HOW WILL THEY KNOW I’M A CHRISTIAN (PART 6)
I love the gospel! You might get sick of me speaking about this all the time, but I will not apologize for this wonderful truth we call the Gospel. See as a Christian……..I breathe the gospel, I eat the gospel, I live the gospel, I sleep the gospel, I am the gospel, I proclaim the gospel! You may be a person here this morning thinking to yourself "that’s not me Mike, I can’t do that [I’m to shy and unlearned in the master of evangelism]." Yes! You might be unlearned and not everyone is called to stand on the street corner preaching the gospel from a milk container. Yes! Not everyone is called like my buddy Kirk who goes out every day on the streets of Nova Scotia to share the good news of the Gospel. Yes! Not everyone is called to go to another part of the world to share the gospel. But! We are all called to live and share the gospel at every opportunity none the less, no matter how new or uneducated we might think we are in our Christian lives.
Take Moses! He didn't think he was equipped! “But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" He said, "But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Exo 3:11-14.
Jeremiah didn't think he was equipped! Jeremiah said “……… "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD. Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” Jer 1:6-9.
Remember what Jesus said before He ascended to the right hand of the Father? “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8.
The Holy Spirit will give us the words to say to lost souls on their way to Christ less eternity. See we need to understand something about the Gospel! The gospel plays and actively lives in every aspect of our lives from the time we get up, until the time we go to bed. As J C Ryle said “A genuine Gospel-faith has nothing selfish about it – it never makes a man think only of his own salvation. It stirs him up, on the contrary, to concern about the souls of others. I always suspect that those who care nothing whether their brethren are saved or not, must in reality be ignorant or thoughtless about their own state.” Paul Washer said “Preaching [the gospel] is a matter of Life and Death and also how you live as a Christian is a matter of Life and Death.” When the world looks at us they should be able to see the gospel that saves to the uttermost. It’s the gospel that gives us life, joy and rest each and every day. It’s the gospel that saved our wretched souls from the way we used to be and live. Have you [we] forgotten that biblical truth in our lives?
Jerry Bridges gives us a great reminder about the gospel “Typically, if we are not actually murderers, felons, or adulterers, we tend to think of our common sins as no more serious than a parking violation. We are so used to living with pride, selfishness, envy, gossip, and a whole host of other “respectable sins” that we don’t even think of them as sin. But the fact is that, as serial sinners, we are all as guilty before God as that murderer. You and I sin every day in thought, word, deed, and motive. And whether those sins appear great or small in our own sight, in reality every sin we commit is an act of rebellion against God, a rejection and attempted negation of his sovereignty and rulership over us. And even more serious and damning than our countless individual acts of sin is the very fact of who we are apart from Christ. Through our representative union with Adam in his sin, we are all born serial sinners, sitting on death row awaiting eternal damnation. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus took our place on God’s death row and actually died in our place to satisfy the justice of God so that God might fully pardon us without violating his justice. But if all God did was pardon us, it would never make sense for him to bring us into his household as adopted children and heirs… in pardoning and adopting us, God also does one other thing. He changes us into a different person, a new creation. As a result of being in Christ we are given a new heart, a new spirit, a new identity, and a new relationship.”
This is what the gospel does and did in my life………The gospel is a beautiful thing! As a born again Christian it’s impossible to hold or contain such wonderful news all to myself! The gospel is too important to go hide on an island and wait until He returns or calls me home. What I’m trying to get at is……As we have been going through these past few weeks to help us examine our lives in light of scripture! My love for the church will determine my love for Christ. My desire for His precious word will determine what I desire to know. My brokenness over my sin will determine whether I care about my sin or not. My focus on eternal things will determine what I love the most Him or this world. My zeal and passion to follow Christ will determine if He’s worthy of following to the end. If you are displaying these characteristics in your life! PRAISE God, because the gospel is life changing. The inward change of heart gives us an outward adoration for the things of God which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Paul said “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20. As Peter said “so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” 1Peter 4:2. We come to an Old Testament encounter with a Holy God and a simple man. A simple man who was commissioned to do one thing………preach the wonderful truth of the gospel! We are going to witness 3 biblical truths about the gospel in this passage that Isaiah wrote………
THE GOSPEL MAKES US AWARE OF OUR SIN (V5-V7)
Look what Isaiah writes (v5) “I am undone!.......I am a man of unclean lips……I dwell with people of unclean lips” which means in light of God’s holiness Isaiah is able to see his unworthiness to be in the presence of God. John Owen one of the great puritans said this “Think of Adam after his fall, before the promise, hiding himself from God, and you have a perfect portrait of a poor creature without the gospel." This is what the power of the gospel reveals to the unregenerate heart. Isaiah knows he is a wretched sinner who is among other wretched sinners who have unclean hearts. We see this throughout the bible……..
- Job “therefore I despise myself…….” Job 42:6
- Ezekiel “I fell on my face” Eze 1:28
- Peter “…….Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Luke 5:8
- John “ ….When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead……” Rev 1:17
The gospel is all about how majestic and awesome God is, and how unclean we truly are in comparison. The gospel convicts and makes the sinner see his or her sin for what it is.The gospel shows that we are all sinners in desperate need of saving. Most of all the gospel reveals God. Isaiah is standing in his revealed sin and understandably knows he is unworthy to be in God’s presence. Why? Because God is pure and perfectly holy, and as God said to Moses to look upon Him would mean death. The only way to be cleansed is through the finishing work of Gospel found in the bible. Look what God does to Isaiah (v6-v7) An angel takes a “hot coal” which is symbolic of God’s purifying work…. and “touched his lips” to give him a spiritual cleansing. And by doing this God declared Isaiah clean! Which could mean “you are innocent….you are now righteous”. That’s the gospel truth we see in the cross of Jesus Christ. The gospel makes us keenly aware of our sin in light of God’s holiness and He needs to minster to us before we can minister to others. What do I mean! In order to properly share the truth of Gospel it first has to been worked in us. A sinner who has been saved by grace going out to share to same news that saved your wretched life.
THE GOSPEL MAKES US AWARE OF THE NEED TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL MESSAGE (V8)
When the gospel has impacted our lives we become tremendously aware of the mass amounts of lost souls heading to a Christ less eternity. A place where lost souls will see their sin as Isaiah did before the purged them away……and they will be faced with those sins for ever and ever under the wrath of God over sin. The bible says……..There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth and they’ll wish they were dead, but be unable to have that request fulfilled. Revelation 14:11 says “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night,…” Isaiah eyes have been opened to the grace given to him to see lost people for who they truly are lost! It’s the gospel that fuels my passion and fire each and every day. Look what Isaiah says (v8) “Here am I! Send me.” Which shows at once his confidence in God, and his zeal. This is why I love the gospel! The gospel births a humble readiness to proclaim His wonderful gift found in His redemption. John Gill penned these words about Isaiah’s statement! “Isaiah, who before thought himself undone, and unworthy to be employed in the service of God, now having a discovery and application of pardoning grace, freely offers himself to God: this shows the true nature and effect of an application of pardon; it gives a man freedom and boldness in the presence of God, and stimulates to a ready and cheerful obedience to his will, and engages him with the utmost eagerness in his service”. This is the right thing to say by the way……..The Lord must rejoices when He hear those words come from His elect children. Why? It’s desperately needed today in our generation. Never underestimate what God can do with a willing servant. Remember what the Lord said to His disciples? “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." Matt 9:35-38
THE GOSPEL MAKES US AWARE THAT IT’S NOT GOING TO BE EASY (V10-V11)
This is probably the most discouraging thing a holy God could say to someone who has been commissioned by God to preach the gospel. Think about what the Lord is saying here! He says “go, and tell this people” Go and tell them to repent and come back in obedience to the Lord who is their sovereign protector and provider. Where have we heard this before? The same thing was said to Moses……“But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you………….” Exo 7:3-4. The same idea is can be applied today….go into the by ways and highways and tell sinners to come and dine with Jesus found in [Matthew chapter 22]. But it’s not going to be easy…many will make excuses not to come and they may kill you for it. "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast."' But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.” Matt 22:2-6. Paul said these words in Romans 11:8 “as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day." The Lord is telling Isaiah that his message is going to fall on deaf ears and it is going to be very hard to reach this hardened and wicked generation.
(v10) “Make the heart of this people fat” which means Gross and heavy, stupid and unteachable, hard and stubborn.
(v10) “make their ears heavy” which means that they cannot hear the word, so as to understand it.
(v10) “…..and shut their eyes;” It denotes the state of mind which is more and more unwilling to attend to the truth.
(v10) “lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understated with their heart;” which means unless they’re broken over their sin and repent and embrace the truth of the gospel found in the Messiah……….they will continue down the road of destruction.
The gospel is going to fall on deaf ears and blind eyes…….. but I want you to tell them none the less Isaiah………..I want you to tell them Christian, none the less. Jesus never promised us that it was going to be easy! Did he? He said you and I will face people who will hate you for what you are saying…but be of good cheer they must hear it none the less in order to find His grace and pardon for sin. Romans 10:15-17 “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
“On May 26, 2002, Memorial day weekend, a barge pilot passed out and hit a bridge over the Arkansas River. This accident dropped a 600 foot span of the bridge 62 feet into the swift flowing river below. Eleven people (and a trailer full of show horses) died as their cars and 18-wheelers dove over the edge of the missing span, one piling on top of another. There were several fishermen on the river in a bass competition, which saw the bridge collapse. Realizing that the cars & trucks were still coming, one of the fishermen below the bridge reached into his boats' emergency kit for the emergency flare. Whipping the flare up into firing position, the fisherman let the missile fly: up, up, and over the edge of the last standing bridge span. That one flare providentially hit the windshield of the next 18-wheeler speeding down I-40 at 70 miles an hour. The shocked drive hit his brakes, and his front tires slid over the drop-off; putting his truck into reverse, he pulled his wheels back up onto the bridge, warning the other drivers. Another boat of fishermen saw a man under the damaged barge, who was holding on for dear life, and got a flotation device to him and pulled him into their boat, affecting the rescue. One man's (the river pilot) error resulted in the death of many (eleven people died); one man's quick thinking and action (the fisherman) saved the lives of many. The continued action of other fishermen saved the life of one who was savable, but sinking. You (we) have an emergency flare (the Gospel) in your emergency kit; will you pull it out to save the lives of others? Seeing people sinking down, about to go under will you throw them a life saver (Jesus)? Or are you afraid someone will think you silly or stupid for firing a flare or throwing of a life savior?
How will they know that I`m a Christian? By my passion and zeal for the gospel because the gospel is my life. God is still commissioning us to go! May we go for the sake of the gospel for the sake of lost souls? How beautiful are those who bring the gospel of peace. There are only five words the LORD desperately wants to hear from the church today!.............Here am I send me!