Summary: Tapping into the eternity that is set in the hearts of men to bring people to Christ
REACHING THE WORLD (I)
A bit of a departure from previous lessons
This is important for 2 reasons:
1) To have wisdom and tact in bringing the gospel to folks in this area
2) To understand what it is in us that draws us to Christ … so we don’t simply have our religion become an idol unto itself, but so that we understand why we love and desire to serve God.
Matt. 10:5-16. Told to be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves
“Shrewd” means having keen insight … to be clever and artful.
Even up to 20-30 years ago, knocking on doors may have been an effective way to get the message out. No more. The population is more cynical and savvy than ever before. FURTHER, the time is past where it is simply assumed that there is a God and that our salvation lies in Christ. This society demands something different in terms of accepting the message of Christ. It is our obligation to evaluate what that is and integrate it into our ministry.
Rational, logical and practical people demand a reason before they accept anything. A society that believes in rational, logical and practical thinking (whether it practices it or not) will demand proof of some kind. PROOF! We answer with “FAITH.” I believe that the Bible teaches that there is room for both.
1) INTUITIVE EVIDENCE: Ecc. 3:11, Creation, Human Spirit (intellect, conscience, morality) – These tend to lead a person to believe in God … but they are, independent of anything else, often not enough.
2) A BETTER WAY: Ps. 35:9-10, Ps. 37:3-7, Prov. 14:12
3) PHYSICAL (historical) EVIDENCE: Jn. 10:37-38, Matt. 11:20-24, Matt. 12:38-39 - Jesus gave “proof” but it was not enough.
4) FAITH: Acts 16:31, Heb. 11:1-6, Jas. 2:18-19 – But even faith alone is not enough to turn people from the world and to God.
So, what are we to do? First, we ask ourselves why we believe in God and the Bible. Are we doing it because our parents did? Because it makes us feel good? Because we like to be rebels? Why??? What convinces us that God exists and that the Bible is His word? Once we establish that our own house is in some semblance of order in this regard, we are better able to carry, not just the message, but the truth of His existence to others.
These four things together are certainly enough if we thoroughly reflect upon and study them. Faith is critical, but it is not sufficient. We must make appeal to intuitive evidence, historical evidence and the “better way” that the gospel lays out for us. We reflect on these things not only to bring others to Christ but to strengthen our own confidence in God.
REACHING THE WORLD (II)
How do we approach others?
John the Baptist – Luke 3:7 (brood of vipers)
Jesus – Luke 13:15 (hypocrites)
Jesus – John 2:14 (violence in the temple)
*Stephen – Acts 7 (esp. 51-53) (stiff-necked people)
*Phillip – Acts 8:27-38 (Ethoipian eunuch)
Jesus – John 4:4-26 (Samaritan woman at well)
Peter & John – Acts 3 (healing of lame man)
Jesus – Matt. 15:32-38 (feeding of the 4000)
*Peter – Acts 9:36-42 (resurrection of Dorcas)
4) Compassion, Gentleness and Love
Paul – I Thes. 2:7 (he was gentle … like a mother caring for her little children)
*Jesus – Matt. 11:28-30 (giving rest to our souls)
*Paul & Silas - Acts 16:26-33 (Phillipian jailer)
*Paul – I Tim. 1:16 (example to others of God’s grace)
*Peter – I Pet. 2:12 (example to others of Godly lives)
Which approach, or combination of approaches, do we use? Of course, the miraculous approach is no longer available to us (except for the dramatic spiritual miracles that are still evident). It depends on the situation (Ecc. 3:1-8).
a) Closeness of relationship
b) Time available for discussion(s)
c) Our own knowledge
d) Known needs and experiences of person
e) Public/Private nature of environment
f) Feedback from person
1) Pray for guidance
2) Learn to hear your message through the other person’s heart
3) Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them, and try again
4) Act like you’re selling a Mercedes … not a Yugo … Let them know how pleased you are to own it.
5) Learn good interpersonal skills
6) Use guilt sparingly … its not a good motivator … just promotes a defensive reaction
7) Use the aggressive approach sparingly … biblical examples of this approach are only in the face of an already hostile audience
8) Learn the Bible well … the Word is far more persuasive if you can tell the person where it says it and what it says rather than saying “Somewhere it says …”