Gospel Values: Evangelism (John 20)

 

MOTIVATE

Massive amounts of people organized, protested and sparked a revolution in the country of Egypt. It was largely organized through the social network of Facebook. In honor of Facebook’s role, Gamal Ibrahim gave his newborn daughter the same name, Facebook, to “express joy at the achievements [made in bringing about the revolution of his country’…

“There are five million Facebook users in Egypt, more so than any other country in the Middle East/North Africa region. Facebook itself has reported an increase in Egyptian users in the past month, with 32,000 Facebook groups and 14,000 pages created in the two weeks after January 25th. While the baby girl could just have easily been called “YouTube,” “Twitter” “Google” or even “Cellphone Camera,” it seems like Facebook has become the umbrella symbol for how social media can spread the message of freedom.[1]

Today, I wish to share with you why Christians are to spread the message of freedom with greater purpose and passion than the recent protestors of Egypt. Indeed, Jesus was a revolutionary. His teachings called for radical obedience – Christianity is not shallow spectator religion – His life exemplified radical strength and love, ultimately through His sacrificial death on the cross – His death and resurrection provides followers today the hope and pathway for a new way of living. This is another one of our core GOSPEL Values: Evangelism.

EXAMINE     John 20:19-31

John 20:1-18

After Jesus was crucified he was placed into a tomb. The tomb was fixed with a Roman seal (cord stretched and clay signet) with soldiers observing and guarding the seal. In other words, no one was getting out or in unless there was a tremendous occurrence. Some of Jesus’ disciples came to attend to His body, of which they found an empty tomb. What follows gives believers today 3 reasons to spread the gospel message.

Jesus is resurrected (20:19-20).

As the disciples found an empty tomb they returned to a locked room. They feared the Jews would gather the Romans to take their life as well. Rather than soldiers finding them, the Savior found them. Jesus appeared and proving His identity He showed His hands and side. The disciples grief turned to joy (John 16:20-22).

But can we really trust that Jesus was resurrected? Evidential proof: [2]

–          Broken Roman seal & empty tomb. No archaeological, literary or testimonial evidence has ever been given otherwise.

–          Was it a wrong tomb? No, if so then all the disciples were wrong and the Roman officials could have disproved the entire story. Yet, they could not.

–          Was Jesus really dead? Of course, that’s why blood & water flowed from the cross.

–          Was it Jesus’ ghost? Jesus showed the marks of his hands and feet from the cross. He interacted with crowds of people for 40 days, was touched, cooked and ate fish. It was a physical resurrection.

–          Was Jesus’ body stolen by disciples or Roman officials? No, since there was 500+ eyewitness testimony with some martyrs and Romans could not squelch the resurrection truth.

–          Jesus’ grave clothes were wrapped orderly, not in haste.

–          Eyewitness testimonies (500+) by Jesus’ followers & foes (John 20:19ff; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

–          First eyewitness testimonies were women, often not respected in culture yet Scripture gives an accurate account of the facts, not a clever devised story.

–          Jesus’ family worshiped Him as God: mother Mary, brother’s James and Jude.

–          Jesus’ disciples were transformed from timid to tenacious, all becoming martyrs.

–          Jesus’ Jewish disciples worshiped on Sunday (Jesus’ day of resurrection) rather than Sabbath day.

µ      The cross reminds us forgiveness and freedom from sin is possible.

µ      The resurrection reminds us there is a mission and anticipation for Jesus’ return.

 Martin Luther “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in words alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”[3]

Jesus is obedient (20:21).

As Jesus comforts the disciples with His resurrection He gives them peace. He reminds them of His entire purpose and mission, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” John’s Gospel speaks often of Jesus being sent into the world to accomplish the Father’s will.[4] It would be senseless to consider Jesus being disobedient to the Father’s command.

Even further, John’s wording ajpe>stalken carries the idea of being sent with a special commission. Jesus, then breathes on the disciples and commands them to receive the Holy Spirit. This is John’s way of showing the disciples dependence upon God’s Spirit to give new life.

The disciples follow instruction and tell Thomas about Jesus’ resurrection. The language suggests their persistence in persuading Thomas, though he is skeptic. Likewise, we must follow in the disciples example and be obedience, persistently persuading others of the truth of the gospel. Jesus left His mission in the hands of these 11 disciples, later there would be 120 being filled with the Spirit to proceed into 3000 additions (Acts 1 – 2). Plan A is Jesus’ disciples being obedient to share the gospel; and there is no plan B.

Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20)

ð      Every believer is commanded to evangelize.

  • Memorize your testimony & key gospel Scriptures
    • High 5 Relationships: Invest – Invite – Incarnate – Intercede
    • Listen – Learn – Love – Lead them to Jesus.
  • Need a fuller expression of a greeting – guest services team (before SS & worship)
  • February love neighbor month: food donations to SPAN, ODB
  • March 26 Neighborhood Blitz: Prayerwalk, Pass info bags
  • April: NAMB Annie Armstrong Missions Offering
  • April 16 Easter Egg Outreach: movie, egg hunt
  • April 24 Easter Services: invest & invite
  • May 7 Children’s Fair: interact at exhibition table; need some help
  • June 26 Car Show Outreach: see David Weed
  • June 27-July 1 VBS: multiple roles to reach children
  • October Fall Festival: need a plan team
  • November: He Gives (each SS class seed money for outreach project)
  • December: IMB Lottie Moon Missions Offering

 

Jesus is compelling (20:24-31).

As the disciples attempted to persuade Thomas to little avail (no never believe), Jesus appeared to Thomas himself. Jesus invited Thomas to touch the death marks from the cross and challenged him to stop disbelieving and to believe. Thomas’ response was one of worship – My Lord and my God!” No doubt, Jesus’ resurrection is a final proof for His divinity.[5] John further offers his purpose statement for writing of the Gospel, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” 20:31).

APPLY/THINK

ð      When you doubt, seek answers. Doubt isn’t a permanent location. Silent questions seldom get answered.

ð      Jesus followers must be confident, obedient and compelling in their witness of the gospel.
People saw Jesus’ followers “and perceived they were undeducated, common men, and were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

ð      Stop disbelieving and believe!


[3] Quoted in Mark Driscoll, Vintage Jesus, p.130.

[4] 3:16-17; 3:34; 4:34; 5:26; 6:38–39; 8:28-29; 9:4; 12:49; 14:24; 17:8; 20:21.

[5] John records seven signs performed by Jesus: turning water to wine in Cana (2:1–11); raising the royal official’s son (4:46–54); healing the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda (5:1–9); feeding the five thousand (6:1–14); walking on the sea (6:16–21); healing the man born blind (9:1–7); and raising Lazarus (11:1–44) and the ultimate completed sign was His resurrection (20:30-31).

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