I think that most of us realize this morning that we live in a world filled with brokenness. Nations are broken. Homes are broken. Individual lives are broken. The question is – ‘Can anyone fix our brokenness?’ There is someone who can take care of our brokenness and His name is Jesus.
As we continue in our study of what it means to be an ‘Outwardly Focused Christian’, we come to the topic of – I WILL GO. “I will go and do what?” “I will go and tell those who lives are broken about Jesus.”
The ushers handed you a little booklet this morning entitled – 3 CIRCLES: LIVE CONVERSATION GUIDE. This morning I am going to show you how you can take 3 circles and tell someone about Jesus. I encourage you to take some notes, either directly in your booklet, or perhaps on the back of your bulletin so that you can later transfer them into your guide in a neat way.
Circle #1 – GOD’S DESIGN
A. God’s Perfect Design
As you can see, the first circle has written in it – ‘God’s Design.’ The Bible teaches us that we are not here by chance or accident, but that God created us. To be even more specific, the Bible teaches us that God created mankind in His own image so that He might bless us.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth… 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…
It was God’s original intent to give us a world full of goodness and blessings. The Bible says that at the end of His week of creation, God looked back on all He had made and saw that it was very good.
So what happened to God’s perfect design?
B. World of Brokenness
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
God told Adam and Eve that they could freely eat of any of the fruit of the garden, except for this tree? Why not this tree as well? The Bible calls it the ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.’ We learn from the serpent what this tree was about – “God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” In other words, you will be able to decide for yourselves what you think is right and wrong. You won’t need God telling you what you can and cannot do.
Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and what happened?
(1) They looked at themselves and realized that they were naked and felt ashamed
(2) they hid from God
What happened to God’s perfect design? The Bible calls their disobedience – ‘Sin.’ What is sin? It’s disobedience to God. It’s missing the bull’s eye of His perfection. It’s breaking God’s law.
The Bible tells us two things about sin:
(1) We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect standard (Romans 3:23)
(2) The consequences of sin is death (Romans 6:23a)
It was several hundred years before Adam and Eve experienced physical death. But they experienced spiritual death immediately. How do I know that? Once they disobeyed God and ate of the fruit, rather than running to God to welcome Him, they hid from God. Sin brings death.
Circle #2 – BROKENNESS
A. World of Brokenness
Sin produces death. Sin produces brokenness. Why is there so much brokenness in the world? Why are marriages and homes broken? What are relationships between races and nations broken? Why are there so many broken lives? The Bible says that the reason for our brokenness is sin. Consider what sin did to Adam and Eve’s paradise.
Genesis 3:17 … cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Or in other words – ‘brokenness.’ Their environment was broken. Their ability to enjoy the environment God had created for them was broken. Their relationship as husband and wife was broken and even their children who were yet to be born, would be broken. Cain would become violently angry and kill his brother Abel.
Most people are looking for a way to fix their brokenness. Some try alcohol and drugs. Others try some sort of sexual immorality. Still others try ‘things’ to fix their brokenness. If I can just purchase the right thing, I will finally be happy. And then there are those who try positions of power. But no matter what we try or how hard we try, we can’t fix our brokenness. Only God can fix our brokenness.
B. Trying to Fix Our Brokenness
Jesus told a story one day about a young man who went out into the world in search for satisfaction and happiness. We call the story – ‘The Parable of the Prodigal Son.’
Luke 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
For years I thought that the word ‘prodigal’ meant wild, but it doesn’t. It means ‘wasteful.’ It’s the word that sums up what it says of the son in verse 13 – “…and there wasted his substance with riotous (reckless) living.”
Luke 15:16 And he would fain (desired) have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
Centuries ago there was another young man who went out into the world, searching for something to make him happy. He tried sexual immorality and wild living but found no real satisfaction. Then he tried philosophy and pagan religions but that didn’t work either. Then one day he heard a voice inside of him saying, “Take up and read.” Having been raised by a Christian mother, he knew the voice was guiding him to the Bible. And there he found Christ. Later, after his conversion, he wrote these words – “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (Augustine, 354-430 AD)
Circle #3 – GOSPEL
A. God’s Good News
Now we come to our third circle which contains the word ‘gospel.’ What does the word ‘gospel’ mean? Literally it means “good news.” The gospel is God’s good news.
What is God’s good news? We learn from the book of 1 Corinthians that God’s good news is that Christ, God’s Son, died for our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for our disobedience to God and made a way for us to be forgiven and restored. Jesus said,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
It might surprise us to learn that God loves us; yet we need to remember that in the very beginning, God created man for the purpose of blessing him. God placed man in a beautiful garden called Eden. It was man’s sin that caused man to have to leave paradise and live in a world of brokenness. Christ came to free us from that curse and restore back to favor with God.
B. Receiving God’s Good News
What is necessary in order to make the transition from brokenness to God’s good news? Two things: repentance and faith.
What is repentance? Repentance means to have a change of mind. It means to make an about face and go the other direction.
One day a woman was caught in the sin of adultery was brought before Jesus. Her accusers declared that the Law of God demand that she be put to death by stoning. Then they asked Jesus what He thought? Jesus said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” The Bible says that one by one the men dropped their stones and walked away. Why? Because none of them was without sin. Sometimes when people say that we do not have the right to judge them, they’re right. None of us has the right to condemn another person. We’ve all sinned and come short of God’s glory.
Then Jesus asked the woman, “Woman, where are your accusers? Is there no one left who can condemn you?” Yet there was one person there that day who legally could condemn the woman. Jesus had every right to cast the stones because Jesus had no sin. Yet the Bible says that Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you…” The Bible says that Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but instead to save us. Then Jesus said something else that is very important. “Go and sin no more.” (see John 8:1-11)
Go and sin no more. In other words, repent of this sin you have been living in. Turn from it and to God. The Bible teaches us that there is no forgiveness without repentance.
(2) Faith or ‘Believe’
Salvation is not turning over a new leaf in life and trying to do better. We can’t do better on our own. Sooner or later we’ll fall right back into sin. Along with the turning away from sin must be the turning to God. One day a man asked the Apostle Paul, “Sir, what must I do to be saved?” Paul’s answer was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…” (see Acts 16:30-31) In other words, believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died for your sins and put your trust in Him to be your Savior.
The Bible teaches us that at the moment we turn from sin in repentance, and to Christ in faith, we are saved. Jesus described it as being born again. (John 3:16) Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we are made a ‘new creation in Christ.’ Scripture teaches us that we are restored back to favor with God and become His children. God places His Holy Spirit within us to teach us and to guide us, and we are given a new heart that desires the things of God. Our diagram describes it as ‘recovery.’ We’re brought back to the place where it all began. And from that point on, we begin to live a life of pursuit of the things of God.
We live in a world that is full of broken people. All you have to do is turn on the news and you will quickly discover many of the ways we are broken.
When God told Adam and Eve that they would die the day they disobeyed Him and ate of the fruit, He was in essence saying – ‘From that point on you will be broken.’ Men today are broken physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
But there is good news! Christ can to fix that which is broken. The Bible says that once we receive Jesus as our Savior, we become a ‘new person.’ ‘The old life is gone; a new life has begun!‘ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17)
I invite you to come to day and to experience this new life in Jesus. Come and let Jesus fix what is broken in your life.