God’s Visible Word

Why the World Needs Christians

Study Series on the Awesome Words of Almighty God

2Corinthians 3:1-6


Pastor Craig Ledbetter

DATE: 20 September, 2008 AM

PLACE: Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.        Introduction


A.      People are always quick to point the accusing finger at believers.


1.       “You say you’re a Christian and you do that?” I know Christians who smoke, lie, steal, profane the name of Christ, go “clubbing”, drinking… shameful isn’t it?!

2.       “You Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.” Yep!

3.       “If you ask me, their God, their Bible, their beliefs haven’t changed them one bit.”

4.       These are hard words to hear folks! They ought to put the fear of God into our hearts! Why?


B.      Because people watch us! People EXPECT us to be different!


1.       God saved us to be different (1Peter 2:9; Matthew 5:13-15)


a.       Lights in a dark world

b.       Salt in a putrefying world

c.        Joy in a empty world


2.       The Holy Spirit works in us to make us different


4.       But the truth is, you can hardly tell the difference these days


a.       Christians listen to the same music as the ungodly

b.       Christians drink like the drunkards

c.        Christians watch the same movies – no concern about whether it grieves the Holy Spirit dwelling in them)

d.       Christians dress immodestly like everybody else

e.        Same messed up hair, slouched shoulders, bad attitudes (and that’s just the parents!!!) J


5.       Are we any different than we used to? I wonder if anyone can tell?


C.      Whether you like it or not, a born again child of God is a walking Bible. We are Christ’s letter to the world.


1.       The Bible word is “Epistle” – it means an open letter for all to read. Not a private letter, but something for everyone to read like a magazine, or newspaper

2.       Somebody said, “We may not all be Apostles, but every believer is an Epistle”


D.      How do people read you? What do they see in the pages of your life?


1.       Lusts, lying, deception? Are they reading a failed romance novel or a fruitful Christian’s life?

2.       Hatred, bitterness, fury? Are people reading a murder novel, or a life of grace and forgiveness?

3.       Depression, frustration, no joy at all? Are people reading a woman’s magazine, or a Christian life full of hope and confidence in the Lord?

4.       What do they see in you?


E.       Funny, isn’t it? If you really are a Christian, shouldn’t they see some Light? Shouldn’t there be “joy unspeakable, and full of glory”? Shouldn’t there be some changes that people can plainly see between what you were before you got saved, and what you are today?

F.       Well, let’s see just how important it is to be a True-to-the-Word Christian, instead of a live-like-the-world kind of a Christian


II.      Message – Why the World Needs Christians


A.      Because they Need to See, and Read LIVING Bibles (2Cor 3:2,3)


1.       Like I said, whether you like it or not, you are probably the only Bible most people will ever read – and BOY will they read you… from cover to cover!


a.       You are not your own story anymore – you are God’s story, written in HIS heart, and it is acted out in your life! So COOL!

b.       Yes people may think you are a fool, but they need to know that you are for real!


2.       You are the “EPISTLE of Christ” now (2Cor 3:3)! Think about that! It is as if people come to the newsagent, and pick you up like they would a magazine, and they EXPECT you to explain Jesus! That’s what Christians do!


a.       They expect a magazine about fishing to tell them about fishing

b.       They expect a magazine about politics going on to explain politics

c.        They expect a comic book to show comics and make them laugh

d.       They expect a Christian, when they meet him or her:


1)       To tell them about the Messiah who came and lived, and was crucified, and rose again, and was believed BY YOU, and how He changed you, and lives in you, and fills you with joy and peace and strength and purpose!

2)       They don’t expect Christians to curse, and smoke, and drink, and doll themselves up like Madonna!


e.        Hey! Everybody is reading you… but I wonder, are they reading much about Jesus in your life?

f.        And by the way, are people reading the Authorized Version, or your own translation of what God said? Hmmmm!


3.       How can they tell if they are reading what GOD said, or just what you think?


a.       Do you cherry pick what you believe, and how you live? Or does your life just simply match up with this Written Bible?

b.       Too many “Christians” want the new bibles out there today, the modern versions that won’t offend people, because THEY don’t want to offend anybody.

c.        And they especially want plain Bibles that don’t command change in people’s lives because THEY don’t want to change! Pitiful isn’t it?


4.       More than that… It’s Convicting, isn’t it?


B.      Because They Need to See a Spiritual People (2Cor 3:3)


1.       People see more than flesh and bone.


a.       Yes, people still see our hair, nails, skin, and eyes, but, the Gospel goes deeper.

b.       You are more than just what you wear, and what things you own, and how educated you may think you are – much more than all that!


2.       If you are born again this morning, you are spiritual!


a.       Yes, we eat and sleep, and work and play

b.       But we also love God, really love God, and talk to Him, and listen to His word, and yearn to know Him more and more, and to be right with Him, and to bless Him as much as He blesses us!

c.        We yearn to talk about spiritual things, about heaven, and warn about hell! We seek to save people’s souls, not just help people’s wallets


3.       What do people read when they behold your life? When they watch you day in and day out?


a.       Do they see the God of all grace, kindness, love and mercy? Or do they see an angry god with no patience, and no grace?

b.       Do they see the power of the word of God working effectually in your life? Or do they see the same old same old?

c.        Do they see you walking in the Spirit, or always in the flesh?


4.       Convicting, isn’t it?


C.      Because They Need to See People Who are Totally Dependant Upon God (2Cor 3:4,5)


1.       Modern Dependencies


a.       People are becoming only more and more dependant upon drugs and drink to sleep and have fun – society is broken, not getting better!

b.       People are depending on pubs and discos to provide girlfriends and boyfriends

c.        People depend on their paychecks, and the economy, and the government, and society

d.       God’s people MUST learn to depend upon God, and HIM alone!


2.       The world EXPECTS us to wait upon the Lord… The world thinks that we think it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in men (Psalm 118:8)…

3.       So why don’t we?

4.       Why are all the GREAT stories in the Bible the best to read? Because they were IMPOSSIBLE situations where, simply because someone or someone(s) believed God more than their senses, God showed up and did the impossible!


a.       Feeding of five thousand because of the faith of a little boy

b.       Peter walked on the water because he had just a little faith

c.        Naaman the leper was cured because he just finally believed God

d.       Peter preached powerfully on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 got saved simply because he finally believed God without reservation!

e.        Paul sang in prisons, and smiled at the threat of death, and rejoiced in a hurricane, all because… he said, “I believe God!” (Acts 27:25)


5.       Wouldn’t it be wonderful, absolutely wonderful if your lost Mother, or your Father, your angry sister, your messed up brother, your best friend, your rebellious daughter or wayward son… wouldn’t it be wonderful if they finally saw you true-blue? Believing God with no reservations?

6.       Don’t you think, THEY think you are trusting the Lord?


a.       They will get the wrong message if you are always worrying, or always complaining, or always angry and bitter

b.       You trying to hide your Christianity hasn’t helped ANYBODY! Why not just “let your light so shine before men”?


7.       It is pretty convicting isn’t it?


D.      Because They Need the Hope of the New Testament (2Cor 3:6)


1.       Did you know that God has written His Word all over this universe?


a.       Wrote it in creation (Psalm 19:1)

b.       Wrote it into every man’s conscience – morality (Romans 2:15). We ALL know it is wrong to steal, and to take another man’s wife, and to lie, and to kill! We know it because it has been “hard-wired” into our conscience (what’s left of it after MTV!!!)

c.        Wrote it onto stone tablets on Mt Sinai (Exodus 24:12) – the Law

d.       Wrote it into every fibre of the life of His Son (John 1:14) - Jesus

e.        Wrote it onto the pages of the Bible (2Tim 3:16)

f.        Now He is writing it into the HEARTS of everyone who believes (Hebrews 8:10)!


2.       Because of the law written everywhere, it convicts people of their sin, and condemns them!


a.       People know they do wrong – that they are defective in their heart.

b.       The Old Testament comes along and convinces us that our sneaking feeling is right – that we are in trouble with God, and that we are doomed.

c.        The righteousness of the law convicts us as law-breakers, and condemns us to a devil’s hell – and rightly so! No matter what religion you are a part of, or what you think! No religion saves anybody! It only makes people feel more guilty!


3.       But Jesus changed all that – translated us into a new kingdom (1Pet 2:9)

4.       How are people going to hear without someone telling them about such a Saviour?


a.       They need to know that Jesus LIVES, and that He lives right now, in our lives!!! That he is present, and powerful enough to save anybody, and change anybody! And YOU and I are the only proof that this truth is real!

b.       Without us as living proof, then people are STUCK with just guilt, and shame, and confusion, and no hope!


5.       Convicting, isn’t it?


III.   The World Watches and Notices Real Christians


A.      Rom. 1:8. “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your FAITH is SPOKEN of THROUGHOUT the WHOLE WORLD.”

B.      1 Thess. 1:8 “For from you SOUNDED out the WORD of the LORD not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in EVERY PLACE your FAITH to God-ward is spread ABROAD…”

C.      When David came before Goliath, before he killed him, David said in 1 Sam. 17:46 “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will SMITE thee, and take thine HEAD from thee; …that all the EARTH may KNOW that there is a GOD in ISRAEL.” He was being watched by hundreds of thousands of people both the Philistines, and the Israelites!

D.      And Moses said to Pharaoh in Ex. 9:16 speaking of the plagues God brings on Egypt, “And in very deed for this cause have I RAISED thee up, for to SHEW in thee my POWER; and that my NAME may be DECLARED throughout ALL the EARTH.”


IV.    It All Starts With God’s Work IN Us (2Cor 5:17,18).


A.      2 Cor. 5:17, 18 “Therefore if any man be IN Christ, he is a NEW CREATURE, old things are PASSED AWAY; behold, all things are become NEW. And ALL things are of GOD…”

B.      Col. 1:12, 13 “Giving thanks unto the FATHER, which hath made us MEET (fit) to be PARTAKERS of the INHERITANCE of the SAINTS in light; Who hath delivered us from the POWER of DARKNESS and hath TRANSLATED (moved, changed) us into the KINGDOM of his dear Son:”

C.      God has done the mightiest of all His works when He gave His Son to redeem, to purchase us!


1.       Only God could make a sinner a saint – totally forgiven, and righteous before God

2.       Give eternal life to the spiritually dead – like a resurrection!

3.       Indwell our bodies and make us brand new creatures

4.       Translate us from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His own dear Son – no longer a slave of sin and Satan, but a servant of the most high God!

5.       The work was accomplished through the hearing of the word of God, and the believing of it with all our heart. 


D.      If all that has actually happened, shouldn’t the world be able to see it?



1.       We are the living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men. 

2.       So, what are people reading in us?

3.       Is God’s great redemptive work on display for all to see?

4.       Has he taken that cigarette out of your hand, helped you put down the beer and vodka forever, helped you get rid of the vile TV channels that aren’t fit for dogs to watch?


V.      What About Hypocrites?


A.      Carnal believers are no excuse for the lost on judgment day.


1.       Rom. 1:20 tells us “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; SO THAT THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE

2.       According to Rev. 20:12 that the unsaved will be “judged out of the things which were WRITTEN in the BOOKS, according to THEIR WORKS.”


B.      But, it sure would make it easier on them if our lives showed them there was a better way to live, a way to get cleaned up and washed on the inside, a way to sleep without pills, and love without porn, and live without regrets!

C.      If you are a hypocrite, living the hypocrite’s life, you already KNOW the Lord is dealing with you, and trying to get you right again – the pressure, the chastisement, the guilt and shame for the sins you constantly give in to

D.      God is not asleep, and He is not going to just let us play with sin, and fake our way through life!

E.       He designed us to be different (1Thes 5:5-8). To be anything less is a joke!


VI.    Conclusion


A.      Why the World Needs Living, Breathing, Walking, Talking Bibles…


1.       Because They Need to See Faith in Action

2.       Because They Need to See what it means to Live Spiritually

3.       Because They Need to See what Total Dependence is Like

4.       Because They Need the Hope of the New Testament


B.      People will make decision FOR or AGAINST Jesus Christ based upon what they see in our lives!

C.      Please, give them a good reason to repent, and believe God is there, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him!


1.       Be meek when others are angry

2.       Be humble when everyone around you are proud and full of themselves

3.       Pray for your enemies, and bless them that curse you and God

4.       Speak up for God, and tell people he is alive and well, and let them see His effect on you

5.       When people around you are as stable as water, be as faithful as a mountain!


D.      Why? So that they will know that the God of this Book is worth following be trusting! They won’t trust this Bible until they see that it works!!!

E.       Does it work? Did it change YOU? (2Cor 13:5) Or are you a fraud?

F.       I wouldn’t be far off to say that all of us are falling way short of being visible Bibles in our generation.


1.       Some of you have never been born again – so you just tell other people it is not necessary – when you have heard the Gospel, and KNOW it is the most important thing!

2.       Some of you are living backslidden lives – you are telling this world Salvation does NOT change people – so they stay in THEIR sins, and will perish one day – all because you were too lazy to get right with God!

3.       Some of you hold onto grudges, and bitterness, and depression – you tell this world that a pill or drink at least gives a better buzz than Jesus does!

4.       Some of you simply are not living the written word of God because you have not even read it yourself!