Yesterday morning saw over 50 people gather for the All Age Worship service, held outside in the sunshine at St.John’s carpark. With everyone home from the holidays, and with covid restrictions somewhat lifted, there was a wonderful atmosphere of celebration, and friendships reuniting.
Tim Clapp, David Parker and Laura Young led everyone in some great worship songs, enjoyed across the ages. James Wright led the service, and Julia Wright shared the next talk in the Youth Alpha series, focusing on the subject of ‘Telling Others’ about our faith in Jesus. She looked at the different ways we can do this, from loving actions, to sharing our own reasons why we love and follow Jesus, and also the crucial power of the Holy Spirit. Georgie Walker read the Bible passages to us beautifully, and the Greig family led us in some lovely prayers read by Verity and Mia.
It was a very special morning, anointed with God’s presence, and the excitement of more to come.
This is Julia’s talk:
Has anyone here heard of Instagram?
The whole purpose of Instagram, is to tell people about things.
You post photos, of whatever you like, for all your friends to see.
It’s a way to tell people about things.
And it’s amazing what kind of things people want to tell the world about.
Amazing, because very often they’re not actually that interesting – but for some reason, people still want to look at them.
Breakfast for example. Or any meal for that matter. Even a snack.
Some people just love to take a photo of their food, and then tell everyone about it.
Or people’s holidays. These are also a very popular type of photo people like to share.
A photo of their sweet children, perfectly dressed, on a lovely holiday.
Generally the things that people post photos of, are not actually that interesting, and they are almost never life changing.
But weirdly Instagram is quite addictive.
It’s amazing how many minutes people spend just scrolling through photographs, that won’t make them any happier, or make their lives any better.
If anything, looking through Instagram can leave you feeling a bit sad and empty.
Your own bowl of cornflakes doesn’t look quite as appetizing, as the photos you saw.
And you aren’t on a perfect family holiday to the seaside.
But Instagram is pretty huge these days. A massive amount of people, spend a lot of time on it. And that shows how human beings love to Tell Other people about all sorts of things.
We naturally like to share information with each other.
Often though we can spend too much time talking about things that aren’t particularly interesting, and not enough time talking about things that really matter.
I think this is particularly true, for English people.
In England, it’s amazing how much we talk about the weather. If ever you can’t think what to talk about, just talk about the weather.
But if you start talking about God and faith in Jesus, people often look a bit awkward, they might start squirming around, and they might try and change the subject.
“Oh look, I think it’s going to rain.”
Or, just as likely, you might be the one to feel a bit awkward.
Will people just laugh at us if we talk about Jesus.
“You don’t believe in all that nonsense do you?” they might say.
Most people in our society don’t believe in the spiritual world. If they can’t see God, they assume that God doesn’t exist.
And also, our fear of man, our fear of what people might think of us, can often stop us from talking to others about our faith.
What’s interesting though, is that everyone who has heard about Jesus, must have heard about Him from someone. Someone has told them.
And so whether or not we feel embarrassed and awkward telling others about our faith, there are two important reasons as to why we should tell people about Jesus.
Firstly, Jesus tells us to.
In the Bible, we read the words that Jesus said to his disciples. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
And in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Throughout the New Testament, we hear Jesus saying,
Go and tell.
Go and invite.
I have come that you might have life.
Go and make disciples.”
So we should tell others about Jesus, because Jesus tells us to.
And secondly, we should tell others about Jesus, because the message of Jesus meets a very real need in people’s hearts.
…the message of Jesus meets a very real need in people’s hearts
Imagine you were stranded on a desert island with some friends. You’re all desperate for water and food. You know you’ll die soon unless you find something to eat and drink.
You wander off and stumble upon some water and fruit. And not just a little bit, but masses of it.
What would you do?
You’d run back and tell your friends that you found food and water.
In life, people also have a spiritual hunger and thirst.
It’s like they are walking about in a desert, looking for something to satisfy that hunger and thirst.
Perhaps that’s why people become addicted to Instagram. People are looking for something to fill the longing deep in their hearts.
And for those of us who know Jesus, we’re like the ones who have found the water and fruit on the desert island.
The most loving thing we can do is to tell people the amazing news about Jesus.
Jesus is the one who ultimately fills our spiritual hunger.
A relationship with Jesus brings peace and joy.
Jesus brings meaning and purpose to our lives.
God fills our hearts with love. He forgives us and offers us eternal life.
That’s the good news we get to share with other people.
And the good news about Jesus, is honestly the best news we can share.
It’s better than telling people about our breakfast.
Or our holidays.
Or our sweet children.
It’s even better than telling people about the best ice cream in the world.
It’s important though to be gentle with our words. Even though we know that Jesus is the best news in the world, we must still be gentle.
Some people can be quite insensitive when talking about their faith.
They might go up to people and say, “You’re really lacking something in life. You really need something else.”
And no one really likes to be spoken to like that.
Or on the other hand, some people can be really shy and fearful talking about their faith. So fearful, that they end up saying nothing at all.
We can easily swing from one extreme to the other: being insensitive, or fearful.
So what is the best way that we can Tell Others about our faith in Jesus?
We’re going to sing a song now, and after that I’m going to share some ideas about how we can Tell Others about Jesus.
We’ve talked about why we need to Tell Others about Jesus.
- Firstly because Jesus tells us to. He says “Go, and tell others about me”.
- And secondly, because the message of Jesus is life-giving food and water for people who are thirsty and starving for spiritual food.
So how do we share our faith?
- Through our actions
The love we show in practical ways, the things that we do, can point people to the love of Jesus.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good words and glorify your father in heaven.”
When other people see the good things we do, we are pointing them to God.
What needs can you see around you today?
Which people in your life are hurting in some way?
Perhaps certain people at your school, or in your village, or in your family.
Ask Jesus to help you see where the need is.
And ask Him to show you how you can best share His love with those people.
It might be sending them a card or some flowers
Or by inviting them round to your house for a playdate,
Or it could be as simple as including them in your games at break time, or choosing them to be in your team.
I find that when I ask Jesus for ideas about how to love someone, an idea nearly always comes to my mind fairly soon.
So we tell people about Jesus through our actions.
- Another way we can tell people about Jesus, is by giving good reasons to believe in Jesus.
Because if we do a good job at loving people through our actions, like I just mentioned, then they might well ask us why we’re doing those things.
And then we can tell them it’s because of Jesus
There’s a verse in the Bible, where Peter writes:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect.”
I wonder if you know the reasons why you believe in Jesus?
Why do you love Him?
Why do you try to follow his teaching?
It might help to think of 5 reasons why you believe in Jesus and why you follow him.
You could count them on your hand.
And then when someone asks you about your faith, you have 5 reasons straight away why Jesus means so much to you.
If someone asked me why I believe in Jesus, and why I put Him at the centre of my life, I might say:
Show hand with 5 reasons on.
- He loves me. He really loves me, more than anyone else.
- He knows me. He made me, he knows me better than anyone. He always knows how I’m feeling, what I’m afraid of.
- He forgives me every time I mess up and gives me a clean slate.
- He guides me in every situation. And his guidance is always the best path. There is no one wiser than Jesus.
- He gives me peace and takes away all my fear.
So straight away, that’s quite a lot of reasons, and I imagine my friend might then have more questions and want to find out more about Jesus.
So we have our actions; and our reasons.
- We invite people to hear the good news.
Did you know that the word ‘Gospel’ means ‘good news’.
To share the gospel, is to tell people about who Jesus is and what he’s done.
Often the first way people hear the gospel is by a personal invitation.
Hold up invitation.
When Jesus was on earth, he could see when people were interested in Him.
And he would invite those people to come and see.
Then those people told their friends to come and see.
One of the disciples, called Andrew, was one of the first to be invited by Jesus to come and see who he was, and to see the kind of life he lived.
Once Andrew had met Jesus, he invited his brother Peter to come and see as well.
So then Peter came and met Jesus, and Peter then became one of the most influential people in the history of the world. Peter was the leader of the early church. And Peter’s faith all started by his brother saying to him, “Come and see Peter, come and see what I’ve seen. Come and meet Jesus.”
We might not do what Peter did, but we can all do what Andrew did – simply invite others to come and see, to meet Jesus for themselves.
I’m sure all of you here have at least one friend who doesn’t yet know Jesus.
You could invite that friend to church one day, or invite them to meet some of your Christian friends.
When people have a personal invitation, when they feel loved and known, they are more likely to want to listen and find out more.
- The Power of the Holy Spirit
The last two ways we tell people about Jesus, are linked together.
It’s Prayer, and the Power of the Holy Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 1:5
Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.
Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers and sister loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
Telling others about Jesus, is not only about actions and words.
Knowing Jesus comes from an experience of the Holy Spirit, an experience of God’s love being poured out into our hearts.
Ultimately, it’s God who transforms lives, not our words.
And that’s why prayer is such an essential part of telling others.
We should pray for our friends, pray for the Holy Spirit to touch their hearts and allow them to experience God’s presence.
We should also pray for ourselves:
- For boldness when we’re feeling too afraid or shy to talk about Jesus.
Or for boldness if people laugh at us.
- We can also ask God to give us the love we need to tell other people the good news.
- And we can ask the Holy Spirit to give us the right words to say at the right time, or for ideas about how we can best show God’s love through our actions.
Whenever we tell people about Jesus, it does have an impact, even if we don’t see it straight away.
The message of Jesus has the power to change lives.
Jesus gives us eternal life.
He really is the spiritual food and water that we need to survive.
Telling Others isn’t always easy, and you will face challenges and times when it feels too hard.
But… you’ll also experience the joy of seeing others meet Jesus.
Nothing makes a greater difference to a person’s life than meeting Jesus Christ.
I’m going to end with a prayer now:
Thank you for the message of eternal life that we have because of you.
Help each one of us to think about why we personally love you and follow you.
And give each one of us the boldness to Tell Others about our faith in you.