Summary: This is one portion of a study of evangelism focusing on naturally living a life of evangelism.
Evangelism as a Lifestyle
At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it as I am required to speak.
Paul prays for opportunity to speak to his prison guards and the magistrates who were holding him...not my point. My point is that the majority of us do not take advantage of the opportunities we already have, so praying for more opportunities would be pointless.
And this leads right into today's sermon as we look at living a lifestyle of evangelism. Because it is only through creating a lifestyle of evangelism that this will become second nature to us.
but How do we make evangelism a lifestyle?
As we learned last week, we want people to enter our story and we do this through friendship.
And as we come to learn, friendship is an essential aspect of our lives.
Research found people with more friends live 24% longer and that low social interaction is actually more detrimental to your health than smoking and over drinking.
They have also found that when we are with our friends, the stress hormone cortisol, goes down, and this was even true when participants were put in high stress situations.
science is continuing to prove the principles of scripture true...“bad company corrupts good morals”, but also its opposite, meaning that the more we hang out with people who excel in life, the more likely we are to excel through healthy peer pressure.
In fact, friends are so important that studies have shown that if you can name just 3 close friends you are 98% more likely to be happy.
And this makes sense, as we know Jesus was famously called a “friend of … sinners” And we are called to follow his example, But the reality is that we can only have so many friends.
You can’t be best friends with everyone. Ex: i don’t expect the women in the church to search out friendships with the that creepy guy you know...
So it seems as though this project is doomed from the start.
For example, several studies have shown, that trusting too many people is actually detrimental. Several studies have concluded that people who post their struggles on social media such as FB will actually become more depressed and anxious. The problem is that you want something from these people, but you don’t get it because, spoiler alert, they’re not really your friends.
We can only have so many real friends at any given time and one Study out of England found that the average person will only average around 365 friends in their lifetime.
So We are called to love others, but being friends with everyone in the fullest sense is impossible. But as I’ll explain today we are not expected to.
You can’t be everything to everyone and you can’t give everything for everyone. Only Jesus could do that and you're not him, but sadly Scripture actually doesn’t give us a good definition of friendship. A commentary on the NT writes,
Nowhere does the Bible present a concise definition of “friend” or “friendship.” Instead, both the OT and NT present friendship in its different facets.
Though we are never given a definition, scripture testifies to at least three different levels of friendship.
The first level is a Hebrew word that is for the most basic form of friendship which is relationship with those you work with or are just generally friendly to. These folks are not really your friends in the fullest sense of the word, you’re not going to hang out or go on a double date, but you are friendly to one another,
The next level is friends you hang out with. Those you spend time with. People who enjoy your company just as you enjoy theirs. These are who we today would often times call real “friends.”
But then there is a third level of friendship, which the bible calls family.
In this instance, your friend is closer than a normal friend as you would do almost anything for them. They are as close or closer than a brother or sister even.
We have a picture of this type of relationship in the friendship of King David and Saul’s son, Jonathan.
I grieve for you, Jonathan, my brother. You were such a friend to me. Your love for me was more wonderful than the love of women.
A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.
So we learned last week that we bring people into our stories by sharing our lives with them, but this does not mean being everyone’s best friend. It is grounded in love, definitely, but I am not expecting you to be fanatically giving to everyone to the point that you are devastating yourself. It is not realistic.