Transcript

ROBERT >> I’m so glad that you’re with us today on The Truth In Love. If you’ve watched our program for very long, you know that I always encourage everyone who is listening to let us know how we can help you towards heaven. That’s what this program is about, and that’s what the church of Christ is all about. It’s our mission to help each other and to help all others towards heaven. And that’s what we want to do for you today.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> I want to begin today by reading to you some of the last words of Jesus Christ before leaving this earth. We often place great value on the last words of people, especially those that are near and dear to us. So remember, these are the last words of Jesus.

This is what the Bible says: ‘And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age, amen.”

These last words of Jesus remind us of our mission as the church, to help folks to heaven. He puts it like this: Go and make disciples of all nations. It is our mission to make disciples of Christ of all people. This involves helping to get them to Christ, to baptize them into Christ; but it also involves helping them to grow up in Christ, as he said in these last words, teaching them to observe the commandments of Christ. It’s all about getting us all to heaven. Understand that this is not just one program among many in the church.

Many churches have an evangelistic program, but really all that we do as God’s people is to help folks to heaven. It’s the underlying reason for everything that goes on in the church. It’s not one of many programs, it’s what ought to underlie all of our programs. It is our mission in the church as God’s people for everyone, every day, everywhere to help one another and all others towards heaven.

I want you to notice here that Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples. And then he commanded them to teach them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you. And therefore, they would teach their disciples to do what he had commanded them to do; that is, to make disciples. And so they were to make disciples who were to make disciples. And this is why we have disciples of Christ today, and this is how we’ll continue to have disciples in generations to come, by making disciples who make disciples who make disciples until our Lord comes again.

In the book of Acts, as we look through that wonderful book about the beginning of the church and how it spread from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the uttermost parts of the earth, we read of the whole church carrying out this mission. Every day, everywhere, they went from house to house, they went this the temple. They were in the synagogues preaching and teaching. They were in a school, down by the riverside, in the marketplace among the people, and in the wilderness, and even in jail.

But are we today, God’s church, fulfilling our mission?

Have we forgotten it?

Have we become distracted from it?

Have we lost focus?

Maybe the problem is we’ve gotten discouraged about it or frustrated because we haven’t seen the results we really want to see.

Well, this morning I want to discuss with you first of all a plan, a plan to help us all work together, to help each other and all others get to heaven. It’s a simple plan and it’s a plan that any member can do. It’s not just for preachers or elders or deacons or Bible school teachers or some special one in the congregation, no, but this is something for all of us. Every one of us who are Christians, even the very newest of Christians can take this plan, put it into practice, and help folks get to heaven. Number one, maybe you want to get a piece of paper or a pencil or something and write these things down. It’ll help you as you go through this week.

But here’s number one that you’ll want to write on your paper. Pray for the souls in your circle of influence. I want you to think about those that you come in contact with every day, those folks that you’re able to influence in one way or another. That’s your circle of influence. Pray for those souls. Pray for them like the apostle Paul prayed in Romans 10:1. You’ll notice in this passage where the apostle Paul indicates his heart for his people, the Jews.

Here in this passage in Romans 10:1 it says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”

You see, not only was this the prayer on Paul’s lips, but this was the prayer that was in his heart for his people, Israel. And when we line up our heart with our lips, God will hear that prayer, and that prayer will have great impact upon us and upon those who we’re trying to save, because it’s prayer that unleashes the power of God. And so let’s learn to pray fervently from the heart for those that we really care about. Let’s pray for the souls in our circle of influence, the souls that are lost and without Jesus, the souls that need help in getting to heaven.

What souls are closest to you?

Probably a family member, perhaps a very dear friend.

What souls do you see most often?

Who are those that you see every day?

Maybe a coworker, somebody that you work with every day, perhaps a schoolmate, somebody you go to school with. Maybe it’s someone in the neighborhood that you’re often running into.

And what persons do you pass by without seeing them as souls?

I think so often we go around our daily activities of life, and we forget that those we come in contact with, every one of them was a soul. Like the clerk at the store, or maybe the waiter or the waitress that helps us in the restaurant, or perhaps the yard man that comes and works in our yard.

Do we forget that these people have souls that will go into eternity?

And so let’s think about who these family members are, these friends, these neighbors, these coworkers, these folks that we see day in and day out, and let’s begin to pray about each one of these souls. I like to make a list. Maybe you want to make a list of your ten most wanted. It may just be two or three folks. Sometimes I’ll just put a name down on a piece of paper, I’ll wad it up, I’ll put it in my pocket, and as I go through the day and I reach my hand in my pocket and I feel that piece of paper, I’ll know that hey, that’s the one I’ve been praying for, that’s the one I need to try to influence for Christ today. It’s a reminder to pray for that soul, to reach out to that soul for Jesus Christ.

Everybody can do this. Everybody can think about those in their circle of influence and begin to pray about them today. But here’s number two you want to write down. Be a friend to them. You remember how severely Jesus was criticized by the Jewish religious leaders of his day simply because he was a friend of tax collectors and sinners? You read about it in Matthew 11:19, how he was a friend of these. He was a friend of sinners. And you notice specifically Matthew mentions the tax collectors. The tax collectors are often associated with the sinners and with the harlots in the Bible because the tax collectors were one of the most despised of sinners. They were so despised because they were considered traitors of their own people. They collected taxes from the Romans, they exploited the Jews, overcharging them to line their own pockets. So they were traitors and they were thieves. But Jesus didn’t mind spending some time with them. We need to learn like Jesus to spend time with the worst of sinners.

We can’t share Christ with others if we’re not with them. And we’re not to be their enemies; we’re to be their friends. They need to know that we care about them, that we are interest

ed in them. I remember talking to a fellow Christian one day, and she told me that she purposely avoided her neighbors because of how they lived. She wouldn’t have anything to do with them. But these are the very ones who need Jesus the most.

So let’s begin to think, how can I be a friend? How can I show them I’m interested in them, I care for them, I’ve been praying about them, and now I’m going to be a friend to them?

Here’s a third point I want you to write down and remember. And perhaps this is a place where you haven’t been before in trying to reach out to others, but I think it’ll really help you. I know it’s helped me in trying to influence others for Jesus Christ. And that’s learning how to develop interest in their hearts for the gospel, interest in their hearts for God and for the Bible and for Jesus, to interest in them in subjects like heaven and hell. One of the best ways to do that is asking them questions about how they feel.

How do you feel about God? How do you feel about the Bible?

What do you think about Jesus?

And begin to get them to think about those things and express their feelings about those things and other spiritual things like that. And in that way, they know that you’re interested in what they think, in what they feel, and you’re going to begin to learn a lot about those folks, and it’ll help you in reaching them for Christ. I know when I was younger that I would I call it beat people over the head with the Bible or shove it down their throats. I might have been so zealous that I wasn’t careful about how to approach others for Jesus Christ. I knew that that didn’t get me very far with anyone. In fact, it would usually only push them further away. Before you can effectively teach, you’ve got to win their interest. You’ve got to win their respect. You’ve got to win their ear for the gospel.

In 1 Peter 3:1-2, Peter writes to the Christian woman who’s married to a non-Christian man about how she can win him for Jesus Christ.

Look what it says here, 1 Peter 3:1-2: “Wives likewise be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they without a word may be won by the conduct of their wives when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”

When a woman, a wife will act in a pure and a respectful way, her conduct, her behavior as a Christian can really have an effect on her non-Christian husband, even those who obey not the word, as Peter said. He said they may be won without a word.

Now, you can’t come to Christ without the word of the gospel. It’s the word of the gospel that saves us. That’s the power, Romans 1:16, James 1:22. But Peter’s talking about the fact that she must first win his ear, win his respect so he would listen and so he might be open to Christianity. And so this is how we can influence others, not just husbands and wives in our families, but our friends and our neighbors, too.

If you look down in 1 Peter 3:15, notice what it says here. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to every one who asks your reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

He tells us when we approach folks in answering their questions about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the reason for our hope, that we need to do so with meekness and fear. That’s gentleness. That’s respect.

I know sometimes people aren’t really asking the reason for the hope that’s in me. They don’t care anything about it. They don’t want to know. They’re not really ready for it. They’re not able to receive it. Sometimes we must bring folks along to the point where they’re ready now to hear about the gospel. This is accomplished when you listen to them without arguing or debating with them. And you’ll also get to know them, and you’ll learn where they are spiritually so that you can better help them come to Christ.

I remember a number of years ago at one of my sons’ baseball games, they were playing on the field, and I was up in the stands. I noticed one of the fathers of one of the boys on the team leaning against the fence there near the outfield. And so I got up from the bleachers there, and I went down to the fence and stood by him there and began to talk to him. At first we talked about where we worked and about our families and those kind of things, and then I began to ask him questions about what do you think about God?

What do you think about the church?

What do you think about the Bible?

And we went on and on for about 45 minutes. I never answered any of his questions, and I never taught him anything. I just asked him questions and listened to what he had to say. And you know at the end of that 45 minutes, I could see the game was almost over, and my opportunity was almost gone. I said, You know, how would you like to get together? Let’s just open up the Bible and see what it says about some of those things. And by that time, he was eager to study the Bible with me. He wanted to do it. He said, Yeah, I would love to do that. But I wonder if I had just walked up to that fence, looked that man in the eye, and said, You want to study the Bible with me, if he would have maybe just moved on down the fence a little further. The idea, being wise and respectful and gentle and learning how to reach out to others for Jesus Christ I think is so important in helping others to heaven.

Read with me Colossians 4:5-6. The apostle Paul gives us some very good practical advice about dealing with others concerning the gospel. Here in this passage he tells us how to approach them and how to speak with them.

Here’s what it says, Colossians 4:5-6: “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Did you notice from that passage that the apostle Paul tells us to walk in wisdom towards those outside?

Those outside the church, those outside of Jesus Christ, those that are lost without a savior, those who need some help towards heaven, we need to be wise towards them. We need to think about how we’re going to approach them. We need to be careful about it. Redeeming the time, he said, making the most of the opportunity.

Let’s don’t blow it. Let’s see how we can best use this opportunity to bring this person to Christ. Now more specifically he says, Let your speech always be with grace. That’s what people need more than anything else. They need grace. Don’t be rude. Don’t be harsh. Don’t be insensitive. Don’t be critical and condemning. Don’t be arrogant and condescending. Don’t be offensive, as I have seen some of my own brethren be and myself at times as well.

I like to try to remember when I’m talking to others the name of this program, The Truth In Love.

That’s what Paul said in Ephesians 4:15, “Speak the truth in love.”

Here in Colossians he says, Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt. I don’t know about you, but I used to really love to put salt on all my food. I would sprinkle it on there, and I would just pour it on, and I couldn’t hardly eat a salad without salt. It just didn’t have a whole lot of flavor. I quit putting salt on my food a while back, and I’ve learned to eat it without salt, and now I don’t really want it. But the idea is that salt seasons your food. It makes it more pleasant, more palatable, more appealing. That’s the way we ought to talk to people, in a way that is pleasant, palatable and appealing.

He says you speak to them with grace. You speak to them with this appealing speech, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. He doesn’t really say here what to tell them, because the message is the same for all. But it’s how we tell them. It’s how we approach them. It’s how we get the message across to them. And for every person, it may be a little bit different because we all have our own personalities and our ideas, and so we need to learn to approach people where they’re at and appeal to them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s remember to be wise. As we’re praying about these folks and trying to be their friends and asking them these questions, trying to develop their interest and learn about them, how can we best speak to them to get the word into their hearts so that they might receive it, that they might believe it and obey it and come to Christ, that we might speak in such a way to help our brothers and sisters who are struggling to get to heaven, to encourage them.

Let me tell you this, too. There’s a lot of folks that are lost in this world, and not any one person can reach all of them; but I want to encourage you who are Christians today to look for those what I call ripe fruit, those who are ready for the gospel, those who are hurting, those who see their need, those who are open to the things that you have to say. Don’t spend all your time with those who just want to argue, who refuse to receive the truth. When you have others who are hungry for salvation and just need someone to share Jesus with them, don’t pass by those opportunities. Let’s take advantage of that for Jesus Christ for their eternal soul.

Here’s a couple of other things quickly that I want to tell you as we think about sharing the gospel with others and trying to help others to heaven. Introduce them to some of your fellow Christians. It may take several Christians working together to bring others to Christ. This television program is just one thing that we do in the church to try to reach out to you who may not know the Lord. I know that many times when people are coming to Christ, it’s not just one person that brings them. In Mark the 2nd chapter there’s an interesting story about a man who was paralyzed. And it took four men to get him to Jesus. He desperately wanted to get to Jesus, but there was a great multitude of people around Christ. Jesus was in a house, and they couldn’t get through the door. I guess they couldn’t get through the windows. But these four men brought him up on top of the house and broke through the clay ceiling there and down to Jesus. And they brought the man so he could find healing from Jesus Christ.

There are so many in this world who need Jesus Christ desperately. Not physical healing, but spiritual healing. Not a temporary physical benefit from Jesus Christ, but an eternal spiritual benefit from Jesus Christ. And it may take more than just one man or one woman to get him to Jesus.

Not too long ago, I baptized a man into Christ. But I didn’t get him to Jesus on my own. He first came to our services because someone from the congregation had invited him. And after coming, he met others who befriended him. And some gave him transportation, some took him to dinner. He was given some Bible materials to study. I asked him if he would like to study with me some more about Christ and his church. And you know, it wasn’t long until he was baptized into Christ. You think about your own conversion to Christ if you’re a Christian today.

How did you come to Jesus?

How many folks influenced you to make your decision to become a Christian? It probably wasn’t just one, but maybe many others who helped you to come to Jesus Christ. These are just some of the first steps that you can take in helping others to heaven. I hope you’ll take them to heart today, and I hope that if you’re not a Christian, if you don’t know how to get to heaven that you’d let us know today, that you’d let us know how we can help you towards heaven, because we love your soul, we’re praying for your soul.

We want to be your friend. We want to interest you in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want you to get to know some of our fellow Christians. We want to do what we can to help you towards heaven today. So please, won’t you let us know here at The Truth In Love?

SINGING>> Will your anchor hold in the storms of life when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain, will your anchor drift or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the savior’s love.
It is safely moored, twill the storm withstand,
for tis well secured by the savior’s hand.
And the cables passed from his heart to mine can defy the blast through strength divine.
We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the savior’s love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing over my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also please visit our web site at ttil.tv. Remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come, from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul,
from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out,
thy coming in.
Above thee watching, he whom we adore
shall keep thee henceforth, yea for evermore.

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