Evangelism • Sermon • Submitted
0 ratings· 22 views
An Approach That Works!
The importance of sharing the gospel of Christ with those who are lost cannot be overemphasized. Jesus wants everyone to hear the good news of salvation Mk 16:15-16, “15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” and has provided the gospel as God’s power to save all who believe it Ro 1:16-17 “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
But what is the most effective way to reach people today? The Institute For American Church Growth asked over 10,000 people this question: “What was responsible for your coming to Christ and this church?” Their replies were:
I had a special need ‐ 3%
I just walked in ‐ 3%
I liked the minister ‐ 6%
I visited there ‐ 1%
I liked the Bible classes ‐ 5%
I attended a gospel meeting ‐ 0.5%
I liked the programs ‐ 3%
A friend or relative invited me -‐ 79%
What can we learn from a survey like this? It does appear to confirm that gospel meetings as traditionally held have lost their effectiveness in reaching the lost. It also seems to justify churches’ concern to pick their preachers carefully and to give special regard to the quality of their Bible classes.
The obvious point of the survey is this: If churches are to grow, it will be through the efforts of individual members!
Preachers, programs, classes may help, but in most cases they will only maintain the size of the congregation. Such congregational efforts are worthwhile, however, for they can reach people with whom we might otherwise never come in contact.
But the fact remains: The greatest potential lies with those people who have some contact with members of the local congregation.
Each of us have daily contact with tens of people who need the gospel of Christ. In addition to efforts designed to reach people “en masse” (via television, radio, mail), we need to utilize the contacts made through the members.
In other words, the ideal would be to provide a “two-pronged” approach to evangelism.
Two fundamental things are needed to utilize the contacts made through individual members of the congregation:
Concern for the lost by those members Mt 9:36-38 Ro 9:1-3 10:1
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 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.
1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
Knowledge of how we can increase our opportunities to share the gospel with those with whom we frequently come into contact
What follows are suggestions with accompanying “action steps” on how anyone who is a Christian can increase opportunities for the gospel to be shared with their relatives, friends, neighbors, and others.
The first suggestion, along with its “action steps,” is to . . .
DO THINGS WHICH MAKE FOR A CARING CONGREGATION
This suggestion is important if our efforts in evangelism are going to be fruitful in the long run. First, because it will help to confirm our claim to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. Jn 13:35 “35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”” Correct doctrine, organization, worship, etc., are certainly important; but it is our love for one another that the Lord intended to convince the world that we are truly the disciples of Christ!
Also, our love makes us useful to the Lord! From Re 3:7-8 “7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. 8 “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” we learn that the Lord knows the true condition of His churches, and that He will “open doors” for those that can be useful to Him. If we are a church that can be used by Him to:
Reach others with the gospel
Assimilate them into the family of God
Nurture them in their spiritual growth
. . . then He will “open doors” for us as well!
It is important to practice hospitality towards Christians because it prepares us for the kind of personal work that is the most effective in leading others to Christ.
I am referring to “friendship” evangelism (also known as “relationship” or “lifestyle” evangelism), which will require a willingness to be hospitable and giving to those we are trying to reach.
If we are unable (or unwilling) to practice hospitality towards our brethren, what makes us think we will practice it towards the lost?
Here are some "action steps" that one can take:
Make it a point to get to know all the members and regular visitors by name
Try to learn someone new at each service until you know them all
Practice hospitality towards the members and regular visitors - 1 Pe 4:8-9
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Invite them into your home, or out to eat (set a goal of one new family or member per month) Visit other Christians each week (esp. the sick, shut-ins, new members, absent members)
When a congregation is filled with loving members who care for its own, it is ready to be used by the Lord to reach out and care for others!
Where does one begin in trying to reach the lost? Try this...
MAKE A LIST OF SOULS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE TAUGHT
Making a list may not seem important, but it is! It utilizes a very helpful technique used by people successful in all walks of life (i.e., having a things to do list). For us, it helps to focus our attention upon those we hope to reach for the Lord, and not neglect them.
In making up this list, one should observe the following suggestions:
Start with those who are close to you and work outwardly:
Relatives of fellow church members
Regular visitors to the services of the church
Casual acquaintances (mailman, store clerk, etc.)
Limit this list to five or eight souls (a list with too many and you will not be able to focus your efforts effectively).
Give priority to those who are the "unchurched"
I.e., who are not active members of any denomination or particular religion
Active members of a denomination or religion are often very satisfied with their human traditions and are not as receptive to the pure and simple gospel of Christ
Keep this list where you will see it daily. This will help you to be constantly reminded of these people and thereby more likely to do the things mentioned next...
"PRAY FOR THESE SOULS ON YOUR LIST DAILY
Why pray? First, that God will work together with you....
• To give us opportunities to do good for them - 1 Co 3:5-7 ; Co 4:3
1 Corinthians 3:5–7 (ESV)
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
Colossians 4:3 (ESV)
3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—
• To give you the wisdom to make the most of those opportunities - Co 4:4-6 “4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
• To give you boldness to say what needs to be said - Ep 6:18-20 “18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Also, that those on your list will...
• Have the opportunity to hear the truth
• Have honest hearts to be open and receptive to the truth
Remember, it is God who gives the increase when it comes to evangelism. We are but servants whom God can use in His providential workings. So though we may work as though it all depends upon us, let us pray as though it all depends upon God!
The next step will take the most time in effective evangelism...
DO THINGS WHICH DEMONSTRATE YOUR LOVE FOR THEM
The importance of this suggestion is seen in the following statement: “People don't care how much we know until they know how much we care!” A demonstration of love will make a person more likely to be receptive to the gospel of love when it is shared (cf. 1 Pe 2:12).
12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
By observing our good works they will more likely “glorify God” by obeying the gospel when they hear it. In other words, our love and good works will help prepare the ""soil"" to be as receptive as possible when the “seed” is finally sown.
Some “action steps” to take might be...
• Invite them into your home for a dinner or snack
• Visit them, especially in times of trial or sickness
• Do things with them on a social level
In other words, simple hospitality and neighborliness will go a long way in giving you the opportunity to do good towards them. And when they see the “incarnation of the gospel” (the principles of the""gospel lived out in the flesh), they will be more likely to believe in the “verbalization of the gospel” (the truth of the gospel in spoken or written word).
After you have spent some time being hospitable and becoming better acquainted, the next step is to...
INVITE THOSE ON YOUR LIST TO ATTEND SERVICES
There are several good reasons for wanting them to attend the services of the local church...
• They will (or should) have an opportunity to see a caring congregation in action
✓ Combined with your own demonstration of love as an individual...
✓ ...the demonstration of love by others should make a lasting impression!
• They will more likely have an opportunity to be presented with the gospel of Christ
• If they are attending regularly before conversion to Christ, they will more likely continue to attend after their conversion
As we prepare to invite these souls to attend services, be sure to spend time first in prayer...
• Asking for wisdom to invite them in the best manner
• Asking for boldness to offer the invitation to attend
Of course, you will more likely have people accept your invitations if they are among the “unchurched,” but often times even the “churched” are dissatisfied with where they are attending and are willing to investigate a different church.
The next couple of steps become increasingly important, one being to...
DEMONSTRATE HOSPITALITY TOWARDS THOSE VISITORS WHO DO ATTEND
This would apply to all visitors, whether they were invited by you, someone else, or are simply “walk-ins.” Some ""action steps"" might include:
• Greeting them, letting them know they are welcome
• Inviting them home or out for a dinner or snack
• Calling or visiting them after they have attended the services
Showing such love towards those who may even be “strangers” is the true meaning of hospitality, a virtue that ought to characterize Christians He 13:2 “2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Ro 12:13b “13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Plus, in doing such things, you are preparing their hearts for the gospel! How?"
• By demonstrating love as a congregation of Christians...
• ...they will be more likely to believe in the love of God demonstrated in the life of Christ! - 1 Pe 2:11-12
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Finally, we are ready for the most important step in all our efforts...
SEE THEY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR THE GOSPEL
Ideally, this will come AFTER witnessing a demonstration of the gospel in our lives...
• By our love, hospitality, etc.
• Both as individuals and as a congregation
If you feel confident in discussing it with them, then approach them yourself and suggest some sort of Bible study. Either of these two suggestions may be effective:
• A Bible study with them in their home (using aids like video tapes, charts, or simply an open Bible)
If you do not feel you are yet confident in approaching them concerning a study, or in conducting it your self, there is still much good that you can do:
• Bring it to the attention of members who are able and willing to teach
• Provide opportunities for the teacher and the prospect to become better acquainted, and the teacher can take it from there
These suggestions are offered with a firm conviction that if they will be carried out, opportunities to share the gospel and save souls will be greatly increased! Also, with the hope that you will accept the challenge to implement these suggestions.
This approach is not only the most successful in saving and keeping souls, it is also one of the most natural and easiest ways to reach the lost for Christ! Remember the survey by The Institute For American Church Growth? One does not even have to be able to teach to be effective in leading others to Christ! One simply has to be a friend to Christians and to the lost!
And even if we do not convert a single soul...
• We will have fulfilled our obligation to share Christ with others"
"• We will have done it in such a way as to become better Christians , a better
congregation, better friends , better neighbors , better coworkers, etc.!
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION BY A CONGREGATION OR A FEW INTERESTED INDIVIDUALS...
Have those interested in being involved meet together on a weekly basis Encourage one another to set goals for the coming week
• Share ideas for goals; for example . . .
✓ Having over or visiting one person or family from the congregation
✓ Making a list of souls for which to begin praying
✓ What you plan to do to demonstrate your love and concern for those on your list
✓ Who you will invite to services
✓ What visitors you will call, visit, etc.
✓ Who you will offer to have a study, or put in contact with someone who will follow-up with a study
• Write the goals for the coming week down
• Pray about them, together and on your own throughout the week At each weekly meeting...
• Share and discuss how the goals are being met
• Set new goals for the coming week
• Write them, pray about them
This simple program should easily increase opportunities to share the gospel and bring many souls to Christ!"