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Inglesia del Nazareno Communidad de la Esperanza

Sermon Notes

 

 

June 30, 2013 : A Contagious Heart

 

Dr.  Burnie R.  Burnside

 

 

Matthew 5:16

 

Developing a contagious heart - one that yearns to let God use you to reach others - is the antidote for a dry Christian life. When you’re living on the evangelistic edge, your prayer life is most fervent, your Bible study becomes its most intense, your dependence on God is at its greatest, because you know that apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, there’s no way you can bring about the conversion of anybody.

 

This is the real adventure of the Christian life. So how can we live on the evangelistic edge? One way is to think about how Jesus would reach out to others if he physically lived in our house, or went to our school, or worked in our office, or labored on our job site. What could we learn from the Master?

 

First: Before talking to his neighbors about their heavenly Father, Jesus would talk to his heavenly Father about his neighbors.

Prayer was the pattern throughout Jesus’ life - before he embarked on anything of importance, he spent time in prayer.

The Apostle James said that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective.

Mother Teresa said: “When I pray, coincidences happen; and when I stop, they don’t.”

 

Second, if Jesus lived in my house, he wouldn’t just share his faith; he’d show his faith.

Talk is cheap. Jesus didn’t just say he loved the world; he showed his love by giving His life.

When we serve the very real and tangible needs of other people, it opens up opportunities to talk to them about their spiritual needs.

People are more open to the gospel when we show them that we care rather than just say that we care.

 

Finally, if Jesus lived in my house, he would be authentic in the way he related to his neighbors.

Jesus wouldn’t just communicate the gospel; he would live it out in front of his neighbors.

There would be a consistency between his beliefs and his behavior, and between his character and his creed.

Here’s the truth: few things can repel a person from God as efficiently as an inauthentic Christian.

 

Do you know,

do you understand

that you represent Jesus to me?

 

Do you know,

do you understand

that when you treat me with gentleness,

it raises the question in my mind

that maybe he is gentle, too.

Maybe he isn’t someone

who laughs when I am hurt.

 

Do you know,

do you understand

that when you listen to my questions

and you don’t laugh,

that I think, “What if Jesus is interested in me too?”

 

Do you know,

do you understand

that when I hear you talk honestly

about arguments and conflict and scars from your past

that I think, “Maybe I am just a regular person

instead of a bad, no-good little girl who deserves abuse.”

 

If you care, then I think maybe he cares —

and then there’s this flame of hope that burns inside of me

and for a while I am afraid to breathe

because it might go out.

 

Do you know,

do you understand

that your words are his words?

That your face is his face

to someone like me?

Please—be who you say you are!

Please, God, don’t let this be another trick.

Please let this be real this time. Please.

 

Do you know,

do you understand

that you represent Jesus to me?

 

We need to have contagious hearts. Ones that long to be used, and that lead us to do what we can do for others - what Jesus would do. We can pray for people who are far from God. We can dialog with our friends and help point them toward the truth of Christ. We can find ways to serve others so that the door might be opened to spiritual conversations. And we can simply be authentic about who we are - sinners saved by grace.

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