Summary: It is easier to bring your friends to Christ than complete strangers. Paul shows us how.
COMPONENTS OF FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM
A. During my conversation with your elders, I have discovered that they have a PASSION for LOST SOULS.
1. Our PURPOSE as Christians is to live our lives in such a way that will bring GLORY to God and SOULS to Christ.
Endeavoring to bring people to Christ is part of being a Christian. My POSITION as a PREACHER does not make me a SOUL WINNER, my POSITION as a Christian makes me a SOUL WINNER.
2. God can take an ORDINARY person and help him or her to do EXTRAORDINARY things in His KINGDOM.
B. EVANGELISM or SOUL WINNING can be FRIGHTENING
1. When we hear the word "EVANGELISM" the first thing that comes to mind is going DOOR-TO-DOOR and having a ONE-ON-ONE Bible study with someone.
a. We don’t have to carry a BIG BLACK BOOK, have a SALESMAN SMILE, and KNOCK on DOORS to teach someone about Jesus.
b. Often that TURNS people OFF!
If you are ever on a crowded sidewalk and you are in a hurry to get to your destination, just hold up an open Bible in front of you and people will scatter everywhere.
People are turned off by tele-evangelists who preach morality but are living immoral lives. They are turned off by Christians who claim to be followers of Christ but live like the devil.
Not everyone can teach a ONE-ON-BIBLE study. And DOOR-KNOCKING, although it has some MERIT, is not the most EFFECTIVE way to set Bible studies or tell someone about Jesus.
The Mormon church discovered this. At one time you could see young Mormon ELDERS going DOOR-TO-DOOR trying to set STUDIES. But they took a survey and discovered that the CONVERSION RATE was 0.1%; they CONVERTED only one FAMILY out of 1,000 DOORS KNOCKED. They also discovered that the CONVERSION RATE of FRIENDSHIPS made--people being brought into member’s HOMES--was 50%. They CONVERT 50% of their FRIENDS.
2. I don’t agree with MORMON THEOLOGY, but we can learn a LESSON from them, and the LESSON is: WE NEED TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE.
I believe there is a greater OPPORTUNITY in bringing a FRIEND to Christ than a COMPLETE STRANGER. We need FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM.
Once people know we really CARE for them and not trying to put another NOTCH on our Bibles, as it were, "I’ve BAPTIZED two more this MONTH", they will be more OPEN to listen to us as we share the GOSPEL of Christ.
C. FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM is not NEW. Itis the METHOD Jesus used and the one that Paul describes in our text: I Thessalonians 2:1-12.
PAUL PRESENTS THREE COMPONENTS THAT MAKE UP FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM!
I. INFORMATION- 2:1-6 (READ)
A. As you read Paul’s words, you sense his URGENCY in presenting the GOSPEL.
1. Paul is saying, "In spite of STRONG OPPOSITION, we did not HESITATE to tell you about Jesus!"
He knows that people are DYING in their SINS, and he realizes that no matter what happens to him, they have to HEAR about the GOOD NEWS of Christ.
2. In order for us to get SERIOUS about TELLING our FRIENDS and FAMILY about Jesus, we have to come to the REALIZATION that they are LOST--they are not going to be with us in HEAVEN unless they give their LIVES to Christ.
a. So why aren’t we SHARING Christ with them?
b. The reason many Christians do not tell others about Jesus is because they are AFRAID.
I’ve heard a lot of PREACHERS say that the "Reason Christian’s don’t tell others about Jesus is because they are ASHAMED of Him." I don’t think that at all. Most Christians LOVE Jesus Christ deeply, yet they are AFRAID--they’re AFRAID of REJECTION, AFRAID of being RIDICULED, AFRAID of not knowing what to SAY or how to TEACH.
B. We have made EVANGELISM much too DIFFICULT!
1. The most EFFECTIVE way to tell someone about Jesus is just to use your EVERYDAY CONVERSATION.
a. You don’t FORCE the conversation, you just let it come NATURALLY!
You can be at work and say something very casually to a co-worker like, "Man, that discussion we had a church last night was amazing." Don’t say anything else. Let him be the one to ask, "Why? What was so AMAZING about it?"
Or you can talk about a FUN weekend or a night you had with some of your fellow-Christians by saying, "Last night we had a BLAST with some of the CHURCH GROUP. You just can’t believe what we did?" Again, when your CO-WORKER asks "What?" you have an OPPORTUNITY to TELL him or her about our congregation or about what Jesus has done for you in a personal way.
b. You’re not being "PREACHY" or trying to FORCE your BELIEFS upon anybody, you’re simply making