Tuesday, December 15, 2009
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Dr. Harry Ironside used to tell a story about a man who lived in a small country town in England. One day, he went to London where he would need to stay for several days. He was glad to be there on a Sunday because that gave him opportunity to hear some of the great preachers of that day. He wrote home to his wife, and he said: "Last Sunday morning I went to hear Dr. Jones, and in the evening I went to the Metropolitan Tabernacle to hear Charles Spurgeon. I was so greatly impressed by both of them. Dr. Jones is certainly a great preacher, but Mr. Spurgeon has a great Savior."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Only Impression That Matters."
So who are people impressed with after they have been with you? Are they impressed with you, or are they impressed with your Jesus? In many ways, that's the measure of the authenticity and the impact of your life.
There have been few more brilliant, more gifted men to walk this planet than the great Apostle Paul. But he didn't want people thinking about him. He wanted to leave people thinking about Jesus. He says so in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 4:5, "We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." It's not about us, folks. It's all about Jesus. And that's a relief!
I'm guessing there are some people close to you who do not have a relationship with Jesus and therefore they have no hope of heaven because they don't have Him. And there are probably some of them at least who you've never told about what Jesus did for them, and I bet I can guess why. That would be one word - fear. Fear of what they'll think, fear for your relationship or your position, fear of messing it up, fear of rejection. All the fears that keep us from telling about Jesus have one thing in common. They're all about me. They might reject me, they might think less of me, or I might mess it up. We trip over our preoccupation with ourselves and never get to the people whose eternity depends on them hearing about our Jesus.
But it's not about me. "We preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord." It's all about Jesus. That's why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2, "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." There it is, Jesus and His cross. That's your message. Knowing what Jesus did for them on the cross - that's the only impression that matters. Don't encumber the simplicity of that glorious Good News with other things like church, religion, cultural issues, even lifestyle issues. There's no point in attacking the lost lifestyle of a person who's lost! What a surprise they act as they do. They need a Savior. Let's focus on that!
There's something very wrong if you're using Jesus to make a name for yourself or to impress other people with you. You are actually hijacking His glory. And there's something wrong if you're not telling people about Jesus because of something about you. It's not who's doing the telling that's the issue; it's who you're telling about - the One who offers the greatest love in the world.
Just take them to the cross and show them that. And He offers them the greatest power in the world. Take them to that empty tomb and show them that. He'll give you the words. He'll give you the opportunity, and He is your message. So make Jesus the subject. Keep Jesus the subject. Don't let religion become the subject, because Jesus made this awesome promise. He said, "When I am lifted up...I will draw all men to Myself" (John 12:32).