First & Christ UMC Chestertown

At the Corners of High & Mill Street

Pointing the Way

Posted by on Feb 27, 2020

Sunday, January 19, 2020

One of the most helpful things to have when you have a job to do is a job description. It helps outline for you what is expected. It helps you know if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. It helps you measure if you are accomplishing what you are supposed to be accomplishing.

Sometimes, folks have asked me, “As a Christian, just what am I supposed to be doing?”

We know that being a Christian is more than just being saved. Yes, our salvation important. We want to know that we have been made right with God, that we are going to heaven. But, there is more to our life of faith.

Let’s be clear. We are saved by faith. We are not saved by what we do. We are not saved by meeting a certain list of accomplishments. We are not saved by being good. We are not saved because “we deserve it.”

How it distresses me at a funeral to hear, “Well, if anyone is going to make it to heaven, it’s dear sister Evelyn. She was so good, so kind, so helpful to others”

I am glad sister Evelyn was such a wonderful saint, but those things are not what gets her to heaven. Her faith in Jesus Christ is what gets her to heaven. It sounds like sister Evelyn was also living out her job description, not to “get saved,” but because she had been made right with God.

I suppose there are a number of points on our job description as followers of Jesus Christ. This morning, I want to highlight one of the most important things that we see right at the beginning of the Gospel of John.

Turn in your Bible to John chapter 1. Our scripture reading for today begins at verse 29. Last week, we read of Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan. This passage shares what happened the next day.

John sees Jesus walking towards him. He says to those around him, “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is the one I was talking about.”

John then gives testimony about what he had seen the day before. He saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove. He indicates that God had revealed to him that when he saw the Spirit come down and remain on someone that person would be the one who would baptize not with water, but with the Holy Spirit. John also gives testimony that this one is the Son of God.

We don’t know what else happened that day. The next day, two days after Jesus’ baptism, John is with two of his disciples. Again he says, “Look, the Lamb of God.”

Are you starting to see what John is doing here? He is carrying out one of the primary tasks that we have as part of our job descriptions as followers of Jesus. We are to constantly point the way to Jesus.

There was no egotistical thing going on with John. He gladly proclaimed that Jesus was more important than he was. Remember he had said, “One is coming after me whose sandals I am not even worthy to carry.”

John is not pointing to himself, but, instead, is pointing to Christ, the Lamb of God, who will take away the sin of the world. John was offering a cleansing baptism, a temporary fix if you will. He was offering a fresh start, a chance to be clean before God, to repent of past actions, and a chance to commit to living God’s way. Jesus was offering far more. Jesus would offer more than a new chance, to be made new, to be born again.

Jesus would not just offer the forgiveness of sin. He would take away sin. Jesus would do this as the Lamb of God. The book of Revelation calls him the lamb who was slain.

Since early on in the Hebrew faith, lambs were offered as sacrifices. I just finished the book of Exodus in my reading through the Bible in a year. There we are told about Passover where a lamb without blemish was to be eaten and shared among the household and the neighbors. Its blood was to be put on the door frames so that the angel of death, the last plague on Egypt, would pass over the Hebrew homes. All within its walls would be safe. Otherwise, the firstborn of all the land would be killed.

Later on, as worship developed, a system of sacrifices was prescribed. One of the things that could be offered to God as a sacrifice was a lamb. Its blood covering the sin of the one presenting the offering. Jesus became the last sacrifice for us, the perfect lamb of God sent to redeem us, to bring salvation to us.

John points the way to Christ. The two disciples that were with John now start following Jesus. John doesn’t care! I am sure that he was glad. That was his purpose, not to gain followers for himself, but to gain followers of Christ.

One of the two that had been with John, but now with Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Verse 41 says that the first thing Andrew did was go to and find his brother. He says, “We have found the Messiah.”

What was Andrew doing? Pointing the way to Christ.

We wonder what are we to do as followers of Jesus. What’s our job? We want to make sure we are doing what we are supposed to do. Right?

Our job is to simply be like John the Baptist and Andrew. We are to point the way to Jesus. How? It’s really not that complicated!

Let me share with you just five ways that you can point others to Christ. This is not an exhaustive list. There are lots of other ways to point to Christ. This is just to get you started.

#1 – Use your voice.

Pray for an opportunity. Then, when God brings the opportunity, use it! Be ready.

When someone shares with you something hard that they are going through, speak a kind word to them. Be compassionate. Offer to pray for them. If you don’t feel comfortable praying out loud for them, assure them that you will pray for them, that you are sure that God cares about them.

When you pray, follow that up. Ask them about the situation the next time you see them. Maybe, write to them. Let them know you have prayed. Be bold. Don’t be obnoxious, but be bold. Be yourself, but sometimes step out of what might be your comfort zone. Just speak up!

Tell them Jesus cares. Tell them that Jesus helped you when you were in a similar situation, that God made a difference for you. Point the way to Christ.

#2 Use Social Media.

This is sort of the same as using your voice. Many of us post things on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever platform we use. Try to post something daily that is faith-affirming.

There is enough negative stuff online. There is enough sarcastic stuff online. there is enough online that is hurtful.

Change the culture of social media. Use it to encourage folk. Use it to share a prayer. Use it to encourage people in their faith. Use it to share your witness.

When someone posts something about what they are going through, be compassionate. Comment that you are praying. Encourage them with a verse of scripture. Point to Christ.

#3 – Use Your Actions.

We have all heard it said that actions speak louder than words. Remember that people are always watching you. We might not like it, but it’s the way that it is.

Let how you live your life always reflect your faith. Let others see you working on behalf of those who are in need. Let others see you being kind. Let others see you going out of your way to help someone.

When people comment on the godly things that you do saying, “That was nice of you,” just say, “I just do what God calls me to do. He’s made such a difference in my life. I just want to thank Him. One of the ways I can thank him is by helping others.” That’s pointing the way to Christ.

#4 – Use Your Home

I feel like many of us are not using this wonderful tool that God has given us. I think the practice of having people over is something that not many people are doing these days. We are all busy. I get that.

Instead of thinking of our homes as our private sanctuaries, I would encourage you to think of your home as a tool that you could use to point others to Christ. The simple act of sharing a meal with someone in your home is a great way to build a relationship with someone. When they get to see your home, it lets them get to know you better.

It’s more effective for us to share Christ with someone you are in a relationship with than someone who is a stranger. I know that sometimes we think it’s easier to share with a stranger. It might be easier, but not usually as effective. A person who trusts us will listen to us. A person who likes us will want to know why we are who we are. We are who we are because of Christ.

Invite someone over for dinner. If not dinner, then for some dessert. It does not have to be fancy, just warm and inviting. Get to know someone better so that eventually you will have the privilege of pointing the way to Christ. Always have someone on your heart who you are praying for, who you are looking for an opportunity to share your home with. Point the way to Christ.

#5 – Use Your Church

We are striving to be a church that you want to invite others to join you in.

Looking back to 2019, how many people did you invite to church? To how many people did you say, “I would love to have you come to a church service with me. How about I pick you up? (How about we meet at church?) Afterward, we can stop somewhere for lunch.”

This is especially good because you won’t be the only one pointing them to Christ. I will help you. The choir will help you. Your fellow church members will help you.

You are not on your own here. You belong to a community of faith. Use the community you have to bring someone else into the church, to help you point the way to Christ for them.

If you see someone else is doing the point work for you, come alongside them. Help them. Be friendly. Be inviting. Be open. Point the way to Christ.

These are just a few things you might do. There are lots of other creative ways or just some old fashioned ways that will work!

We have talked about Epiphany being a season of light, a season in which we are encouraged to share the light. I encourage you to do just that. Find a way – or several ways – to share the light of Christ with others. The world so desperately needs Christ. God’s plan to reach the world is you. You are the best he has. Are you willing to be used? Are you willing to let your light shine?

Point the way to Christ, the Lamb of God.

Let’s Pray