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Christlike Evangelism?

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Over the last few months we have been thinking through the need for every one of us to personally engage in Great Commission work. That means we have to make the main thing the main thing. We have to put the first things first in our life. We have many different kinds of commissions as disciples of Jesus, but we only have one Great Commission. And if we are going to be serious in our desire to be a Christ follower, then we must be serious in our desire to actually do what Jesus told us to do. Part of that means going into our Jerusalem and seeking to build redemptive relationships with people that do not yet believe in Jesus. We must get outside of the walls of our church and outside of the walls of our houses and go into the world- we must be in the world, but not of the world.
Maybe the Lord has convicted you in this area. Maybe you have made an effort to get into your community and build friendships with unsaved people with the purpose of doing the Great Commission. So, hopefully all of you have made at least one friend. Now, what is the next question that comes into you mind? Now what? What do I do with them now? Or, how can I start a conversation about God or the Bible, without offending them or scaring them off?
The answer is we need to be Christlike Evangelists! What I am suggesting is that we, all of us, need to mimic the principles of relational evangelism that Christ used while he was here on earth. “That’s impossible!” you might be thinking, “I can’t heal the sick, or multiple bread, or raise the dead to life—how can I mimic Jesus’ principles of evangelism?” True, we cannot perform the miracles that Jesus did, but are there methods or principles of evangelism that the Lord used that we can imitate? My answer is yes there are many principles of evangelism that we can learn form the Master Evangelist. And we should seek to be Christlike in our evangelism as much as possible. We should strive to be Christlike not just in the character of his life, but also in the content of his daily living.
So how do we become Christlike Evangelists? This morning we can give the answer to this question in one sentence:

Use the Lord’s method to make your friend curious

How do you do that? Well, let’s look at how the Lord did it in John 2-
How did Jesus make people curious in order to lead them to an understanding of the gospel?

I. Jesus did something that the Jews did not understand (vv. 13-17)

John 2:13–17 KJV 1900
13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. 17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
V. 13 is key to understanding the setting of this story.
John 2:13 KJV 1900
13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
Where is Jesus? He is in Jerusalem at the temple. What significant religious event is taking place? Passover. What do we know about Passover? What is the main purpose of Passover? It was to remind the people of the deliverance, and grace, and mercy, and love, and faithfulness of God when he delivered them out of the land of Egypt. Why did God want the people to be reminded of this event every year? Worship. This event is all about genuine, heartfelt, sincere, honest, pure worship of God. It was about the Jews unworthiness, their need for a perfect blood sacrifice! This was all about sinful man coming to a merciful God- acknowledging dependence, thinking deeply about their own relationship with God, and honoring and worshiping God in spirit and in truth.
That is what Passover was supposed to be about. What did Jesus find when he got to the temple?
John 2:14 KJV 1900
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
Apparently this was an outrage and an affront to God. Why?
Schneider offers this explanation:
“Jesus entered the temple in Jerusalem and found the leaders selling oxen, sheep and doves. The quiet serenity of the temple had been replaced by a din of animal noises; the fragrant smell of incense oils had been smothered by animal smells; the excitement of coming to the living God in an attitude of repose and worship was a ghost of the past. The moneychangers sat plying their trade. They changed the people’s money and greedily took a cut from the exchange. The priests paraded their importance as a sign of spirituality. ​
According to the Law of Moses, to receive forgiveness for their sins, the people who came to worship needed to offer sacrifices to God. However, in Jesus’ time, when a devout Jew brought the required animal to the temple to be sacrificed, he immediately ran into a problem. The priest at the door examined the animal and, more often than not, claimed that the animal was not good enough. He should know. He had studied “Lamb Theology.” The lamb would have a blemish or defect, unseen by its owner, that did not meet the priest’s standards of perfection. The priest would then offer to buy the animal at a price well below its true value and then sell one of his own “perfect” animals to the man.
​Where did the priest get his “perfect” animals?  From a previous worshiper! ​What sort of God were his priestly representatives portraying to the common Jew by such a practice?  Over the centuries, since the time of their return from captivity, the Jews had fostered a picture of a God who took and took. Religion was pure business.  The religious leaders had given the people a wrong picture of God because the leaders themselves did not know the living God.”
How were the priests corrupting Passover for the Jews?
What sort of God were the priests portraying to the common Jew by such a practice?
Year after year, the Jews would come to the temple for Passover and be confronted by the greedy practices of leaders in the temple, and this had so damaged the image of God in the people’s minds that God had become one who takes and takes. Religion had become nothing less than pure business. The religious leaders had given people the wrong picture of God, and they had destroyed an event that should have been the spiritual highlight of the year- at time of reflection, reverence, and worship- instead it was a time of greed, selfishness, and corruption.
Is this what God is really like? Is God a god who only takes and takes?
How do religious leaders today portray God?
Do people in our time have a right or wrong picture of God?
What must be corrected in the thinking of many people?
How can we correct this wrong thinking?
How did the Lord correct it?
Jesus reacted to this temple scene. He took time to make a scourge of cords. We can almost imagine the Lord thinking through what he was going to do as he made the scourge. His anger was not like ours – selfish, hasty, and misguided.  His was a well-thought-out, righteous anger.
​Can we imagine the Lord entering the temple and saying, “May I have your permission to turn this table over and send all the money flying?” Or “Now people, please don’t do this. Look at the mess that the animals are making all over the floor! God is going to be very upset about this!” His actions were not “polite” as most would define the term politeness today. He did not reason with the leaders to get them to stop portraying God as the great businessman in the sky. He just cleaned house. ​
Can you hear the cows bellowing as the Lord laid that scourge across their backsides, the doves screeching as he opened their cages and turned them upside down, the sheep bleating, and the tables crashing down? Can you see the money flying all around the room and the priests scrambling for cover toward the back of the temple to get out of the way of a very strong, angry man – wanting to retrieve their money, but not wanting to come under that scourge?
Why did Jesus do all of this? Did Jesus want to lead these priests to the Father? Did Jesus want to lead them to genuine belief in Himself? Then why was Jesus so impolite to them? What kind of evangelism was that? He certainly did not seem to worry about whether his impoliteness would turn them off.  Would they have listened if He had used any other approach? Apparently, Jesus did not think so.
What was Jesus’ goal? His goal was to make these people curious about spiritual things.
These kinds of practices had been going on for years and years and it had become the “norm” in religious life. Jesus needed to do something that the people would not understand to make them curious enough about spiritual things to begin to question their own thinking about God.
Example: Pastor friend- telling unsaved people not to come to church.
If we want to be Christlike evangelists we need to find ways to make our friends curious about spiritual things.
One of the ways that Jesus accomplished this was he did something that people did not understand.
How did Jesus make people curious in order to lead them to an understanding of the gospel?

II. Jesus said something that the Jews did not understand (vv. 18-20)

John 2:18–20 KJV 1900
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
After the bedlam had quieted down a little, the priests, hidden behind the furniture, stuck their heads out and asked, “Do you have permission to do this?”
Did the Lord want to lead these priests to the Father? We have to keep this question in the forefront of our minds.
This is the perfect open-ended question for Jesus to launch into an explanation of the gospel. It is the kind of open door we often times wait and pray for- someone giving us permission to give them the gospel.
The conversation following this scene can teach us a lot. The priests asked what sign the Lord could show them to prove that He had the right to clean their temple. The Lord said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The leaders responded, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” And that was the end of the conversation!
Again, this is the perfect open door to give these Jewish leaders the gospel. It would not be hard to steer the conversation to spiritual things, but what did Jesus do? First of all He did something that the leaders did not understand- He cleansed the temple. He gave them no warning, he did not ask their permission- he just acted. This action caused them to ask a question- “Do you have permission to do this?” And instead of walking them through the OT Scriptures and showing that He was the Messiah (which Jesus did do on other occasions), instead Jesus gave them an answer that they could not understand. Did they understand what Jesus meant?
NO! Not even the disciples got it until after the resurrection.
John 2:21–22 KJV 1900
21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
We know the Jews didn’t get it either-
John 2:20 KJV 1900
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
How does the Lord respond to this misunderstanding? He doesn’t. The Lord did not explain what He meant! Why do you think that is?
The Lord wanted to correct the Jews’ wrong picture of God.  He wanted to show them what God is really like – the true God
John 1:18 KJV 1900
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
In contrast to the greediness of the religious leaders in the temple, how did Jesus show them that God does not take, but rather gives?
Jesus attacked the religious leaders at their religious stronghold! He attacked them in their temple, He attacked them in their pious religious practices, He attacked their assumption that they knew what God was like and what He wanted. Did the religious leaders get that? Apparently not! They didn’t want and didn’t care about what Jesus was trying to teach them, and because of their unwillingness to seek after the truth of what Jesus was doing- Jesus did not give them an answer to their question.
This strategy is a far cry from most of our past attempts at evangelism. Our thinking usually goes something like this: I want to witness to my friend, neighbor, or relative, but once I mention the subject of God or the Bible, I’ll never be able to talk to them again about it. They’ll reject me, turn me off, and it will be the end of our relationship. So, my only hope is to get them to listen to the whole gospel in this one shot.
​What happens?  We attack them with everything about sin and hell and love and God and death and resurrection and sanctification and justification and propitiation and – sure enough, they never want to speak to us again!  We had only the one shot. We knew all along that it would happen that way. And if someone were to suggest to us that maybe we should have insulted them first and then only given them a small tidbit of the gospel, well, that is simply ridiculous! (It does sound rather odd, doesn’t it?)
It does sound odd unless you are willing to pattern your evangelism after the example of Jesus. What was Jesus’ goal when he interacted with unsaved people? His first goal was to make them curious.
Jesus caused people to become curious about spiritual things (Cleansed the temple/ destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up)
Jesus pointed out people’s problems (Stop making my Father’s house a house of merchandise)
And then (maybe) Jesus gives them an answer to their question, but not always- Jesus did not give the Jews any answer because they had not yet recognized their spiritual need nor were they really seeking after spiritual truth.
As we progress in John we will see Jesus handle other evangelism opportunities differently- Nicodemus vs. the woman at the well.
If we are going to do Christlike evangelism then we must seek to imitate Jesus’ methods.
One of the first principles we learn is we must seek to make our unsaved friends curious about the gospel.
How??
Example: Ryan- Matthew 7. Bike riding- why do we expend so much energy taking care of our physical earthly bodies when they are only temporary? Why don’t we expend as much or more effort in taking care of our souls since they will last forever? Now, what if I asked that question and someone said back to me, “What do you mean?” What would our instant reaction be to do? Well, I got one shot at this I better give them the whole gospel, and we blast them with both barrels. BUT, is that what Jesus did? NO HE DID NOT! Sometimes he never gave people an answer. He only gave answers to the ones who were seeking after truth!
HOW DO WE KNOW? We are not Jesus, we cannot see people’s hearts, so how do we know?
I am going to say this often- Ask them if they want to read the Bible with you. Bike riding example: What do you mean? Have you ever read the NT? I find the Bible to be incredibly interesting and in the Bible you will find an answer to your question. I would really love to hear what you have think about the Bible. Would you like to meet just one time and read the Bible with me?
If they aren’t willing to read the Bible with you, they probably won’t believe what you say about the Bible either. Look for people who will read the Bible with you, not just talk about it.
If we want to be Christlike in our evangelism then I would suggest to you that our goal should be to make our friends curious enough to want to read the Bible with us.
Door-to-door and tract evangelism can be quite effective in some cultures, and we need little preparation for these methods, just a time slot in our weekly schedule. However, the Lord’s method of making people curious and getting them into His Word is quite different from our past hit-and-run methods. To make people curious, we need to make certain adjustments to our thinking.
“But I don’t know how to make people curious,” you might say at this point. “I wouldn’t know where to begin. I don’t know how to turn a conversation around toward spiritual things. And when my friends do start talking about such things, I don’t think fast on my feet, and I never have the right answers to their questions or objections.” ​Let me assure you that the art of making people curious can be learned! This is not a technique only for gifted evangelists. It has been learned and used by believers with many different personalities. And you can learn to do it to if you are willing to work at it.

What are you going to do about it?

If you have not yet started building redemptive relationships with people in your Jerusalem, determine to make at least one friend with whom you can share the gospel with.
Once you have established a relationship with someone, ask yourself what is their biggest spiritual need? What area in their life are they thinking wrongly about? What questions (not accusations!) can you ask your friend that will point out these areas as wrong? Would you ever insult your friend to get him to think about his sin or God or the Bible?
Write down five different questions that will make your unsaved friend think that his sin or his views about God and the Bible might be wrong. Then use these questions the next time you meet him!
Pray that God would use you in the life of your unsaved friend to make them curious enough about spiritual things that they would be willing to sit down and read the Bible with you.
Do you really believe that Jesus’ method of evangelism can work for you? Do you really believe that Jesus can use you to lead an unsaved friend to Christ? Then why aren’t we doing it? Why aren’t we putting hands and feet to our faith? Imagine how effective our church would become at the Great Commission if we all started being Christlike Evangelists!

The Lord’s Supper

The last three verses in our paragraph of John 2 are very insightful as we prepare to observe the Lord’s Supper
John 2:23–25 KJV 1900
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
As Jesus is in Jerusalem for Passover, what do people end up doing? Many believed in his name- they trusted in his name. Why? When they say the miracles or signs which he did. But is this the kind of faith Jesus was looking for?
What does v. 24 say about Jesus? Many people trusted in his name, but he did not entrust himself to them. Why not? What reason is given in the end of v. 24? Because Jesus knew all men- and v. 25 says he did not need anyone to testify of man, why not? For/Because Jesus knew what was in man.
Do you remember what Jesus claimed to know about Nathanael? Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! What did Jesus claim to know about Nathanael? He claimed to know Nathanael’s inner most being- his heart.
Here at the end of chapter 2 Jesus did not entrust himself to the Jews because their faith was not genuine. He could look into their very hearts, He knows what is in the heart of every person.
Do you think Jesus’ ability to see men’s hearts was the real cause of his anger when he cleansed the temple? Listen to the account again-
John 2:14–16 KJV 1900
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
When Jesus looked into the hearts of the priests and he looked into the hearts of the common worshipers what do you think that Jesus saw?
Do you think the fact that it was the Passover made things even more outrageous to Jesus? Why?
If Jesus were here this afternoon and he observed us as we partake in the Lord’s supper what do you think he would see?
What do you think John 2:17 means?
John 2:17 KJV 1900
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
John 2:17 NASB95
17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”
What is zeal?
What does it mean that Jesus had zeal for God’s house?
Why did it eat Jesus up or consume him?
How did Jesus’ zeal consume him? Cleansed the temple/ 2nd time it led to his death- it literally consumed his life.
How does the zeal in Jesus’ heart contrast with the spurious faith in the Jews hearts?
How does this help us in our thinking and preparation for the Lord’s supper?
1 Corinthians 11:20–22 KJV 1900
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
In what manner were the Corinthians treating the Lord’s Supper? Selfish prideful manner- v. 20, when you are meeting together, I don’t know what you are doing, but it certainly isn’t a proper observance of the Lord’s supper! Because of the manner in which you partake- each one takes his own supper first, meanwhile some go hungry (can you imagine that!) and another is drunk (outrageous!) What! Don’t you have your own houses to eat and drink? Or do you actually want to despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? Shall I praise you for this?
Now, how does this scenario compare to the Jews defiling the temple with animals and money changers?
How do we as a church, need to prepare our hearts and minds to think rightly about the sacrifice of Christ in the Lord’s supper?
1 Corinthians 11:23–27 KJV 1900
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
Does Jesus know if we are eating and drinking the bread and the cup of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner? Yes, Jesus knows the hearts of men. So what should our response to this truth be?
1 Corinthians 11:28 KJV 1900
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
What does it mean for a man to examine himself? How should that change the way we eat and drink the bread and cup?
1 Corinthians 11:29 KJV 1900
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
What does it mean to eat and drink unworthily?
1 Corinthians 11:30–34 KJV 1900
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
What is one of the biggest dangers in our church in mistreating the Lord’s Supper? Going through the motions of worship. How can we prevent that? Engage our hearts!
1 Corinthians 11:24 KJV 1900
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1 Corinthians 11:25 KJV 1900
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
1 Corinthians 11:26 KJV 1900
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
Engage your hearts in this Lord’s Supper- do it with the same kind of Zeal that Jesus had when He cleansed the temple! Worship your Savior the way He deserves to be worshiped.
Now, I have strategically placed the song service after the message to give you a chance to engage your heart. Let’s worship Christ together in song!
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