Truth and Evangelism How They Work – sermon

Truth and Evangelism How They Work -- I want you to take a moment and imagine you backslid. You stopped coming to church. You got away for Jesus and truth. Don’t think too hard about it, but what if you did? How do you think life would go? Would life deteriorate? Would things begin to go badly? What about your soul? What would happen to it? Do you think you would still experience eternal life when you died? This is what James talked about in the last two verses of his book.

Truth and Evangelism How They Work – sermon video audio notes

Truth and Evangelism How They Work – sermon video audio notes

Scriptures: James 5:1-20, Matthew 9:5, John 20:21-23, Revelation 1:5-6, James 5:19-20, John 18:37, John 18:38, John 14:6, Luke 15:1-7

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Truth and Evangelism How They Work - sermon video

11. How Evangelism Works - By Pastor Delbert Young sermonschangetheworld.com
Truth and Evangelism How They Work – sermon video audio notes -- sermon audio

Truth and Evangelism How They Work – sermon notes

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I want to get you to do something for me. I want you to take a moment and imagine you backslid. You stopped coming to church. You got away for Jesus. Don’t think too hard about it, but what if you did? How do you think life would go? Would life deteriorate? Would things begin to go badly? What about your soul? What would happen to it? Do you think you would still experience eternal life when you died? This is what James talked about in the last two verses of his book. Let’s read.

James 5:19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,

James 5:20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James brings his writing to a close with one sentence. The sentence summarizes the entire book. It’s all about bringing people to the truth.

The first thing I want to point out is the authority of the believer to forgive sins. In this passage, it is a believer saving someone from death and a believer covering a multitude of sins. Last time we talked about how prayer works. We saw how the prayer of elders would heal the sick person and forgive sins (Jam 5:14-15). Also, the confession of sins to another believer would bring healing (Jam 5:16). I don’t think we have a lot of problems with the healing part, but another believer forgiving my sins is a little difficult to receive. Remember the story where they brought a sick man on a pallet to Jesus? Jesus said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mat 9:2). Of course the Pharisees had a lot of trouble with this which shows we still have some Pharisee in us. Jesus said,

Matthew 9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

Then Jesus told the sick man to be healed and to get up which he did. Someone would say, “Well that’s Jesus.” Correct, but let’s look at something else.

John 20:21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

John 20:22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

John 20:23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Isn’t this interesting? As the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sends us. He has empowered us with the Holy Spirit to go forth and forgive sins. Either Jesus said it or he didn’t.

Jesus made us a kingdom of priests to serve God.

Revelation 1:5 . . . To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

Revelation 1:6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father -- to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

What does this mean? In the Old Covenant, the priests reconciled man to God through animal sacrifices. As they ministered the blood, the person was forgiven. It wasn’t the blood of the priests bringing forgiveness. It was the blood of the sacrifices. Nonetheless, the priests brought the forgiveness of sins to the people. Today, we are the priests of God. It’s not our blood. It’s the blood of Jesus, but we get to reconcile man to God as priests. We get to turn sinners from the error of their ways and save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. THAT’S HOW EVANGELISM WORKS!

My brothers . . .

As we have noted many times, James began his thought with “My brothers.” Over and over he used this or a similar phrase to connect with those for whom he was reaching. James thrust was “Let me help you.” Let me show you How Life Works.

I was thinking about this. We have designed life groups so we can come together and help one another. The Bible talks about how Christians should fellowship from house to house. We need to go to the homes of others and we need to have others in our homes. We need to eat with other believers in their homes and others need to eat in our homes. We need to praise in our homes and in the homes of others. One of our life groups does this. They have someone sing and they praise together. We need to pray together. You need to have people come to your house and pray and you need to go to their house and pray. If you are not presently doing this then you are missing a large part of the Christian life.

. . . if one of you should wander from the truth . . .

We have looked at truth James shared.

How Trials Work (1:1-4)

How Temptation Works (1:13-15)

How Anger Works (1:19-26)

How Faith Works (2:14-26)

How the Tongue Works (3:1-12)

How Wisdom Works (3:13-18)

How Fights and Quarrels Work (4:1-10)

How Slander and Judging Work (4:11-12)

How Wealth and the Lord’s Coming Work (5:1-11)

How Prayer Works (5:12-18)

How Evangelism Works (5:19-20)

James intention was to bring people to gospel truth. How do we do with bringing people to the gospel? James desired to help people. Let’s read James 5:19-20 again.

James 5:19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,

James 5:20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

James said three very important details about truth. (1) We can know truth. We would need to know it before we could wander away from it. (2) We can wander from truth. (3) We can be brought back to truth. Let’s look at these three thoughts a moment.

We can know truth.

Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth” (Joh 18:38). This question came from a statement Jesus had said to Pilate about where truth could be found.

John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

John 18:38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.

Jesus came to “testify to THE truth,” not a truth. “What is truth?”

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Isn’t it interesting Jesus connected truth with coming to the Father through Jesus? Jesus said he is the truth. This is one of those verses on which we think we have a handle, but let’s ponder just a moment. If Jesus said he is the truth then what was everything else? What was the law of Moses? What were the Ten Commandments? If that was truth then why should Jesus come? How can we bring people to truth if we are not certain what it is?

Have you ever noticed Jesus never preached anyone’s doctrine, not even the doctrine of Moses? In fact, Jesus would say, “You have heard it said of them of old, thou shalt not . . . , but I say unto you . . .” (Mat 5:21, 22, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 34, 38, 39, 43, 44, etc.). Truth to Jesus was not a doctrine or theology or even right and wrong. Truth to Jesus was how we come to the Father and how we come to the kingdom of heaven. Truth is the way. It is the life with Jesus and the Father.

It is a person. Jesus said he is the truth. It is not relevant in that a situation does not decide truth. It is not one thing to me and another to you. It is not one thing for the Jew and another for the Gentiles. Truth is not one thing for America and another thing for Haiti. Truth is not a great thought. Truth is absolute. It will work anywhere for anyone because truth is a person. We can know truth because we can know the person of Jesus Christ.

How much truth is it possible for a person to obtain? Does God set a limit on it? Is there a level of truth I can achieve and then God says, “That’s it. You can’t have any more truth?” If Jesus is the truth, is there a limit of how much of Jesus you can have? Or, can we know him to the depth we are conforming to his image meaning, in this context, we also can become truth? James said “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” The person will save him from death. The person will cover a multitude of sins. So, we can become the way, the truth, the life to people.

I was speaking with someone recently asking why another person so disliked me. The person to whom I was speaking said, “It’s partially because some people put you up there right next to God” and a few names were given of people who supposedly had done this. What was this saying? Was it saying I am Jesus? No! It’s saying I relate truth and the way to abundant life to them. No one actually thinks I’m Jesus or next to God. In fact, if you know me at all, you know there are many flaws. Ask my wife.

It’s never good to be placed on a pedestal. It’s a long way to fall when (not if) we fall and a fall will always come. But tell me what is wrong with being associated with truth? My wife once asked me, “Why do the people who dislike you dislike you so badly?” She is correct. The people who dislike me really dislike me. I hope the answer is because I stand for it. I challenge people with truth. It to me is not relevant. It is absolute. Truth is a person.

It’s acceptable if a young boy wants to be like Michael Jordan. We should have truth heros as well. Do we not need people in our lives who challenge us with it? Do we not need people to show us truth and bring us back to it?

We can know truth because it is a person. Are we in agreement on this point that truth is Jesus Christ? It is important if we want to understand truth.

  1. We can wander from truth.

This verse fascinated me. James said, “. . . if one of you should wander from the truth . . .” He didn’t say if one of you should wander from a church. He didn’t say if one of you should wander from religion or from a doctrine.

Jesus Christ is the truth. So, if I wander from the truth, from what or from whom am I actually wandering? The answer is Jesus Christ. As we go through the journey of life, we are in a search for truth, not knowledge. Knowledge puffs us up (1Co 8:1). Truth sets us free to live (Jn 8:32).

How many of us have actually known someone who knew truth, but wandered away from the truth? Most of us have witnessed this event happen to someone.

As I look at our region, i.e., the Bible belt, I see the phenomena of people who have left truth more than I see people who have never received truth. It’s rare I get to talk to someone who has never received Jesus. However, every day I talk to people who have wandered away from Jesus. The vast majority of my reaching out to people away from God is to people who have wandered away.

Why do we wander away from truth? I have seen more “wanderings away” than I care to remember. All sorts of reasons are given from being mad at the preacher to the color of the walls. However, I believe there is always the bottom line as to why. It is because a person no longer desires absolute truth. For example, someone could wander away from Jesus because they are involved in an adulterous relationship. The truth is adultery is wrong. However, to continue the adulterous relationship, the person wanders away from the truth. It’s the same about trials, temptations, anger, the tongue, quarrels, slander, wealth, forgiveness, etc. To do what we want, we wander away from the truth. In so doing, we wander away from Jesus.

We can wander away from truth.

  1. We can be brought back to truth.

I asked earlier if any of us had witnessed someone wander away from the truth. Now I want to ask how many of us were this person who knew truth and wandered away, BUT someone, somehow, someway, we were brought back to the truth? Since that time, we have received life and received the covering (forgiveness) of a multitude of sins. Let’s vote. How many of us know people who need to be brought back to truth? There was a “someone” a “whoever” who brought you back and raised you from death and covered a multitude of sins!

How many of us know someone who needs to be brought back to the truth? It’s’s your job. It’s what you were born to do. It’s why you came to earth! This is why you received the Holy Spirit. You have been made a priest to serve God.

I want us to know I believe that is what Life Gate is about. You and I make it possible. Each of us helps to provide a place where people, no matter what their reasons for wandering away, can come back to it. We all make it possible for people to be saved from death. We all make it possible for multitudes of sins to be covered.

I was speaking with someone recently and said I pray Life Gate will always be a place where sinners can come, receive forgiveness, and be restored. We know this is the Lord’s will. It is not something we even need to pray about other than asking him to give us wisdom as to how to accomplish it and to use us.

I want to close with a truth of Jesus.

Matthew 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”

Luke 15:1 Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him.

Luke 15:2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Luke 15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable:

Luke 15:4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

Luke 15:5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders

Luke 15:6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

Luke 15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

A preacher once said to me concerning a specific sin of an individual in a church, “We can’t have those people in the church.” My reply was, “Then where can sinners go if not to the church?” His reply was something like, “Oh brother, you know what I mean.” I said, “No. I don’t know what you mean.”

So, I want to ask you. Where is the list saying we allow the sin of lying and the sin of slander and the sin of gossip in our church, but we can’t allow the sinner who committed adultery or the sinner who is a homosexual or the sinner who is a fornicator? I understand there is a way we must deal with sin in the church. I know the church at Corinth had to deal with a man causing trouble and turn him over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. I know this, but we must bring back those who wandered away. What sinner would Jesus not want us to raise from death? What sin would Jesus not want covered?

My point is if we are a church who brings people back who wandered away covering a multitude of sins, we will have some of all levels of sinners present. I want us to think about this for a minute. Think about his love. Do we hole up and barricade ourselves and insulate ourselves from sinners? Do we keep waiting for a great tribulation to come and burn them all up? Or, who is it Jesus wants you to reach? Who is it Jesus wants you to bring back to the truth and raise from death and cover a multitude of sins? Let’s listen to the song and then I will have some closing comments.

Truth and Evangelism How They Work – sermon video audio notes

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