Good Morning! Happy Easter! I am glad you are here today. If you will permit me—I have two questions for you. They are very important. Do you know why companies all over the world seek endorsements? Do you know why there are so many infomercials on TV? I am totally serious. Can you answer these questions? Surprisingly, the answers are almost identical. It is simple marketing strategy—in fact, it is one of the simplest and most effective strategies: a Testimonial! Whether it is a professional actor, model, sports hero, TV star or just a regular person like you or me—people will spend their money, try a product, use a service, or do something based on the good words or good experiences of other people. Think about it—there aren’t a lot of people in the US who don’t check customer reviews. Many people pull up Google to find ratings for repairmen, auto shops, appliances or restaurants. None of us wants to be scammed. No one wants to be ripped off. We want the best. We want something that has a good track record—and a good recommendation. People will trust an honest endorsement and a real-life success story is very convincing.
If you understand this principle then you understand the heart of evangelism. A diverse group of twelve uneducated blue-collar guys with varying political leanings turned a world upside down. They didn’t accomplish this with a media blitz, flashy commercials or neat packaging. No, they did it by sharing their stories. Each of them met Jesus—in person—and that meeting changed them. And in each generation that followed, people met Jesus. No longer meeting Him in person, they learned about Him from the true stories that were passed down. They learned about Him from the letters written by these men. These letters and stories were formed into the Bible. This Bible—the same ones translated into English today—contains the real, honest and true account of not only Jesus’ life, but also how the world came into being. The Bible tells us how God made all of us, how He loves all of us, and how Jesus came to make it possible for us to know Him. Jesus didn’t just change lives back then. He changes lives today.
Everyone here today falls into one of two groups. In group one there are people who have met Jesus, people who know Him, people whose lives have been changed because they believe in Him. These people follow Jesus. To them Christianity isn’t a religion and church isn’t a Sunday thing—rather these are the ways of life. The people in this group are committed—some may even say they are fanatical about following Jesus. They try to live like Him, love like Him and sacrifice like Him. They are not perfect but they are trying, and the following Jesus is a lifestyle that consumes them. This is group one. If you are in this group, you know you are in this group. If you are not fully convinced that you are in the previous group, if you don’t know who Jesus is, if you don’t believe or don’t know if you believe, if Jesus is just a part of religion, or if church is a place you go on Sunday’s (even if you go every Sunday) then you are in the second group. Don’t worry. Everyone starts in the second group (some in the first group even visit the second group sometimes!). But, if you are in this second group, please do me a favor…ask someone from the first group about why they are there. Ask for an infomercial, a testimonial, ask them why they follow Jesus. Don’t worry about embarrassing them—if they are in the first group they are actually hoping you will ask.