How do you help your friends and family find the same kind of relationship with Jesus you have? What’s the secret? We’ve packed several principles into this sermon that will help you turn the corner. Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!
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—————————–OPENING: I love roller coasters. I love getting on one and having my guts turned upside down and inside out. I’m that guy that’s laughing and throwing his hands up. My favorite is when you are in line for a roller coaster and you are near some kids who have never been on one. You can tell they are getting all nervous about it, talking about how they’ve heard it goes upside down – there’s always one of those kids that is excited and the other one is nervous and scared. My goal is always to make that scared kid as scared as possible. I know, I’m a terrible person, but it is a little funny, right? Now, I do always reassure them that it’s going to be ok.
We’ve all known the kid who got it so built up in their mind and then went on the roller coaster and will never step foot in one again, no matter what you say to them.
They’ve had enough of it to think it’s not for them, but not enough to learn to love them.
and to be fair, we’ve all had that experience with something, right?
WE:-You tried coffee when you were younger and had just enough to know there’s no way you were going to like it-Sushi – who wants to eat raw fish? We gave sushi to one of my kids before they were really ready and it came straight back up 🙂 ha, I guarantee you, it’s gonna be 10 times harder to get them to eat it ever again.-You tried sales and got turned down 5 out of 6 times on your first outing and you decided you couldn’t get out of that job fast enough.
We all know what it’s like to get a taste of something and to end up being inoculated against it rather than infected by it.
Since Covid hit, we have all become experts at understanding the idea behind infection and inoculation.
An infection takes up residence in your body and life in such a way that it changes how your body works.
Inoculation gives you just enough of the virus to create an antibody in order to allow your body to fight off an infection.
We’ve all experienced this in some area of life, having just enough of something to know how to fight it off the next time
What happens when someone become inoculated against Jesus?-when they’ve had just enough of church and Jesus to know how to resist Him instead of being infected by Him?
ILLUSTRATION: I’ve seen this over and over again in ministry. Parents who raised their kids forcing them to go to church and Sunday school, believing the proverb. Proverbs 22:66 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Only to see that kid walk away from the church and God. I’ve seen so many parents hearts breaking over this What’s the deal? Is that proverb wrong?
Maybe you are thinking, “yeah, that’s me?” I’m only kind of giving this church thing a try, because I was burned by it growing up”
How do we stand in the gap and not just inoculate people with the gospel but thoroughly infect them?
Because, believe me you, the gospel was not meant to just inoculate you, it was meant to infect you. It was meant to change every part of your life.
The Gospel is meant to infect.
First of all, can I just tell you, if you are someone who has tried to raise your kids to know God and they haven’t, can I tell you, you are not alone.
In Ancient Israel, Samuel who was the prophet and judge, think Governor of the nation, had two sons he had raised. This was the guy who was closest to God in the nation, the Lord literally spoke to him. But listen to what happened with his sons…1 Samuel 8:1-3 1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
But his sons did not follow his ways…Tell me that this wasn’t hard for Samuel, to know God deeply and have your children not “get it”
Here’s A helpful principle about how to help the Gospel infect those around you, rather than just inoculate. b Exposure is not enough, experience with God will trump exposure every time.
Samuels sons had obviously grown up knowing who God was and hearing the stories of their dads interactions with God.
But the difference is, Samuel wasn’t just exposed to God, he had experience with God. when Samuel was young – he had been sent to the temple to be raised by the old Priest Eli. one night, Samuel heard a voice calling to him, he ran to Eli thinking it was the priest calling him. Eli told him it wasn’t him. After this happened 3 times, Eli realized Samuel was hearing from God and told him to speak back to the Lord.
Listen, so many people think if they can just have their kids at church every time the doors are open, and make them memorize bible verses that their kids will somehow catch the virus that is the gospel, but that’s not how it works.
If you look at your own life, it was your experience with God that made the exposure significant. For me, it was the time I felt God speak to me in the midst of a trial it was the way He brought the cross to life in my mind as I prayed
Exposure isn’t bad, as a matter of fact, it’s necessary for infection to happen. B But it takes an experience as well for the gospel to take hold in someone’s life.
ILLUSTRATION: years ago, I did this sermon where I got in the baptistry in my church clothes and I challenged people to follow me and get baptized in their church clothes. This woman came up, who I had been praying for – she had not really been to church much in her life. She came up and I told her how proud I was of her before I baptized her, she whispered to me, “I just couldn’t not come up, I felt like something was physically pushing me to come up.” Another guy came and got baptized as well, he had grown up going to church quite a bit and had come that week for his mom. He got baptized too. I hadn’t seen him in church the whole time I’d been there and he never came back after that.
She is still following Jesus, even though her husband left her for becoming a Christian. That other guy, I never saw him again. That doesn’t mean God didn’t do something in his life, but I know for sure, The experience she had with God, altered her for Ever.
Here’s the deal, you can’t force experience on someone B 3 things to help make it more likely your friend or family will have an experience with God themselves.b1. Pray over your family and friends (or even yourself) that you will be ready to engage when God moves. Samuel heard God’s voice, but didn’t recognize it. My friend could have just thought she had eaten bad pizza the night before. I think God is calling everyone, most of us just ignore Him
2. Prioritize relationship over religion. Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! ’Jesus is not looking for more religious activity, He’s looking for a relationship. These people will have done lots of religious things. “I helped in kids ministry, I taught a small group… etc.” But Jesus will say, “I never knew you…”
Are you spending time seeking God and showing the example of that as much as the activity of doing “churchy” things.
That leads me to my final 3. Walk it as much or more than you talk it. Just about EVERY person that I know who grew up in a family where they were forced to go to church and memorize lots of scripture etc., when you dig into why they are inoculated against the gospel, it has to do with
Most inoculated people to the gospel have seen an inequality between what was professed and what was practiced by those who claim the faith.
Does this make sense to you? The walk was not the same thing they talked
So maybe you made them go to church every morning and fought them to go, but the night before you had been in a drunken stupor and cussed them out for being out past curfew.
Or they know that in your business you regularly took advantage of people and claimed to give money to the church, but really you were greedy and selfish all the time.
Or you acted all holier than thou at church and taught Sunday school, but couldn’t care less about your kids and their mom.
Get it? The walk is more important than the talk. This doesn’t mean all is lost. Humility, asking for forgiveness, and shifting your behavior, can heal more than you know.
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: Some of you in here have been listening to this sermon and thinking the whole time, “that’s me…” I’ve been inoculated. I haven’t really had an experience with God.
It’s not too late. One of my favorite scriptures. Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
You know, the craziest roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on has been my relationship with God. It’s taken me to places I never would have thought and it’s been the most exciting thing I’ve ever been apart of. My hope for you is that you will come up and join me on this ride and join in as we
Advance the Kingdom by living for God and loving people!