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Sunday, November 27, 2016 pm                      What It Means to Be a Christian Index

 

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN (3-2)
Addressing Hindrances to Becoming a Christian

         This morning, we presented a lesson dealing with hindrances to becoming a Christian.  This is part of a series of lessons dealing with What it means to be a Christian.  In preparing this study I am noticing that it consistently deals with two major subjects as Christians – 1) Examination – 2 Cor. 13:5; and 2) Reaching the lost – while this is not the direct purpose of this series, as we deal with obstacles and hindrances we are dealing with teaching someone to become a Christian, and how to remain faithful as a Christian.

This morning we noted that there are many hindrances that keep one from obeying the gospel.  These include: 1) Unbelief in its many forms; 2) Faulty reasoning that dismisses the need to become a Christian according to the Bible pattern; 3) Too much love for their sinful lives; 4) The consequences associated with becoming a Christian; 5) The hypocrisy of professed believers; 6) Ignorance to the truth – sometimes our fault; & 7) that “one thing” that just stands in the way.  As we concluded, we mentioned some things we can do to help overcome these hindrances.

Tonight, I want to address in greater detail this last section.  We want to notice what we can do as we deal with those who are just not interested in obeying the gospel right now.  We will also mention some additional things.

 I.         Don’t take it personally

a.       While there are times we have some responsibility, in general, when we stand before God, we will give an account for what we have done.  Nothing more or less.    

b.       Don’t think you are alone.  2 Tim. 3:12 – all who desire to live godly will suffer persecution. 
John 15:18 -  Jesus said, if they hated Him they will hate you.  IF they hate you, it is Him they are hating. 

 

 II.       In reality, most hindrances you cannot overcome for them

a.       You cannot force someone into obedience.  In the parable of the sower, see falls by the wayside and the devil immediately snatches it away (Luke 8:5, 12). 

b.       Even Jesus was not able to win them all.  In fact, MOST rejected Him! 

c.        They need to make up their minds for themselves.   They must be convicted!
Romans 14:12, each of us shall give account of himself to God.

d.       But knowing these things can prepare a Christian to do whatever he can to deal with their hindrances. 

e.       Realize that hindrances and excuses will not change one’s eternal destiny.  So, if there is anything you can do for them, do it!  2 Corinthians 5:10-11

f.         ALSO, do not use their rejection as an excuse to do nothing or go to no one else. 
Far too many try to convince themselves that no one is interested.  You don’t know that and to make such a judgment is to put yourself in place of God!
Follow the instructions of Jesus in Mathew 10:5-16 – go to a city – if they receive you stay, if not wipe the dust off and go somewhere else.
In Acts 13:51, when Paul and Barnabas were rejected at Antioch of Pisidia, they shook the dust off and went to Iconium.  Also Acts 18:6 in Corinth.

g.       Yes it is true that it appears that fewer are interested, but there is someone out there looking!

 III.     Keep letting your light shine (never underestimate the power of example). 

a.       With many, this is the best we can do right now!  Philippians 2:15 – we shine as lights in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation.

b.       Don’t be a hypocrite!  We noted this morning that God despises hypocrites.
Give them reason to believe the truth, etc.  You can continue to show them the importance of putting God first.  You can show them the blessings of being a child of God.
But you must be genuine – 1 Peter 1:7 speaks of the genuineness of your faith

Matthew 5:37 – let you ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, also James 5:12.

c.        Don’t forget this when they are enemies as well – Matthew 5:44-48.  Don’t give them cause (1 Peter 2:11-12).

 

 IV.     Help them overcome ignorance and faulty thinking with the truth

a.       1 Peter 3:15 – we must give a defense for our hope.  Many Christians are at fault because we do not take the time and put forth the effort to really learn how to give answers for the hope in us. 

b.       2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – the weapons of our warfare (the sword of the Spirit – Eph. 6:17) are mighty for casting down arguments.   Let the gospel do the speaking.

c.        If they let you, study with them when you can.  Sometimes unbelievers are still willing to discuss Biblical matters. They are just not prepared yet to change.  But you need to be prepared to give them reason to change. 

d.       In this, consider your attitude!  Handle accurately the word (2 Tim. 2:15). 
Matthew 10:16, Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 
Listen and be patient.  Also be kind.  Seek to understand them so that you will answer correctly.  Ask them questions to clarify when you can. 

e.       ALSO, consider indirect teaching.   Give them an article or tract (or lesson if they will take the time to listen) about some subject, live the life of a Christian is still the best teacher. 

 V.       Sometimes we need to back off, but don’t forget about them. 

a.       It is a challenge to not be overly annoying and turn them off.  Don’t be salt in the wound, or a blinding light (cf. Matt. 5:13-16).   Be pleasant and someone others don’t dread to see you coming. 
Yes, there are some that simply because of your faith want nothing to do with you, but others are just not ready right now. 

b.       DON’T force a false response.  If someone is baptized just to get you off their back, are they really saved?

c.        Maybe you need to wait till later to try again to win them. 

d.       Offer to study with them later.  Give them an open invitation to call you.

e.       But don’t give up – Galatians 6:9.  As long as there is breath, there is hope.

 VI.     Don’t let them drag you down spiritually

a.       Yes we are in the world, but not of the world.  Be cautious in dealing with the worldly.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump – Galatians 5:9.   Evil company corrupts good habits – 1 Corinthians 15:33.

b.       Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers - 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17-18 – come out from among them!

 VII.   You can pray for them –

a.       This is something we can always do and should!  They desperately need it!  Pray for them specifically.  Pray for opportunities of open doors with them.  Pray for other opportunities – Matthew 9:38, Colossians 4:3

b.       Pray for wisdom in handling this circumstance – James 1:5; pray for boldness to do and say what needs to be said – cf. Ephesians 6:17-19, etc.

 VIII. Put it in God’s hand

a.       You can only do so much. But God can give the increase.  Trust Him.  1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our cares upon Him.   Could this include cares for the lost? 

b.       Like Paul and Apollos – plant and water, but let God give the increase!  1 Corinthians 3:6

c.        This is not saying you don’t do anything!  You still have work to do.

 I realize that with many of the things we have said tonight, requires judgment depending on the situation.   It is a challenge to know what to do and what not to do.  The bottom line is that we need to care and that means we are going to do what we can.  We may make mistakes, but we should try and learn from them so that we can win souls.   And if we are genuinely working at winning souls, we will learn and get better at it.  And we will help more overcome their hindrances.  And THAT is our ultimate goal.  Think about it.