Sermon January 13, 2013: What is the number one reason you do not share your faith?

Posted in Sermons
[Doug Tunney (right) with Roberto Miranda]
  • Presenter: Doug Tunney
  • Date: January 13, 2013
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

If you have your Bibles I'd like you to look at Mark chapter 1 verse 17. And when you look at this I want you to realize that this is the first command that Jesus gave to the New Testament Church. Until this moment in time He doesn't have disciples, He is calling His first disciples and this is His first commands to His first disciples.

You know everybody has things that they wanna do in life and there's many causes out there for us to be involved in. Everybody is wearing pink against cancer for example and it's good to do that but let's talk about the central call, the first call that Jesus gives us as christians, as followers of Him. It's not confusing, come and follow Me, get set free of your sin, get set free of your misery. Let Me help you. And that's what He did for me.

My life was a disaster. I had been married and divorced, I wanted to commit suicide, I planned a man's murder, I drank alcohol everyday and then somebody came up to me at campus and he said: do you know Jesus?. And it's funny when I tell you all these things I still went to church, I was a deacon, I served communion on sunday and if you asked me: are you christian? I would have said: yes! because I was living in great darkness. I had no idea what it really was to be a christian.

And so this man witnessed to me and he told me about Jesus; and I said: what is the difference between you and me?. He said: you know about Jesus but I know Jesus and when you know Jesus you can't live in sin, He will heal you and He is wonderful. And so I bowed my knees to Jesus and my life was transformed. And then two weeks later he said to me: we are going out on campus to witness today. I said: have a good time. He said: no you are coming with us. I said: no, no I don't do that.

I just like the part where he blesses me. He gives me money and good grades that's what I like. You know what he said to me? I guess you don't wanna be a christian, I said yes I wanna be a christian. He said: a christian obeys God and Jesus told us we have to do this, He said: I would make you fishers of men. He didn't say pray about it, He didn't say think about it, He said: I would make you fishers of men.

So that is the first call that He sets us free but you know we don't have totally free to share our faith because even the first times that I was going out to witness I was still planning to kill a man and I witnessed for a month, and then I met this woman and we started to date and she said to me one day: there is something wrong with you, you have a darkness about you. I said: well that's my business.

So she just like any woman asked like a thousand times: what is it, what is it, what is it?. So I finally said: well I'm going to kill a man, then I'm gonna ask Jesus to forgive me, then I'm going to serve the Lord. She said: would you forgive him?. I said: no I would never forgive him. She said: Jesus does not allow you to kill this man. I said: then let me go to hell because I'm going to kill him and God isn't going to stop me, and the devil is not going to stop me. So she said: I'm not dating you no more you are messed up.

So I think she must have prayed for me because shortly after that I began all of a sudden to care for this man and my heart became transformed. It took maybe another month after that of just praying and then Jesus came and one day He gave me love for the man that I was planning to kill. You know we serve a great and mighty God but you know I was living in great darkness and Jesus set me free.

That man tried to kill me shortly after that and as he was trying to kill me I kept shouting to him that I loved him and finally put his hands down, he said: how can I kill a man that tells me that he loves me and I can tell you mean it?. That's how mighty our God is, that's how might our God is you know, a great God.

Since that time in my life I've been to fourty five countries around the world, I've prayed for people around the world and about two hundred thousands have come to Christ that's a lot of people, but there is a price to pay it's not easy. One time I went to Liberia west Africa and I came back to New Hampshire to where I lived and found out I contracted malaria, and almost died two times, and I didn't know what to do, and I said: God thank you for getting me out of Africa and He said: I want you to go back. I said: You are crazy. The doctor said I'd die if I go back.

And you what came into my mind? the cross. I said: look at what He did for me. He took so much beating that you couldn't even recognize Him and He died to bless sinners. He didn't die to bless christians He died to bless sinners and I said: Jesus I'm going back to Africa. You know many people have many causes but it isn't until you are broken for the cause that Christ called you for.

You know I was just over CBS and was coming back from there, there was a homeless guy and my heart jumped for him, I said: who ever said to this man that God loves him?. I said: how are you doing?. He went: what? who is asking me? and he knew I meant it. Last night I was at a chinese restaurant and I said to the waiter: do you know about Jesus Christ? he said: I've never heard of Him never knew who He was.

What makes me do this after fourty one years of ministry? you know what makes me keep telling people about Jesus?. I think about the cross, I think about what He did for me. I think about the prodigal son, and I know God's heart is broken for the lost and I say: God break my heart with what breaks Your heart. Your heart is broken for the lost why can't my heart be broken for the lost?.

Have you ever cried for Boston, have you ever cried out for the people of this city?. You know I smuggled bibles in China and I've worked with the underground Church, they are the most amazing people in China. There is one fella that takes a taxi everyday and he will go to an unknown part of the city, then he takes a second taxi and in that second taxi he witnesses to the taxi driver at the risk of his life. He said: one out of two taxi drivers accepted Christ with him.

And this is what the underground church told me to tell the American Church: do not pray that the persecution stops in China because the persecution has made us strong and we are not stopping for anything. Everyday they are being killed in China, they are losing their jobs, their houses because they are preaching the Gospel. In one city there are thirty five churches that the chinese government accepts since it's ok but there is thirty five thousand underground churches.

We ran DTS in China, it's one hundred percent illegal. Recently they found out about these DTS. The authorities broke in, they beat the students and they arrested the staff. They beat the staff for three days. On the fourth day the staff began to get emails from the students asking: when will school start again? we are ready to go! are you guys ok?. Oh my goodness what commitment they have!.

You know that thirty five thousand people come to Jesus everyday in China?. China is changing everyday. Only two percent of american christians share their faith, we have lost the ability to share our faith. What is it number one reason you don't share your faith?. It's fear. We are afraid of being rejected. You don't feel equipped, you don't know what to do and so you close down.

Now I want you to do something for me now. I want you to look at the person next to you and I want you to look at them right in the eyes and I want you to say: Jesus loves you and He cares for you. Now give him a hug. My wife wants to say something:

Wife: thank you. I told him this morning: do not ask me to talk, promise?. Well I have something to say.

Pastor: happens everytime

Wife: Ok for me I have been married to this Evangelist and he is a risk taker. He loves being on the edge of the mountain. When the police come and threatens to close us he is happy. That is not my life but I love to tell people about Jesus because I have a story to tell. It's a story of relationship, story of hope, story of connecting. And so when I'm walking your Church and I'm filled with the sound of spanish language around me there is something I know about you, at your heart is about relationship.

Strangers kissed me, they hold my hand, they don't care about the flu they love me. Yeah?. And so I know this: if there is a people on this Earth that should be able to preach the gospel it's you. You know how to love, you know how to communicate, you'd die if you can't talk, you need to tell people things. You have to do it. And if you don't you'll dry inside. You were built to communicate the Gospel. In fact I think the latino people have a special call in it.

The revival sweeping across the world is so focused among your people, it's something you carry that is priceless, precious and you know this atmosphere in Boston like wants to take it from you, it wants you tell you if you want to be successful you won't talk about God, if you are educated you won't say anything, you don't want to offend, you don't want to be unintelligent or pushing. All those voices are not from God it's the prideful spirit of the city that brings coldness and separation and independence.

So my word this morning is be who you are. Be full of passion, be full of ambition of God, have carrying in your heart and let it triumph over the voice of the enemy. I've seen hispanic mothers with their children, nothing stops them from saying how they feel about their kids right? you overcome fear with love. It's true, I've seen fathers gather their children, they don't care what danger comes they are gonna protect.

So I'm observing and you are people of protection, you are people of compassion, passion and love. That's all you need for revival, you just have to turn into your family and give them some of that and the people you work with some of that, and the people across the street, and the politicians, and the people that educate your children. We just need to break the locks of the outside of your door and let you go. Don't be afraid you have a story to tell.

Pastor: Thank you Betty I appreciate that, thank you so much.

You know just like you turn to the person next to you and tell them: Jesus loves you and cares for you why can't you do that outside? why can't you do that to your neighbors and your neighborhood. Jesus commands you to do it. He doesn't say for you to pray about it, He says go into all the world and preach the Gospel. He doesn't say think about it. You know this verse in Mark 15:16 is the final command in the Gospels.

So we go from Jesus' first command to His last one in the Gospels. So we need to talk about Jesus' command; this is signifficant, this isn't just another command these are signifficant commands. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all men and so we have to do would you agree?. So are you doing that, let me as you a question are you doing this? are you sharing your faith with people?. The devil's greatest trick is to close your mouth. He says: oh I didn't pray enough today so I can't preach the Gospel today. I had a fight with my wife I can't talk about Jesus.

Look if I waited for that I would never preach about Jesus (laughs). Me and my wife have a good relationship, thirty eight years there's nothing she holds back let me tell you but even so I still go and tell about Jesus and at the end of it all we love and kiss.

So let's go from this to Acts 1:8 I want you bring your bibles to Acts 1:8. Now this is the last words that Jesus gives before He leaves Earth. After this command He leaves and He's been gone for two thousand years. Once again a very signifficant command and if you agree say amen with me. It's not like: oh this is another thing I want to say, disciples: these are my last words, you have to hold on to these words, you have to obey this command. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you to be my witnesses in Jerusalen, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the Earth.

So we see something: we receive the Holy Spirit to be witnesses, are you witnessing?. That's why you have the Holy Ghost!. And the Bible says right after saying these words He ascends for the final ascension. It's interesting to notice that the disciples were not from Jerusalen. They were from the sea of Galilea which is seventy miles north and they were galileans and so he He said: I want you to preach in Jerusalen.

A couple years ago some of us went to Jerusalen. We went to all Jerusalen to preach the gospel and this is what the christians told us: if you try to preach in Israel they are gonna stone you, they are gonna spit on you and they will probably kill you, and so they said to me: what are you going to do?. I said: I'm going to preach the Gospel because He didn't say: go and preach where it's nice, where there is friendly people. He said go to all the world and preach the Word to all people.

What does the word all mean?. It means all, it means everybody. I remember the first we were in Telaviv every christian told us: it's impossible don't do it, I said: I have to do it because He commanded me to and we performed in Telaviv, and then I said to the jews: what do you think about this?. They said: I think this is a wonderful message but we don't know who this Jesus is, I said: you seriously don't know who Jesus is? like He walked around you here you know?, this is like where He hung out. We don't know who He is and we have a hard time thinking that there is such a thing as a Savior, we don't know what that is but we love your message please take it to the whole country.

And then when we came to Jerusalen the christians said: you have been successful where no one had been ever successful. We had some portable speakers and we drew street drama on the streets, so we went into an alley; everybody put their make up on, getting ready we got the speakers in our hands, we looked at each other and said: God bless you I love you, let's go! and we went out in the middle of Jerusalen and we began to perform. The police came and they liked it and then the crowd began to grow and there was about seventy people there.

And this big man about this big, he said: you better not talk about Jesus because I'll bring you down. I said: sir bigger men have said that to me but you are not messing with me you are messing with the living God. And this jewish woman next to him, this woman turned to him, she was speaking hebrew I don't know what she said but it didn't seem pleasant because in about a minute that man ran away and then she left and then we were free to preach the Gospel.

After three hours in the streets of Jerusalen I began to call the churches and say: we are still here, some soldiers just accepted Christ with us. Mothers were accepting Christ with us, they said: this has never come to our ears before. So the churches there sent spies on us like 100 yards away observing us, they knew what we were doing was impossible but so many people came to Christ that the Church is now going out in Israel.

You see? you can change things brothers and sisters, you can change the environment, you can change the spirit of a nation, you can change the spirit of a city if you show the love of God and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ freely and openly. And so in Acts 1 Jesus gives this command and they preach in Jerusalen but they don't go out to Judea. Judea is like southern Israel and it's pretty remote, and there is a lot of gentiles in that area, that's where the bedouines are.

Acts chapter 1 if you go from chapter 1 to chapter 8 they don't go to Judea or Samaria or to the ends of the Earth, they refuse to go. Jerusalen is too much fun, too many good times there, maybe about thirty years passed. The church is mighty in Jerusalen but not in the other parts of the world. So let's take a look at Acts chapter eight and it says: "And there rose a great persecution against the Church in Jerusalen, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria except the apostles."

You see they would not obey God so God allowed a great persecution to come against them. Paul talks about this many times in his teachings. He says they broke into every single house in Jerusalen so there was caos among the christians in Jerusalen but the Bible says that after they left Jerusalen they began to preach the Gospel in these other places. Now Jerusalen can be your Church, you come here and it's so wonderful, you are so blessed to be here but Jesus says: you gotta go. Go to the Church but after that go and if you don't obey great lack of peace comes to your life. A lack of joy.

For example: do you know that Jesus calls Himself the Lord of the harvest?. Have you ever known the Lord of harvest?. He's unbelievable, He's awesome. I was in a village in Africa one time. Witch had complete control of the people, raped every girl in the village when they were 8 years old, put curses on the people and people lived in complete fear of this man. I didn't know about this but I entered the village and we began to preach the Gospel and the witch put ropes on his wrists, he said: if you ever take this rope off you'll die.

Liberia has the highest child death rate in the world. So they put the ropes on the childrens' necks, on the childrens' wrists, on the childrens' ankles to protect them. Everybody was black and you probably notice that I'm white and I began to tell them that Jesus is the Lord of lords and the King of kings and the witch doctor is nothing compared to our Lord. And these witch doctors began to threaten our lives but in the middle of my preaching an amazing thing happened; the witch doctor came out of his area, he ran and he dove in my feet and he began to cry out for mercy, he began to say: I'm wrong, I've done wrong. He asked my forgiveness.

I told him to ask God and the villagers to forgive him. And when he repented the africans began to dance, it was the greatest joy you will ever see and then I said: cut the ropes, they said: we will die, I said: cut the ropes, they said: we will die so I told an old man: sir you won't die, he cut the rope, the people waited for him to drop dead, you know like Paul when the snake bit him people expected him to die right there, he expected to die. About thirty seconds later this is what he did: aleluya, I've never known such peace in my life, I've never known such joy.

Six hundred people cut the ropes right there, they had never had a christian church in that area. One of our strongest churches is in that village today, witch doctor is gone brothers and sisters. He left. The children had a dream every night that he was chasing them with a machete, they woke up screaming every night. From that day on that dream never came back again.

I got an email from another village I was just in last year, a demon ten feet tall was terrifying but he found himself terrified of Christ. As we went into that village we began to tell it to leave the people were dying of heart attacks in fear of this demon everyday, mental breakdowns. We went in there, we preached the Gospel, we led the village to Christ, we cast that demon out and I got an email from the village, the people hadn't planted anything in three years because of fear, they are planting again, nobody is dying of a heart attack, the peace of God is on that village.

These people have never had a gospel, these people grew in Africa, this is the first people of this people in the world that has ever come to Christ. And now they are taking the Gospel to the next village, to the next village, to the next village. You can change the world in the power of Jesus Christ and the devil wants to keep you quiet.

Now we have a video we wanna show you now, my son Jeremiah is gonna come up and introduce it.

Jeremiah: Hi guys how are you doing? amen. Yeah. So we are going to show you a video, it's called: who cares?, it's written by William Booth, do you guys know the salvation army?. Yeah it wasn't always an organization asking for money in front of Walmart, it's one of the most mighty evangelist movements in our generation. So he wrote this poem out of love for the lost, so we took the poem and made a video of it.

So if you can take your mind and locate it as if it was in the middle of an ocean, imagine a big rock in the middle of that ocean and you are gonna see that there's all kinds of people on that rock. There's people that have different interests, loves and passions, idols and different sins and people that are inside the ocean itself, and you are gonna see that there is a great dying world around us. But people on the rock are concerned about their own things and they are more concerned about getting their happiness than the people in the water.

There is a quote I really love it says: simpathy is no substitute for action. If we feel bad about the two billion people that don't know about Jesus if we feel bad they won't go to Jesus, but if we take one step toward that, say: I'm gonna risk something to tell the world about Jesus that is going to bring revival to the world. Especially in this generation where every single thing that we need to do we just need the people to do it. So I hope you enjoy this video, thank you so much.

Video: Imagine a stormy sea, magnificent yet terrified, thunder and lightining. Waves crashing and other caos. People screaming and struggling to stead aflow. All being overtaken by the ghostly sea.

In the middle of the water there was a rock high and mighty. It somehow rised above the thunderous clouds overhead. At the base of the rock sits a platform. On it were those that have been saved from the stormy sea. Some of them are working day and night to save the other people but some of them have been blinded by their own personal ambitions, and some of them have even forgotten about their own salvation.

Why give that up? this is home. For as long as I can remember I've been here. My mother told me about rescue but I was busy with recollection. I am over the rock it's pretty safe. I've sunk my feet on the water a couple of times but if was just out of curiosity. I've had a few close calls too and I hear so much talk about the Savior but I don't know who in their right mind would voluntarily get in that water.

Savior? yeah I know Him but I can't tell you where He is now, He did rescue me and I know it was out of love but lately I feel forgotten. I don't see Him anymore, I don't feel Him anymore, I thought the higher I climbed on that rock the closer I'd be to Him. I asked Him to show Himself to me, to take away any down and uncertainty, I asked Him to give me happiness isn't that the point? where is He?

*Cough* somebody please help me. I cried out to these people everyday where I didn't get so much as a glance, I see them living on this rock but it's as if they are blind, can you not hear me? do you not feel me? I'm struggling just to keep my head out of water, sometimes the waist. It's too much I mean I know I'm a good person right? I made mistakes all right but if all of a sudden they jumped in, if all of a sudden they show me this love they say they live by!.

Somebody please we have to help her. We are living on this rock in total complaciency, there are people all around us drowning and waiting for the saviors' love. Why are we sitting here blind? don't you get it? we were sitting by Grace and His Spirit has made us strong and He has made us able. I'm done living a selfish and mediocre life. He has called you and me to share the hope we live by, that's it. I'm jumping in.

Pastor: We want to sing a song with you which talks about the great commission, how we have been called by God to tell people about Jesus. But it's gonna cost you. It's gonna cost you your life but you will get a better life. You see when you give yourself to others and when you give yourself to the lost you find Jesus there. You know where Jesus is? He's not in the rock, He is in the water with the lost, He is reaching out to them and He tells you this in Luke 10:2: "Pray to the Lord of the harvest that the workers will go into the harvest, for the harvest is plenty but the workers are few."

Brothers and sisters the problem is not in the harvest the problem are the workers and so if you wanna say to us today I have a mission, I wanna be one of those that shares their faith. And even if you don't know how to do it just give your testimony, nothing can defeat your testimony, nobody can tell you that your testimony is wrong because it's your testimony. So you say to somebody: I don't know exactly how to say it but let me tell you what Jesus did for me, that's all you have to do.

We wanna come back and let you know how you can defend your faith, we wanna teach you specifically how to do it and make you mighty warriors in this but today you can start with your testimony and so if you wanna say to us I wanna do it, I wanna begin to obey Jesus and tell others about Jesus as the song is played stay with us and sing with all your heart, we invite you in Jesus' name.

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