The word army is defined as a group of people trained and armed for war.
The Rock's ARMY is a group of people trained and armed to fight for the souls of unbelievers. Every soldier in the ARMY reaches the lost by living an evangelistic lifestyle.
This means learning how to talk about God to people who don't know him.
1. Ask God for the love to reveal and encourage you to pursue the saint in the sinner.
Do you have children? Do you remember when they were just babies? Oh how cute and uncorrupted and just wonderful babies are. If you don't have kids just think of a pet; a dog or cat as a puppy or kitten. So innocent and just lovable.
Now isn't it funny that babies are so cute and wonderful and so full of hope and we were all babies at one point. Pastor Miles said something this Sunday regarding this. Everyone you meet was a baby before and is still a child of God. Everyone. Regardless if they are homeless, drug abusers, downward spiraling celebrities to all the pastors at the Rock. All of us.
Now this is probably one of the hardest things to do not as Christians but as humans as we are so judgmental. To look at people and say they can be a good person isn't so easy. Look at the drug pusher in downtown. The guy at work the never paid you back money you loaned them. Your ex who cheated on you. Hard to believe but there is good in those people.
Now in Matthew 9:9 we read that Jesus was passing a tax office. Jesus saw Matthew, a tax collector, and told Matthew to come follow him. And Matthew did.
Now the tax collectors of those days are a lot different than the IRS we deal with now. Tax collectors were known to be evil because they lied and cheated and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Pastor Miles explained that it was as if you owed $100 to the government and when the tax collector came to collect he would demand $150 and pocket the extra cash (and you thought the 1040 was bad!). And this was common.
But Jesus saw things differently. He looked at this legal criminal and made him one of his disciples.
2. Ask God to show ministry potential in the sinner.
In the next verses, Matthew 9:10-11, we find Jesus sitting with tax collectors and sinners. The very legalistic Pharisees saw this and questioned Jesus' disciples, essentialy asking "Why would a holy man sit with those that are so unholy and unclean and unethical?"
See God loves everyone. God doesn't just look at what we are, but what He created us to be. He sees all the hopes and good things He has in store for us.
Pastor Miles pointed out a statistic for prison inmates that if they get out of prison, hang out with the guys that they were before there is a 90% chance they will return to prison. However if they change the scenery so to speak and get around law abiding citizens those odds are reversed; 90% that they will stay out of the prison system.
It is up to us as Christians to reach out to those who don't know Christ. Imagine what would have happened to you if nobody reached out to you.
3. Ask God to give you the courage to overcome the criticism for reaching out to sinners.
In Matthew 9:12, Jesus says It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
Jesus simply set the example here by hanging out and fellowshipping with sinners. God doesn't just want us to only hang out with other Christians. Jesus says that we need to help others.
Now, of course, hanging out with other Christians is important too. It helps us gather strength and encouragement. But we also need to share the hope of Christ with those who have none.
Maybe we are afraid to stand up for Christ, araid that we might be criticized or mocked at some point. But really, seriously, what's the worst that could happen? Jesus says in Matthew 5:10, Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Every presidential candidate or any candidate for any public office has been criticized for something. Einstein and Edison were considered stupid at one point. Bill Gates was told many times that his concept wasn't going to work Martin Luther King and Gandhi were radicals.
Jesus was killed for his teachings. I think a little mouthing off from someone isn't a big deal.
Pastor Miles challenged us to contact one unsaved person we know this week... and just be their friend.