Summary: Problems are not always barriers to evangelism, but are often the reason there is an opportunity for evangelism. We need to stop seeing problems as only problems, and see them as opportunities.

James McGinley had a woman come forward in one of his

meetings, and he took her into the counseling room and shared the

Gospel with her, and then he prayed. She then asked him what he

thought about a Protestant marrying a Catholic. He said it can

often be very difficult for both, and he asked her why she asked him

that. She told him that her boyfriend was out in the audience, and

that she wanted to leave her husband and two children to marry

him, but thought she should get converted first. She wanted Christ

to okay her sinful decision, and put His stamp of approval on it, so

she would be off the hook. She did not want freedom from her sin,

but freedom from the guilt of it.

People want Jesus to save them from the consequences of their

sin, but they do not want to be His disciples. They are not looking

for a commitment, but just an easy way out. Almost everybody in

evangelism can tell stories of people who come forward to be

delivered from the messes their sins have created, but who have no

intent on becoming followers of Christ. They don't want in on

anything, they just want out of something that is a problem. They

are like fish who want the bait, but when they see they are hooked

and being taken out of their environment, they resist like mad. If

they can dive into the reeds and create a slack in the line so they can

snap it, they can escape, and that is what they do. They want what

they can get out of Christ, but they don't want to be taken captive

by Christ.

Fishing is full of problems because the fish have a different

agenda than the fishermen, and so it is with fishing for men. We

need to face this reality up front, for those who go with the illusion

that fish love to be taken out of the water and into the boat will soon

be disillusioned by discovering that sinners often fight to stay in the

kingdom of darkness, and resist coming into the kingdom of light.

The Christian has to recognize that evangelism has many of the

same problems as fishing, and you need to know, not only a lot

about bait, but about how to be patient, and how to let the hooked

fish run and feel free at times, and other times to keep the tension

on. Fishing for men is sometimes as easy as catching fish, and

sometimes it is as hard, and we have to be prepared to deal with the


If Jesus would have wanted us to think it was a snap to make

disciples, He would not have made it a point to call attention to the

problems of evangelism. Problems are a part of life, and there is no

escape, even when you are doing what most pleases God. This

whole account in John 4 is problem oriented. Jesus was at the well

in Samaria because of a problem. He had to get out of Judea

because of the opposition of the Pharisees. If He had no problems,

He probably would not have there in the first place. But Jesus

never let a problem blind Him to opportunity. He never would

have been in the world if it was not for a problem, that men are lost

without a Savior.

I. The first problem of evangelism is that we let problems blind us

to opportunity.

Most of us go through life thinking that problems are obstacles

to our being a witness for Christ. The fact is, most people only

come to Christ because of some problem. Problems are what open

people up to hear the good news. They only feel the need of it when

they have a problem. Your problems should make you sensitive to

the problems of others. Every interruption and foul up in our life's

plan should open your eyes to see it as an opportunity to touch

another life. Jesus was being rejected by the leaders of Israel, and now He

sees a woman at the well at noon, and He know she is a woman who

has suffered much rejection. He has the same problem she has. He

has been rejected by the people that should love Him, and she has

been rejected by five husbands. A common problem has brought

these two together. If Jesus would not have been rejected He would

not be in Samaria at this point, and if she had not been rejected by

her husbands, she would never have been here at noon. She would

have come with the other women in the cool of the day.

Problems are not always barriers to evangelism, but are often

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