Matthew 3:13-17 & Luke 10:25-37
Happy New year to one and all. In the church year we currently sit in the time of the epiphany. It is a season when we not only celebrate the three wise men’s visit to the infant Jesus, but also a time when we remember the baptism of Jesus.
If we think about the epiphany as essentially an event about revelation and new beginnings and realisation, we can also see that in the story of Jesus’ baptism celebrated in the New Year.
What does a revelation or a new start look like for us in 2017? The opportunity to lose a few kilos perhaps, get into that long overdue exercise regime, or commit to that new gathering that meets at the coffee shop on a weekly basis.
What might it look like for the church family in Kiama-Jamberoo this year? When I look around, I see a need and a task that still exists as an untapped possibility to grow our church and the kingdom of God in this place.
What is the need, what is the task? To learn how to successfully evangelise to folks who are yet to hear or experience the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Over the next month we are going to here about eight keys to successful evangelism – but we will hear what they are through a parable Jesus told – that of the Good Samaritan.
Today we will talk about the first two keys – that of ‘Vision’ and in the second part of the service – that of ‘Compassion’.
In future weeks we will hear of the other keys:
Let’s spend a new minutes now looking at VISION as the first key to successful evangelism.
In verse 33 of Luke 10 – The Samaritan SAW the wounded man when he came to him. Vision is very important to evangelism. Jesus says in John 4:35 ‘lift your eyes and see that the fields are ripe for the harvest’.
The people of God must have a vision for the lost. They must look beyond their private world of faith and church and see the reality of a dying world and a lost humanity without Christ.
Too often, we can fall into the deathly trap of saying and thinking that faith is a personal thing or that we shouldn’t talk about politics, sex and … religion – or thinking that my good works will be enough to convince people of God’s reign in my life.
The Good Samaritan saw the dying man on the wayside. He was not preoccupied with his own journey, unlike the priest and the Levite. Instead he could see the suffering of a fellow traveller on the wayside of life.
Without a vision we stumble around in the dark.
But, remember vision is not only the act of seeing, but it is about making sense of what we are seeing, connecting the dots – to create meaning. What the Good Samaritan saw and visualised was a crisis.
The Chinese word for crisis ‘weiji’ 危机 is made up of two Chinese characters put together. Once character signifies danger 危– this must have run through the mind of that foreign traveller as he came upon the wounded man. The other character signifies opportunity 机. For the Samaritan here is the opportunity to help and heal.
How’s your vision-clear, misty, shortsighted or longsighted or are you stumbling in the dark?