A preacher said to a farmer. “Do you belong to the Christian family?” “No.” said he, “they live two farms down.” “No, no! I mean are you lost?” “No, I’ve been here thirty years.” “I mean are you ready for Judgment Day?” “When is it?” “It could be today or tomorrow.” “Well, when you find out for sure when it is, you let me know. My wife will probably want to go both days.”
Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip was from the town of Bethsaida.
This calling takes place in Bethany. Philip had come to Bethany to listen to John the Baptist. Philip found Nathanael and told him. What is Philip’s first reaction – he finds Nathanael. “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote– Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Philip places a high priority on reaching the lost. It is like one beggar sharing a piece of bread with another beggar. In modern terms it is like one woman who finds a sale and calls her friends to announce the bargains she has found. “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.
The Bible portrays Philip as wrestling with his faith but at the same time being faithful to share his faith. Philip is found five times in the Gospel of John. The first time is at his calling by Jesus. The second is when he introduces Nathanael to Jesus. The third is at the feeding of the 5,000, when Jesus asked Philip where they can buy enough bread to feed this crowd. For Philip it wasn’t a question of where! “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Sometimes our faith isn’t strong enough to meet the challenge. The fourth time is when Philip again introduces someone to Christ. Some Greeks who are God fearing people want to meet Jesus. They come to Philip and Philip introduces them. The 5th, and last time is when Philip wants to see his Heavenly Father.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of effective churches is the high priority on reaching unchurched people in their communities. We find that among younger people that they have rejected the institution of the Church but have not rejected God. When a survey was conducted among the unchurched they found seven responses. Some you would expect to hear, some you wouldn’t.
There is no value in attending. The unchurched felt like they could connect with God as easily on the golf course as they could in worship. They do not see the value in collective worship other than doing penitence. It is something like having to endure hell before we get to heaven. God is everywhere so why go to Church?
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” There is great power in the assembled people of God. Never underestimate the Holy Spirit.
Churches have too many problems. The reputation of the Church is in shambles.
It is believed that Churches are filled with inflexible, hypocritical, judgmental and sometimes even plain mean people.
I don’t have the time. Time has replaced money as a currency in the church. Rather than asking how much will it cost, people are more likely to ask, how long will this take. Sundays are for many, the only day to play.
I’m simply not interested. They just don’t care.
Churches ask for money too much. Some feel that churches are more interested in their wallets than in people. There was a lady who attended on Stewardship Sunday and was offended. Money is important to the issue of faith, because money is important to us.
Church services are usually boring or irrelevant. The Church is undergoing a change. Most worship services have been stuck in the 50’s and unwilling to change. Churches that are growing are appealing to all generations.
I don’t believe in God. Less than 12% feel that there is no God.
If effective evangelism happens, it has to begin and end with the local church. A story is told of the Lord’s return to heaven after his resurrection. All the angels gathered for the gala celebration. During the festivities, as the story goes, the angels gathered around God’s Son to hear about his many experiences on earth.
Christ told of how he healed the sick, raised the dead, and ministered miracles to the multitudes. Then, he told them the story of how he died on the cross that man might be free from sin. He also explained how he rose again from the dead on the third day. As he finished, all heaven was silent.
Suddenly one of the angels declared, “Lord, it’s our turn to participate. Let us now go to earth and tell the masses of your love and of what you’ve done for them.” The Lord quietly shook his head and answered, “No, that will not be possible.” All of the angels were puzzled, and another inquired, “How, then, are you going to send this message to everyone on earth?” In a confident tone, the Master answered, “I have left this responsibility in the hands of eleven friends.” With a questioning look, another angel quickly responded, “But, Lord, what if they fail?” Jesus answered, “I have no other plan.”
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”