Sermon in a nutshell: “Do you have a message to tell?” (Acts 13:13-41)
Paul and Barnabas were traveling preachers. So, they were ready to share the Good News anytime when they were asked to speak. It is a good example for us. When we meet strangers, if they ask us to talk about Jesus, we need to be able to share the Good News (vv. 13-16). So, I will analyze with you Paul’s speech and see what needs to be done to share the Good News.
First, their audience were characterized as “Israel and others who fear God” (v.16) or “descendants of Abraham’s family, and others who fear God.” (v.26) In other words, they did not talk without invitation. They waited for the right moment. They first build up relationship with others and when the strangers asked questions about Jesus or shared interest in God then that was the right moment to speak. We also need to build up relationship first (even briefly), then share Gospel upon their request.
Second, main body of the speech was divided into four sections. The first section talked about the situation when people lived without faith or with doubt.
First section of the Speech: People live without faith or with doubt (Sinful Human condition)
Old Testament examples New Testament examples
Exodus (v.17) They killed Jesus (vv. 27-28)
Wilderness (v. 18) Numbers/Deuteronomy They put Jesus in a tomb (v. 29)
Second section of the Speech: God did wonderful things to those people (God’s prevenient Grace)
Canaan (v. 19-20) Joshua/Judges God raised Jesus from dead (v.30)
Kingdom (v.21-22) Kings/Chronicles Jesus appeared to many witnesses (v. 31)
Third section of the Speech: Finally God sent Jesus for everyone who believes in him to be saved. (Justifying Grace)
Jesus (v. 23) Promise was fulfilled (v. 32-35)
Final section of the Speech: Even though we are weak, we can do great things with Jesus (Sanctifying Grace)
John (v.24-25) One is coming after me. I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.
David (v. 36) died but Jesus proclaimed forgiveness. Everyone who believes in him will be free from sin.
So, when we prepare a story to tell, we need to have those four parts. We need to mention (1) the situation when we did not know God (poverty, brokenness, addiction, failures) about a minute. (2) Then we need to share God’s goodness in the things to lead us to Jesus (meeting with a Christian or experience of events) for a minute. (3) Then we can share how we meet Jesus for 2 minutes. (4)Now we can share how our lives are transformed for a minutes. It will take about 5 minutes.
Share the story at least once a month to strangers and friends. The more you share it, the easier for you to share it. Then you are ready to tell it anywhere to anybody. Here is my example:
I was born in a Christian family. I attended a church all my life. However, I was just a church goer. I prayed to God to get what I wanted. I went to church to meet friends and relatives.
However, God was gracious. God allowed many good friends and teacher around me and helped me to be a good student and young man. I thought I was pretty good before I visited a church that my mother served as a minister.
There I saw my mother serving little children. Her church did not have adult members. It was like a free day care center. It was open every day. People drop the children off and went away. My mother took care of them, taught them, and played with them. I was shocked. I always pursued money and title. I ran after fame and success. She did not dream of any success even as a pastor. She just enjoyed serving others. Then I got to think about my life. I asked to me whether I would be happy when I die. I prayed to God. God showed me how self-centered I was. I repented my sins. I cried for hours and hours. I met the Jesus who shed his blood for me on the Cross. I devoted my life to Jesus.
Then I changed my life dream and vision. I wanted to serve God’s people as my mother did. So, I went to seminary and became a pastor. Now I am happy. I am joyful. I will share this joy with everybody. Would you also follow Jesus and give your life to him?
- Write your own story to tell. Make it 3-5 minute speech.
- Share it with your neighbors this month.