All right. Well this Advent season we are taking a look at a few of the songs of Christmas as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of the greatest event in human history the coming to the world of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This week I would like to take a look at another one of our wonderful Advent and Christmas hymns. And this is my wife's favorite hymn.
Go Tell It on the Mountain. Not really her favorite, but she said she put up with it for the sake of the message. During that dark and shameful. Of slavery in our country unknown slaves at a largely uneducated people often humiliated and cruelly treated long for freedom.
And in spite of their plight God seem to inspire them to produce songs of incredible majesty and haunting beauty that have become to be known as The Negro spirituals. Most of these slaves could neither read nor write and their songs were preserved through oral tradition just singing them as they worked out in the cotton fields and as they worked around the plantations, They would sing the songs and so a lot of these songs got to have that that work Rhythm to them as a way of remembering that although they were slaves. They were free.
In Christ, so many of these songs have been saved because of the devotion of a man named John Wesley work. A black choir director who was in Nashville Tennessee, one of the few educated black man in the South work decided that the new generation of blacks needed to know and learn the songs their ancestors saying during the days of slavery Works brother Frederick is credited with being one of the first to recognize the power and potential of this wonderful song Go Tell It on the Mountain.
This Song captures the feeling of an unknown slave from whose heart these words spraying probably unable to read the Bible this Anonymous poet. Imagine the reaction of the Shepherds as the great light from Heaven showed around them little did the slave know that this song expressing the Wonder in his own soul would eventually touch the hearts of millions around the world, but what he did know without a doubt was that the Christmas story and the fact of Christ death Resurrection resurrection and offer of Salvation needed to be told by God's people so others would hear and so we would remember.
He said that the message of Christ needed to be told from The Mountaintop. Now the mountain is a significant theological and spiritual sight in scripture Moses received the Ten Commandments on the Mountaintop and Jesus gave his most powerful sermon from a mountain. What better place then the shout the good news of redemption but from the mountain tops,
The scripture says how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news the reclaim piece who bring Good Tidings to Proclaim salvation who's says to Zion your god reigns. That's Isaiah 52 have today. It is of utmost importance that we become messenger shouting the good news of Christ from The Mountaintop.
That we take the story that we've heard and accepted and broadcast it to others who may have never heard or haven't heard it in long enough that it no longer holds meaning for them. We need to understand the role of communicating the gospel is not just for preachers and Priests and Prophets, but it's for everyone who claims Christ as Savior. If you're a Christian today, then you're being called To Go Tell It on the Mountain.
What is the message that we are called to Proclaim as followers of Jesus Christ. We are called to spread the message about Jesus to the world. But what exactly is it? We're supposed to share. I've heard sermons many times where people were berated for not telling others about Jesus, but we're never told what it was. They were supposed to say now. I want to give you some very basic and Powerful truths to share, some basic tools that needs to be shared so that people will know.
Let me tell you why this is so important and why it's become so personal to me. I recently had an opportunity to spend some time with some folks who do not have a belief in Jesus Christ.
Who is simply believe that when you die, that's it. There's nothing else past this life.
I have never seen that kind of grief before I've never seen that kind of hopelessness. I've never seen people who did such great work trying to make the world better who were working so fruitlessly because there was nothing Beyond just human efforts.
There are people in our world today and it isn't it is increasing exponentially who do not know Jesus Christ. Who do not have any relationship with the church whatsoever who do not know the hope of Salvation who do not know that there's more to this life than just gaining possessions and gaming relationships and the Brokenness that comes from putting your trust in something other than the God who created the world.
There's a lot of studies that are done on what church is maybe the largest religious group and so on and so forth. We used to be the number two in size churches in the United States. United Methodist Church was number two of every other denomination. We've slid just a little far down that list. But worse than that. The largest growing group of people when it comes to religion in this country and across Europe are known as the nuns. Not none as you wear a habit, but as in having none, no religion whatsoever.
Folks, this is where we failed as the church and it's time we get back to it. Amen.
And let me tell you something else. I've discovered. Although there are some who have hardened their hearts so far that they don't want to hear that has hardened their hearts so far that they just see it all as nonsense and they're trying everything else out. But the one truth the one person the one power that's able to change.
Trying everything. Among on 25 to 35 year-old. The fastest-growing religious experience is Wicca your that is absolute paganism there. It's dealing in witchcraft. That's the fastest growing among that group right now. You think that they don't want anything to do with spiritual things they do they're just looking for something and we're not offering it.
Just want to tell you what it is. We have to offer what we need to do and the first most basic message we have is Believers in Jesus Christ were called to share as a Jesus came into the world as one of us, but he came to this world that he might take on our flesh, that he might take on our life, but he might experience our worries that he might deal with our troubles that he might have our temptations that the god of the universe the one who made us He does and he still misses together in our mother's womb put on our flesh lived our life because he wanted to know us and because he wanted to redeem us and set us free and that same God who we celebrate on Christmas coming as the babe in the manger of Bethlehem is Jesus of Nazareth who went to the cross and he didn't do it because he was a criminal he did it because of our sins our failures our selfishness and he did it willingly.
The man who could raise the Dead who can make the blind to see the make the lame to walk certainly couldn't be held on a cross by three nails.
What held him there was the love of God?
Because it was for you and it was for me and it was for every one of those nones out there. It was for every one of those young people seeking in Witchcraft and the Occult for every one of the people who have no hope that he went to that cross.
When he died on that cross he was taken and buried in a borrowed tomb and on the third day. He rose again conquering death and the grave.
Folks that is the basic message that we have to share. I got to tell you something. That's a pretty good message.
The church is spent a lot of time over the last 20-25 years trying to find a way to become relevant and instead we have taken ourselves absolutely into irrelevance because when the people look at the church, they only see one or two things either a bunch of Hypocrites are a bunch of people just like them that are just so helpless when we have the good news.
Why are we sharing it now? Cuz my faith is a private matter. No, it isn't.
Would you that that's the stupidest thing I ever heard?
Your faith is to be proclaimed your faith is to be celebrated your faith is to come out of you and exude from you not in judgement for people who are lost. But have a great Passion that they be found by the Savior Jesus Christ.
So people understand this nothing else is going to matter. You can say this in a variety of ways, but you need to get across the fact that Jesus came and died in our place and he rose again on the third day. That's what you got to get acrost sing with me here. We got another verse.
Is it up on the screen where to start on the verse?
Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 15 3 to 4.
I passed on to you. What was most important and what had also been passed on to me Christ died for our sins. Just as the scripture said he was buried and he was raised from the dead on the third day just as the scripture said.
these are the most important things that people need to know we could say that these are the facts of the Gospel message but these facts need to be connected to how they can apply to real life bialigy isn't worth a whole lot until it becomes personal to us forgiveness of sins Eternal lie and fellowship with God are available to everyone who believes right now.
People need to know that every sin they have ever committed can be wiped away from the record. They don't have to carry that burden and that they will never have to live with that guilt again, cuz of the guilt comes back then that's the devil talking not the Lord.
The Apostle Paul said let it be known to you that through this man. Jesus forgiveness of sins has proclaimed to you and buy him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. I love that word freed freed. We're singing a song written by slaves out in the field and we're talking about freedom in Christ. That's why they saying they saying wall in chains knowing that it didn't matter what changes were on them. They were free in the Lord.
and that's something
Freedom comes and tries those of you who know it must speak. It's because there are people who are hungry.
There are people who are weighted down by their sin. They need to know that they don't have to be any more. They need to realize that this isn't just a temporary fix. This is a permanent solution 1st John 2:25.
This is the promise that Jesus made to us eternal life.
So what are we to be sharing with the people that we meet?
That god came to Earth lived a sinless life died on the cross so we could be forgiven and rose again from the dead were telling them that all their sins can be permanently removed and if they can live in Freedom and fellowship with Jesus Christ, that's a good news. We should also let them know that the kingdom of God is in their midst. I really want them to understand this thing here because it it tells us about the role of that the church plays in God's plan to kill at the church is God's idea.
I want you to get this cuz this is important. Okay Christians are embarrassed of the church today and then some reasons for good reason.
Man, we haven't done a very good job or the last 20-25 maybe 30 years. Some would say 50 years, and I've only been around that long.
They did a pretty good job with me. They told me about Jesus not came to him and I haven't looked back but it's real popular now to talk down. I got people say invite people to church because well, they might not like the church.
Maybe it's your church, right?
Let's think about it.
guess what the church is made up of
The very people who are afraid to invite others cuz I might not like it. Who are you worried? We worried about them not liking you because you invited them to church. I'm a little thing, I'm kind of, you know, I'll just a religious fanatic. Okay, that's great.
Be a religious fanatic you like they thought John the Baptist was a religious fanatic. You sure did David thought Jesus was a religious fanatic. So how about all the apostles who they killed all of them except for John and he got boiled in oil once and put on an island.
So what so what if people don't like you. The Church of the Living God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be separated from one another. It doesn't matter how many YouTube videos well-meaning stupid people put out there saying that they love Jesus but hate the church. You can't love Jesus if you hate his church does the Bible says the church is the body of Christ and if we are the body of Christ, so we are to be reaching out to the world in his name. You can't love one and hate the other you can't say. I'm a Christian but I don't go to church I can worship in my own way.
It smells like the stuff I used to clean out of Grandpa stable.
Ridiculous Colossians. 1:18 tells us Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning Supreme Over All Who rise from the dead so he is first in everything. We are inviting them to Jesus and to be in fellowship with Christ through his church, which is the kingdom of God on this Earth.
And we derive our sustenance for Christ. We draw our encouragement from one another and we move through this life in a common faith that we all hold it is so important that we share that and we invite people to church to be a part of the church not just to attend worship going to be part of the church.
We are also.
to tell people
That we too are seekers in need of God's grace.
cuz I don't know about you but
I don't get it all right.
And I'll never get it all right.
But I'm speaking to be on that Journey with Jesus to the power of His spirit so that the world may know that we have a savior. Who is Christ the lord.
Nobody here is perfect. I've got to know you enough to know that.
You're awful good though.
You're awful loving though.
Nobody's perfect. None of you are and I'm not either.
You're looking for a perfect person don't look at me there was one and they put him on the cross my wife even the one that said Amen to that cuz she knows she's lived me for 31 years.
Don't try to pretend you're perfect.
You're a sinner too. You just know where you're looking cuz you're looking to Jesus. Let's sing again another verse C.
If we're going to Go Tell It on the Mountain. This is what we need to share. We need to share this good news. People need it.
But do you know how which method should we use? I don't really advise that old silly evangelism explosion method that just treated people like they were idiots. They walked up to him and said you were to die tonight know where you're going.
They might just tell you where they're going and want you to go there too.
That's not a way to reach people for Christ. Just being mean to him. That don't do any good. There's there's this guy he is a radio program called wretched radio and he goes out in the streets and he talks to people and tries to convince them that they're Sinners and he does it by just being as nasty as he possibly can to him, you know, if he finds a woman any picks on women a lot. I think he's got a problem with women and if they're not dressed to his standards, maybe they're little scantily-dressed. He does do it on the beach a lot.
He tells them that they are harlots because of what they're wearing. I use the word the kids don't know. You know what I'm talking about. He uses the worst word. He's a Christian.
He tells them they're going to hell because of all these things. They have tattoos. You're going to hell get your mark up your body. Give me season with a beard. You're a beer. You're going to hell cuz you drink any of you ever taken. So you took a grape from the super market you're going to hell. I mean he has to go through all this and just treat him like garbage then he says but you don't want to know the love of Jesus and they don't know.
Jordan 11 that I send Joshua told me about an event one time he call me middle of the school day when he was at Eastern Illinois University and he said there's two evangelists on campus today. There's one standing on the sidewalk yelling at people and telling them how awful and sinful and disgusting they are and all this kind of stuff and people are yelling back at him and some were ignoring him and it's really turned into a problem campus security file. You have to remove him soon. He says but there's another evangelist on campus today that has a sign stuck in the yard of the quad and he's sitting there reading his Bible says ask me about Jesus.
Anyone that walks by so hey, can I tell you about Jesus?
Do you know what there's some people talking to him? These this guy over here the Raiders throw stuff at him?
It doesn't work to yell at people doesn't work to judge me doesn't work to be nasty to him. It doesn't work the act as if they are not the well-loved of Christ.
So we've got to learn to be able to share the message of Christ in a way that makes sense in a way that will help people to know him.
And so I think I've got a slide for this week's check. Let's see. What's the next slide there? Yeah. It starts out pretty easily by you giving your testimony. This is a pretty simple one. This was my life before I met Christ or before I fully committed myself to Christ.
You don't have to have a big story. Okay, you don't have to been a drug addict that God redeemed. You don't have to have been a thief that went to prison the god redeem. You maybe someone who is born practically on the doorstep of the church that your whole life in the church, but it was always just religion to you until that night when God spoke to you and you said yes Jesus I'll follow you anywhere and then you had peace and then you had hope.
John Wesley the founder of methodism grew up in a pastor's home with a mama. That was a better preacher than his daddy was okay and she taught him everything that he needed to know cuz his dad spent most of his time and debtors prison and so his Pulpit we sit there empty and Susannah wasn't allowed to preach today cuz women were allowed to preach to the church would come into their kitchen and they hold Church there and she'd breach in the in the kitchen of the parsonage or rectory as they called it .And he went on to University and he was even ordained and he came over here to
evangelize The Savage as he said
He said I came over here to let you know evangelize The Savage man who's going to save me.
And then he had a heartwarming experience me. Finally knew about Jesus before that. He was a Pious guy. He was a righteous guy. Did everything right? But he didn't know Jesus didn't matter what your story is. Tell your story. Then you say this is what Jesus did for me. Those are supposed to be 1 2 3, but they're all one. I don't know. This is what Jesus did for me.
He set me free from sin. If that's the case. He gave me peace and gave me hope whatever it is. This is what he did for me. This is what Jesus Promised.
That I have to look forward to.
This one you can tell.
About the fact that he came he was like one of us he grow up in a Jewish religious home.
But he followed the father's will.
He died on the cross and rose again that we can have eternal life. It's pretty easy.
This isn't hard
People need to know and you and I have the privilege and power to tell them all about it.
I love the story of the demon-possessed man that Jesus brought to Deliverance. What a story of transformation naturally the man who had been delivered wanted to go with Jesus. But Jesus had other plans and a Mark chapter 5 18 to 19 it says as Jesus was getting into the boat the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him and he did not permit him but said to him go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you that man wasn't a theologian.
He wasn't a religious scholar. He was just a man who had a personal Encounter With Jesus Christ.
And he was told to go and share it if you had a personal Encounter With Jesus Christ, if you have then you have something to talk about and if you haven't there still time to have one.
That's the thing about it.
God has stepped into our world. He stepped into our lives you stepped into our relationships and there are people all around us. We're going through some stuff some awful stuff and we have the answer for them. Oh not that their life's going to be immediately. Just woohoo is wonderful.
But their life regardless
It doesn't have to be a life of peace and hope through Jesus Christ
You don't have to be a perfect Christian just have to be willing to tell the story the demon-possessed man. He went back to the people. He knew he went back to his family to his friends and he testified about Jesus. We're called to testify within our circle of influence. We're called to talk to those people who are willing to listen to us. We don't have to go to the ends of the Earth. The ends of the Earth comes to us all the time. What we have to do is go into our homes where there's no unbelievers go into our families with his unbelievers going to our community where there's unbelievers go into our work place where there's unbelievers and tell them about Jesus.
We can do that because we got co-workers and family members and community members who don't know the Lord and we've got the best thing of all, man. If you had a cure for cancer, would you keep it to yourself now? I'm serious or would you?
No, your going to tell everybody my goodness if your team wins you tell everybody?
Gotta tell if people about Jesus we have to testify to everyone about Jesus Christ because he is the way the truth and the life the only one the only one that can take us to the father.
He's there for us.
And when you get a heart.
for the Lost
you'll want to tell about Jesus.
The older I get.
The longer I'm a Christian.
The more my heart breaks for those who don't know Jesus.
Cuz I still remember what it was like to be lost.
Let me tell you even when I thought I was having fun. I was absolutely miserable.
My heart longs for people to know about Jesus heart longs for people in the church to grow into a tighter relationship with him. We all have a longing a longing for people to know Jesus Apostle. Paul said the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. He wanted people to know he wanted people to know.
Because they needed Jesus.
We ought to have a longing in our hearts a longing a great desire. Great desire to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
A poor slave with chains on his feet without a dime to his name without a formal education. Spoke and wrote these words to this song. We've been singing
It didn't take a lot. He just knew that he was in desperate need of a savior to in order to be free.
And he wanted everybody to know.
He wanted to proclaim the fact that Jesus Christ is born the question before us today is really simple.
Is it just a song We Sing are these just words we memorize is the scripture. Just something that sits on our table is our Christian Life. Just something that we just say. Well, it's just it's mine.
Or is it really something that's worth it all?
Cuz friends if it's worth it all.
And you ought to do anything to share the gospel.
This past week. We lost 25 United Methodist who were proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in their community.
They gave it all.
That their friends their family their neighbors would know.
it's time that we get on.
We start proclaiming the good news our Mountaintop may not be truly climbing the mountain.
Our Mountaintop may not even be a very special place or Mountaintop could be one of the grocery aisles at Walmart. It doesn't matter.
Our Mountaintop could be McDonald's while you're having coffee?
Our mountain top could be while we're working.
walking delivering mail
While we're teaching?
Wherever that Mountaintop is.
We're called to share the message of Jesus Christ
And we're celebrating.
And we have so many more opportunities to share the message. Let us not forget to do it. Let's sing that chorus one more time. I think I've got a slime.
What you stand with me?
And I think about this or maybe some here.
Although you been part of the church forever. You're still it just kind of going through the motion.
I want you to leave here and still go through the motions some here have been a devout Christian for a long time, but man life's tough right now and you just need the Lord to just touch you.
Maybe some here who have never said yes to Jesus.
I invite you just I'm going to just pray and be quiet before the Lord for a minute. I'm snd just play quietly working to give the Lord a minute's a minute or so here. If you want to come forward and pray come forward and pray you feel more country praying that your seat do that.
Don't leave here without the assurance of your salvation.