Summary: Some people, like the Samaritan woman, are very good at using the invitational approach. They might not be able to give a complete explanation of everything that Christ has done, but they can say, “Come, see a man…could this be the Christ?” Others, like
Discovering Your Style, Part 3
Rev. Brian Bill
Prayer. The woman in the drama is in desperate need of healing. She needs to know that in spite of all that has happened, she can experience the awesome power of God’s love and grace. There are people just like her all around us. Many went to church when they were younger and haven’t been back in years. They need a certain type of believer to reach them. This woman probably wouldn’t respond well to Peter’s confrontational approach or Paul’s intellectual style.
We’ve been learning that God has given each of us different evangelistic styles. It takes all kinds of Christians to reach all kinds of people. All people cannot witness the same way, but all people can witness some way. We’re looking at six different styles of evangelism in the New Testament.
Style Biblical Example Text
Confrontational Peter Acts 2
Intellectual Paul Acts 17
Testimonial Blind Man John 9
Interpersonal Matthew Luke 5
Invitational Samaritan Woman John 4
Serving Dorcas Acts 9
Before we tackle the final three styles, I just want to say that I wish I had done this series differently. Instead of combining these approaches in each sermon, it would have been better to take a separate one each week so that we could plumb the depths of these tremendous texts. For the sake of time, we’ll have to put it into overdrive and just skim the surface this morning. Perhaps we’ll come back to these powerful passages at another time.
The Interpersonal Approach
Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 5. Sitting in a tollbooth was a man named Levi, who is also known as Matthew, which means “gift of God.” This gift of God had become one of the hated tax collectors.
He was a Jew who had been hired by the Roman government. Tax collectors were also called “publicans,” or public servants, and were considered to be on the lowest rung of the social ladder because of their shady dealings. Levi’s job was to estimate the worth of goods that flowed through the city in order to levy a tax. Unfortunately, this estimated tax was usually much higher then the goods were worth. As a result, these agents were known as extortionists. They operated on a commission system and the commission was whatever they could get away with.
Levi would have liked the new simplified 1040 form I heard about recently:
Line A: HOW MUCH DID YOU MAKE LAST YEAR? ______________
Line B: HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE LEFT? _____________
Line C: SEND IN AMOUNT ON LINE B.
Levi was considered a thief and a traitor, because he was working for a foreign government. Tax collectors were greatly despised because they served as constant reminders to the people that they were not free. To make matters worse, they were hated by their Roman employers as well. Their only friends were fellow tax collectors and others on the same social scale like thieves and prostitutes.
Tax collectors made people mad and they caused people to be afraid of what might happen to them. We generally feel the same way about the IRS this time of year. According to a survey published in Harper’s magazine, fully half of Americans would rather be mugged than audited by the IRS. The other 50% have probably never been audited!