JOHN SHIRK – In our Relationship-Building Principles, we are examining some of the ways Jesus’ followers can be effective witnesses for the Gospel.
One way is to take the direct approach.
We see that in a number of places in the book of Acts. On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave a sermon where he talked about Jesus, and what He had accomplished when He was on the earth-how He died on a cross, rose from the dead, and was exalted at the right hand of God.
The people asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 3,000 people were added to the church that day.
On another occasion, a desperate jailer asked Paul and Silas, “what must I do to be saved?” Paul’s response was direct: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.” That man came to believe in God and was filled with joy.
When someone asks how they can be saved, that is a good time to explain that Jesus is the answer.
Taking the direct approach of sharing the Gospel is a vital relationship-building principle to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on news that is too good to contain.
In the book of Second Kings, four men in Samaria had leprosy. A great famine had overtaken their city due to a long siege by a strong army. Instead of staying at the city gate to die, the men decided to go over to the enemy camp to surrender, in the hope that they would live. But when they got there, no one was at the camp. The army had fled their tents, but left behind food, clothing, and money.
The men with leprosy ate and drank and carried off the silver, gold, and clothing and buried them as hidden treasure. Then they came back for more. Eventually, they said to each other, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.” They decided to report their findings to the royal palace.
There is a spiritual thirst and hunger in the land today. The Good News of Jesus is what this world needs. Would it be right for beggars who have been blessed by this abundant treasure to keep it for themselves? Telling others this good news is much like a beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. There is no shortage of supply, because God’s love is abundant and eternal.
The Good News of Jesus Christ is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment Of Celebration reflects on what happens in the Year of the Lord’s favor
Isaiah 61 contains words that would eventually be fulfilled by Jesus. The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.
When Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled these words. This is where Jesus stopped when He read the scroll from Isaiah. During His earthly ministry, we learn that Jesus healed the sick, encouraged the brokenhearted, and preached the Gospel. He drew crowds with His miracles, and gained enemies by claiming to be God’s Anointed One. In the favor of the LORD, we find the light of hope, the source of healing, and the freedom of forgiveness.
The favor of the LORD is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on power of the Gospel to change us.
In reality, the good news of Jesus Christ changes lives in many ways. Four changes are found in Romans 1:16 and 17. The Apostle Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last; just as it is written, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’
One of the ways the gospel changes us is by saving our soul. Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A second way that the gospel changes us is by making us right with God. Christians are not perfect, but we are forgiven and restored.
A third way the gospel changes us is by giving us a valuable advocate. Jesus has proven through the cross and empty grave that He is our worthy Savior, mighty God, and a faithful friend to the end.
A fourth way that the gospel changes us is by giving us enthusiasm to live the Christian life and publicly proclaim Jesus as Lord.
The power of the Gospel to change us is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.