Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Evangelism from the Heart




EVANGELISM FROM THE HEART, # 1

Source: WE CANNOT BUT TELL: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO HEART TO HEART EVANGELISM, by Ross Tooley, YWAM, 1990.  (These are condensed notes for teaching purposes.)

I.  PREPARING OUR HEARTS.     WHY PERSONAL EVANGELISM?

1.         Evangelism is the will of God.  Mark 16:15.

Ex.  A doctor in a train accident without his instruments watching people bleed, saying "If only I had my instruments, I could save these people."  God must say the same thing at times, as He looks on a hurting, lost world, and He needs His instruments, His Church, to minister to them.

2.         We must go where the people are.
We need both professional evangelists & personal everyday evangelism.
3.         We must show interest and concern for people. 
Ex.  John 4.  Jesus and the Samaritan woman.
4.         We must satisfy people's questions. 
2 Cor. 10:5, "We demolish arguments", this is spiritual warfare & ministering & correcting errors. 
5.         Not everyone can attend meetings; so personal evang. is needed.
6.         Not everyone can watch or hear Christian TV or radio broadcasts. 
Most unsaved never watch Christian TV; 1985 USA survey found only 6.2 % of Americans watched Christian TV.  Most developing countries have limited TV.
7.         Not everyone can read Christian literature. 
Many people don't read much, and many people are illiterate.
8.         If we are to reach the world, everyone must be involved.

World population was growing by 54,794 every day in 1970; more now.  If each Christian were to win & train 1 other each year, in 5 years the world would be won to Christ =  200 million, 400 m, 800 m, etc. According to estimates, more than 7 billion people live on our planet. Each day, some 200,000 new babies add to this figure, which works out to roughly 140 additional people per minute. Over an entire year, about 80 million humans are born—a number comparable to the combined populations of California, Texas and New York. Not every region of the world is witnessing this staggering rate of growth, however. In developed areas like Western Europe and Japan, the population has essentially stabilized, while in less developed countries fertility tends to be much higher. Even with this variation, experts predict that more than 9 billion people will jostle for space on Earth by 2050.

9.         Personal evangelism is a vital necessity to a well-balanced Christian life.
Evangelism will cause us personally to mature and grow in the Lord.

10.       There needs to be a restoration of emphasis on personal evangelism.
In contrast to other areas like Bible study, church and personal renewal, inner healing, etc., personal evangelism has been largely neglected among many Christians, and it needs to be restored.



HOW TO CONVEY OUR MESSAGE:

1.  We should witness for Christ with enthusiasm.
A Christian witness should be joyful & enthused, yet honest.  If we are sourpusses, nobody will want what we have; they have enough trouble.
2.         We must use simple terms when we witness.
Use biblical non-intellectual simple terms, and also use relevant non-religious simply understandable terms.  Don't use "born again, saved", etc.
3.         We must be friendly.
We must show and represent God's love and friendliness, not anger.  Preach Good News, not bad news.  Don't be condemning, legalistic and negative.  "Whatever you do, always leave the unsaved in such a way that they will readily welcome another Christian into their life"
4.         We should be good listeners.
Don't be impatient, waiting only to speak, but compassionately listen.
5.         We should witness with boldness.
Don't be ashamed and fearful, but bold and confident in the Lord.   Be filled with the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:8; Eph. 5:18.

THE NECESSITY OF PRAYER:

Prayer is crucially important in evangelism.  There is a direct relationship between prayer and effective evangelism.  Moses & Jesus prayed often, sometimes praying and fasting 40 days & nights.  Prayer is a necessary  prerequisite to revival; ex. the Welsh revival in 1904 with Evan Roberts.  Brokenness over sin and deep repentance is crucial to revival and evangelism.

GIVING A TESTIMONY:

Our personal testimony can be a powerful, effective evangelism tool.

1.         Let's witness to Christ.  We should witness to and glorify Christ, not our past, the devil, etc.
2.         Let's be relevant.  We should avoid irrelevant details or getting off the main subject.
3.         Let's be specific.  Tell specifically how and what Jesus has changed in you and your life.
4.         Let's make our testimonies up-to-date.  We must maintain a daily close relationship and relate
what Jesus is doing in our lives today.
5.         Let's be truthful.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13).  Be truthful.
6.         People love hearing honest stories about us.  People love humble human interest stories; they can then more easily identify with us.
Write out your testimony and practice giving it.  
EVANGELISM FROM THE HEART, # 2

HOW TO OPEN THE CONVERSATION:

We can use either the direct approach (Paul at Mars Hill in Athens, Acts 17), or an indirect approach (Jesus with Samaritan woman, John 4).

Believe in your commission from God, the rightness of sharing Jesus.  Be friendly, positive and complimentary; identify with your listener.

Introduce yourself and your organization and state your purpose.  Use wisdom; in some cultures avoid mentioning the church & Jesus at first.  Find out where they are, then build up from there (use the Engel's scale).

If they don't want to listen, respect their wishes and free will.  Leave good tracts if possible, and always be friendly.  Remember, it is always better to leave the path open for the next Christian to witness than for us to leave them with a bad taste in their mouths.

II.  PRESENTING THE MESSAGE

A PATTERN TO FOLLOW:

With Jews, Paul started with the OT scriptures & teachings familiar to Jews regarding Jehovah God, the law, Israel, the Messiah, and then progressed to new concepts regarding Jesus as the promised Messiah.

With Gentiles, Paul had a different approach.  Acts 14, at Lystra, Paul began with what they were familiar with, God as the Creator, and preached about the character and goodness of God to explain Him rightly  (He gave rain, good crops, food, etc).  Paul build on concepts they already held; he found common ground with them and built on that, teaching the truth of God's Word.  This is esp. good with animists.  Paul used a similar method at Mars Hill in Athens, Acts 17.  Paul first established the existence and goodness of the Creator God.  He then brought his hearers into accountability to God by announcing all people now had to repent.  He then introduced Christ as the only way to salvation.

There is a logical and correct time to introduce new concepts, even the concept that Jesus is the Son of God.  First the correct concept of God and His character needs to be established, then the sinfulness of man and his inability to save himself, then Jesus as the Son of God and Savior, etc.  This is esp. true with Moslems, who don't have a true picture of God's character and love.

PROVING GOD'S EXISTENCE:

How do you witness to atheists, "free thinkers", & Buddhists who don't believe in the concept of God?
1.         The proof of creation.
We can point to the magnificent creation, the universe and stars, our marvelous bodies, etc. to proof the existence of a Creator God, Rom. 1:20.  Ex: A watch or TV set cannot create or manufacture itself.
2.         The conscience.
Our sense of right and wrong, fairness, justice, and moral law all argue for the existence of God.  Romans 2:15; 1 Tim. 4:2; Heb. 9:14.


3.         Personal testimony.
Our personal testimony of God's forgiveness, salvation, peace, changed life, His miracle working power and healing, His protection, provision, etc can be a powerful argument and witness to God's and Jesus' reality, love and salvation.  It makes Jesus alive today, the Gospel according to you!

THE CHARACTER OF GOD:

While many believe in a God, often their concept of God is very erroneous.  Often they see Him as a harsh and unyielding despot, not a loving forgiving Father.  Even Christians often see God wrongly, seeing Him as legalistic, etc.  Jesus reveals the love and character of God; His acceptance and unconditional love for Zacchaeus, Luke 19; Jesus & Peter.

MAN AND HIS SIN:

1.  Sin is a choice.
God created man as a free moral agent with free choice able to obey  or disobey Him.  We must show that all people are accountable to God for their actions. 
2.         Sin is being independent of God.
Independence of God and man's self reliance and self-dependence is the essence of sin, Gen. 3. 
Man wants to "be God", "be his own boss".
3.         Sin is an attitude--not just an action.
Sin is not just outward adultery and murder, but also inward lust, hate, selfishness, pride, etc.  There are sins of both commission and omission.
4.         Our sin affects others.
Our sins don't just affect ourselves, but they also affect others.  Much of the suffering of the innocent is due to others' sins.
5.         The knowledge that sin is wrong is universal.
We will all be held accountable and guilty before God in judgment for our sins (Rom. 3:19).  We must have a soft heart, yet show the extreme seriousness of sin.

A QUESTION TO BE ASKED:

Many times we spoil our testifying because we offer the remedy without first giving any understanding of man's terrible malady.  We need to bring our listeners to the point where they truly realize that they are sinners and in need of God's forgiveness and salvation. 

In a kind way, we must face our friends with their accountability by asking the question: "How can someone approach a holy and good God and live in harmony with Him when they have sinned deliberately against Him?"  At this point, pause in the conversation.  Let the Spirit of God speak, and let them think.  


                                                                                      
EVANGELISM FROM THE HEART, # 3

JESUS CHRIST AND THE ATONEMENT:

After your listener fully realizes they are a sinner in need of salvation, point him or her to Jesus as the only One who can save them (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

The shedding of blood and sacrifice was legally necessary to atone for man's sins.  God chose crucifixion to break man's heart over his sin and show the seriousness of his sin. 

Through the cross, God is just in that He rightfully discourages sin, but at the same time He extends the opportunity for mercy and forgiveness.

REPENTANCE:

Jesus' death on the cross doesn't automatically save and forgive everyone, whether they believe or not.

A true story: A man in the USA was condemned to death for a violent crime.  His friend was able to obtain a pardon from the governor.  For some strange reason, the condemned man refused the pardon.  A special court was called to decide the case.  The decision was "The pardon was valid only if the condemned man would receive it.  Because he has rejected it, the pardon cannot take effect."  The man was executed.  Nobody was sadder than the friend who had tried so hard to save him.

Analogy: Although Jesus died for all people's sins, they cannot receive God's forgiveness and pardon unless they personally receive this forgiveness through repentance and faith in Jesus.  If they refuse, God is heartbroken, and they will not be saved.

We often have a tendency to rush in and pray the sinner's prayer with someone before he or she is ready.  Just as danger can be caused to a baby through a premature delivery, so too can damage occur in the life of an individual who is led in a sinner's prayer before the proper time.

REPENTANCE IS MORE THAN CONFESSION.  It is being truly sorry for and forsaking sin.
1.         We are required to turn from sin.  Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:5; I Cor. 6:9-10.
2.         We are required to turn from the world.  1 John 2:15; James 4:4.
3.         We are required to turn from ourselves.  2 Cor. 5:15; Luke 14:26.
4.         We are required to turn from the devil.  Luke 4:1-13; James 4:7.
5.         We are required to turn from idols.  1 Thess. 1:9-10; Rev. 21:8.
6.         We are required to turn from our careers if necessary. Mark 1:17.  Ex: Moses, Paul.
7.         We are required to make restitution where necessary.  Luke 19:8.  Ex: Zacchaeus.




OTHER THINGS WE MUST DO:

1.         Believe that Jesus is the only way.  John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5.
2.         Make Jesus Lord.  Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46; James 2:14-24.
3.         Witness for Christ.  Matt. 10:32-33; Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18.

Only when a person is truly ready, pray the sinner's prayer with him.  If a person is not ready, ask to pray for him that God will reveal His love to him, etc.  Do not "pick green fruit."

COUNTING THE COST:

Note Jesus' terms of discipleship, Luke 14:25-35.  People need to consider the price of discipleship, and take sufficient time before making a decision (author's view).

To carry our cross means death to our personal pride and ambition.

We must be honest and not preach a rosy "pie in the sky" gospel, but share the truth that hardships and persecution will accompany our following Jesus at times, and that sometimes we may suffer persecution because we are Christians.

                                                         III.  PRESERVING THE RESULTS

FOLLOW-UP:

There are two basic kinds of follow-up:  (1)  to those interested in Jesus;  (2)  to new converts.

New convert follow-up is crucially important to new convert growth.  It can be thrilling work.
John Wesley had much more lasting fruit than George Whitefield because Wesley really cared for and organized his converts.  Good follow up assures "fruit that remains".  1 Thess. 2:19;  2 Tim. 2:2.  Paul is a good example:

1.         Paul revisited and followed up his converts when he could.  Ex: His missionary journeys.
2.         Paul labored in prayer for his converts.  Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:15.
3.         Paul wrote letters to teach and encourage his converts.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEW CONVERTS:  1 Peter 2:2
1.         The necessity of prayer.
2.         The importance of Bible reading and study.
3.         The importance of living a holy life.
4.         The necessity of fellowshipping with other Christians.
5.         The importance of witnessing to others.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Winning Our Family and Relatives to the Lord



WINNING OUR FAMILY AND RELATIVES TO THE LORD

Introduction:  Although evangelism for a new convert is and should be spontaneous and directed to all those around us, one of the first people that we should specifically focus upon are our own families and relatives.  This is natural.  Usually our families love us.  We love them.  They are our family, our flesh and blood.  The natural walls of resistance between people are already largely down between us & our families.  They usually know us well and notice the change that the Lord and salvation has brought into our lives.
 A.       RELATIVE EVANGELISM HAS A BIBLICAL BASIS AND PRECEDENT.
 Luke 8:38, Jesus refused an associate evangelist on his team and told the Gadarene man delivered from demons: "Return home and tell how much God has done for you."
 John 1:41-42, The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).  Then he brought Simon to Jesus...
 Acts 10, Cornelius and his household -- among the first Gentiles to come to Christ -- came as a family  and household!
 Acts 16:15, Lydia and her household were converted and baptized and became  the first converts in Europe!  Their home became a mission center!
 Acts 16:30-31, In response to the question of the Philippian jailer, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?", Paul and Silas replied: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved--you and your household."
 B.  RELATIVE EVANGELISM IS STRATEGIC.
 Donald McGavran, a missionary in India for over 30 years, makes an amazing disclosure in his classic book THE BRIDGES OF GOD (1955).  He states that the Church has grown most and fastest, both in New Testament times and throughout Church history, by Christians winning their relatives to the Lord!  We should therefore especially focus on evangelism of our relatives, particularly as new converts, advises McGavran.
 Did you know that normally new converts are the most effective as spontaneous evangelists, both to their relatives and others, in the first few years as Christians?  It's true!  They are then the most excited, the Lord and His salvation and wonderful works are fresh in their experience.  They are then the most effective natural evangelists, although they often lack biblical and theological knowledge as new converts.  Later, they may and often do backslide and grow cold and lukewarm.  They normally also increasingly lose contact and interests with their non-Christian relatives and friends. 
 Most of the Asian countries have strong family ties and relationships, extended families and communal societies.  This includes in particular China (Confucianism is very family oriented), Korea, India and many Moslem countries.  In these strong communal societies family evangelism should especially be encouraged and pursued.
 People movements to Christ and multi-individual decisions should be encouraged.  Heads of households, elders and leaders should be focused on. It is so interesting to me that this book was an assigned reading as punishment as a result of dunking men classmates in Lake Washington for an initiation on their engagement. Dr. Dan Pecota assigned the book who was my Dean of Students.
 Quotation from Ezra Sargunam, president of Evangelical Fellowship of India, in his article "Strategy for India", in PERSPECTIVES ON THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT (1981):
 "People in India are not just individuals.  There is the extended family and the clan and the caste.  The street corner preaching and bazaar preaching and the handing out of tracts, to the passerby may bring in a few stray individuals to the Christian fold.  But the most effective and successful way to evangelize is through the families and caste groups who are responsive to the Gospel.  Mobilize the Christians to bring their relatives to Christ.  Our slogan must be 'Families for Christ' and 'Relatives for Christ'."
 C.   PRACTICAL POINTS FOR RELATIVE EVANGELISM.  (Many points apply to all evangelism)
 BE SURE THAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FAMILY IS RIGHT.  Make sure there is no unforgiveness, bitterness or resentment, in your heart toward them.
 ABOVE ALL LOVE THEM IN THE LOVE OF THE LORD.  Love them into the kingdom. Ask God for His deep agape love for them. 
 AVOID ARGUMENTS AND INTELLECTUAL PERSUASIONS.  These will not convince your family as well as the genuine love of the Lord shining through you.
 BE WILLING TO LAY DOWN YOUR OWN LIFE FOR YOUR FAMILY AND OTHERS. 
1 John 3:16, "Jesus Christ laid down his life for us--we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." 
Romans 9:2-3, Paul said: "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel."
 CLAIM YOUR FAMILY AND RELATIVES FOR THE LORD IN PRAYER AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE.  Claim biblical promises regarding family and household salvation.
 THROUGH SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND PRAYER "WRESTLE" your family and relatives from the deception and hold of the enemy.  Bind him in the lives of your family.  You may need to fast and pray.
 PRAY FOR DIVINE REVELATION OF JESUS' LOVE FOR THEM, a revelation of His goodness, His person and character.
 BE CONSISTENT IN PRAYER and in claiming your relatives.  Pray daily and earnestly.  Praying once in a while is not enough.
 MAKE A LIST of your relatives and pray for them and witness to them.  You can pray with them as a group, but also pray with each one individually to lead them to the Lord using the sinner's prayer. 
·       Invite them to food. The table is the place that family love is shared.
·       Invite them for family outings. Be real in your love and relationship to them.
·       Invite them to the house of God. This is where a great change has taken place in your own heart.
·       Pray regularly for them. Call their name out to the Lord for God to touch them.
 LIVE A GENUINE CHANGED HOLY LIFE.  Nothing convinces of an effective power and influence in your life as a redeemed changed life.
 SIMPLY SHARE CHRIST and what He has done in your life.  Tell of the relationship and communion with God that we can have through Christ.
 BE HUMBLE AND HONEST before God and your family. Admit you have problems on occasion, but now you have a Friend and Savior who can help you with your problems.