January 21, 2020
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How to Share Your FAITH (1/2) | Bayless Conley


There are many questions you are faced with
every day. We are all searching for answers that will make a real difference in our lives.
It’s hard to imagine that these answers might be right in front of us. Get ready to
discover answers in the Bible with Bayless Conley. Years ago I heard a quote that I’ve never
forgotten. Here it is: Every heart without Christ is a mission field. And every heart
with Christ is a missionary. You know, it’s the church’s responsibility, every member
of the church, to reach those in their own personal world. In their neighborhood, in
their family, in their school, in their workplace. To at least sow the seeds of the gospel into
someone’s life. Healthy sheep bear sheep. And it’s just a normal healthy thing for
a Christian to do, to bring other people into the kingdom of God, to bring the influence
of the kingdom into their own personal world. And it doesn’t have to be that difficult
of a thing. We’re going to be talking about that in this message. And I believe it’s
going to help you. Can we pray? Heavenly Father, we yield ourselves
to You right now. There’s a lot of stuff going on in our personal worlds and in the world
in general, but we just leave that outside the doors right now. We ask You to close us
in with You and speak to our hearts. Lift our spirits. Give us direction. Bring illumination,
we pray. Bring correction if that’s what’s needed in our lives and at this juncture in
our travels with You. Lord, we’re just open, so teach us. Speak to us, in Jesus’ name. I’ve said often that if you cut Cottonwood
Church, we bleed souls. Christ’s last command is our first priority. He said, go into all
the world and preach the gospel. He also said, go into all the world and make disciples of
the nations. Those two things, reaching people, and then bringing them and making them a part
of the family and helping them grow. It really doesn’t get much more complicated than that.
I want to talk to you about those two things tonight. Very, very important to God and this
should be important to each one of us certainly as a body of believers joined together, but
individually as well. I’m just going to share seven thoughts with you tonight that
I think can help you. Number one is the commission. Everyone say
the commission. That is the great commission. I want to read
to you from Romans, the 10th chapter; this is from the New Living Translation, verses
9, 10, and verse 14. It says, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe
in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing
in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth
that you are saved. How can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? How
can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? Friend that is our job. II Corinthians 5:17
through 21 from the same translation puts it this way. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ
has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! How many can say thank God for that? It goes
on, says, And all of this is a gift from God, Who brought
us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people
to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s
sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s
ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come
back to God!” (And here’s the message) For God made Christ, Who never sinned, to be the
offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. God has given us this task of reconciling
people to Him. He’s given us this wonderful message of reconciliation, and He’s made us
ambassadors, ambassadors to a lost and a dying world. Jesus really simplified it when He
said, go into all the world and tell them. Now, there’s two things He says. The first
one is we have to go. If we’re going to catch fish and Jesus said, I’ll make you fishers
of men; you’ve got to get to the water. If you’re going to go fishing, you’ve got to
get to the water, go into all the world and tell the good news to everyone. That certainly
means every nation, but, it also means to the extent of our personal influence, into
our personal world. We need to take the gospel, the good news, into the personal world of
our family and friends. If you’re a businessman or a businesswoman, you need to take the gospel
into the world of business. If you’re an educator, you need to take the gospel into the world
of education. If you’re a doctor or a nurse, into the world of medicine. If you’re an actor
or writer or a singer, you take the gospel into the world of entertainment. If you’re
an athlete, you carry the good news into the world of sport. If you’re a student, you carry
the good news into the world of your school. If you’re a politician, man, you need to carry
the good news into the world of politics. And the fact is, going is very rarely convenient,
very rarely does it line up with our daily plans. But we need to do it. I was at the store the other day, and I’m
driving home, I got a bunch of groceries in the car. As I’m driving down this highway,
there’s a guy sitting against the fence. It was obvious that he was homeless, looked like
he’d probably been drinking. I thought about him, prayed for him as I’m driving. The farther
I got away, the more convicted I got that I needed to go talk to this guy. I’m thinking,
God, I’ve got milk in the car. Come on. It’s going to get warm. I’m almost home. I
thought, no, if not me, who? We always think someone else is going to do it. I turned around,
and I’m driving back, and I’m looking for a place to pull off, and I realized there’s
no place to pull off. I’ve been driving for half a mile, three quarters a mile. I get
up to the guy, and he’s positioned himself in the one place you can’t get to him. There’s
no place at all to pull off coming up to him. I drive by him, and I’m looking for a place
desperately. Both sides of the road, no place to pull off, I drive another half a mile.
I turned on the street; it’s all no parking. I turned around; I go back, I drive way up
into a neighborhood that’s really far from him. I thought, okay. I grab a bunch of my
groceries. I cut through several people’s yards. I’m glad nobody was out in their yard.
It would have been a long way. I found a shortcut. I only had to walk a quarter of a mile. I
come, here’s this guy leaning against the fence. I said, “Hey, I’m your angel from God
today. I brought you some food.” I gave him the food. Then, he starts going off about
how Elijah, the prophet, is his uncle and starts saying a bunch of other crazy stuff,
just crazy stuff. I didn’t talk to him a long time, maybe 5 minutes, maybe 10. Told him
God loved him, told him about Jesus. He was just kind of off in la-la land, but
I shared with him. I said, “Enjoy the food,” and I was on my way. The point is, whether
it’s overseas or across the room at a party that you’re attending, very rarely is it going
to seem convenient to you or something that you’re going to want to do. Our flesh recoils
against it. We don’t like being taken out of our comfort zone. My friend, people are
worth it. The first part is we have to go. If you’re going to catch fish, you’ve got
to get to the water. If you’re going to catch men, you’ve got to go to where men are. The second part is pretty easy, just tell
them. Go and tell them. I know some people think, well, I’m just going to pray that God
will save people. That’s awesome. We need to talk to God. We need to pray. Prayer is
important. Once you’ve talked to God about men, you must go talk to men about God. You
see, there’s this divine partnership that God has arranged between us and the Holy Spirit.
We share, and then He uses our words to convict and to convince people about their need of
a Savior. Now, He does all the heavy lifting, but we must give Him something to work with.
We have to share. Most of you probably heard bits and pieces
of my testimony. I was a mess, major league drug problems. In fact, a particular night,
a girlfriend had given me drugs. I was supposed to share with about ten people, but I took
it all myself that night. I almost died, made it through the night, really depressed the
next day. That day in the park is when a 12-year-old boy came up to me and told me about Jesus.
Shared the gospel with me, 12-year-old kid shared with me. It rocked my world. I thought…
I never met anybody like him. It was from those seeds that he planted; the Holy Spirit
began to work. I couldn’t get away from what that kid told me that day. I moved down to
Mexico City, and I couldn’t get away from those words, they were inescapable. He’d shared
the gospel with me, the first time I’d heard it in all of my life. I ended up in a street
mission, but it all goes back to a 12-year-old kid. He wasn’t particularly eloquent, wasn’t a
genius but he just shared, and the Holy Spirit used him. Later on, after I got saved, I’m
with that same kid and his mother, we’re at the hospital visiting someone. We’re visiting
this person. I turned around, and the kid’s gone. I thought, oh no. I’m walking through
the hospital trying to find this kid. I walked down this hallway; there’s a guy sitting out
on a bench in his hospital gown, it’s open in the back. He’s sitting on a bench crying
his eyes out. He’s sobbing. My heart was just moved. I said, “Man, are you okay?” He looks
at me, his face is wet with tears, he said, “Who was that kid?” He said, “He came in my room, and he told
me about Jesus, and he told me about healing. Who was that kid?” I felt like going, “I know
what you mean. He did it to me too.” God used his words, and God will use your words. We
need to go, and we need to share the message. Words are like seeds. If we want to have a
harvest, we have to plant some seeds. The power is not in your eloquent presentation.
The power is in the seed. The seed is supernatural. The seed has the life of God in it. The second thing is compassion. First one
is the commission, the second one is compassion. In Matthew chapter 9, Jesus was moved with
compassion. He instructed His disciples to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest.
In Matthew 14, He was moved with compassion and healed the sick multitude. In Matthew
chapter 15, He’s moved with compassion, and He feeds the multitudes. In Mark 6, He was
moved by compassion, and He taught the multitudes. In Luke 7, He’s moved with compassion, and
He raises a dead boy from the dead, raises him up. Compassion always caused Jesus to
do something. It always moved Him to action. I think we all know the story in Matthew 18,
that great parable that Jesus told. This guy, he owes a debt, he has no way of paying, multiplied
millions and millions of dollars. This guy is a servant. The idea of the story is it
was impossible, could never have paid it. He’s called in before his master. The Bible
said the master had compassion on him. Everyone say compassion. He had compassion on him and forgave him the
whole debt. This guy is so happy. He goes out in the street, sees the guy that owes
him 20 bucks, grabs the guy by the throat and says, “Pay up!” The guy says, “Have compassion,
have mercy. I’ll pay you.” He wouldn’t listen to him and threw him in debtor’s prison. Now,
when the master heard about what had happened, he called the servant back in that had been
forgiven. This is what he said to him, “Shouldn’t you also have compassion just as I had compassion
on you?” I think that’s the heart of it. God has had this great compassion upon us and
forgiven us a debt that we could never pay. Therefore, we should also have compassion. I heard a story about a lady, was in a store.
She’s shopping for her granddaughter; it’s a birthday coming up. She finds this perfect
dress to buy for her granddaughter. She’s so excited. When she gets up to the counter,
realizes it’s way beyond her budget. She says, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the dress was
so expensive.” There was another customer behind her, overheard the whole thing going
on. She says, “Ma’am, let me buy that dress for you.” She says, “No, no. I couldn’t accept
that.” She says, “No, I insist. Let me buy this dress for you.” The woman really pressed
the point, and she bought the dress for the grandmother to give to the granddaughter. She said, “Why would you buy this expensive
dress for me? We’ve never even met.” The lady says, “Well, I was homeless for nearly two
years, and I only survived through the kindness of other people.” She said, “I promised that
if I was ever in the position again to help people, that I would do it. I never want to
forget where I’ve come from.” Friend, we should never forget where we have come from. A big
part of compassion for the lost is remembering that we were once lost ourselves. My darkness
was so great. My confusion was so complete. The grip that sin had on me was so unbreakable
but God in His mercy reached down into my life and set me free. Therefore, I must have compassion on others.
I was like a bobsled with unlock brakes, hurdling into an eternity without God. The mercy of
God touched me. Now, I am moved by compassion for other human beings that will spend an
eternity somewhere. You know Romans 5:5, the love of God, the mercy of God, the compassion
of God has been poured out into our hearts already by the Holy Spirit. His love is in
here, and it’s looking for some means to be expressed. I think some of us need to revisit
our own salvation experience and think about the great mercy He’s had on us and how He
has so liberally rescued us. All right, third thing I want to talk to you about is common
ground. The commission, compassion, common ground.
I’m going to read to you from the living Bible; it’ll be up on the screens. It might be better
if you just look up there rather than compare with whatever translation you have. I’m going
to read from I Corinthians, the ninth chapter, from about the middle of verse 19 through
verse 23. Would you look at it with me? Paul’s writing, he says, …I have freely and happily become a servant
of any and all so that I can win them to Christ. When I am with the Jews I seem as one of them so
that they will listen to the Gospel and I can win them to Christ. When I am with Gentiles
who follow Jewish customs and ceremonies I don’t argue, even though I don’t agree,
because I want to help them. When with the heathen I agree with them as much as I can,
except of course that I must always do what is right as a Christian. And so, by agreeing,
I can win their confidence and help them too. When I am with those whose consciences
bother them easily, I don’t act as though I know it all and don’t say they are foolish;
the result is that they are willing to let me help them. Yes, whatever a person is like,
I try to find common ground with him so that he will let me tell him about Christ and let
Christ save him. I do this to get the Gospel to them and also for the blessing I myself
receive when I see them come to Christ. I try and find common ground. Once I find
the common ground, I look for a way to share the gospel. The Message Bible says I entered
into their world. We need to look for common ground to establish a beachhead through which
we can bring the gospel into people’s lives. That common ground might be sports. I remember I was traveling once with a guy.
We went to a number of different countries. This guy knew, and it didn’t depend on who
we met. We might have met someone on the trip from the Philippines, somebody from Indonesia,
somebody from Nigeria, somebody … I mean, we literally …we’re traveling a lot and
met people from all over the world. It didn’t matter what country they were from. It could
have been from a tiny African nation to some former eastern-bloc country. This guy knew
the names of the soccer teams; they call it football, the name of the football teams from
their countries. He would strike up a conversation, and you would see people light up when he
would mention the country’s top teams. I was amazed. This guy could have a conversation
with anyone because he found that common ground in sport. Now, it might be world events. It
might be health foods. It might be kids. It might be dogs, business, nature, music. Find
common ground. We had a next-door neighbor; this is going
on close to 35 years ago. It was a young man that his mother had been our next door neighbor
and he moved back in with his mom. He was in his maybe … I’m going to say mid-20s.
I tried to connect with this guy, and there was just no connection. He didn’t have the
time of day for me. I could tell he was not doing well in life. His countenance was sad,
always had his head down. I’d assume that he moved back with mom probably because he’d
been through a rough patch. I don’t know if he divorced or what had happened. I just knew
things had not been going his way. I began to pray for him. I prayed earnestly for about a week and just
prayed, God, give me an open door with this young man so I can share Christ with him.
God give me an open door. I earnestly, earnestly prayed. One day, I’m out in the yard, I’m
watering the grass. He rolls up in his little pickup truck next door. I don’t know why I’d
never seen it before. I noticed he’s got a sticker in the back window of his little truck
that said Leatherwolf. Leatherwolf was a rock band from Orange County. They’d made it pretty
big in Japan and were fairly popular in Orange County. I knew who they were because the lead
singer’s older brother was the main worship leader at Cottonwood. I’d met, and I knew the lead singer from Leatherwolf
and his brother was a friend and a worship leader. He gets out of the car. As soon as
I saw that, I thought, there’s my door. I said, “Hey!” He goes, “What?” I said, “Do
you like Leatherwolf?” He said, “They’re awesome!” I said, “I know the lead singer.” He goes,
“No, you don’t.” I said, “Yes, I do. I know him.” I said, “In fact, his older brother
is a worship leader at our church.” He goes, “No way!” I said, “Yeah, it’s true.” He walks
over, and we started talking about Leatherwolf. I’m sharing what I know. He’s going on and
on. I said, “Well, I’ll tell you this. The lead singer, he doesn’t make enough money
from doing the gigs that he does to survive, so you know what he does?” He goes, “No! What does he do?” I said, “He
hangs wallpaper.” He said, “You’re kidding! He’s a wallpaper hanger?” I said, “Yeah.”
He says, “I never would have guessed that.” I said, “Well if you think he’s a good singer,
you should come and check out his older brother. His older brother leaves him in the dust,
and he’s our worship leader.” He goes, “Oh, I think I will. What’s the name of your church?”
I tell him, and that was on a … I don’t know, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday during
the week. He shows up the next Sunday night. This was 35 years ago. I still remember the
message I’m preaching. It was about the healing of Naaman, the Syrian. I’m preaching this message on healing, and
guess who comes up when the invitation is given to get saved? It’s my next door neighbor,
gives his life to Christ. He’s radically transformed because of Leatherwolf. Find common ground.
It could be fishing; it could be a political view. Find common ground with the purpose
of sharing the gospel. Then, we come to the fourth thing, and that’s character. Everyone
say character. It’s not just what we say; it’s how we conduct
our lives. I want to read to you Philippians 1:27, this is from the ERV version. Philippians
1:27, Paul writes, Just be sure you live as God’s people in
a way that honors the Good News of Christ. Then if I come and visit you or if I am away
from you, I will hear good things about you. I will know that you stand together with the
same purpose and that you work together like a team to help others believe the Good News. Be sure that you live in a way that honors
the good news. Live in a way that honors the good news. That word translated honors in
the Greek language literally means weighing as much as or having the same weight as. In other words, may your lifestyle weigh as
much as the gospel you preach. Don’t have this heavy gospel in this light lifestyle.
You see, the thing that gives weight to our words when we share is when we live a life
that is consistent with the gospel that we preach. He said, let your lives weigh as much
as the gospel you profess to believe. Now, he’s certainly not talking about sinless perfection.
No one qualifies for that. We do need to be living the truth. We can’t live lazy, sloppy,
sinful lives and expect to have weight to our words when we share the gospel of Christ. Thank you for watching Answers with Bayless
Conley. Bayless will continue with part two of his message next week. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says,
“What you are speaks so loud I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” There’s a lot
of truth to that. And as believers, our lifestyles ought to back up and add weight to the gospel
that we preach. Now certainly God isn’t looking for sinless perfection. The only one
that qualifies there is Jesus. But we should be growing. We should be adjusting and repairing.
We should be getting better. We should be becoming more Christ-like, going from faith
to faith, from glory to glory bearing fruit that remains. And I just pray for you in the
name of Jesus that an inward work of the Holy Spirit would go on in your life that would
help you let go of the weights and the sins that so easily ensnare you. So that you might
run with patience the race that’s set before you, and that that gospel light that the Lord
has put upon your life would shine to those around you in Jesus’ name. Hi there. I’ve written a little booklet
about the cross. Something I believe can benefit every believer. We’re looking at whether
it’s a reason for offense or if its actually God’s loving open door to a lost and hurting
world. And along with that, I preached several messages in our church recently. These can
help equip you to confidently share your faith with the lost. If you’re serious about sharing your faith
with others, contact us today to receive The Cross bundle. This booklet and two message
series will equip you to confidently talk about the most important decision you made
in your life and the joy you found in Jesus. Learn how you can engage the lost so they
can cross over from death to life. Request your Cross bundle today when you use the contact
information on the screen. Thank you for watching Answers with Bayless
Conley. For more information and inspiration visit AnswersBC.org.

Otis Rodgers

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Answers with Bayless Conley Posted on September 14, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    We trust that you got something out of this message, and we'd love to read your comment below!

    Reply
  2. 704 Luv Posted on September 14, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Great message… I have a close friend that I am trying to get to give his life to Christ… He was the typical person that had a rough childhood within the Church… I pray for him often… Thank you for all of your postings… God Bless Everyone!!!

    Reply
  3. Banyami Emmanuel Posted on September 17, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    What a message! I always get encouragement when I listen to your message. May God give the grace to desire for more compassion towards others and continue to fulfil my responsibities as a Christ follower, I'll love to hear the completion of this message, God will continue to bless you and your ministry………….

    Reply
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