Philippians 1:12-18

A sermon by Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Wong at Martin Grove Baptist Church, Toronto, Nov. 6, 2016

Associate Professor and Department Chair, Christian Ministries,

Tyndale University College & Seminary, Toronto

As Christians, we know about the Great Commission. We are to go into all the whole world and preach the gospel. We are to share the good news. We are to share our Christian faith with family and friends. Does anyone feel uncomfortable doing this?

We have images of the street corner evangelist. The knock at our door. You peep out and see two people, one holding material called Watch Tower. Or you see two young men walking down the street. There have on white shirts and ties. They are from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint, also called Mormon.

We say to ourselves, preaching the gospel, that is the job of the evangelist like Billy Graham, Leighton Ford and Luis Palau. It is for one who is trained to share his faith like Ravi Zacharias. We are content to just “let our light shine” without talking about it. We don’t want to offend anyone with our view of religion.

Or on the other hand, we are zealous to share our faith. We carry our Bible around, pray conspicuously before our meals in a restaurant. However, there have been questions that we could not answer about Christianity and people have gone the other way when we talk with them about our faith.

Anyone identify with the – someone else can do it or I try and don’t do so well?

I will continue the series that I started in Philippians. So this Sunday, Nov. 6 is Unhindered Outreach from Philippians 1:12-18.  Nov. 13 – Issues of Life and Death, Philippians 1:19-26.Nov. 20 – Representing Christ, Philippians 1:27-30.

  1. Circumstances facilitate gospel outreach

Sometimes we think that it’s not the right time or place to share our faith. People arenot interested. They might get offended. Oh, and they will notice that my life does reflect my profession of faith.

The Apostle Paul was in chains. He was chained to a Roman guard. We understand that he was under house arrest in Rome from the end of the book of Acts.

He says that what has happened to him has served to help rather than hinder the advance of the gospel. The word advance means to cut a path. Just like you need to cut a path through the forest to get to your destination.

Circumstances – for the apostle Paul he is under house arrest for preaching the gospel. You would think that he was not free to share his faith. Like Martha Stewart, he was not to leave the premises. He says that the whole palace guard and everyone else knew that he was in chains for Christ. That was a witness in itself that wasn’t chained.

This is the Sunday designated to Pray for the Persecuted Church. Outreach, witness, standing up for their faith.  Many international students at Tyndale.

Sometimes we complain that we are the only Christian in our workplace. What an opportunity. You are the missionary to your co-workers, your boss, from the life you live and as appropriate, with words as well. But not on company time!

I was at a restaurant last week with a friend. I was for Middle Eastern food. Our server had an accent.  Actually, I found out she was European. I asked her about why she was working at a Middle Eastern restaurant. She grew up in Israel.

We invited her to Tyndale Chapel. Actually of close potential connection with her is that we will be have a holocaust survivor speak at Tyndale next week. Maybe she can come to that or one of our Chapels. Maybe the one that I am speaking on November 16.

Pray and look for opportunities to share your faith. Of course, we need a consistent, growing faith that testifies to the life of Christ in us.

You have to get out there. Don’t restrict yourself to all Christian events.

             2.  Share your faith

Paul says that the believers saw his example and were motivated to share their faith.

That is the power of a good example. They were encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. They said, if Paul can do it, even amidst house arrest, we can do it too.

Amidst circumstances – share your faith.  Sometimes you don’t feel like it. Pray about. Be open to it. Some of us are shy. Some are outgoing. We need wisdom and sensitivity.

Handcuff story – I led a youth to Christ while he was chained to a four-drawer cabinet. Do you know how to be free in Christ? He accepted Christ there.

They also shared with good motives too. Goodwill. Love. A desire to help others, to help them find forgiveness of sins, purpose in life, hope in God.

  1. We rejoice when the gospel is spread

We know of many tele-evangelists. We are not happy with their methods. They seem to be making a bad name for Christianity. We see street evangelists, those passing out gospel pamphlets on the street.

The apostle Paul says to rejoice that the gospel is spreading. It may not be the way we would do that. He says there were some preaching Christ out of envy and rivalry. Others out of selfish ambition – maybe to make money out of it. To spite him another others

Overall Christ is preached. We don’t mean a false gospel but those even with improper motives, God can use.

Conclusion

My friends leads others to Christ through Facebook. Connect with people through social media, local McDonalds, library, activities where your children go to school. Volunteer. I say, Find Your Perch, you place where you can hang out and connect with people.

Go into all the world and preach the Gospel – to your world, to your sphere of influence.

Main idea – Share your faith where you are with pure motives

Over snack time, some of us can form a circle and talk about the challenges of reaching others.

Contact me at dwong@tyndale.ca; DrDanielWong@wordpress.com; Twitter @DanielLWong; Instagram @drdanielwong; Facebook: DanielLWong

Resources:

Nelson, Gary V. Borderland Churches: A Congregation’s Introduction to Missional Living. St.Louis: Chalice Press, 2009.

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