her to think about what comes after we breathe our last. She would not. She believed there was nothing beyond: “It is as unlikely that I shall continue to live as that a tree will grow out of my body.”
She went so far as to make a challenge to Heaven, saying: “If, indeed, there is life hereafter, trees will render asunder my tomb.” [Allegedly there is the same kind of story about a local man and snakes on his grave. Can anyone confirm?]
Lady Anne Grimston died, was buried, and forgotten. But not quite. After many years the thick marble slab over her grave was found ajar. The builders put it back and forgot her again.
But once more the marble slab tilted to one side, and in the middle was a crack, with a tiny bunch of leaves bursting through. The crack was sealed with cement and the slab returned to its original spot. A few years later the marble was again lifted up, the crack opened wider than before, and the trunk of a tree emerged from the opening.
Workmen repaired the increasingly crumbling tomb and installed iron rails and rods to hold everything together. But the young tree would not be tied down. It kept making its way, breaking the masonry, destroying the walls of the tomb, and tearing the heavy iron railings out of the ground.
Today, growing right from the heart of Lady Anne Grimston’s grave in St. Peter’s churchyard is one of the largest trees in England. Because of that tree the site is a mass of twisted metal and crushed marble.
For over 200 years an old tree trunk has trumpeted: “life trumps death.”
“Whoever believes in me will have eternal life…For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it…But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name…And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know you have eternal life” (John 3:16; 5:21; 20:31; I John 5:11-13).
There is life, eternal life, and I hope that we all desire that our neighbors, friends and family know Jesus.
As you know I am preaching on Scriptures to pray. Today, I wish to talk about some Scriptures to pray having to do with evangelism.
Today, my theme is:
Pray that We and Our Children Are Evangelist, Part 2 (Romans 1:16-17; 15:20; 2 Timothy 2:10)
I want us to look at Paul’s passion for the Gospel and pray that we have the same passion.
Let’s Read Romans 1:16-17:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
- Let’s not be ashamed of the Gospel.
- Are you ashamed of the Gospel?
- Notice Paul’s words here. He is not ashamed of the Gospel.
- Why is he not ashamed of the Gospel? Why are you ashamed of the Gospel?
- He is not ashamed of the Gospel because“it is the power of God for salvation.”
- There is nothing else that gives the power of God for salvation. There is no salvation in any other way (Acts 4:12). The only one who can give us salvation is the Lord. For salvation we need the power of God. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ we have the power of God for salvation.
- There is no salvation in money.
- There is no salvation in possessions.
- There is no salvation in work.
- There is no salvation in knowledge.
- I know the NFL said they own Sundays but there is no salvation in sports.
- There is no salvation in fashion.
- There is no salvation in decorating.
- There is no salvation in American patriotism.
- There is no salvation in food.
- There is no salvation in good works.
- There is no salvation in anything, but by the blood of Jesus.
- Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
- Salvation through Jesus is opened to all, first to the Jew and then to the Greek. This was Paul’s way of saying that anyone can be saved.
- Verse 17: For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous manshall live by faith.”
- God’s righteousness is revealed from faith.
- Let’s take a moment and think of some applications:
- We must be also eager to preach/proclaim the Gospel.
- We must not be ashamed.
- We must not be ashamed at school.
- We must not be ashamed at work.
- We must not be ashamed in public.
- We must not be ashamed on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
- We must not be ashamed at church.
- We must not be ashamed with our family.
- We must have a Gospel mindset, always praying and thinking of opportunities to share.
- We must recognize that the Gospel represents the Power of God. We must be compelled to worship our Mighty Savior.
- We must recognize that God’s righteousness is revealed. We are only righteous by faith in Christ. We are only right before God by faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). This must compel us to worship.
- Let’s talk about Romans 15:20 and the
- We call them the unchurched today. In Paul’s day they would be simply those who have never heard the Gospel. In today’s day people who have not been to church in more than five years have been called unchurched. This is quite common.
- I don’t like to blame the world for being sinners because that is who we become without Christ. If the world does not know Jesus they are going to sin, live in sin and want to condone sin. My biggest problem is when the church tries to become like the world. The church is to evangelize the world and change the world, but far too often the world is becoming like the church. Most persecution in America happens within the church. I feel that I have faced that.
- The world needs Jesus. Do we believe that?
- Raise your hand if you believe the world needs Jesus.
- Eternity matters.
- I remember being a child and hearing my World War II veteran great uncle share a joke. He said a priest came to talk with a parishioner about the hereafter. She was upstairs and he saw nuts on the table. So he decided to help himself to some nuts. She eventually came down and he said, “I hope you don’t mind I helped myself to some nuts.” She commented back, “That’s okay, I already licked the chocolate off of them!”
- The priest in the story was there to talk about eternity. Eternity matters.
- Values have changed and they have changed because the foundation for those values was Jesus, but not anymore. They don’t know Jesus.
- A study showed that millennials, which are those born after 1981, no longer view premarital sex as sin. But where do they get that? I know of baby boomers that don’t see any big deal with this. I once talked with a choir director, who was retired, and he said, “I view sex outside of marriage as wrong for teenagers but not for my age.”
- If we want to know where things are heading look at Europe: In Europe parents can go to jail for spanking their children. There was a real case in which they took children from their parents because the parents spanked their children. Yet, there was no evidence of any abuse at all.
- Yet, sometimes, many times, we go after the sin(s), but not the cause. They need Jesus.
- I was listening to a representative of Voice of the Martyrs speak and he commented on a persecuted believer. A husband and wife were confronted by militant Islam. A man had a military weapon in a Christian’s face and when the husband did not renounce Christ the man shot him right in the face in front of his wife. Amazingly, he lived. When the Voice of the Martyrs representative was speaking to him he was missing part of his face. Listen to what he said. He said if he saw the man who shot him he would forgive him. He would forgive him because he was blinded by the devil (paraphrased).
- People don’t know any better, they need Jesus.
- So, back to the passage. Paul is saying in this passage that he does not want to build upon someone else’s foundation.
- Paul had experienced people messing up his foundation. Paul planted the church in Corinth and then others came and messed up his work. They harmed his foundation (see 2 Corinthians).
- Paul wants to take the Gospel to the unchurched, to those who never heard.
- Listen to Paul in Corinthians:
- 1 Cor. 9:19: For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
- Listen to 2 Timothy 2:10: For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus andwith it eternal glory.
Dr. Tennant of Asbury Theological Seminary said that there was a study showing that 7 percent, just 7 percent, of the millennials claim Christ. If that number is less than 5 percent, we are considered an unreached people group in mission standards. I have heard another statistic that said that 15 percent, just 15 percent, of the millennials are Christian.
So, right here I have 15 popcorn kernels. These 15 kernels represent the Christian millennials. Then I have another zip lock bag with 85 kernels, these represent the non-Christians. The fields are ripe unto harvest. These non-Christians are your children’s friends, your grandchildren and their friends. They are the people you see at the store. They are the mechanic who works on your car. They need Jesus. Without Jesus they die and face God’s wrath. We will all end up in a graveyard eventually. My daughter has asked me a lot about graveyards. We were running and she asked me about the graves she sees, but she will excitedly say, “But I know Jesus so I go straight to Heaven!” Then, “Daddy, you’re a pastor so you go straight to Heaven.” I told her I have no special privileges. Paul was convicted to take the Gospel to those who have not heard. Though I talk about the millennials and have, maybe God has convicted you to take the Gospel to your neighbor who has never heard. The young adults, the millennials, are a large group who need Jesus, but not the only group. There are many baby boomers and busters who need Jesus.
There are many who have an improper understanding of the Gospel. Many think we are saved by works. They need to understand God’s grace. So, an application:
Let all that you do be about the Gospel.
You are on the frontlines of the Gospel. Many times, we think the pastors and missionaries are the only ones on the front lines. This is not true at all. In Acts chapter 8 Stephen had been stoned and the Christians flee (Acts 8:1). Later the church in Antioch forms and grows, but get this, we don’t know who planted the church in Antioch. It was not Paul or an apostle. It was the lay people. Most of the churches in history were started by lay people.
God has given you a sphere of influence. God has given all of us a sphere of influence. These are people who are in our lives and we are called by God to represent Jesus to them. We are called to share Jesus with them.
Francis Chan and David Platt were in a video talking about the Gospel. They talked about how we may say we love our neighbor or family member, yet we don’t share the Gospel with them. Francis Chan said, “Maybe you don’t love them as much as you think you do.” That stung for me.
I pray that all of us can be like Paul and desire to take the Gospel to those that don’t know Jesus.
Pray that you and your descendants live these passages.
Do you know Christ?
God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)