First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Week 4

The Message: Hindrances to the Gospel - Part II - Fear and Apathy

 This week we cover two hindrances that cause tremendous harm to us being used of God.

 The first is Fear. Most people would admit to having e-phobia. No, that is not being afraid of e-mail but being paralyzed by doing evangelism. In the movie "Patch Adams" there is a scene in a mental institution where an old man is ranting about how many fingers he is holding up. No one seems to understand what he is talking about as he holds up four fingers. When Patch Adams guesses four fingers, the old man says no, you are looking right at my fingers trying to solve the problem. The man said, "Look beyond my fingers and tell me what you see." As Patch's eyes went out of focus, he did see double of what the man held up and saw eight fingers. The old man said, "Sometimes, we are looking so hard at the problem that we cannot see the solution. Look beyond the problem."

That is what we need to do with evangelism. We all have an idea what evangelism is and most images bring to mind strong arming someone on the street or knocking on doors until someone will listen to us. Yes, that is one way of doing evangelism but most of the time it is not the best way. We need to look beyond what we think we know about evangelism in order to see the solution of being a friend to a missing person.

  Very simply, there are 6 general types of evangelism. Most of us would not be comfortable doing four of them. But two are different. These are the two that we will learn about in our Good News Notes. All that is required is to be ourselves; genuine, caring Christians. Not a know-it-all who has all the answers to every question that may come up. Just a friend who's life has been changed by Christ. That's it, that's all. Telling and showing people how God has made a difference in your life. No big theology, no solutions to the big bang or string theory, just your story.

When we begin to view evangelism in this light do you feel the fear slipping away? No one is asking you to do anything but to be yourself and love others in the name of Christ. Add to this that God will go before you and prepare opportunities for you to care for people. With that in mind we can be courageous in seeking out a missing friend.


The second hindrance to sharing the gospel is apathy. How do we encourage Christians to care whether a friend or relative of theirs will spend eternity in hell or separated from God? 

First, we need to understand what the Bible teaches about heaven and hell. Read the encounter in the Bible where Jesus tells about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-28. This gives us a vivid picture of what it might be like to be without God.
Second, all the human reasoning in the world cannot change God's law. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Third, we must develop compassion for people, all people. If we are praying the prayer from week 2, we will be developing a heart and love for people. God, because of his love for all men and women, will give us a burden for people and their need to know Christ.

Scripture - II Timothy 1:7-8a For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.

 Action - Remember that God is at work in the lives of all missing people. If we have eyes to see we will see where God is already at work in the life of a missing person around us. God always will go before us. Take a look around you this week and see what God is doing.

 Prayer - Lord, please help me to see people with a new and larger capacity to love.

Next Week -