Once every four years Nazarene teenagers from all over the United States and Canada gather for five days of motivation, inspiration and education. I had the privilege of preaching on opening night to 10,000 of them this week. At first I was a little worried because they wanted a salvation message that tied in with the theme of water, fire and wind. Uhhhhhhhh. Errrrrrrrrrr. Hmmmmm. Duhhhhhhhhh.
But the Lord finally gave me a sermon that clicked. Here’s the outline that I preached:
1. Jesus in the water: My premise? Jesus’ baptism was a perfect picture of the cleansing that he offers all who trust in him. When we trust in him we are immersed into a personal, permanent relationship with him. We are cleansed from all the filth in our soul through simple faith. Come on in…the water’s fine!
2. Jesus in the fire: Jesus came up from the water with a fire burning in his belly, not a fire of judgment but of forgiveness. This flame exploded into an inferno of sacrifice on top of Calvary when he died for our sins. The fire that blazed on top of the Hill of the Skull that day burnt away our transgressions forever. The point? He wants to burn you and me in the best sense possible.
3. Jesus in the wind: Before he died Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them as orphans but that he would return to them. After he ascended he did just that when the mighty wind blew through the upper room and carried upon it the Spirit of Jesus that rushed into the hearts of the disciples. The message? He’s waiting to breeze into your heart right now if you trust in Him alone for the salvation of your soul.
Hundreds responded to the message. Even before I gave the invitation it was awesome to see so many teenagers making their way forward to put their faith in Jesus alone to save them for the first time.
Praise the Lord.
After this challenge I double dared them. They made a list of friends who don’t know Jesus and picked one to tell within 48 hours of getting home. (They get home on Sunday!) Be praying for these thousands of teenagers as they do their double dare and reach their friends for Jesus one at a time with the life changing message of the gospel!
By the way, have you taken the double dare? If so, then why not double dare your Christian friends to share Jesus?
I triple dog dare you!