What does evangelism mean to you?
Who gets worried about evangelism and sharing their faith?
1. Think about how you became a Christian. For many people it is through friends, family… it doesn’t need to be through ‘big name’ evangelists
Colossians 1:27-29, ‘ For it has pleased God to tell his people that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory. So everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has given us, for we want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.’
2. It can help to be in relationship with people. After 5 years of being a Christian, many Christians don’t have many non-Christian friends. This is wrong.
3. Remember there are lots of way to share your faith – Jesus spoke to people individually and to big, medium and small sized crowds – don’t let people say the only way to evangelize is so-called ‘friendship evangelism’! It isn’t Biblical…
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? (Ask people before you answer)
1. Let’s look at 2 verses in Matthew… (after Jesus had been tempted in the desert)
Matthew 4:17, ‘ From then on, Jesus began to preach, Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’
Matthew 24:14, ‘ And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then, finally, the end will come.’
So the gospel is about the Kingdom of God. This is the message Jesus preached.
2. Question – if the gospel is such good news why aren’t people filling our churches?
The gospel is this. In the beginning, God made us to live in perfect relationship with him. Genesis 1:27-29, ‘So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them. God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals.” And God said, “Look! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.’
Therefore God put mankind to be masters over the earth. But because man sinned, God had to find a way of restoring mankind to himself. He did this through his son Jesus who died for our sins so that once again we could be in relationship with God. Myles Munroe says, ‘If you want to know what heaven will be like, look back to Genesis.’
Col 1:21-23, ‘ This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.’
HOW CAN WE SHARE THIS GOSPEL WITH OTHERS?
6 NEW TESTAMENT MODELS
a. Peter. Was a very outspoken character – had his sword ready in Gethsemane. Was also very impetuous – jumped into the water when he saw Jesus.
b. Paul. Very intelligent and thoughtful. In Acts 13, he was in a Synagogue in Pisidia and therefore talked about Jewish history. In Acts 17, he spoke in Athens to the Gentiles and talked instead about their idols and about Jesus.
c. By testimony. See John 9, where Jesus healed a blind man. He asked him what he wanted, he said he wanted to see, Jesus healed him and he shared this. John 9:33, ‘If this man were not from God, he couldn’t do it.’
d. Matthew. See Luke 5:29, tax collector held a banquet in his home. Introduced his friends to Jesus.
e. Samaritan Woman. John 4. Invited people to come and see Jesus because of the change in her. Invite people to church. FACT – 25% US adults would go if invited.
f. Dorcas or Tabitha from Joppa. Acts 9:36, ‘She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.’ Through your example of helping and kindness.
SOME HANDY HINTS
1. Be friendly with people and be a friend.
2. Be interested in people’s interests.
3. Don’t see people as ‘targets’.
4. Let other people speak.
5. Remember their names.
6. Listen! People usually want someone to listen to them in relationship!
7. Ask questions re. human interests.
8. Explore human fears and worries.
9. Offer help… share.
10. Feel no pressure to convert people (see 1 Corinthians)
11. Think about your lifestyle. Your words and life must match up else people won’t listen and may think you’re a hypocrite. (Don’t say you shouldn’t swear and then go about swearing. If you struggle, be honest, open and real.)
You don’t necessarily have to be ‘in relationship’ with a person to share the Gospel with them. In fact it’s often harder this way if we’re not up-front straight away about being a Christian!
The concept of evangelism being only ‘relational evangelism’ does not stand up to Scriptural scrutiny! The Bible says we should make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5.16). We can also look at examples of Jesus teaching the 5000, Peter preaching to the 3000 who were saved after the Holy Spirit came on the disciples etc.
Jesus worked on a one-to-one level (Nicodemus in John 3), a group level (the disciples in John 14) and large groups (feeding of the 5000 plus in John 6). Take your example from Jesus!
– Ask God to use you
– Think about the difficult questions people ask and your responses.
– Ask God for wisdom
James 1:5-6, ‘ If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do-ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.’