Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 31st - Evangelism

Prayer Requests –
Pastor Aaron and Denise
Taste of Kennesaw
Celebrate Freedom
3on3 Basketball
Homeless Outreach
More Students in Class
Harvesters for God's Fields

1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

- a chosen race,
- a royal priesthood,
- a holy nation, (set-apart, sanctified)
- a people for his own possession
- called out of darkness into his marvelous light.
- Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;
- once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
- That we may proclaim the excellencies of him who did all of these things.

The end goal of evangelism is the glory of God. When you share the Gospel with God as the goal, you don't have a tendency to water down the message, and a result of this is that people get saved. If the end goal is the salvation of men, then we have a tendency to change the Gospel and soften the message, and no-body gets saved. For example, no where in the Bible does it say to "Ask Jesus into your heart" and it's ridiculous to tell someone to do so. Jesus said "Repent and believe the Gospel, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Mark 1:15) we should say the same.

Proclaim His Excellencies
Evangelism is a running theme through the Bible

Notice that you have to speak...
Romans 10:14-17 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Psalm 126:6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Luke 10:2 And Jesus said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Matthew 10:27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.

Isaiah 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

1 Corinthians 3:5-9 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Chronicles 16:8-9 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!

Jude 1:22-23 And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Jude said, “Hating even their garments stained by sin…” (Jude 23)

Psalm 5:4-6 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

I have a replica of a Civil War Bullet here, if this bullet was used to kill someone, who would be responsible; the bullet, or the assassin? It would be foolish for God to hate the bullet, the sin, and not the assassin, the sinner.

It is imperative that we don’t say, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner…” The problem is that if the sinner thinks that God loves them no matter what they do, then when Christ was crushed, humiliated, and hated on the cross won’t make sense to them, because they don’t realize that Christ was hated in our place. When we witness to people, we're dealing directly with enemies of God, but God follows his own rule that you are to love your enemies. God’s Love in the Bible is always associated with an action, “God demonstrated his love for us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “Here is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

Here are some verses that pertain to us,

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Romans 9:2-3 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

We should love people in the same way Christ loved us, through action. We must not condone their sin, but we don’t want to let them die in it either, even though they deserve Hell, like we did, there is reconciliation available with God.

2 Corinthians 5:19-21 In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Just as Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers..." (Matthew 5:9), we are declaring peace available with God through Jesus Christ.

How do we do it?
Once again, I’d like Jesus to show us how to do it instead of me telling you how to do it. Remember we read Psalm 19 where it says that the Law of God is perfect at converting the soul (v. 7), the Commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes (v. 8)? Galatians 4:24 says that the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Paul said, “I had not known sin but by the law.” (Romans 7:7)

Text: Luke 18:18-27 And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said, "All these I have kept from my youth." When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

Proverbs 20:6 says that almost everyone will proclaim their own goodness, which is what the young man who came up to Jesus was doing, and Jesus told him straight out, there is none good but God.

Then he listed off some things, do you recognize which list he was quoting?

It was 5 of the 10 Commandments, and when the young man said he had kept those five, Jesus took him to the 1st Commandment, which is to keep God first in your heart, and it became clear that the young man loved money more than God. Jesus earlier said, “You can either serve God or money, you cannot serve both.” (Luke 16:13)

Using Luke 18 as a Template
Ray Comfort has come up with a great scripted witnessing tool using this verse to witness to people. It is easy to remember and starts out inoffensive but quickly shows each sinner that they are woefully lacking in God’s eyes. It goes like this,

“Would you consider yourself to be a good person?” – 99% of people will say yes.

“Would you like to take the good person test?” – 99% of people will say yes, they want to know just how good they are…

“Have you ever told a lie?” We start with this one because it is the least offensive, because everyone will admit to telling at least one lie. Some people will say, “Only when I didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.” In most cases this is called discretion and while maybe a lie in God’s eyes, skip the argument, and ask “I mean a regular, bold-faced lie, like your mom asked, 'Did you do that?' and you said no when you really had done it.”

“What do you call someone who lies?” – Most people will say a liar, if they won’t say, “It starts with L and rhymes with fire.” The goal is to get them to say liar so you don’t have to call them a liar, but that they admit to it themselves.

“Have you ever stolen anything, irregardless of value?”

“What do you call someone who steals things?” – Many people will say, “Stealer”, here is an opportunity for some humor to keep the conversation light at this point. Say, “Only if you’re from Pittsburg, if you’re from Atlanta, then you’re a thief, right?”

“Have you ever taken God’s name in vain?” – Most people will admit to it, but won’t know what it is called, so we say,

“That’s called blasphemy, it’s a very serious sin, the Bible says that God will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

“Final question…” (2 you can use here, I’ll let you guys pick which one you want)

- …You’ve heard it said of old, thou shalt not commit adultery, but Jesus said, ‘Whosoever looks upon someone to lust after them has committed adultery with them already in their heart.’ Have you ever looked with lust?”
- …You’ve heard it said of old, thou shalt not murder, but Jesus said, ‘If you hate someone you will be judged as a murderer.’ Have you ever hated someone?”

“Here’s the bad news, you’re not a good person, by your own admission, you’re a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer/murderer at heart, and you have to face God on Judgment Day. Based on your admission of guilt, is he going to find you innocent or guilty?” – Many people will say innocent, some will say guilty. If they say innocent, tell them that,

“The Bible says that all liars will have their place in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8), that no thief, blasphemer, adulterer (or murderer) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven.” (1 Cor 6:9-10)

“Does it concern you that if you died tonight, God would be justified in sending you to Hell for eternity?” – Watch facial expressions, you’ll see things in their faces or hear things in their voice that they will be too proud to say.

“Do you know what God did so you don’t have to go to Hell?” – Some people will know, but won’t understand, some will just say no.

“2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, was born of the virgin Mary, and he lived a perfect sinless life. He was tempted in every way that we've been tempted but he never succumbed. He was the only good man ever to walk the earth, the only man who deserved Heaven, but because he loved us, he stepped in and paid our fine by dying the most horrific death imaginable on the cross. He bore the full wrath of God so that we can be forgiven. Does that make sense?”

Most people will say that it does make sense, ask, “Do you know what you have to do to receive this forgiveness?” Most will say no.

“Jesus commands that you repent of your sins (Acts 17:30-31), which means to turn away and forsake them, and then trust completely in him and that his death on the cross was sufficient for your salvation. Then you can go to Heaven when you die, not because you’re a good person, but because you’re a bad person forgiven by a good God who paid your fine on the cross.”

“Do you have any questions?” Most people won’t have any questions. If you probably won’t ever see them again, consider giving them a Summit card, Canyon’s card, or with your parent’s permission, one of their cards, in case they think of questions later. Ask them if they have a Bible and tell them to read the Gospel of John to get a good idea of who Jesus is and how he wants them to live for him.

Example Videos:

Witnessing is the scariest thing you’ll ever do. I’ve been shot at and still giving someone a Gospel tract or witnessing to them is the scariest thing I've ever done. If it was easy, everyone would do it. The reward afterward is incredible though, and you’ll be walking on air afterwards no matter the outcome because you’ve been obedient to your Saviour, who is actually the one who is going to do any saving that occurs.

Jeremiah 1:4-9 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD." Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.

Follow up:
Put away falsehood; Share the Truth, by Canyon Shearer

May the Lord of the Harvest employ you this week to labor in his fields, may he give you the words to speak and send you to those who need to hear. May he protect you, bless you, and use you for the glory of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.