Monday Hindsight on Sunday’s Sermon – Q & A From Speaking of Jesus Part 3
On Monday Ryan and I usually record the “famous” Eagle Heights Q & A Podcast in which we answer questions from the previous Sunday’s sermon. For the next few weeks Pastor Ryan is gone and so I will be answering questions via blog.
To give some context, the following is a synopsis of the sermon for August 31st.
There are many means that God might use to bring a person to faith in Christ, but the primary way people hear the gospel is through an ongoing relationship of trust and credibility. Even if God uses an event-like gathering or evangelism program, it is still because of an existing relationship of influence that brings the person to the event in which they hear the gospel. Instead of exclusively depending on programs or events as gospel-sharing mechanisms, every Christian should see their life as the program God uses to extend His grace to others when we speak of Jesus. I want us to cultivate a culture of evangelism in which every person embraces the privilege of sharing the gospel through the relationships God gives. No Christian should have to wait on their local church to plan something before they attempt to be ambassadors for Christ.
During the sermon I brought up two different types of appointments. Earlier in the sermon I suggested that God may grant us a hearing with someone to speak of Jesus through a “divine appointment.” As an example of such an encounter, I referenced Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:25-40. I also mentioned a conversation I had with a man while getting the oil changed in my vehicle. I believe it was in response to this portion of the sermon that we received this question:
“How do we sort through/reschedule/prioritize ‘appointments’ or even know if it’s just a coincidence? We can’t physically be invested in everything. One is blind and deaf if they don’t have daily ‘appointment-like’ opportunities. How do we decipher ‘appointments’ we physically and spiritually invest in and one’s that are just spiritual?”
I thank the person for the question and will try to respond as best I can to what I think was meaning to be asked.
To begin with, I don’t find coincidence to be a biblical doctrinal category. I am convinced from my understanding of the scriptures that God is omnipotent and providentially orchestrating every interaction and opportunity. If a meeting is coincidental, it because we have not seen it as a divine appointment. This, I think, speaks to the comment that “one is blind and deaf if they don’t have daily ‘appointment-like’ opportunities.” I am convinced that it is our responsibility as ambassadors who have been made alive together with Christ, to be physically alert that every interaction is pregnant with the spiritual possibility to live and speak in such a way so as to speak of Jesus. We won’t do that if we are prayer-less and have our faces buried in a phone. How do we decipher whether God has brought us an opportunity to build a relationship that might allow us to speak of Jesus? Initially, I think it is as simple as praying for a sensitive mind and heart and being willing to see where things go. If I am sitting at the doctor’s office and the person across from me never looks at me, I guess I could force a conversation, but it is likely a clue that they simple don’t want to talk.
When I said ‘divine appointment”, it probably wasn’t the best descriptor. I agree with the question-asker, every moment is a divine appointment. What I was trying to communicate was that there are moments in which God opens the door for us to cut to the chase and speak frankly about a personal need to trust the finished work of Jesus. Much like the description of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8:25-40. The Ethiopian had a need and Philip was sensitive to the Spirit and God has already made a way through Jesus life, death and resurrection.
If I have misunderstood, please let me know.