Episode 1. The Problem with Freedom
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We all know that Jesus has called us to tell others about Him. So what’s holding us back. Uncertainty. Fear. Embarrassment? Join Berni Dymet – on “A Different Perspective” as God sets you …
We all know that Jesus has called us to tell other people about Him. So what’s holding us back? Uncertainty? Fear? Embarrassment? What? Why are so many of the people who call themselves by His name – Christians – afraid to tell others about Jesus?
There’s more than one thing that makes being a Christian different from being, say, a practicing Jew or a Buddhist or a Hindu. But one thing that does set Christians apart is that somehow they want to convert people to their faith.
Most other religions aren’t quite so pro active about this thing Christians call evangelism. Goes right back to one of the last things that Jesus said to His disciples. He said, “Go on then, go and make disciples of all people. Here at home, just over the border and even to the ends of the earth.”
So most Christians see this whole evangelism thing as being more than just and optional extra. ‘Cause so often we don’t know how or when or even if we should. Maybe we should leave it to the experts. Then all of a sudden a lot of us get the guilts and what was supposed to be freedom, starts feeling, well … like a burden.
Some people find the whole evangelism thing just so easy. I mean you look at Billy Graham right. That guy had an amazing gift to evangelise. You hear about the big rallies by well known evangelists across Africa with hundreds and thousands of people coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Great!
But you don’t have to be a big name to do those sorts of things. Actually God wants just plain, ordinary, every day people, in fact people just like you and me to share His love with those who don’t yet know His Son.
I remember in my very first Church, a decade and a half ago, there was an elderly couple by the name of Peter and Ruth. They have some amazing gifts. You know Ruth was well into her 60’s back then and she’d sit down at a bus stop and someone else would sit down next to her at the bus stop and as sure as God made little green apples, Ruth would end up talking to this person about Jesus.
And more often than not that person would come to faith in Jesus Christ. Now I remember them telling me a story that they were travelling right around the country in a caravan and one night they stayed in a caravan park and they were the only caravan in this whole massive caravan park.
And about 10 o’clock that night another caravan came in and of all the places this caravan could have picked to park they parked right next door to Peter and Ruth’s caravan. Now Peter and Ruth went, ‘Oh why are they doing this? You know, we just want peace and quiet’.
They got to talking to this couple, the couple were going through deep marital problems as it turned out and Peter and Ruth spent all night talking with them. Leading them to faith in Jesus Christ. That couple, now all these years on, have a wonderful marriage and a wonderful life together.
You know, some people like Peter and Ruth just seem to be able to do this stuff in a way that maybe you and I aren’t gifted to do. And sure, it’s right that God gives some people a really special ability. The Apostle Paul writes that some people have gifts as apostles or prophets or evangelists or pastors or teachers.
And so we think, “Oh phew, I’m off the hook. I’ll definitely leave this evangelising stuff to the experts.” But you know that thing that we talked about where Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all the people on the planet”, he said that to the 11 remaining disciples just before He ascended back into heaven.
And each of those 11 had different giftings. Peter was a gifted leader. It was Andrew who was the evangelist, he was the guy who kept bringing people to Jesus. And so they all had different gifts, different abilities. Yet Jesus gave that great commission to go and make disciples of all nations to each one of them. Not just to Andrew but to each one of them.
“Darn and I thought I was off the hook.” And that in a sense is the problem. The dilemma with this freedom that Jesus hands us, on the one hand He tells us, “I’ve come to set the captives free. I’ve come to give sight to the blind. I’ve come to bind up the broken hearted.”
And we take that and we say, ‘Thank you God, thank you Jesus for doing that for me.” And then He seems to hang this evangelism burden around our necks and it can weigh heavily indeed. It certainly did with me.
And you know, for me, the really embarrassing thing, the thing I was most ashamed of was that I’m this person who talks on radio stations in 120 countries on hundreds of radio stations. I’m a person who gets up in Churches large and small and preaches the gospel, yet I found it hard to share my faith, to share Jesus with people one on one.
And so the devil, the devil put a real guilt trip on me about that and I decided I can’t live under guilt and condemnation. So I decided to have a really good read of what God has to say on the subject because guilt and condemnation, let me tell you this, if you feel this. If you have this sense that, “Ooh, I don’t know how to share Jesus with others. I don’t think I’m really good at it. I really should be but I can’t.”
If you’re living under guilt and condemnation I can tell you one thing absolutely for certain, this is not from God. Because God does not give us guilt. God does not condemn us. That stuff comes from the devil.
What God does when He wants us to change something in our lives he speaks to us through something or someone in a way that lifts us up. In a way that we go, “Wow, I want that. I want to do that. I want to be part of that. That sounds like it’s from God.”
So this guilt and condemnation trip is something the devils putting on you. Don’t believe it. Don’t have anything to do with it because it’s not something from God. And when I figured out God’s plan what I discovered was, where I had a guilt trip, all of a sudden I had a joy and a freedom to get out there and share my Jesus with other people.
So we’ve put together ten programs looking at this whole subject of sharing Jesus with others. That’s what we’re going to be doing this week and next week on the program. Because I believe God wants you to experience the freedom to get out there and share Jesus with others.
The key to that freedom that I discovered in God’s word is in Ephesians chapter 2, verse 10. It says this:
We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the good works that He prepared beforehand for us to walk into.
Now there are two parts to that. The first says that we are God’s workmanship. Imagine that. We are hand crafted, He knows what He made us for. He knows our strengths. He knows our weaknesses. And the second part is that He created good works beforehand for us to walk into.
So He’s prepared the things for us to do already. Now do we imagine somehow that He can’t fit those two things perfectly together? Do we imagine somehow that there’s a glitch in God’s ability to make someone for some task that He’s prepared beforehand for them to walk into and then God gets it wrong? Or do we believe that He’s got it all sussed out?
You see you can only have one or the other, you can’t have part of one and part of the other. That burden. That nervousness. That fear that’s holding us back from sharing Jesus with other people, let this set you free. God never ever asks you to do something He doesn’t equip you to do. God never asks us to do something He doesn’t equip us to do.
It may not always feel comfortable. It may not always feel convenient. It may not always feel pleasant. It may not always fit in with our timing and with our plans and with our priorities. But God knows the things that are going to happen to us tomorrow and the next day and the next week and the next year.
And He’s prepared good works for us to walk into because we’re His workmanship. He knows what He created us to do and He created us with a freedom to get out there and share Jesus with others.