My text for a message at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, October 12, 2014:
“Just wait until you’re father gets home!”
At that moment, when you heard those dreaded words from your mother, a sense of dread and doom was cast over you. You knew that the inevitable would happen once your Dad would hear the story about your latest transgression. When he gets home, your fate would be in his hands. Until that time, all that you want to do is hide somewhere. For those of you who remember the movie, A Christmas Story, Ralphie was hiding under the kitchen sink because he was afraid of what his Dad would do to him because he got in a fight. I thought of hiding in a closet or under my bed a few times. Maybe the amount of time it would take to find me would make everyone forget all about what happened…or, as I would find out later, maybe not.
As a parent, when my children looked at me as I was reprimanding them with my words and my very serious tone and facial expression, I could see the looks on their faces. They saw the unhappy father instead of happy Dad, and it wasn’t very cool. Their eyes were riveted to my eyes as they listened, and they were waiting for it all to be over and done with. They were enduring what I will affectionately refer to as “The Talk.” There are different names for this event, but the most effective “talks” are those that get the point across without the need for any other punitive action. If they are done correctly, the offense that is being addressed will never come up ever again.
When considering the impact of “The Talk,” the words spoken in this communication (and it’s pretty much a one-sided conversation) are made up of the following elements:
- A subject
- A statement of fact or facts
- A declaration
- A summary and conclusion
- A clarification (as in “Do you understand?”)
All of us have been impacted in some way, shape or form by “The Talk.” Consider that it is not always communicated in a way that it is interpreted as negative or in such a way where you are being corrected; however, it should be noted that the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed a message of love and peace that can be received either very positively or very negatively. Why is that? It’s interesting that a message that conveys hope can be seen either as a hopeful message, or as a message of dread.
When the mailman delivers a tax refund check to you, he is the greatest person alive at that very moment. When he delivers bills to you, not so much. When he is delivering a tax bill, he becomes an agent of Satan.
An important thing to keep in mind here is that it is not so much an issue as to how one responds to the gospel message—it is simply important to be the messenger and deliver the message.
Most of you are aware of the Great Commission verses in Matthew 28:19-20, but I want to share with you how Jesus had “The Talk” with His disciples after He rose from the dead because of their fear and unbelief that He indeed had returned. Note that, at the same time, He told his disciples to go and declare the truth to all the people:
Mark 16:9-20 (HCSB)
9 Early on the first day of the week, after He had risen, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, as they were mourning and weeping. 11 Yet, when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe it. 12 Then after this, He appeared in a different form to two of them walking on their way into the country. 13 And they went and reported it to the rest, who did not believe them either.
14 Later, He appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been resurrected. 15 Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; 18 they will pick up snakes; if they should drink anything deadly, it will never harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.”
19 Then after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the accompanying signs.
When you give someone The Talk, there must be substance within the message. There must be evidence that the words within the message have a meaning and a purpose to promote the greatest opportunity for understanding.
Jesus gave His disciples The Talk, and they listened. But even in their listening to His words, there had to be evidence to support Jesus’ words. Without evidence, the words lose all meaning and purpose. Jesus backed up each and every one of His words with evidential proof in the results of their obedience to His words. His words, as a result, became even more powerful and meaningful to them as they proclaimed the gospel.
OK, so with this in mind, we are to present “The Talk” of the gospel to others.
Maybe it will happen sometime later today. Perhaps it will even be tomorrow. It will almost certainly happen sometime in the near future.
Knowing this, are you prepared to give someone “The Talk” when the time comes?
You need to be ready. If you’re not ready now, you need to get ready ASAP.
Assuming you’re not ready, or at least not completely comfortable with this prospect, let’s take some steps to get you to a place where you’ll feel better about where you are.
First, keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is your guide in all discussions about the gospel of Jesus Christ. You’re less likely to trip over tongue-tied words if you allow the Spirit to guide you.
John 16:13 (ESV)
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Luke 12:12 (HCSB)
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.
Next, you will need to read, study and pray over God’s Word in order to grow in your knowledge about Him, and as a result, become more confident in your message.
Psalm 1:2 (ESV)
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (HCSB)
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
John 15:7 (ESV)
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Finally, and most importantly, be consistent in your life as a believer in Jesus Christ to show yourself as a true follower of Jesus Christ. Your communication will be believable as you show the evidence of a Christlike existence.
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Romans 5:1 (ESV)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Proverbs 22:4 (HCSB)
The result of humility is fear of the Lord,
along with wealth, honor, and life.
Again, here is how you prepare to deliver “The Talk”:
- Read and study God’s Word to obtain greater knowledge and understanding about your relationship with Him
- Live with consistency as a believer to show yourself as a credible witness for Christ
- Allow the Spirit to speak freely through you at all times
This is how you will be ready when the Spirit prompts you to present the gospel message to a person. When He prompts you, keep in mind that, in your testimony, it is God who prompts a person to make a decision for Jesus Christ. It will be accepted or rejected, but all that God asks from each of us is His obedience in proclaiming the message.
Let’s look again at the elements of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not just any talk, but THE Talk…
The subject – Salvation and Jesus Christ
The statement of facts
- All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23)
- The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a)
- Jesus Christ died on the cross as a Sacrifice for all of mankind (Romans 3:25)
- God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
- The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23b).
- If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9, 13)
- Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:6)
- Forgiveness in Christ begins with repentance (turning away) of your sin (Mark 1:15)
- Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)
The summary and conclusion – You can have eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ.
- “Do you know what this means for you?”
- “Do you know what to do now with this good news?”
- “Are you ready to pray with me?”
(A quick note: Repentance paves the way for confession, and a mere confession with believing that Christ died for one’s sins is all that is necessary for eternal life. There are no other conditions for salvation—not in how much one believes or how much one knows or understands about Jesus Christ. All of that comes as a person grows and develops in his or her faith.)
Copyright © Melvin Gaines