Hey preacher! Stop entertaining, consoling and informing…and start converting Americans.
The first thing you are taught in public speaking is to know your audience. If I were to tell you what secular Americans are really like (something that we work and pray hard at knowing) many ministers and Christians would vehemently disagree. That is because they do not know their audience; let alone how to preach to that audience.
They assume (subconsciously) that Americans do not want Christ and the best we can do is draw from an ever decreasing pool of already converted people. This fact is clearly seen in our sermons and conversations. We have taken to continually talking to ourselves because we believe that no one else wants to hear it.
Christianspeak: We speak a language all our own, a language that no one understands but our little group. We talk about walking in favor, prophetic words, soul ties, generational curses, binding, loosing, soaking, carrying until we sound like beings from other worlds.
The biggest reason that we do not know how to reach our audience is that we do not understand who our audience is. Your audience is the unchurched.
It is my great honor to reintroduce you to two things: your audience and your competition.
Our audience: Look in their eyes and you will see what they are actually like. It is the same look that people had in the Soviet Union at the peak of communism in the 1960’s. It is a catatonic, going through the motions, drinking, taking drugs, waiting on a check from the government kind of stare.
They are not nearly as mad at God as you suppose. Outwardly, they repeat what they hear from party officials. Inside, they harbor a hope that what the Bible says is actually true. The preaching they hear discourages them because pastors sound like they don’t believe in the Bible either. They think we are fakes but they deeply wish that we were not.
Our competition: As long as pastors believe that other churches are their competition we will get nowhere. Here is our real competition:
-Government when it acts as if it is the American church. When Government says “believe in us and we will take care of you” they have replaced the church.
-Hollywood and the music industry when they tell youth through film and lyric what their values should be what their opinions should be and what they should be mad about.
-Higher education when it blasts God and punishes faith.
So what should we do? We should determine to convert America to Christ. If it means less emotional binges, intellectual coffee klatches and soothing mass therapy services…so be it!
What it does not mean is compromise! Believe it or not Americans do not wish us to stop being fervent. They are not really thrown off when we raise our hands or even when we speak in tongues or operate in the miraculous. They tune us out when we seem like we are into ourselves and oblivious to their needs.
So what must we preach today? The answer comes to us today from an angel that visited a jail cell. Acts 5: 17- 20 says, Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
The Church is threatened by the mass arrest of all the apostles. It becomes an occasion for God to recalibrate and refocus their preaching. Just what we need today! the Angel gave them 3 mandates in a single phrase: “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
1.Take a stand. There is no confusion about what the Angel is asking the men of God to do. He is telling them to stake their claim in their nation. This is not just a physical act; it is also moral and spiritual. We must take a stand against Satan’s agenda for America and we must take a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We take a stand because we belong in the national conversation. America has a drug, divorce, suicide, anger, and atheism problem. Our voice needs to be heard because we carry the most immediate and effective cure for everything that is hurting America. The Angel is reinforcing to the disciples that their message is valid and urgent.
2. Take your stand in the temple courts in other words go to the center of the city.Ours is not an obscure message that should be whispered in the secret places of society. The temple courts were the heart of Jerusalem. The Angel is blatantly instructing them to raise their voice in the very center of their culture.
In that same way we must go where the people are and where the biggest lies are being told. The angel gave them an exact location to take their stand and that location spoke volumes to the Apostles. God is serious about making a difference in the culture.
3. Tell all of the words of this life.What a scathing rebuke that is to popular Christianity. While Christian celebrities scurry to and fro to find buzzwords to replace the core doctrines of the Bible, here is an Angel telling the disciples that they must tell all the words of life. They cannot leave out a single benefit or demand of the message of Jesus Christ.
How right that Angel was. There is life in those words. There is life in the blood of Christ, the cross and the resurrection. There is life in them so amazing that no mountain of eloquence or cunningly devised sermon can begin to match.
Brave the offense of the Cross in your preaching and watch the power of the resurrection released! Soon the supernatural life of God will overtake our preaching, create miracles in people that infinitely surpass the results of popular preaching. Society would not care about the demands in our message because of the changes they would see in their own souls, minds and bodies.
That is how we convert America.
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