Today Pastor Choi talks about the importance of sharing the good news, the gospel, with our loved ones. He talks about not being ashamed of the gospel which is God’s power for salvation to all who believe in the name of Jesus and also about responding to Jesus’ call to be fishers of people so that we all together share the eternal life in the presence of God.
Following is a summary of the sermon:
Live the New Life (6): Evangelism Matthew 4:19, Romans 1:16
- Matthew 4:19
- New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
- 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”
- Romans 1:16
- New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
- The Power of the Gospel
- 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
- If you had to choose someone who made a world of difference in your life, who would that be? If you had to name someone to whom you are most grateful, who would that be? (Talk with your neighbors for the next minute or two.)
- It could be your parents who gave life and raised you well. It could be a friend who helped you with finances. It could be your first grade teacher who instilled the love of books in your heart. It could be your boss who led you to a great job. It could be a matchmaker who introduced you to your spouse. The list goes on.
- In my case, I would choose someone to whom I owe my life, literally. First, I would choose my friends at high school. In the summer of 1973, we were vacationing together at one of my friend’s house whose father was an admiral of the Korean Navy. One afternoon, we all went swimming at the bay. I almost drowned that day. Unless my friends had come to rescue me, I would have been a goner. Next, I would choose my brother as the person to whom I am most grateful. If I am grateful to my two high school friends who made a difference by adding forty years to my life, how much more should I be grateful to my brother who made an eternal difference in my life? How did he do so? With a simple invitation to join him at church. I still thank God for my brother who made a world of difference both in this life and in the life to come. I am eternally grateful to him for introducing me to Jesus.
- Wouldn’t you like to be the one who makes the eternal difference in someone else’s life? I would like to be that one.
- This morning, we are going to think about evangelism. This is the word that was hijacked and misused by a few Christian politicians especially around election seasons. It sometimes carries negative publicity among people saying, “Those evangelical Christians!” It is time that we reclaimed this beautiful word in our faith. Evangelism is originated from a Greek Word “ευαγγελιον” which means the good news, the gospel. This morning, I invite you to think with me about the good news, the gospel, especially sharing the good news with others. What is evangelism? It is the act of sharing the greatest news of all with others. This leads us to Romans 1:16.
- Let’s listen to Paul the Apostle: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
- Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. Neither should we. I pray that none of us are ashamed either of the gospel or of Jesus. America today is not really a gospel friendly nation. E.g. Pressures from outside such as government, in the name of separation of church and state, make it extremely hard to share the gospel with others. E.g. Gideons are forbidden to distribute pocket Bibles to students on school premises. Sometimes we hide our faith from people in the name of privacy. We’d rather keep our faith to ourselves. But, let’s make sure that we are not ashamed of the gospel. E.g. A boy during the Korean War: didn’t deny the Lord and the Lord spared him from being executed by the communists. As much as we believe Jesus’ promise that He will give us eternal life in heaven, we must also believe His word that if we are ashamed of Him in front of others, He too will be ashamed of us in the presence of angels (Mark 8:38).
- It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith: We tend to think that God’s power is always something supernatural, some miracles and wonders. Yet, here, Paul says the gospel is God’s power for salvation to those who believe. The same gospel is foolishness to those who don’t believe in Jesus and what He has done. But, for us, it is God’s power who rescues us from the bondage of sin and the power of death.
- Here we see that the gospel is for everyone. Both for Jews and gentiles. It is for Buddhists and Hindus. It covers all race, gender, and age. It is God’s power for salvation for all. Everyone is invited to accept God’s salvation through the gospel.
- Let’s look at Matthew 4:19 where Jesus invited Peter and his brother Andrew to follow Him. Both of them were full-time fishermen at the time. At Jesus’ invitation, both dropped everything and followed Jesus. The same Christ invites us today to be the same: fishers of people.
- Fishers of people, not fishers of fish. We can learn a lesson or two from real fishermen. Did you know that none of them is casual about their vocation but dedicated? They work hard every day, no matter how bad the weather or season may be. Sometimes they have good catch. Other times, they have none. However, they always go out to fish. Their minds and hearts are always out there where the fish are. They constantly think of the best ways to catch fish, too. So should every believer. As fishers of people, our hearts and minds ought to be with people, constantly thinking of the best ways to bring people to Christ.
- Why does Jesus call us to be fishers of people? So that people too can come to Him through the message of good news from us. How can anyone become a believer unless she hears about the gospel first? And, how can one hear about the gospel unless someone else shares it with her? E.g. A high school friend of mine. He and I were buddies, the best friends. He was a believer before me. One thing bothered me the most, though, was the fact that he never said one single word to me about becoming a Christian (church, Jesus, salvation, eternal life, or Heaven). In other words, he had all the good things in Christ yet never shared with me. Wouldn’t you rather have someone recognize you in the presence of God saying, “Lord, please remember (your name) because s/he shared the gospel with me and led me to Christ?” This is what evangelism is all about: stand by someone to share the gospel and eternal life together.
- We don’t have to be like Paul to share the gospel with others. We can begin with someone whom we already know well; it can be our best friends. It can be our family members. It can be our coworkers. It can be our neighbors. It can be our school friends. Let’s begin with someone we are familiar with.
- Take your friend’s name to God: Ask God to open the door of evangelism for you. Ask Him to provide you with the right opportunity to share the gospel with your friend. Ask God to open the heart of your friend so that s/he may listen to the gospel message.
- Take God’s name to your friend: After you asked for God’s help in prayer, then go to your friend in the name of Jesus. Ask God to give the right words that you need to say to your friend.
- Don’t get discouraged with the first try. Remember too that believing in Jesus doesn’t have to start with church, either. Some of the people carry a negative image of the church such as “organized religion,” or “full of hypocrites.” Stick to the salvation message. Tell them how much Jesus loves them. In due time, they will join the church as well. Be friends first. Let them see your genuine interests and motives. Be there for them whenever they need you. Let them see your light in Christ.
- Let us pray.