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02 04 01 38-51 - Reaching Out to People - WWJD

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Reaching Out to People: WWJDJohn 1:38-51

·         @ Somewhere in my teens I received this booklet  —  39 topics

§  Objections thrown at believers with Bible answers

o    Great idea – but a bit daunting

§  “How do we know there is a God?” — 25 passages

·         @ How to Witness to Anyone —75 pages!

·         I’m not pooh-poohing these helps

o    some have the brains, time, and interest to memorize all

o    For the rest of us, we need something a bit simpler

·         For that we turn to Jesus’ example in John 1:38-51

o    Jesus deals with 4 kinds of people

o    As followers of Christ, let’s see how Christ dealt with these people and seek to pattern our lives after Him

I.         How to Reach the Seekers                                                                             [38-41]

A.       Selflessly

1.         Jesus

a.        Jesus, as host, would have to provide for them

b.       Carpenter was not a wealthy profession

c.        He gave of what He had to answer their questions

2.        Application

a.        Think about those without Christ

b.       Be willing to make sacrifices

c.        Be willing to go out of your comfort zone

d.       Plan ahead — (Tracts – extra scheduling – etc)

B.       Spend Time

1.         Jesus

a.        10th hour – evening time – when the day’s activities are over

b.       For Jesus and these two – the activities were just beginning

c.        Jesus would have been tired – but their need was great

d.       Not recorded what was said

(1)     But the result – verse 41— taken some time to explain the OT

2.        Application

a.        Don’t rush the Gospel

b.       Be willing to take time from your busy schedule

II.       HOw to Reach the Flawed                                                                                   [42]

A.       See the potential

1.         Jesus

a.        Simon was a common name meaning “hearing” or “listening”

b.       Jesus changed his name to Peter (or Cephas) = ROCK (nickname)

c.        Simon’s character

(1)     Undependable—Emotional—Foot in mouth—Proud—Strongly opinionated—Not afraid to speak up—Leader

d.       Jesus saw the potential

2.        Application

a.        People who have lived away from Christ their whole life often have a mess in their life to clean up

b.       Tempting to look at someone and say,

(1)     “There’s just too much work to be done there”

(2)    “They’re going to be really draining on us”

(3)    “They’ll never get it”

c.        Remember that at salvation,

(1)     God gives a new heart

(2)    The Holy Spirit comes in to live

(3)    God gives us everything we need for life and godliness

d.       @ a large church (2,000+) with an outreach to the street people

(1)     Asst. pastor told me that many of the deacons and leaders had been homeless alcoholics reached by the church

e.       You and I can’t see the precise potential

(1)     But we can see the general potential — God changes people

B.       Give a Challenge

1.         Jesus

a.        Jesus encouraged the potential

(1)     When he was living in God’s strength – called Peter

b.       Jesus challenged the potential

(1)     when Simon was living in the flesh – Jesus called him Simon

(a)    Mark 14:37-38 – 37 “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

c.        Jesus used the potential—  Pentecost – the first preacher – Peter!

2.        Application

a.        Again we see the time necessary

(1)     You can’t lead them to Christ and leave them to themselves

(2)    @ Newborn – parents provide what is necessary to be born

(a)    Responsibility to continue their development

(3)    We have the same with spiritual newborns

b.       Encourage potential

(1)     Remind others what Christ has done for them

(2)    Remind them of how they have grown

(3)    Remind them of what God intends for them as a believer

c.        Challenge potential

(1)     Don’t be afraid of confrontation

(2)    Discipline is a necessary part of spiritual formation

d.       Use potential

(1)     Give people opportunities to grow and serve

(a)    @ Children – offering and cuppa service

(b)    @ Teens – music, Awana, offering, data projector, discipleship, teaching, crèche

(2)    Don’t be afraid of their success

(a)    @ At the end of Jesus’ ministry, about 120 followers

(b)    @ The day Peter preached, 3,000 people came to Christ!

(c)    Do you think Jesus was jealous?

(d)    @ We all want our children to do better than we have

i.         The same should be true of our spiritual children

III.     HOw to Reach the common man                                                                [43-44]

A.       Go After them

1.         Jesus

a.        Who was Philip?

(1)     A fisherman——  Not a scholar – wealthy man – connected

b.       Philip’s addition to the work?

(1)     Evangelistic—John 1:45-46 – Brought Nathanael

(2)    Practical—John 6:5-7 – saw the obstacle to feeding the 5,000 (1/2 year’s wages)

(3)    Approachable—John 12:20-22 – Gentile proselytes to Judaism wanted to see Jesus – they asked Philip —Philip asked Andrew

(4)    Struggling with Theology—John 14:8 – weak spiritual understanding – “Show us the Father”

(5)    He is said to have preached in Phrygia, and to have met his death at Hierapolis. (Turkey)

(a)    Other disciples – famous deaths – not much with Philip

(6)    In all of that – nothing outstanding, BUT...

c.        Jesus sought him  (He FOUND Philip)

(1)     Jesus didn’t look for perfection

(2)    He looked for those who needed him

(a)    Luke 19:10 [Jesus said to Zaccheus] “... the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

2.        Application

a.        @ A popular book on church growth – many good ideas – says, “For your church to be most effective in evangelism you must decide on a target.”

(1)     Good points to that— danger = ignoring those who don’t match your target

(a)    @ Phone sales – “I ‘d like to speak to the homeowner.”  I love being able to say, “I rent.”  The call is over

(b)    We cannot have that approach with the Gospel

i.         “... a life unaffected by sin.”

ii.        “...Very little to change.”

iii.      “...Willing to have full commitment right away”

b.       We need to target those whom God targets

(1)     How do we know whom God targets?

(a)    Generally

i.         2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is ... not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

(b)    Specifically

i.         The Holy Spirit prompts you

ii.        @ you’re sitting with a lot of time and no one around but this one person – test the waters

iii.      @ Hitchhiker a few weeks ago – I was impressed

c.        We need to seek people

(1)     @ Dawson Trotman – God impressed in his heart to witness to at least one person each day.  Sometimes late at night he would drive around looking for someone to witness to!

(2)    That’s how God led him – not necc for everyone

(a)    BUT – do you LOOK FOR opportunities?

IV.     How to Reach the Sceptics                                                                            [45-51]

A.       Use Kindness                                                                                                           (47)

1.         Jesus

a.        His character was attacked

b.       His response — compliment the character of Nathanael

c.        He didn’t defend Himself or seek justice

2.        Application

a.        Many times sceptics attack you to put you off

b.       It’s easy to lose the plot and fight fire with fire

c.        But we need to keep the main thing the main thing

(1)     Their need is to hear what the Word of God says

d.       Proverbs 15:1 - A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

e.       We don’t need arguments – we need the truth

B.       Speak the Truth                                                                                                     (48)

1.         Jesus

a.        Nathanael: “How do you know me?”

b.       Jesus’ answer could have put Nathanael off

(1)     “That’s spooky!”

c.        Jesus just answered him with the simple truth

2.        Application

a.        Don’t try to manipulate people and hide the “unpleasant” parts

(1)     Sacrifice — persecution — etc.

b.       No false promises: “All of you troubles will be gone.”

c.        Speak the truth

(1)     Yes, you might suffer persecution – but:

(a)    Matthew 5:11-12 - 11“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

(2)    Yes, following Christ means sacrifice – but:

(a)    Mark 8:35-36 - 35For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

d.       But I might scare people off

(1)     I’d rather that happen – people go away – try something else – find it empty TOO – then return

(2)    Than accept Christ on false premise – wait for all the goodies – get disappointed that they still struggled with life – and then toss it all in

C.       Share the Benefits                                                                                            (50, 51)

1.         Jesus

a.        Jesus encouraged him with so much more to come

2.        Application

a.        With the persecution and sacrifice comes so much

b.       Purpose

(1)     1 Corinthians 10:31 - Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

c.        Matthew 28:19 - Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...

d.       Joy

(1)     1 Peter 1:8 [Speaking to Christians about Christ] Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. (NLT)

(2)    John 16:22 – [Jesus: a joy that] one will take from you.

e.       Confidence

(1)     Romans 5:1-2 - 1Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. (NLT)

(2)    Romans 5:5 - 5And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us... (NLT)

f.        Eternal Life

(1)     1 John 5:11-12 - 11And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has life...

g.       Family

(1)      Ephesians 2:19 - are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, (NIV)

h.       Etc.

i.         Our world needs to see that the benefits of salvation are genuine!  They’re not dependent on the economy, politics, etc.


·         @ A survey we did here several years ago showed that the number one reason for not evangelizing was the fear of not knowing what to say

o    I think that fear comes from a couple of reasons

§  We forget that the Holy Spirit will guide us

§  We think we have to have these books memorized

·         NO – be real with people – not a machine

o    Deal with people the way Jesus dealt with them

o    As people with differing needs, backgrounds, ideas

·         There’s a world of people out there with no clue how to be right with God

o    Let’s follow Jesus’ example and give them the Good News

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