Sermon Illustration: Doctor Making Uninvited Home Visits
In order to challenge the congregation to build a relationship with the lost and searching for the purpose of disciple-making, I began a recent sermon with a hypothetical illustration about a doctor making a home visit. You can listen to the entire message here. Below is how I began . . .
What would you think of a doctor who made house calls? Not at your request, however . . . at his. He knocked on your door, told you he was a doctor, and wanted to talk to you for a few minutes. He asks if you have ever had a headache. You say “of course.” With glee, he proceeds to tell you everything wrong with you. He assumes he knows exactly what is going on in your life and your entire medical history. However, if you will say a couple of sentences – and really mean it – you will be healed and not have to worry about anything, ever again.
We would call that doctor crazy.
We would immediately go to our neighborhood Facebook page and inform everyone not to answer the door when this idiot knocked.
We would look at him like he was absurd and kindly ask him to leave.
Why? Because he doesn’t know us. He doesn’t care about us. He has no idea the condition of our bodies or lives or anything. He just kind of forces his way into our lives, tells us what is wrong with us, and informs us if we repeat a couple of sentences – and really mean it – we will be cured. That’s insane. It’s a good way to get a bad reputation very quickly. It’s a good way to get people not to want to be around you or, doctors like you, very quickly.
Yet, remarkably, this is the way much evangelism has been done. We tell people what is wrong with them, assuming we know everything. We tell them how to be cured, assuming we know what is going on in their lives. And we tell them if they say some sentences, and really mean it, they will be healed forever. This doesn’t mean God cannot use this or that God cannot save with this “technique.” But I wonder if one of the reasons we don’t have many disciples of Jesus making disciples with Jesus is because we have a whole lot of people who stated a paragraph, hoping that will get them in? I wonder if we have a whole lot of people who know the right phrase to keep them out of hell, but have no idea how the Gospel really does change, fulfill, transform, revolutionize, reshape, and overwhelm a heart?
Paul didn’t say in Romans 10, “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe words written on a card are true, you will be saved.” No. He said we must confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that Jesus conquered death. He goes on to say that when we believe in our hearts, the result will be righteousness. Your heart is your inner being. Your soul. Your life. Your longings. Your desires. Your hopes. Your dreams. Your love. Your affection. Believing something in your heart means that which impacts everything about your life. Understanding how the resurrection of Jesus impacts your hopes and dreams and future and life.
I wonder if our evangelism has become more about us and how many converts we can get and our man-made methods (many of which are good and put out by people with incredibly good motives), than about the lost and searching, what is going on in their lives, what are their hurts and desires and hopes and longings? I wonder if we think that if they just repeat a prayer on the back of a card, their worries will all go away? I wonder if we ourselves know the Gospel well enough and the lost and searching well enough to help them connect the dots between what is going on in their hearts and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can actually speak to their longings?
How I concluded the message:
On the flip side, consider how one goes about finding a doctor when moving to a new town. How do you find a good doctor? You ask. You ask people you know and trust. You ask people who have the same medical issues you have and how their doctor treated them. You want to know if the doctor cares. You want to know if the doctor prescribed the correct treatment. You want to know if the doctor took time to listen to what was really going on, rather than making a general assessment. You end up going to a doctor from a recommendation from someone who was impacted and changed by that doctor. If we get serious about being present with the lost and searching, seeking ways to reveal the Father – when they go back to their friends and family who are lost and searching and are asked what has happened to them, their response? “I found a doctor. His name is Jesus. He came to heal, not the healthy. . . but the sick. Let me tell you about Him and what He did for me.”