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Title: Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
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From: Australia
Registered: 12-03-2008

(Date Posted:04-04-2012 2:39 AM)
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Evangelism and
Witnessing

 Introduction
Contents
Helps 
Daily Discussion Online
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Cover
INTRODUCTION

Why Our Church?

Although experts disagree on the exact number, one thing is certain: many Protestant denominations exist today. Hundreds, even thousands.

Which leads to such questions as, Why the Seventh-day Adventist Church? What’s our purpose? What relevance do we have?

The answer is simple: God raised up this church to proclaim “present truth,” the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14:6–12.

Yes, a number of churches exist and many with aggressive outreach and evangelism programs too. But, at last count, there’s only one church specifically proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14. That church is ours–and that’s why we’re here. Period.

Thus, whatever else our church is doing, first and foremost, we should purposefully attempt to lead as many people as we can into God’s eternal kingdom. Whether we call it “spreading the gospel,” “evangelizing the world,” or preaching “present truth,” our core business is to tell the Jesus story with the intention that people will accept Him as Lord and Savior and become disciples and even disciple makers.

Although most local churches are involved in many activities, and (ideally) all of those activities are good and useful—our challenge must be to make all that we do as a church relate to the core business of reaching the lost with the “everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6) and all that it entails.

Of course, even with the benefits of modern technology the task is huge. And when all is said and done, the task falls upon millions of volunteers motivated by a love for God and for lost humanity—a love for those whose sins Jesus bore on the cross just as much as He bore ours.

While evangelism and witnessing is the personal responsibility of each believer, the whole body of Seventh-day Adventist believers (the church) has a corporate responsibility, as well. As each member contributes to the evangelistic goals and strategies of his or her local church, precious people are won to Christ. And here’s a point that can’t be overemphasized: if it’s not done at the local church level, it just won’t get done.

In the context of outreach, understanding spiritual gifts also is important. It is vital, however, to not only encourage members to discover how they are spiritually gifted, but to also present them with opportunities to exercise those gifts. Fundamental belief number 16 says in part: “God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts, which each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions.”—Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald® Publishing Association, 1988), p. 206.

An understanding of the gospel story coupled with a personal connection to Jesus Christ will enable people to work with the right motivation for saving souls. Evangelism and witnessing should be motivated by a love response, not by fear or guilt.

As with any study, this quarter’s lessons will help to increase a person’s store of biblical knowledge. That’s fine, but the goal is not just to gain knowledge, no matter how wonderful the knowledge. The goal is for us to use that knowledge for good, and in this context the greatest good is to give those who face eternal destruction the opportunity for eternal life.

That’s the reason for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. What better one could there be?

Joe A. Webb is pastor of Nambour and Yandina churches in the South Queensland Conference, Australia.


Contents:

No. Study
Date
Topic

April 7

Defining Evangelism and Witnessing 

April 14

Every Member Ministry 

April 21

Spiritual Gifts for Evangelism and Witnessing  

April 28

Evangelism and Witnessing as a Lifestyle  

May 5

Sequential Evangelism and Witnessing  

May 12

Personal Evangelism and Witnessing  

May 19

Corporate Evangelism and Witnessing  

May 26

Equipping for Evangelism and Witnessing  

June 2

Releasing Into Ministry  

10

June 9

A Love Response  

11

June 16

Let the Church Know  

12

June 23

Evaluating Witnessing and Evangelism  

13

June 30

A Perpetual Ministry  


Sabbath School Study Helps

The Study Helps include all related scripture and most EGW quotations. The "New King James Version" of the scriptures is used with permission.  
The related Study Help is linked from each lesson and a link to the whole quarter's Helps is provided here.


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Concept Design:
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Copyright © 2012 by the Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.


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Prepared for the Internet by the SSNET Web Team.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:04-04-2012 2:41 AM)

Lesson 1 - Defining Evangelism and Witnessing

Introduction: Sharing the gospel is something that all Christians can do. The question is, "How do we do it well?" Normally, I think of evangelism and witnessing as being the same thing. However, when viewed from the lenses of a lawyer, the two are much different. In most legal briefs, the facts of the case are discussed first. Next comes the legal argument. The first section is about the witnesses and what they say happened. The second is about persuasion. When I write the facts in a brief, my goal is to persuade. However, no good lawyer would be confused about the difference between stating the facts and making the legal argument. Is that true for Christians who want to share the gospel? Should we be sure we understand the difference between the facts and persuasion? How much of a persuader role do we have? Let's dive into our Bibles and see what we can learn!

  1. Witnessing versus Evangelism

    1. Read Luke 24:45-48. These are some of Jesus' last recorded words to His disciples before He returns to heaven. Jesus tells them that they are to be "witnesses." However, He started out (verse 45) teaching them about the Bible. Are the disciples told to testify or persuade? (Their unique role is to testify. Jesus taught them that the Bible predicted certain events in Jesus' life. The disciples are fact witnesses that this happened just as the Bible predicted.)

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. Is this witnessing or persuading? (This is clearly persuasion.)

    3. Read Acts 1:8. Here are some more of Jesus' last words before returning to heaven. Why would we need the Holy Spirit in order to testify?

    4. Read Acts 5:30-32. What do we see here? Witnessing or persuading? (Peter starts out talking about the facts, but he then moves to a legal argument ("repentance and forgiveness of sins").

      1. Notice how the Holy Spirit is used. I do not read where the Holy Spirit is giving any facts. How is the Holy Spirit a "witness?"

    5. Let's take a peek at what preceded this. Read Acts 5:12-18. This is why Peter and the disciples were arrested. How is the Holy Spirit a witness? (The Holy Spirit is corroborating the factual testimony and the legal argument of the disciples by performing miracles through them.)

    6. Let's see how the disciples put all of these elements together. Read Acts 10:39-41. What is going on here? (Witnessing. The disciples are reciting the facts that they know.)

    7. Read Acts 10:42-43. What is going on here? (This is the legal argument side of it.)

    8. Read Acts 10:44-46. What is going on here? (This is the Holy Spirit's affirmation of the truth of the facts and the accuracy of the legal argument.)

  2. Today's Witness?

    1. Hearsay is a statement of facts not witnessed by the person testifying in court. What is wrong with hearsay? (You cannot test it to be sure it is true. If I testify that I saw someone strike another person, I can be cross-examined about my ability to see the event and asked about my prejudices and biases. If I testify that my brother told me that he saw someone strike another person, my testimony cannot be tested to see if it is accurate.)

    2. Are Christians today stuck with a hearsay gospel? (It certainly is hearsay for us to say that Jesus lived, died and was raised from the dead. The disciples were witnesses of that, but we are not.)

      1. So, is the witnessing part of the job unavailable to us? (No. We can tell what Jesus has done for us.)

    3. Remember that I said that every brief requires a statement of the facts before the legal argument. I also said that poor lawyers get the two mixed up. Should all of our gospel work start with a witness before we get into persuading? Or, has time eliminated the importance of the facts because our facts are nothing as exciting as Jesus being raised from the dead?

    4. One day I was visiting a church, and a very large man stood up to give a praise about his witnessing that week. His story was this: he was doing prison ministries, and he saw that the correctional officer in charge was eating a ham sandwich. He told the officer that eating ham would cause her to go to hell. The man, who was about 50-75 pounds overweight, was thankful that God gave him the opportunity to witness to this officer.

      1. Let's break this down by the elements of what we have learned. Did the church member witness to any facts? (He had a health message, but his non-verbal "facts" showed he had a mixed message at best.)

      2. What was the man's legal (persuasion) message? (That the Leviticus 11 command against eating unclean meat was a salvation message. Whether or not this man was right on his underlying theological assumption, this does not seem to have anything to do with the gospel message of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.)

      3. What was the witness of the Holy Spirit? ("Ham man" did not report any.)

    5. Read Matthew 15:16-18. This suggests that the ham man needed to do a little bit more work on the legal (persuasion) side of his evangelism. More importantly, what does it teach us about witnessing? (The important thing is what we say.)

    6. Read Matthew 12:36. What does this suggest about witnessing? (That every word we say is significant.)

      1. Is that how you look at evangelism - as a moment by moment, word by word process?

      2. Consider our large ham man again. What do you think was his hope? (That the correctional officer would repent of eating ham, and be converted to membership in the ham man's church. It did not happen. But, the ham man thought he should mention it during the "praise" period so someone would consider him worthy of praise for at least trying. No doubt this was the only witnessing event the ham man could recall during that week.)

    7. Read Mark 4:13-16. To what does Jesus compare sharing the gospel? (Like words being tossed out along the path of life.)

    8. There is a popular book I've read whose title is "Nudge." It is about government, economics and decision-making. At the same time, there is a less popular religious book I am reading also entitled "Nudge." The religious book is about evangelism. The two books have a common theme: small attempts to influence can have large results. How would you relate the "nudge" idea to the three Bible texts that we have just read: a)"every word counts in the judgment;" b)"what comes out of the mouth is critically important, not goes in the mouth;" and, c) "evangelism is sowing words?" (All of Jesus' statements tell us that our every word has a nudge effect. We either nudge people towards the gospel or away from the gospel.)

    9. How would your outlook on witnessing and evangelism change if you viewed it as a moment by moment thing, rather than the ham man's "one great opportunity every few months to hit a home run and convert somebody?"

  3. The Holy Spirit as Witness

    1. Read Mark 16:19-20. We see the disciples sharing the word. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in this? (It confirms the correctness of the shared word. It corroborates the witness of the person.)

    2. Read John 16:7-11. What work of the Holy Spirit do we see here? (That the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin, guilt, righteousness and judgment.)

    3. Read Acts 8:29-31. What work of the Holy Spirit do we see here? (The Spirit directs Philip to a person who wants to understand the gospel.)

    4. What do these three texts teach us about the role of the Holy Spirit in our witnessing? (That He will bring us to the right people, He will bring conviction, and He will corroborate our testimony.)

      1. Have you experienced this in your life? (My guess is that you have stories to show the Holy Spirit brought you together with a seeker, and brought conviction.)

      2. How many of you have experienced the Holy Spirit corroborating your witness by signs?

        1. As you might have guessed, I thought the "ham man's" witness was unhelpful. I'm rather certain many people have an unhelpful witness, and sometimes I wonder about my own witness. Are you uncertain about the best way to witness?

        2. If we find that our witness has no corroboration by the Holy Spirit either through signs or conviction, should we take that as a sign we are doing this the wrong way?

    5. Friend, we have just started our study about witnessing. Will you do two things? Ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight into witnessing, and study along with us as we explore God's word on the subject?

  4. Next week: Every Member Ministry.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:04-24-2012 1:49 AM)

Lesson 2 - Every Member Ministry

Introduction: Last week we considered the difference between witnessing (the personal story we have to tell) and evangelism (our explanation of the gospel). We discussed the idea of "nudge" evangelism - that we should pay attention to every situation and every word we say so that we nudge people towards the gospel and not away from it. It is hard to get our own story wrong, but some of us are not too sure about how to explain the gospel - or even our proper role in the explanation. Since we could get it wrong, should we leave the "tricky stuff" to the experts - the people we pay to do ministry? Let's dive into our Bible and find out!

  1. Every Member Evangelism?

    1. Read Ephesians 4:1-2. What call is made to every one of us? (To be humble, patient, gentle and loving. To live a life worthy of being called a Christian.)

      1. Is this witnessing?

    2. Read Ephesians 4:3-6. Is ministry something that we do on our own? (No. Unity is a priority.)

    3. Read Ephesians 4:7-8. What role is there, if any, for the individual? (The individual is an important part of the whole. It is the individual, not the whole, who is given "gifts." These gifts ("grace") have "been given as Christ apportioned it.")

      1. I generally think of "grace" as God's gift of salvation to me. Could you have different levels of that? (No. It is hard to imagine that God gives 50% salvation to some. In this context grace must mean other kinds of gifts from God.)

      2. What does that suggest to us about the gospel work? (We are not identical parts of the whole. Instead, we are individuals, with individual gifts. The extent and type of gift vary. But, we are still working as a whole.)

    4. Read Ephesians 4:11-13. Are all evangelists? (Clearly, not.)

      1. Is the title of this study wrong? If only some are given the gift of evangelism, then only some of us are called to evangelize, right? (If the title were "Every Member Evangelism," we would have a problem. But, the title is "Every Member Ministry." That simply means that everyone has a role in ministry.)

      2. Look again at the specific gifts which are listed in these verses. What relationship do these gifts have to the gospel? (Each is geared towards advancing the gospel.)

      3. What is the goal of all of these gifts? (To promote unity in faith, to promote knowledge of Jesus, to create mature Christians and teach people to attain "the fullness of Christ.")

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. How is this list of gifts different than the list we just studied? (The prior list was of jobs. This list is of abilities.)

      1. What is common to the two lists? (These jobs and abilities come from God in a measure determined by God. They are for the good of the entire body of believers.)

    6. What are we to conclude, then, about our personal obligation with regard to ministry? (We need to determine what abilities and gifts God has given us, and then accept the appointment to the appropriate job.)

    7. The list of jobs seems pretty high level to me. The list of abilities seems impressive to me. What if we do not have those gifts and abilities? (Read 1 Corinthians 12:11-13. Verse 11 says "each one" gets a gift. We all have a role, a ministry, of one type or another.)

  2. How Do We Know Our Job?

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-21. I see three types of extremes in the church. Some members say they have no particular role or job because they have no particular ability. Some members want to fill the role of "higher" level jobs, but are not qualified. When they are denied these roles, they become insulted and angry and quit the church. Some members hold high positions and do not rightly value the work of others. What is the solution to these extremes? (Everyone has at least one gift. Everyone is lacking some other gift(s). We need to focus on our gifts, and value those who have other gifts - gifts we might not have.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-31. Is it appropriate for a "foot" to want to become an "eye?" (We are told that we should "eagerly desire the greater gifts." There is nothing wrong with ambition to do great things for God. But, until we are given that gift, those in foot and hand positions should be excellent feet and hands, rather than complaining about not being eyes and noses. The important part is to distinguish between an ambition to advance the Kingdom of God and ambition to advance yourself.)

  3. How Evangelism Works

    1. Read John 4:35. When is the time for us to engage in evangelism? (Now. We need to open our eyes to our nudge evangelism opportunities.)

      1. If your eyes have been closed, how do you open them? (Just being alert is one way. But, the more important way is to ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes.)

    2. Read John 4:36-38. What strikes you as being unusual about this job? (We have completely different roles in evangelism. Few do the entire work. The most exciting work is "harvesting" for eternal life.)

    3. Let's try to put all of this together. We learned that not everyone is an "evangelist" (Ephesians 4:11). We learned that we all have different gifts and abilities (1 Corinthians 12:7-10). We learned that even evangelists have different roles in evangelism. Does that mean that some of us are released from duty when it comes to evangelism?

      1. Let's go back to our last lesson. What is the difference between witnessing and evangelism? (Witnessing is telling our personal story. Evangelism is explaining the gospel story.)

      2. Who is most talented, has the best gift, for telling your story? (You! We are all called to duty to tell those we know and meet about what God has meant to us in our life. We can tell stories about God's blessings and guidance. We can witness about our mistakes in turning from God.)

      3. Should you call in an expert to explain the gospel story? (If you are the "ham man" we discussed last week, then you should call in those with the gift of evangelism. But, everyone should know (or learn) the basic gospel story: that the God of the Universe came down from heaven, humbled Himself to become a human, lived a perfect life in our place, voluntarily died on the cross for our sins, and was raised from the dead to return to heaven. Jesus offers us the opportunity to confess our sins, accept His perfect life in the place of our imperfect life, accept Jesus' death in our place, and live in the promise of a resurrection to eternal life!)

    4. When I was a kid, my Dad did some fairly serious gardening with my "help." From this I know that farming involves all sorts of different jobs. Have you ever visited a church that is in poor repair? Have you ever visited a church that was dirty? Have you ever visited a church that had uncomfortable seats and terrible interior decorating? Do you think that those who work to make the church building clean, in good repair, and comfortable to the bottom and the eyes are evangelists? (Absolutely! If you say, "I like being here," then you are more likely to say, "I want to stay and focus on the message.")

      1. What other kinds of "evangelism" jobs can we find in the church which are not what we traditionally consider to be evangelism? (What about greeters! A friendly, warm greeting makes you glad you came.)

      2. Just as we should be looking at every word and every opportunity for nudge evangelism, should we also look at every aspect of our church and our church program? (Sometimes we don't take the program seriously. How many times is the program the result of last-minute planning, or filled with "last minute" volunteers, or people who seem to have been recruited for the job thirty seconds before they spoke? None of this gives a favorable nudge.)


    5. Friend, there is nothing wrong with saying "I'll leave evangelism to the gifted evangelist." But, you are the gifted one when it comes to your witness. All sorts of work and gifts go into evangelism. You cannot leave your gift and your job to someone else. Will you determine today to focus on your gift(s), and strive for excellence to advance the Kingdom of God?

  4. Next week: Spiritual Gifts for Evangelism and Witnessing.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:04-24-2012 1:50 AM)

Lesson 3 - Spiritual Gifts for Evangelism and Witnessing

Introduction: Is it true that we all have at least one spiritual gift? We said, "yes," last week. But, are we making an unwarranted assumption? To have a spiritual gift you would have to first receive the Holy Spirit, right? The more I consider this, the more I am troubled by this issue. This week our study is going to be a bit different. Instead of us reading the Bible, and me suggesting a conclusion I'm pretty certain I have right, this week we are going to be exploring the answers together. I have a great deal of uncertainty on this issue. Let's jump into our Bible study and see what we can learn about what it means to receive the Holy Spirit!

  1. The Holy Spirit and Jesus

    1. Read Acts 1:1-5. What do we learn about being baptized by the Holy Spirit? (Jesus promised it. We need it. It is not water baptism.)

      1. Why did the disciples need the Holy Spirit?

    2. Let's look at a little history here. Read Matthew 3:11. What is prophesied about Jesus and the Holy Spirit? (That faith in Jesus brings the Holy Spirit as a result.)

    3. Read John 16:5-11. How would you compare the Holy Spirit to Jesus? (Jesus says the Holy Spirit is an upgrade! Jesus says it "is good" that He is going, because the "Comforter" (Holy Spirit) will not come unless He goes. It would not be good for Jesus to go unless the Holy Spirit is "better.")

      1. It seems unthinkable that anything could be better than to have Jesus live with us. What does Jesus mean by this? (Jesus lists the things that the Holy Spirit will do. But, logic tells me that the Holy Spirit is "better" because it can be everywhere at once.)

      2. If the Holy Spirit is the replacement for Jesus living with you, how important is it to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit? (We are sunk without the Holy Spirit. It is essential.

    4. Read John 16:13-15. What does this suggest about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus?

  2. Receiving the Gift

    1. Read Acts 1:12-14. How did the disciples prepare to receive the Holy Spirit? (Constant prayer.)

    2. Read Acts 2:1-4. How did the disciples know that they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? (How could you not know! Sound, fury, fire and a physical manifestation in the disciples.)

      1. Do you know that you have the Holy Spirit in your life?

      2. If you don't know, then the answer is "no," right? Or, is it?

      3. Have you ever experienced sound, fury, fire or a physical manifestation? (Friend, I have to tell you that my question troubles me. I believe the Holy Spirit guides me in writing these lessons, but I've not experienced sound, fury, fire or a physical manifestation.)

    3. Let's look at two other texts that you might not have noticed in the past. Read John 20:19-23. What did Jesus give the disciples? (He breathed on them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it gave them power.)

      1. Was there any physical manifestation in this? (None is recorded.)

      2. Re-read Acts 1:1-2. Who instructed the apostles? (Jesus used the Holy Spirit!)

      3. After Jesus' resurrection, the disciples are twice given help by the Holy Spirit. Why would Jesus later tell them to "wait" to "be baptized with the Holy Spirit?" Acts 1:4-5.

        1. How can they receive the power or gifts of the Holy Spirit without sound, fury or fire?

        2. Should sound, fury and fire be our desire?

  3. A Story of the Gift

    1. Read Acts 6:1-4. What qualification are they looking for in the seven? (Among other things, to be full of the Holy Spirit.)

    2. Read Acts 6:5-6. Notice that Philip is part of the group. It does not say that he was "full of... the Holy Spirit." Why? Isn't that part of the qualifications? (This suggests that there are levels of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and Philip is not at Stephen's level.)

    3. Read Acts 8:5-8. Here we see Philip again. Is he filled with the Holy Spirit?

    4. Read Acts 8:9-11. Philip is performing miracles and Simon is performing miracles. If you were observing Simon, how would you know whether the Holy Spirit was the source of his power?

      1. Read 1 Peter 4:10. What does this teach us about the use of spiritual gifts? (Spiritual gifts are to serve others. Since Simon was glorifying himself, this was a powerful clue that he was not using the power of the Holy Spirit.)

    5. Read Acts 8:12-13. What happened to the sorcerer? (He became a believer! He was baptized.)

    6. Read Acts 8:14-17. What is lacking in Philip's ministry? (The Holy Spirit has not come on the people.)

      1. How do you explain this? Philip is filled with the Holy Spirit. We saw that "hands" were placed on him and he did great miracles. How can those he baptizes not have the gift of the Holy Spirit?

        1. Read Matthew 28:19-20. Surely Philip must have baptized in accord with Jesus' baptismal instructions. Don't those instructions guarantee baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit?

      2. Look again at Acts 8:17. Could only Peter and John lay hands on the people to give them the Holy Spirit?

        1. Was Philip excluded? If so, why would someone who was filled with the Holy Spirit be excluded?

        2. If Philip was not excluded, why didn't he lay hands on the people he baptized?

    7. Read Acts 8:18-19. Simon sees other believers who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Simon has a great goal, right? He wants to share the Holy Spirit with others.

    8. Read Acts 8:20-23. One way we measure devotion to God is how we use our money. Simon wants to give up his money to get the Holy Spirit. What is wrong with that? (Can you buy God? The Holy Spirit is a gift, like salvation. We cannot demand the Holy Spirit, or "trade" anything for it.)

      1. Why does Peter say Simon is excluded from this gift? (He is bitter and captive to sin.)

        1. Can we be excluded from having the Holy Spirit in our life for these same kinds of reasons?

        2. Is Simon without any spiritual gifts?

    9. Let's review to see how the Holy Spirit comes to us. Re-read Acts 8:15-17. How do we receive what Simon so desperately wanted? (Again, we see that prayer is key. However, Peter and John are also somehow important to this.)

    10. If you read further down in this chapter, you will see the amazing story about how the Holy Spirit directs Philip to the Ethiopian State Treasurer. How can Philip have such direct leading by the Holy Spirit, yet those he baptizes have not received the Holy Spirit? (When we were first introduced to this Philip, we are informed (by inference) that he has less of the gift of the Holy Spirit than Stephen. Now, it seems that he has less of the gift (or somehow a different gift) than Peter and John.)

  4. Full Power Holy Spirit Now?

    1. Read Joel 2:28-29. Who is eligible to receive the Holy Spirit in power? (All of us.)

    2. Read Acts 2:14-17. How does Peter explain the sound, fury and fire of the Holy Spirit? (He says this is a fulfillment of Joel 2.)

      1. Some say that today we do not have the possibility of "full-power" Holy Spirit. Is that true? (If Acts 2 is "last days," we are living in the last days!)

    3. Friend, what about you? Has the Holy Spirit come upon you? Has it come in power? If not, why not pray that will happen?

  5. Next week: Evangelism and Witnessing as a Lifestyle.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:04-24-2012 1:51 AM)

Lesson 4 - Evangelism and Witnessing as a Lifestyle

Introduction: Anyone who looks honestly at the world and at God's standard knows that there is a huge gap between the two. As a witness, as an evangelist, you stand between those two. You are the connection between the world and Christianity. Between the world and eternal life. There is at least one substantial problem with where you are standing. Jesus tells us in John 17:14 that the world hates us. How are you going to be a proper connection when you are dealing with hate? How do we connect with hate? Let's race into our Bible study and see what we can learn!

  1. Jesus' Battle Plan

    1. Read John 17:1-4. Jesus gives this wonderful prayer that describes what He has done on earth and His plan for the future. What is Jesus' main mission? (To bring glory to God.)

      1. How does this text say Jesus brought glory to God? (By completing the work God gave Him to do.)

      2. What is that work? (It is the bridge. To bring those in the world over to eternal life.)

      3. How does a person cross this bridge? (Eternal life comes from knowing Jesus.)

      4. If we are Jesus' apprentices, what clue do we have as to our own work? (We need to bring glory to God by helping people to know God. Helping people to cross this bridge.)

    2. Read John 17:13-14. How did Jesus help us to know God? (By giving us God's word.)

      1. What do you think it means that Jesus gave us God's word? (John 1:1 comes to mind. Jesus is the expression of God. Jesus' life and teachings help us to know God.)

      2. What is the reaction of the world to the word of God? (The world hates them.)

      3. How do you feel about being hated? (Jesus says He wants to give us joy!)

      4. How does this work? They hate, you laugh? (If you understand that the reason for the hate is that you have the truth, you can feel good about life.)

    3. In John 17:14 Jesus is talking about His instruction, His word. What did we learn about our continuing education last week? (Read John 16:7-13. In our work as a connection between pagans and eternal life, in our work as apprentices to Jesus, He did not leave us an instruction book. He left us the Holy Spirit. Just as we would consult with Jesus, so we should consult with the Holy Spirit. Remember it was the Holy Spirit who worked out the book!)

    4. Read John 17:15-18. What else do we have to contend with, in addition to hate? (The evil one.)

      1. What does the "evil one" have in mind for us? (Whatever it is, Jesus has in mind protecting us from the evil one.)

      2. What is one of our main defenses? (Jesus prays that we will be sanctified (set apart) by the words of God. Again, this points to the Holy Spirit as critical to our defense.)

    5. Let's read three important texts: Ephesians 6:12, Matthew 9:36 and Luke 14:26.

      1. The word translated "hate" in Luke 14:26 is the same word Jesus used to describe the attitude of the world towards us. How does that shape our attitude towards the world? (The "hate" may merely be a preference for something else.)

      2. What characterizes most of the people we encounter? (They are helpless sheep. They may not prefer us, but we need to have compassion on them.)

      3. How does the existence of the evil one and his helpers help us to have a proper perspective on witnessing and pagan hatred? (While there are some truly evil people out there, our struggle is in general not against people, but against evil. This means the hatred is not personal between you and pagans. Rather, it is personal between God and Satan. You are just part of the bigger picture. You are mostly dealing with confused people who have other priorities.)

    6. Read John 13:34-35. As we stand as a connection between the pagan world and eternal life, what attitude are we to have?

      1. At least in this verse, the love command is directed towards fellow believers. How should we relate to fellow believers who are joining us as guides on the bridge to eternal life? (We will face hate from the world in our bridge work, but we should receive love (and give love) from our co-laborers.)

    7. Let's review. As witnesses and evangelists, we are guides to the bridge between the world and eternal life. Our work is to bring glory to God. We do this by helping people to know God. While our work is done in the middle of a battlefield, in which the evil forces on the other side hate us, our mission is for people who are not so much hostile as confused.

  2. Mission Story

    1. Read Mark 5:1-5. How do you think this fellow affected local property values? (Negatively. Would you want to live in an area where a crazy man was loose? Imagine hearing him cry out at night. Luke 8:27 adds that this fellow did not wear clothes.)

    2. Read Mark 5:6-7. How do you think the disciples reacted to this crazy, naked man who could rip chains in two, running towards them? (I suspect they were running the opposite direction. Their necks were probably not as tough as chains. Plus, how much could they take? In the previous chapter (Mark 4) they barely escaped drowning. This ministry stuff led to an action-packed life!)

      1. Have you seen the bumper sticker "Hate is not a family value?" What is really being said? (This is a product of the homosexual rights lobby. The suggestion is that if you believe homosexuality is wrong, you are a hater.)

      2. What false accusation did the crazy man hurl at Jesus? (That Jesus was a torturer. Jesus was cruel.)

    3. Read Mark 5:8. Why did the crazy man say this? (It was the demon inside him. Jesus told the evil spirit to leave. Jesus distinguished between the sinner and the sin. However, the evil spirit saw it all as one thing and falsely called Jesus someone who hated so much that He would torture a person. Don't be surprised if you are called names by evil spirits.)

    4. Read Mark 5:9-13. What do demons have in mind for your life? (They want to drown you.)

      1. Can they? (Not without permission.)

    5. Read Mark 5:14-17. What did the town people, those whose property values had just increased, ask Jesus to do? (Leave!)

      1. Why? (Their pig values had dropped.)

        1. What does this say about them and your ministry? (That people value their stuff over the salvation of other people.)

      2. Notice that these verses also say that people were afraid. Why? Jesus had just eliminated one obvious threat! (Think of the supernatural events that had just taken place. This was a huge battle between God and the forces of evil. The people were naturally afraid.)

  3. Nudge Evangelism - the Letter

    1. Read 2 Corinthians 3:2 and Mark 5:18-19. What is the formerly crazy man? (He is a "letter" from God.)

      1. Wasn't the crazy guy a little short on theological training? Could he have used a few laps around the lake in the boat with Jesus before being sent on this mission? (He was a witness. He was telling his own story. He did not need evangelistic training for this, because he knew his story better than anyone else. You know your story the best of anyone.)

    2. Read Mark 5:20. Was the man an effective witness? (The people were amazed.)

    3. Read 2 Corinthians 3:3. How often is our letter "mailed?" (Continuously. Our job is to continuously stand as a guide to the bridge between the pagan world and eternal life. Everything we do should be a "nudge" towards eternal life.)

      1. Who gives you daily instructions on how you nudge? Who is critical to the writing on your letter of life? ("The Spirit of the Living God." We cannot effectively minister without the Holy Spirit writing the letter of our life!)

    4. Friend, will you commit in everything to be a guide to the bridge, to be a letter, that connects and informs the pagan world about eternal life? It is for the glory of God!

  4. Next week: Sequential Evangelism and Witnessing.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:05-27-2012 2:01 AM)

Lesson 5 - Sequential Evangelism and Witnessing

Introduction: How complex is this witnessing stuff? Last week we learned that the demon-possessed, naked, crazy guy was sent to witness to his town after Jesus cast out his demons. That guy did not have an advanced education in witnessing, yet Jesus sent him out right away! The title to our lesson indicates there is an order (sequence) to evangelism. Let's jump into our Bible study and explore this idea that math and order have something to do with effective evangelism!

  1. Milk and Meat Loaf

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-2. Would you be insulted if Paul wrote this to you?

      1. What kind of teachings are "milk" and what kind of teachings are "solid food?" (Solid food, according to the Bible, is food the world is not ready to accept.)

      2. My wife tells me about one of her aunts who attended church, wanted to become a member, but would not because the church prohibited her from being baptized into membership unless she gave up her jewelry. She was not ready to give up jewelry. She never joined the church and ultimately lost interest in it. Was the local church guilty of a milk/solid food mistake?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 3:3-4. What is the "milk problem" for these Corinthians? (Jealously and quarreling with regard to teachers. "I'm better than you because I follow a better teacher!")

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. What is Paul's answer to this problem? (To explain to the "milk" people that they do not have a proper understanding of the role of the teacher and the role of God.)

      1. Have you noticed this issue with new or immature believers - that they get caught up in controversies and disputes that reflect a type of pride based on a lack of knowledge?

      2. Here are two examples from my teaching past:

        1. Perfect strangers or new believers come to my class and rebuke me because I teach from the NIV instead of the KJV.

        2. A first-time visitor to the class points out that I was wearing jewelry. She thinks I need adult supervision.

      3. Do these examples reflect a superior attitude? (These new people are apparently thinking: "Whoever taught me is better than this teacher, so I will rebuke him!" None of the KJV people who talked with me later had even a rudimentary knowledge of the real issues at stake. My "jewelry" was a plastic Ten Commandments bracelet. See Deuteronomy 6:6-8.)

    4. We've discussed the problem. We have the example in the Bible and the two examples I gave. What "milk" response should be made? If you have to start with milk, something that the world can accept, then how do you deal with the excited pride of milk level Christians? (If we review 1 Corinthians 3:3-8 we see Paul doing two things. First, even though they are "milk" level Christians, he rebukes them. Second, he explains to them the proper view of things.)

    5. Read 1 Peter 2:1-3. Since our lesson is about order, is "milk drinking" the first level of evangelism? (Notice how the Holy Spirit and the student work together on this. The first order of business is the confession of sin. The second is a desire for good spiritual teaching. This requires a decision of the student. The prompting and conviction of the Holy Spirit are essential.)

    6. Let's look at another practical problem. If we are to start out with milk, what specific, practical approach to evangelism is suggested?

      1. Many years ago, my church was debating how it could best reach the community. One group in the church thought we should pass out a book on the life of Jesus. Another group thought we should pass out a book about the history of the conflict between good and evil and prophecy about the future. Which do you think should have been passed out and why? (The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is milk. The other book seems a lot more like meat loaf.)

    7. Read Matthew 25:34-36 and Luke 9:11. Is there another aspect to the "milk first" approach that we have not discussed? An approach suggested in these verses? (Yes! Going up to a disinterested stranger and trying to convert the stranger is difficult because you have no credibility. The first step is to make strangers into friends. Helping others is a way to turn strangers into friends. Once they become friends, we have the credibility to talk with them about the gospel.)

    8. Let's review. There is an order to evangelism. The first step is to be a helpful friend. The second is acceptance of Jesus and repentance of sin. The third is to teach things the new believer will accept, and hold the more difficult teachings for a later time. During this process, we need to be on the watch for pride and error, and not be afraid to gently rebuke error and explain the truth.

  2. Meat Loaf

    1. Let's return to 1 Corinthians. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10. How does Paul view his work? (He is an "expert" who is laying a "foundation.")

      1. What warning does he give to more mature Christians? (Just as milk Christians can be arrogant, so meat loaf Christians have to be careful about how they build.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 3:11. What is the solid food, the meat loaf, that must be kept central in all teaching? (Jesus! We just talked about how Jesus is milk, but He is also meat loaf. We cannot exhaust our study of what He has done for us. Teaching which focuses on other, minor, issues is not a proper foundation.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 3:12-13. Is there a difference in the quality of the work of Christian teachers?

      1. How can we tell gold-standard teachers from straw-standard teachers? (Examination (light) will reveal it. Fire (tests) will reveal it.)

      2. What if you are a teacher and (like me) some new person rebukes you? (You need to seriously consider the rebuke to determine whether it is uneducated pride or truth.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 3:14-15. If you are a teacher, and you read this, aren't you glad! Who loses with a straw-standard teacher? (The student! The teacher survives, but just barely.)

      1. Who gains with a gold-standard teacher? (The student and the teacher.)

    5. Read John 14:15-21. What foundational, meat loaf, truths do we find in these verses? (The Holy Spirit is essential to our Christian walk. Obedience is essential to our Christian walk. Obedience shows that we love God.)

  3. Meat Loaf Test

    1. Read John 6:35-37. We now have an example of solid food. (Jesus calls it bread instead of meat loaf.) Why does Jesus compare Himself to bread? (You need bread to live. There is a natural progression. We start out with milk, we progress to meat loaf.)

    2. Read John 6:41-42. Should Jesus have given them milk instead of this meat loaf?

    3. Read John 6:43-51. How would you characterize Jesus teaching here - milk or meat loaf? (Accepting that Jesus is God is foundational. It has to be "milk" teaching.)

    4. Read John 6:52-57. Is this milk or meat loaf? (I think this is more advanced teaching. This is meat loaf.)

    5. Read John 6:66. What does this teach us? That Jesus made a mistake by not sticking with milk messages? (No. This teaches us that even if we follow the correct progression of help, milk and meat loaf, we are going to have people who cannot accept the truth. More milk is not the answer. Instead, we must realize that God gives us free choice, and for most the Kingdom of Heaven is not a priority.)

    6. Friend, will you be conscious of the order for evangelism? First help, then milk, and then meat loaf. Why not start today?

  4. Next week: Personal Evangelism and Witnessing.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:05-27-2012 2:03 AM)

Lesson 6 - Personal Evangelism and Witnessing

Introduction: Of all of the people you would like to win to Christ, which one is most important to you? My bet is that your answer is a member of your family! Sometimes I observe that people are nicer to those outside their family then they are to their family. Does that make any sense? In this lesson we will look at how we can be a witness to our family, and then consider whether those principles are the same for personal witnessing to those around us. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Attitude Adjustment

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:18-21. Are you and I called to take a beating? (That is what the text says! Actually, it says we are called to "endure" when we take a beating for doing good.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 2:23-24. Why are we called to take a beating? (Because Jesus, as our example, took a beating for our sins! His wounds healed us.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 3:1-2. What does Peter mean when he says, "in the same way?" (Peter is referring to what he had just said; slaves should accept beatings because Jesus took a beating for us.)

      1. This hits a very open nerve for me (and many others). When I hear of a man who beats his wife or children, I feel like punching him. Men who beat or abuse their wives are despicable worms. If you attack someone who cannot fight back, like your wife, your children, your employees, your subordinates or the wait staff at the restaurant, you are a bully. How can Peter suggest that wives take a beating?

    4. Let's look more closely at Jesus, our example, to better understand this attitude. Re-read 1 Peter 2:24. Why was Jesus beaten? (He bore our sins. He was the Lamb of God.)

      1. Was Jesus regularly being beaten during His life? (No. He was only beaten at the end.)

      2. When Peter writes, "in the same way be submissive to your husbands," would this mean enduring regular beatings? (No. That is not what Jesus suffered. More importantly, Jesus had a very important goal in mind, saving us. If a wife took a beating to save her husband, then I would see a parallel. But, if a wife takes a beating just to be beaten, then this is not "in the same way!")

    5. If Peter is not talking about beatings, what is he talking about? (The heart of Jesus' mission was to give Himself up for us. I think that is the attitude which Peter is urging. Self-denial.)

    6. Read 1 Peter 3:3-6. With this background, what is Peter saying about beauty, jewelry, hairstyles and clothing? (I don't think he is saying very much about what a woman is wearing. He is saying true beauty comes from having the same attitude towards your husband that Jesus has towards us.)

      1. Notice that Abraham's wife, Sarah, is mentioned by name. What is this text saying about Sarah and jewelry? (Read Genesis 24:51-53. If Abraham is giving jewelry to his future daughter-in-law, it seems unlikely that his wife does not wear jewelry. Instead, this confirms that Peter is talking about the importance of beauty coming from attitude, rather than adornment.)

      2. What might our jewelry say about our attitude towards others? (Most of what is called "jewelry" in America today is not. It is cheap metal and plastic that anyone can afford. However, if you are wearing jewels for the purpose of saying that you are better than others, this is contrary to Jesus' attitude of self-sacrifice.)

  2. Personal Family Evangelism

    1. So far we have seen that a wife should witness to her husband by having a self-sacrificing attitude. Read 1 Peter 3:7. What kind of attitude is required from a husband who wants to witness to his wife?

      1. Notice that Peter starts out, "in the same way." What same way? (The same way that Jesus gave up His life for us. The same way that a wife is unselfish with her husband. Husbands have a "same way" obligation.)

    2. Read Colossians 3:19. What is required of husbands? (Peter tells husbands to be considerate and respectful. Paul tells them to love their wives. The direction against being "harsh," is clearly a prohibition against hitting the wife.)

    3. Read Colossians 3:21 and Ephesians 6:4. What attitude should parents have towards their children? (Nothing the parent does should make the child bitter or exasperated. I think the same kind of self-sacrificing attitude that Jesus has towards us is the best evangelism tool for members of our family, including our children.)

  3. Personal Community Evangelism

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:11-12. What is important to evangelizing the world? (Right living.)

      1. Does this mean that pagans will not charge us with wrong-doing? (No. They will make false accusations, but we prove them wrong by our deeds.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 2:13-17. What attitude are we to have towards the world? (We submit ourselves to authority. We show by our lives that God is to be praised.)


    1. As you consider what we have discussed, is there a common thread for evangelizing our family and evangelizing the world? (Yes! The common thread is self-denial. Your life should bless others.)

      1. How does this compare with the attitude of the world? (The world pursues self-aggrandizement. Christians get the attention of those around them by being the opposite of the world. An "opposite" that blesses those around you. That nudges them towards the reason for your attitude.)

  1. An Example

    1. Read John 1:32-34. John the Baptist is speaking about Jesus. What witness does John give about Jesus? (That Jesus is the Son of God.)

      1. Is there any self-denial in John's statement?

    2. Read John 1:35-37. What motivated these two disciples to seek to learn more about Jesus? (What John said.)

    3. Read John 1:38-42. What is Andrew's first priority? (To tell a family member about Jesus.)

      1. How does Andrew's action fit our self-denial discussion? (Instead of staying with Jesus longer, Andrew seeks out his brother to share the good news.)

    4. Read John 1:43-46. Assume that Nathanael said this about your important discovery. What is the self-important answer? (To argue with Nathanael to show him that you are right. Instead, Philip simply says, "Come and see.")

    5. Read John 1:47-48. We can assume that Jesus also knew what Nathanael said. How would you like it if someone said to you "Nothing good comes from your family, town, etc?" What kind of self-important response would you make?

      1. Instead of saying something positive about Himself or something negative about Nathanael, what does Jesus say? (He compliments Nathanael. Instead of thinking of the personal insult, Jesus lifts up Nathanael. This is self-denial.)

    6. Read John 1:49. How well does the self-denial approach to evangelism work? (Nathanael is immediately converted.)

    7. Read John 1:50-51. Wait a minute! Is Jesus telling us that "magic" converted Nathanael instead of self-denial? (Jesus approach to Nathanael was to focus on him. "Magic" (the power of God) followed and assisted in the conversion.)

    8. Friend, are you focused on others, or focused on yourself? When I perform marriages, I include a line from my own marriage ceremony: "Every day wake up and say, 'What can I do today for my spouse?'" Will you ask the Holy Spirit to give you the attitude of self-sacrifice, the attitude that will win your family, friends and the world to Jesus?

  2. Next week: Corporate Evangelism and Witnessing.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:05-27-2012 2:05 AM)

Lesson 7 - Corporate Evangelism and Witnessing

Introduction: Adam Smith was born about 200 years ago. He began his life as a minister, but ended up writing one of the most important books on modern economics: the Wealth of Nations. His thesis, bluntly put, is that your selfish desire to make more money improves the economic standards of those around you. Isn't envy, greed and covetousness sin? While I have no doubt that Adam Smith is correct, I've often wondered how his theory can be reconciled with faith. What complicates the issue is that God, who told us not to covet, continually puts rewards in front of us. He does it with our money(Malachi 3:10)and He does it with our actions (Matthew 25:34-36). Should envy, greed and covetousness be part of successful corporate evangelism? What place does pride of opinion about our own religious convictions play in evangelism? Let's dive into our Bibles and learn more!

  1. Motivation

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 4:4-6. What does Solomon say about Adam Smith's view of economics? (He agrees with Smith! "All labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor.")

    2. Read Philippians 1:15-18. How does Paul view those who are spreading the gospel out of envy and rivalry? (He says it does not matter!)

    3. Read Matthew 6:2, Matthew 6:5 and Matthew 6:16. What is the reward for those who promote the gospel out of envy and rivalry? (They get what they seek - self promotion - and that is all.)

    4. Read Revelation 22:12-14. What reward do we seek? (Eternal life. To enter in through the gates of the holy city.)

    5. If we are all seeking a reward of some sort, does the difference in our motives matter?

    6. Let's revisit Philippians 1:15-16. What motivation should we have? (Love and goodwill.)

      1. What if our motives are mixed? (We are still promoting the gospel (a good thing), but we need to be alert to our motivation because of the vast difference in the reward.)

  2. Rules of Engagement: The Theology of Two and Three

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. I use this in weddings, and I think that is its primary application. However, how does this apply to evangelism? (Read Luke 10:1-3. Clearly, Jesus suggests working in pairs.)

    2. Read Matthew 18:19-20. Is there a "theology of two," and thus a problem with "one?" (There is certainly an advantage with two. Both in witnessing and in prayer.)

    3. Why is God "three" if such advantage lies with two? (Re-read Matthew 18:20. How many do you see here? You see at least two and God. That makes three. Two together need the Holy Spirit to make their effort complete.)

    4. Read Romans 12:4-5. What number comes to mind when you think of the design of the body? (Two. Two eyes, ears, arms, hands, legs, feet. Even our one nose has two nostrils.)

      1. Why do you think God designed us that way?

      2. Why do you think the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to describe the church as being like a body? (In the body there is a primacy of "two.")

      3. Have you seen "lone wolf" Christians? (In my religious liberty litigation, those who are not connected with a church (a body) are generally those who are off on some odd path, or are not really sincere in their religious beliefs.)

    5. Let's contemplate the "two by two" rule of engagement and the problem of being motivated by envy and rivalry. What impact does the two by two rule have on the motivation problem? (It helps to cure the problem. If two are working together, then it is hard to take personal glory. Your partner may be able to recognize and correct the selfish motivation that you might not see.)

  3. Evangelism and the Church

    1. Read Acts 15:1. Is this evangelism? Or, is this pride of opinion? (Certainly it is evangelism in the eyes of many Christians. My church has a teaching that you have not yet accepted, so I will witness to you and evangelize you on this point of greater knowledge.)

      1. How many protestant churches are named after a doctrine they think other Christians need to know or a religious leader that they think is superior to others?

    2. Read Acts 15:2. What did Paul and Barnabas think about the "brothers" witnessing? (They disagreed that this was the correct witness. It was a "sharp dispute.")

      1. How did the believers decide that this should be resolved? (They would consult with the "apostles and elders about this question.")

        1. What does this teach us about evangelism beyond the rule of two and three? (It shows that we should consult with the greater body of believers.)

    3. Read Acts 15:4-5. Was there agreement between Paul and some of the leaders at headquarters? (They were welcomed, but there was a debate at headquarters.)

    4. Read Acts 15:6-11. How would you describe the process of resolving this controversy over witnessing? (People get to say what they think. Peter invokes the actions of God to make his point.)

      1. Read Acts 1:8-9. Jesus' last instruction to His disciples was to evangelize the world. How could there be any doubt about going to the Gentiles?

      2. Is Peter missing the issue? Isn't the issue circumcision instead of evangelizing the Gentiles? (Peter is saying more than it is right to go to the Gentiles. He is saying that God accepted the Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit and justifying them by faith - even though they were not circumcised.)

        1. Is there a lesson in this for us: that fellow Christians might not accept our unique views on what the Bible requires, but the acid test is whether God gives them the Holy Spirit and justifies them by grace?

    5. Read Acts 15:12. How did people of various viewpoints treat each other in this debate? (With respect.)

    6. Read Acts 15:13-21. What are the grounds for James's "judgment?" (The leading of God on this issue, both from the Bible and in the lives of people.)

      1. What reason does James give for the rules (see verse 20)that remain? (God, speaking through Moses, requires at least these things?)

        1. Moses and God actually required more of Gentiles. Read Exodus 12:48 and Ezekiel 44:9. What is James saying? (James' words will offend the Christians with Jewish backgrounds. My best guess is that he is trying to limit the offense.)

      2. What does this suggest about church authority? Do you understand James to be making the decision for the church on the evangelism message?

    7. Read 1 Corinthians 8:7-13. Two questions. If James is handing down a ruling for the Church, has Paul just overruled him in part? Or, are Paul and James in complete agreement, and the only reason why James prohibited the things listed in Acts 15:20 is to avoid offending the faith of "weak" Jewish converts? (The most logical answer seems to be that James and Paul agree, giving offense is actually the problem. However, that logic evaporates when you notice that Acts 15:20 includes "sexual immorality." I cannot imagine that adultery is fine for "strong" Christians.)

    8. Read Acts 15:22-29. What does this letter say about the authority of James? (The authority in the letter is "the apostles and elders." This shows that it was the group which was the authority behind the decision. The letter itself shows that it was intended to be a ruling.)

    9. We have (or at least I have) not completely understood all of Acts 15. What can we understand from our study? (That God suggests that our corporate evangelistic work be a group effort. The group may be as small as two, but we are strengthened by working together. Working together is an antidote to pride.)

    10. Friend, will you determine today to find a partner and a group for your evangelistic efforts? You should still nudge those around you towards the gospel in your day-to-day living. But, when you engage in formal outreach, you need at least a partner.

  4. Next week: Equipping for Evangelism and Witnessing.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:05-27-2012 2:06 AM)

Lesson 8 - Equipping for Evangelism and Witnessing

Introduction: Have you ever made a spur of the moment decision to do something? How did that work out? Often, last-minute decisions are a bad idea because they give us little time to prepare. If we go for a hike, we need to consider what kind of clothes to wear, what kind of shoes we need, and whether we need something to repel bugs or the sun. We might even need a GPS! If we have a work project, we find the tools and supplies that we need to accomplish the task. If we decide on a certain career, we go to school to prepare for it. Is witnessing and evangelism any different? If we want to be effective, we need to prepare. Ephesians 6 is a great chapter about how to prepare. But, this week we will look at other ways to prepare. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Fishers of Men

    1. Read Mark 1:14-18. If you were Jesus, and the time had come to preach the good news that you had come, would you choose these two? Do they strike you as being "prepared?"

      1. What are the positive aspects of choosing fishermen? (In a general sense, they were in the "catching" business. They were also willing.)

      2. What are the negative aspects of choosing fisherman? (No theological training. They seemed to know nothing about the business of evangelizing.)

      3. What did Jesus promise to do for them? (If they will follow Him, He "will make [them] fishers of men.")

    2. What hope does this historical account give us? (We have previously discussed the issue of natural and spiritual gifts, but this shows us that Jesus can train us for witnessing and evangelism. Jesus will prepare us.)

  2. The Think Big Training

    1. Read Matthew 14:14-15. Would you make such a suggestion? This is being practical, right? This is a person who is paying attention to reality. A person who is not so heavenly minded that he is of no earthly good (to paraphrase a popular saying). Right?

      1. Is there anything wrong with this suggestion? (No. It makes sense.)

    2. Read Matthew 14:16. Recall that Jesus told them that He would make them fishers of men. Is this fisher of men training - being asked to carry part of the load of helping others?

    3. Read Matthew 14:17. Is this fisher of men training - to be logical and reasonable?

      1. Look again at the response the disciples made to Jesus. Are they "following Jesus?" (Remember, Jesus said "follow Me" and I will make you fishers of men. They are not following Jesus, they are questioning Jesus.)

    4. Read Matthew 14:18-21. What lesson should the disciples have learned about becoming fishers of men? (Jesus' miracles extend to practical things. Jesus could have reasonably sent the crowd away to go eat. But, God encourages us to "think big" - even when it comes to practical things that are not strictly needed, but which help to advance the Kingdom of God.)

  3. Making the Main Thing the Main Thing

    1. Let's continue on with the training! Read Matthew 15:1-2. My hope is that the disciples washed their hands before they started handing out all that bread and fish! Do you agree with the religious leaders?

    2. Read Matthew 15:3-6. Have you ever done what Jesus appears to be doing? Someone criticizes you and in response you criticize them for something they do wrong?

      1. Have you ever heard that two wrongs do not make a right?

      2. Have you any defense for Jesus' defense? (The hand washing thing is a tradition of men. The failure to help your elderly parents is a violation of God's law - the Ten Commandments. Jesus is saying that you criticize my followers over small matters, while you teach people to violate the Ten Commandments.)

    3. Read Matthew 15:7-11. What lesson is Jesus teaching for those who want to be fishers of men? (That we should not get bogged down with the teachings of humans. We need to keep God's requirements front and center.)

      1. How do we do that? (Jesus teaches that this is a "heart" thing. A heart for others does not get bogged down in the petty religious requirements created by humans.)

    4. Read Matthew 15:12-14. Why did the disciples care about giving offense? (I don't like to offend people. Jesus was generally against giving offense (Matthew 17:27). But, when someone is leading others astray, you can (and should) leave them alone. Some fish get tossed back in the water because they are dangerous to others in the boat.)

    5. Read Matthew 15:15-20. Peter asks Jesus for an explanation of this, and Jesus says, "How dumb are you?" Is there a lesson in this for us? (The point we are about to study is not a close theological question. If you disagree about Jesus' conclusion, you are a dope.)

      1. In our evangelism, what should be the target of our efforts? (The mind.)

        1. Why? (It is the source of the evil in our lives.)

        2. Why do you think that the first thing Jesus lists is "evil thoughts?" (Our thoughts are the foundation for our evil deeds.)

        3. What would you do to target the mind? (We should work on changing opinions, not on changing the outward appearance. Our main goal is to change hearts, not change diets or clothes. A change in heart brings change in the externals.)

  4. The Faith Component

    1. Read Matthew 17:14-16. What report do we have on the evangelism efforts of Jesus' disciples? (Fail! The disciples tried to heal the boy, but they failed.)

    2. Read Matthew 17:17-18. Who is being addressed here? The father? The boy? The disciples? (I think the disciples.)

    3. Read Matthew 17:19. Why did the disciples come to Jesus privately? (This confirms they were the target of Jesus' words. They came privately because they did not understand why they failed. They did not understand how Jesus' words applied to them. They did not want to be publically humiliated again.)

    4. Read Matthew 17:20. What was wrong? (A lack of faith.)

      1. How can we relate this to our first story - the one about feeding the crowd? (Jesus asks us to have faith that nothing is impossible for us. Just a small amount of faith can do great things. The failure to have faith shows us to be an "unbelieving and perverse generation.)

      2. How do we reconcile this instruction with our desire to do God's will? Don't we normally say, when someone is not healed, "It was not God's will?" We don't say, "We are a wicked and perverse generation that lacks even a mustard seed of faith - that is why this person died." Which should we say?

        1. Could there be any doubt about God's will in the situation of this boy?

    5. Read John 15:5-7. Jesus again promises to give us what we ask, if we satisfy certain conditions. How does Jesus describe the condition? (Remaining in Jesus describes faith. We have to be connected to Jesus. This connection should give us an insight into His will.)

      1. I always get worried when we use terms like being "connected" to Jesus. What does that mean, as a practical matter? (Read John 15:26. This connection is the presence of the "Counselor" - the Holy Spirit.)

      2. Is your life filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit on who to heal?

    6. Friend, we need Jesus to make us fishers of men. Part of that training is to think big, to understand and be focused on what is important, and to keep a solid faith connection with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give us the power and direction to do the great and important things to advance the Kingdom of God.

  5. Next week: Releasing Into Ministry.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:05-27-2012 2:08 AM)

Lesson 9 - Releasing Into Ministry

Introduction: Last week, we discussed preparing for evangelism. This week we start moving our thinking forward into evangelism. I've noticed that when I take a journey it is helpful to have a destination in mind. When our family used to travel by motor home, I liked the destination to be a bit fuzzy - so that we could enjoy every day and not feel pressured by time. I'm not sure fuzzy thinking is helpful when it comes to evangelism goals. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see if we can sharpen our vision about God's directions for evangelism!

  1. Setting the Compass

    1. Read Luke 9:46. Is this how we should approach ministry? Is our destination greatness?

    2. Read Luke 9:47-48. The point Jesus is trying to make is not immediately obvious to me. Let's work through this. If you were a very important person, who would you want to meet? (Other very important people.)

      1. Who does Jesus say we should welcome? (Children. Meaning those who have no importance in society, politics or business. A child cannot help advance you in any of those areas.)

      2. Let's test our last conclusion. Is the child Jesus is pointing to of no help in society, politics or business? (This child is of great help.)

        1. How? (Because greeting the child is greeting Jesus. Greeting Jesus is greeting God, the most important Being in the universe.)

      3. What destination lesson is to be learned about evangelism? (No one is too insignificant. When we evangelize unimportant people, we help those who are friends of God.)

      4. Let's revisit our fighting disciples. Why would they want to be the greatest? (They would be given special honor and access.)

        1. How does Jesus answer that? (Special honor and access come from helping the friends of God.)

    3. Read Exodus 18:13-14. Why do you think Moses sat as the supreme judge? (Perhaps it was a touch of the spirit of the disciples. But, see Numbers 12:3 (Moses was the most humble man on earth).)

    4. Read Exodus 18:15-16. How important was Moses' work?

    5. Read Exodus 18:17-22. Probably Moses was not doing all of this work because of pride, but I suspect many of the current church leaders have pride as part of their motivation. What does this text teach us? (That we need to teach others to share the load. If we hold the position because of the "glory," we need to share it.)

      1. What does this suggest about organization in evangelism? (Part of the goal is to be organized.)

  2. Evaluating the Help.

    1. Read Luke 9:49. Is this fellow an evangelist? (He is advancing the Kingdom of God, because he does his miracles in the name of Jesus.)

      1. What is the concern of the disciples? (He was not chosen to be part of their group - the group that has been arguing about who is the greatest.)

    2. Read Luke 9:50. What does this teach us about actual evangelism? (Don't be critical of the work of others. Unless they are "against" the gospel, do not oppose them.)

    3. Read Matthew 7:15. What warning do we have here about some people who claim to be advancing the gospel? (Some are false. Some are ferocious wolves.)

    4. Read Matthew 7:16-20. How does this help us understand Jesus' statement about those who are "against" the gospel? (We can accurately evaluate those who are "against" the gospel by the fruit of their work.)

      1. What was the "fruit" of the fellow who was the target of the disciples? (Re-read Luke 9:49. He was driving out demons!)

    5. What destination theme do we find so far in these texts? (When we greet the least important, we greet Jesus. When we try to do all the work ourselves, we are not sharing opportunities. When we claim to have the only true ministry, we oppose the work of God. Many are producing good fruit. I think the overall goal is to not take ourselves too seriously. Instead, focus on the work of evangelism.)

  3. The Directive

    1. Read Luke 10:1-3. Is this being released into ministry?

      1. How did they decide on their destination? (These were towns Jesus planned to visit.)

        1. How would you follow this directive today? (First, I would ask the Holy Spirit to lead me to where God wanted. If I did not get a clear word from the Holy Spirit, I would look to see where God is working.)

      2. For what were they told to pray? (That God would send other workers.)

    2. Read Luke 10:4. Some commentaries taught me that greetings of this time were long and drawn out. Not the quick "Hi" we use in America. Thus, Jesus tells us that when we go on a specific mission we should focus on our evangelistic work, and not get distracted.

      1. What about the other part of the directive: why should we be completely unprepared? Isn't it prudent to take money, credit cards and an extra pair of shoes?

      2. If you could not take money or credit cards, what would be the alternative? (You would have to depend on God. You would have to depend on God influencing others to help you.)

    3. Read Luke 10:5-7. Is Jesus' instruction about not taking money clarified here? (The primary point is that you should not have to pay your own way. The people who benefit from your evangelism should pay.)

      1. Have you ever said that you would like to go into ministry, but you have to wait until you can afford it? (These people, seventy-two to be precise, were "appointed" by Jesus. Before you rush out to have others support you, be sure Jesus has appointed you for this.)

      2. Why does Jesus tell them to eat and drink whatever their host gives them? (This is a caution about moderation. Yes, your host is supposed to provide room and board, but you are not to have a demanding spirit.)

      3. Why not move from house to house? (No doubt that would waste time. The people who opened their homes to these evangelists were blessed: "peace to this house.")

    4. Read Luke 10:8-9. What is important about being welcomed? (If you are welcomed, you first help the people and then share the gospel with them.)

      1. Do you ever evangelize where you are not welcome? If so, why?

    5. Read Luke 10:10-12. What happens to those towns who reject you? (Bad things!)

    6. Right now I'm teaching a law school class called "Religion in the Workplace." We are reading court decisions about Christians harassing other employees. The Christians no doubt thought that they were doing God's will by evangelizing. But, the target of their witness did not enjoy it and brought suit. What lesson are these Christian witnesses missing? (We are not to beat people up to try to convert them. If they do not "welcome" our message, we need to stop. We have fulfilled our responsibility to God.)

    7. Read Luke 10:13-16. Why can we feel peace even when we are not welcomed? (Jesus tells us that the people are not rejecting us, they are rejecting God.)

    8. Read Luke 10:17-20. What kind of attitude should we have about our victories in witnessing? (We should not feel pride in beating the forces of darkness, but rather we should rejoice that we are doing God's will as citizens of His Kingdom!

    9. Friend, are you ready to go out there and share the gospel? Why not start right now?

  4. Next week: A Love Response.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:06-05-2012 7:41 PM)

Lesson 10 - A Love Response

Introduction: After going through all of the lessons so far, you likely feel that you need to witness to others. You need to do something to advance the Kingdom of God. But after you come home from work (or school) and you fix a meal and eat and do some other chores, you feel like just sitting down and resting. Day after day is just like that. Finally, you feel guilty because you look back and see that you have done nothing! Is guilt bad? If we are to be motivated by love instead of guilt, how can we change guilt to love? Let's dive into the Bible and see what we can learn about our motivation to witness!

  1. A Drive

    1. Read John 14:15. When you read the introduction, did you answer "That is me!" If so, how do you feel now? (The implication is that if you do not make time to advance the Kingdom of God, you don't really love Jesus. That makes us feel guilty.)

    2. Read Philippians 1:15-16. We looked at this text a couple of weeks ago. What does Paul say about having a motive other than love to share the gospel? (He acknowledges that you can be motivated by something other than love.)

    3. Read Philippians 1:17-18. Does our motive to share matter? We feel guilty, so we share. Is that bad? (No, not as far as sharing the gospel goes.)

      1. Read Matthew 6:5. What does this suggest about witnessing with the wrong motives? (Jesus suggests that the wrong motive harms us.)

  2. The Right Drive

    1. The problem for me (and I'll guess for many of my readers), is how to exchange guilt, ambition, or competition as witnessing motives for a love motive. Let's go back and re-read John 14:15 and then add John 14:16-18. What has this to do with Jesus' statement that if we love we will obey? (I think Jesus realizes that love obedience is not easy (to put it mildly)if we are just gritting our teeth and saying, "I love, therefore I must obey!" We end up admitting: "Okay, I don't love, so I have guilt, therefore I must obey!" Because of this practical problem Jesus sends someone who "lives with you and will be in you.")

      1. What do you think this "lives with you and will be in you" means, as a practical matter? (It has to be a reference to a new addition to our thinking and our attitude.)

    2. Read John 14:19-21. Just in case you thought the "love and obey" statement had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit living in us, this makes the connection obvious. What do you think Jesus means when He says that He will "show [Himself] to [us]?" (We will be aware of Jesus' presence in our life when others would not be aware.)

    3. Read John 14:22. What do you think is the answer to this?

    4. Read John 14:23-24. This is Jesus' answer to the question of Judas. What does Jesus teach us?(Those who have given their allegiance to God (love) stand on different ground than the world. God rewards this love by showing us love and sending the Holy Spirit to live in us.)

    5. Read John 14:25-26. What is the role of the Holy Spirit when it comes to our obedience? (The Spirit both teaches and reminds us.)

      1. How many times have you missed something when you were not paying sufficient attention?

        1. Think about the last time you were given a speeding ticket by the police. Did you know you were speeding and just got caught? Or, were you not paying attention, had no idea you were speeding, and got pulled over? (Most likely you were not paying attention. So many things in life escape our notice because we are not paying attention. The Holy Spirit helps us to notice.)

      2. Let's revisit our introduction. You get home, feed the family, do some chores and are too tired to do something else to advance the Kingdom of God. How does what we just learned about the Holy Spirit change the picture? (What about all of our relationships during the day and evening? If God reminds us ("pay attention") to the opportunities to advance the gospel, if the Holy Spirit teaches us how to be constantly nudging others towards the Kingdom of Heaven, then perhaps we will have already done a great deal of Kingdom work by the end of the day.)

  3. Understanding the Transformed Drive

    1. Perhaps you are concerned about the mystic nature of what we have been discussing. We know that gritting our teeth is not going to give us a love motive to witness. At the same time, you may want more detail than just waiting for the Holy Spirit to give us a love drive and make us more alert. Of special concern is that some of the texts we just read (John 14:23) make it appear that love comes before the Holy Spirit comes to live in us.

    2. Let's look at some practical lessons. Read James 2:8-11. James starts out talking about love, but ends talking about murder. What is James saying about love? (His point is that obedience is not easy. If we show favoritism, we sin. If we commit adultery, we sin. If we murder, we sin. It is not easy to avoid sin because a single, minor, stumble (favoritism) gets us in the same sort of sin trouble as murder.)

    3. Read James 2:12. Given what James just said, what law gives freedom? (Read Romans 8:1-3. James suggests that keeping the law perfectly is not possible. Paul tells us that Jesus kept the law on our behalf. This is what James means when he refers to "the law that gives freedom.")

    4. Read Romans 8:4-9. What is God looking for in us? (To have our minds set on what God desires. This is the practical work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.)

    5. Read James 2:12-17. What does James say that God has shown to us? (Mercy!) What should we show to others? (Mercy.)

      1. Let's get back to guilt. After reading what James and Paul say about the law, do we need to feel guilt? (No! No amount of witnessing will make us righteous. We cannot say, "I failed to earn my place in the Kingdom today because I failed to witness." Jesus makes us righteous. If we are motivated by guilt, we don't understand the gospel.)

      2. How then does James hook the work of mercy to faith? (He seems to say mercy is required.)

      3. Isn't that contrary to salvation by grace alone? (Yes, on the surface it seems to be a contradiction. Looking deeper removes the contradiction. Jesus saves me. I'm not compelled to witness to earn something Jesus has just given me. However, salvation by grace alone is a tremendous act of mercy. How can I neglect to show mercy to others?)

    6. Read James 2:18-20. Is James wrong when he writes that "faith without deeds is useless?" (Read Romans 6:12-14. The distinction here may seem small, but it is of infinite importance. James is not saying that our deeds create our faith. Rather, he is saying that when we truly understand God's mercy to us (we who cannot obey without stumbling), then a proper attitude, an attitude of mercy towards others, follows. Just like you can be downstream and test the purity of the water upstream, so you can look at the deeds of someone to judge the authenticity of their faith.)

    7. Read Romans 10:1-4. Can we be zealous for God without having a proper understanding of this? (Paul says, "Yes!")

      1. What is the key to salvation? (Jesus. Righteousness is available to all who believe. Keeping the law is not required for salvation.)

        1. How do you feel when you read this? (Liberated! I have been shown the ultimate mercy!)

        2. Do you want to share this? (This is the "mercy motivation." It is the love motivation. God showed mercy to us by saving us by His life, death and resurrection. If we truly believe and understand this, we have our motivation to witness! The Holy Spirit convicts us of this truth. The Holy Spirit reminds us of this truth. The Holy Spirit points out opportunities to share this truth. Romans 8:5: "those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.")

    8. Friend, you can be motivated by guilt to witness, but what a terrible thing that is for you. Jesus saved you from your sins. He gave you eternal life when you believed. He delivered you from guilt! If you believe this, no one has to urge you to witness. Will you confess your sins and accept Jesus' life, death and resurrection on your behalf? You can be liberated right now! And you can joyfully share your liberation with others.

  4. Next week: Let the Church Know.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:06-11-2012 7:44 PM)

Lesson 11 - Let the Church Know

Introduction: When I was a very young adult, the Sabbath School would start with reports. Reports on how many articles of clothing had been given away, how many Bible studies given, how many studied the Bible lesson each day, and how much money had been raised for various causes. Then someone read a "mission report" about a mission project. It was all deadly dull. The reporting never inspired much in me, except guilt, if I was unable to raise my hand that I had studied every day. Most members decided to skip the reporting and sleep in a little longer. When the church gave me authority in the matter, reports ended and the Sabbath School was devoted exclusively to study and discussion of the Bible. My experience as a youth gave me a bias against reports. What role did reports play in the early church? What role should they play today? Does the nature of the report matter? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. Reports and Praises

    1. Read Acts 4:1-4. How successful is the evangelism of Peter and John? ("Many believed!")

      1. Why do you think the text specifically mentions the Sadducees? (Read Acts 23:8. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. The disciples were not only teaching heresy, but they were saying specifically that Jesus had been resurrected!)

    2. Read Acts 4:5-7. Had Annas or Caiaphas gone to law school? (Apparently not! You ask only leading questions of hostile witnesses. A good leading question suggests the answer and is susceptible to a yes or no answer. If you want to get hurt in a trial, ask a question like they did of a hostile witness!)

      1. How would you have asked the question if you were a Sadducee? ("Have you been teaching the resurrection heresy?" Followed by, "Is Satan the author of heresy?")

      2. I enjoy poking fun at the incompetence of the religious leaders, but how serious a matter was this hearing? (Peter and John know that Jesus got killed in a very similar situation. I would have been sweating, not smirking had I been there.)

    3. Read Acts 4:8-10. Who is the best legal coach in the universe? (The Holy Spirit! This answer (which is really two leading questions followed by the answer) gives me great pleasure: "Are we on trial for being kind? Was our healing of a disabled person the reason for our arrest?)

      1. What evidence of Jesus' resurrection did the disciples give? (They reported that the power of the resurrected Jesus healed this fellow. This fellow is evidence of the healing, and the healing is evidence of the resurrection. Perfect.)

      2. Have Peter and John give a report to the Sanhedrin? (Yes!)

        1. What does this teach us about reports? (It is composed by the inspiration of God, it is a report about the activities of God, and it is very carefully crafted.)

    4. Read Acts 4:13-16. The Sadducees got "out-lawyered" by uneducated men! What does this teach about the power of the Holy Spirit in our life? (He changes the odds. Never feel that you are unable to witness (or report) to those more educated than you.)

    5. Read Acts 4:21-22. How can you tell who lost this encounter? (Those who lose an argument resort to threats. Violence is the result of an inability to persuade.)

    6. Read Acts 4:23. This is quite a report! On what were the disciples reporting?

      1. Other than the level of excitement, how does this differ from the Sabbath School reports of my youth? (Those were reports on what humans had done. This is a report of what God has done.)

      2. We have a praise and worship period in our church. You probably have one too. What kind of reports do you hear? Reports of what God has done or reports of what humans have done?

    7. Read Acts 4:24. How did the people respond to the report? (They praised God! Notice the link. When people report what they have done, they are looking for praise. I think this is inappropriate in church. But, when you report what God has done, then the people praise God.)

    8. Read Acts 4:25-26. What point are the people making in response to this report? (The Great God in Heaven will frustrate all of the evil and feeble efforts of humans. Reports of human activity is a waste of time because we "plot in vain." We need reports of what God is doing through His people.)

  2. Reports and Ministry

    1. Read Acts 21:17-18. What doe James and "all the elders present" represent? (This is the leadership of the Jerusalem church. These are the leaders at "headquarters.")

    2. Read Acts 21:19. Notice a variation here. Paul reports "what God had done," but he also included "his ministry." Is that acceptable? (Every report needs a context. Paul is still reporting on what God has done.)

    3. Read Acts 21:20. How do the leaders react? (They praised God. This gives us further proof of the focus of Paul's report.)

  3. Reporting Strategies

    1. Read Acts 21:20-21. Are these reports true? (Read Galatians 5:1-6. It is certainly true Paul taught Christians that they did not need to be circumcised! Whether he also taught the Jews this is not clear to me - although the breadth of his argument ("every man who lets himself be circumcised")makes me believe he did. Of course, Paul himself is a Jew.)

    2. Read Acts 21:22. How about saying, "Yes, Paul is here and, yes, he has been preaching against circumcision?"

    3. Read Acts 21:23-26. How can Paul create "report" that seems misleading? How can Paul suggest there is "no truth" to the reports about turning away from Moses?

      1. Why is Paul suggesting that anything connected with the temple (post Jesus' resurrection) can "purify" a person?

    4. Read Acts 16:1-3, Romans 14:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. What does this suggest that Paul is doing? (Notice two things. First, Acts 21:25 acknowledges the limits on what is required of the Gentiles. So, there is no misrepresentation about that critical issue. As to what Paul does, his goal is to avoid offending others. He wants to minimize conflicts within the body of believers.)

      1. What additional lesson does this teach us about reports? (That we don't need to tell everything that we know.)

      2. Should we can "slant" a report if we know that some aspects of it will cause distress among some of the believers?

    5. Read Numbers 13:17-20. Moses and God's people are at the border of Canaan - the land promised to them by God. What do you think was Moses' intention in sending out the spies? (To get back an encouraging report! To excite the people about what lay ahead of them.)

    6. Read Numbers 13:26-29. If these guys were guided by Paul (or at least the leaders in Jerusalem), how would the report have been different? (They would have glossed over the "giants" part.)

    7. Read Numbers 13:30. How does Caleb approach reporting? (He gives the positive, faith-affirming report.)

    8. Read Numbers 13:31-33. What is missing from their prior report? (The positive aspects of what they saw!)

    9. Would Paul and Caleb have disagreed on how the report should be given? (Paul clearly believed in minimizing conflict. Thus, Caleb would have written the "Let's go get them, God is with us part of the report. Paul would have made sure that the report was crafted to maximize the number who would want to follow God.)

    10. Read Numbers 14:1-3. What is the result of the negative report? (A negative reaction of the people.)

      1. I'm reading a book entitled "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, and it discusses "priming." Something that we see or hear "primes" (meaning influences) our decision-making without us even consciously thinking about it. What does this suggest to report writers? (That we have a great ability to influence the decision-making of those who read our reports. That creates a very big responsibility to write positive, uplifting, God-centered reports.)

    11. Friend, you make formal and informal reports all the time. Will you commit today to give God the praise, to try to make a positive impact, and to avoid unnecessary conflict?

  4. Next week: Evaluating Witnessing and Evangelism.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:07-15-2012 5:06 AM)

 

Lesson 12 - Evaluating Witnessing and Evangelism

Introduction: At work you have annual leave (vacation) and annual review (evaluation). Which do you prefer? Which is most important? Our world is filled with evaluations that start in the first five minutes after we are born (Apgar score)! How does this work with witnessing and evangelism? Should the approach and standards of the world apply to evaluating the work of the church? The work of God? What about your personal witnessing and evangelism, should that be evaluated? Let's jump right into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. The Nature of Evaluation

    1. Read 1 Timothy 3:1. Would you like to be promoted at work? Does the same kind of thinking apply to the church? (Paul writes positively about desiring promotion in the church.)

    2. Read 1 Timothy 3:2-3. Is this an evaluation? (Yes.)

      1. What kind of an evaluation is it? (Essentially, an evaluation of the person.)

    3. Read 1 Timothy 3:4-5. In some ways I find this an odd requirement. Are the two really the same? Is managing your family and your own money like managing a church and its money?

      1. Read 1 Samuel 8:1-5. Would Samuel have passed the test for overseer?

      2. If not, how do we explain that God chose Samuel to be one of the greatest overseers of Israel? (Perhaps the emphasis is on the word "children." When they are young their behavior is a test of leadership.)

    4. Read 1 Timothy 3:6-7. Are these qualifications or evaluations? (They seem more like qualifications.)

    5. As you consider the verses we have just read, does anything strike you as being unusual for job evaluations? If you are evaluated at work, does your boss evaluate you on this type of criteria? (No! I am evaluated on how well I did my job. I am not asked about how well I did with my family.)

    6. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-11. How does Paul evaluate himself? (He calls himself an "expert builder.")

    7. Read 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. What kind of evaluation is done here? (Circumstances will test the quality of the work done by the teacher.)

    8. Why is there no mention for either the teacher or the overseer about a church committee to evaluate past performance?

      1. Did you notice the two evaluation points in our texts so far:

        1. Spiritual qualifications for the job; and,

        2. Stress?

      2. Why is there no on-the-job evaluation?

  2. Holy Spirit Test

    1. Read Acts 15:4-5. Peter and Barnabas give a report of their activities to the leaders in Jerusalem. Does everyone at headquarters give them a good evaluation? (No. Some think they are not giving the correct message.)

    2. Read Acts 15:6-8. How does Peter answer the performance criticism? (He says that proof of the propriety of their preaching is the approval of the Holy Spirit.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:3-6. No matter how we serve the church, no matter the nature of our job, what insures our success? (The Holy Spirit!)

    4. What does this teach us about performance evaluation in witnessing and evangelism? Does this explain the absence of evaluation during the job? (This is not like the kind of evaluation we go through (or give) at work. The church selects Godly people, people who show that the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives and in the life of their family. The church then lets them go into ministry.)

      1. What, then, is the basis for evaluation of witnessing and evangelism? (Logically, the only question we are competent to ask is whether we see the power of the Holy Spirit in the work of the person? If we see that power, who are we to second guess how the Holy Spirit leads?)

    5. Read 1 John 4:1-3. Would you use this as the test for whether the Holy Spirit was at work in a person?

    6. Are you comfortable with the conclusion that the evaluation approved by the Bible is merely whether a person is Spirit-filled?

      1. Should we also be concerned about whether the Holy Spirit is manifested in the person's work?

      2. Read Romans 12:6-8. What does this suggest about the Holy Spirit, our gospel work, and evaluation? (We should not look only at whether the person is Spirit-filled, but whether the person is working in the area in which they have gifts from the Holy Spirit. Just because a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, does not mean they are fitted for every kind of work. That is why we could have a Spirit-filled person, who did not manifest the power of the Holy Spirit in a particular type of work.)

  3. Historical Example

    1. Read Genesis 6:9. Is Noah a Spirit-filled guy? (Yes!)


    1. Read 2 Peter 2:5. What is Noah? ("A preacher of righteousness." New Unger's Bible Dictionary says, "Jehovah ... allowed a respite of 120 years, during which time Noah sought to bring the people to repentance.")

    2. Read Genesis 6:3. Who was Noah's partner in preaching? (The Holy Spirit! "My Spirit will not contend with man forever." The suggestion is that the Holy Spirit contended for 120 years through the work of preacher Noah.)

    3. Read Genesis 6:13-14 and Genesis 7:11-13. How would you evaluate Noah's witnessing and evangelism? How many people entered the ark? (Eight.)

      1. What does this suggest to us about evaluating the witnessing and evangelism of others? (Noah had a divine appointment. He was Spirit-filled. Any evaluation must center on whether God is in the work.)

    4. Read Exodus 31:1-3. Is Bezalel a Holy Spirit filled fellow? (Yes!)

    5. Read Exodus 31:3-5. What is Bezalel's Spirit-filled work? (He is a master craftsman.)

      1. What does this suggest about the work of the Holy Spirit in witnessing and evangelism? (It is not just preaching. The Holy Spirit gives us excellence in whatever gift we are given. Excellence gives us the opportunity to share our faith with great credibility.)

      2. What does this suggest about evaluation? (Noah taught us that it is not about numbers, but Bezalel teaches us that the Holy Spirit gives "skill, ability and knowledge." If our work is not excellent, then the Holy Spirit is not at work. The entire key to evaluation is to determine whether the Holy Spirit is in the work.)

    6. Friend, do you see that a proper evaluation of your gospel work is an evaluation of whether the Holy Spirit is in your life? The focus is on you, rather than on your "numbers." But, the Holy Spirit is the author of excellence. If we are not excellent in what we do, it might mean we are not working in the area of our Spirit-gifts. It might mean we are lacking the Holy Spirit. Will you ask, today, that the Holy Spirit fill you, and show you the gifts that He has given you?

  1. Next week: A Perpetual Ministry.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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From: Australia
Registered:12-03-2008

Re:Evangelism and Witnessing ~ 2nd qtr ~ April 7 - June 30
(Date Posted:07-15-2012 5:07 AM)

 

Lesson 13 - A Perpetual Ministry

Introduction: Now that we have come to the last lesson in our study about witnessing and evangelism, we should be asking ourselves, "When do we start?" Instead, it looks like we are studying "When do we stop?" Does "perpetual ministry" mean that we never stop? My habit, every morning I'm in Virginia Beach, is to walk the beach. One fellow I often see on my walk is retired. He spends every nice afternoon with his wife sitting on the beach. Would you like that? I could not stand it. What does the Bible teach about retirement from ministry? What should we do about those who have retired from being a part of the ministry because they are unhappy? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Retirement

    1. Have you ever heard someone say that retirement is un-Biblical? We should not retire because the Bible does not speak of it? Read Numbers 8:23-26. What does the Bible suggest about retirement? (The Levites retired from "regular service" at age fifty!)

      1. Did they go home and watch television? (They were allowed to assist, but it does not seem to be required.)

      2. We hear that retirement age should go up because of increased longevity. Read Deuteronomy 34:7 and Joshua 24:29. What does this suggest about the longevity of the people during Moses' time? (It sounds like people lived to be 100 years old.)

      3. Let's assume people commonly lived to be 100 during the time of Moses. What conclusion should we reach from the 50 year retirement age for Levites? Today, should you be able to retire at 40 years of age?

    2. Read Luke 12:13-15. In the preceding verses in Luke chapter 12, Jesus taught about hypocrisy and fearing God. This man wanted to change the topic to something he thought was more practical for his life. How did Jesus react to this question? (He resisted it. Then He suggested the man should be more interested in the subject Jesus had been speaking about, rather than the topic of money.)

    3. Read Luke 12:16-17. Assume you are faced with this "problem." What would you do?

    4. Read Luke 12:18-19. Is this a reasonable solution to the problem?

      1. If you originally answered "I would sell my crops and invest the money for the future," is the farmer's solution any different than yours?


    5. Read Luke 12:20. Why is the man a fool? Because he invested for the future? Because he retired? Because he did not buy life insurance? Because he missed his annual physical?

      1. Read Luke 12:21. What does Jesus hint is the reason for calling the man foolish? (He built a future focused solely on his own pleasure.)

    6. Think a bit about the Levite retirement and the dead farmer. What is the Bible teaching us about a "perpetual ministry?" (On the one hand we are not expected to be working full-time in ministry (or anything else) our entire life. On the other hand, we must never come to the point where we focus only on our own pleasure. We need to remain "rich toward God" at every age.)

  2. Early Retirees

    1. We all know people who leave the church because they are unhappy with the church, bored with the church, or insulted by church members. Should we go after these "early retirees?"

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. What job is given to us? (The "message of reconciliation.")

      1. What is that message? (That God does not count our sins against us if we are in Jesus.)

    3. Read Matthew 10:5-6. When Jesus refers to the "lost sheep of Israel," is He referring to those who have heard the message of reconciliation? (While the temple sacrificial system was a message of reconciliation, they had not heard of Jesus, and how He fulfilled the temple service.)

    4. Read Matthew 10:11-15. What effort is to be made for those who reject the gospel? (If your presentation is rejected, you leave.)

      1. What does this teach us about going after "retirees" - those who have left the church for various reasons? (It teaches us that our efforts should be directed to those who have never heard the gospel, not those who have already heard it and rejected it.)

    5. That seems to be a harsh conclusion. Are there any exceptions to it?

      1. Let's go back to the "lost sheep of Israel" issue. Were they unaware of God? (No. They simply had not gotten the gospel message.)

        1. Are there former members of your church who did not really receive the gospel message? (Historically, there is a problem with a proper gospel presentation in some churches. Many of the people I knew as a young man are out of the church, and it seems they may be out because they did not get a clear message of reconciliation - God does not hold the sins against those who are in Christ.)

          1. What does the "lost sheep" instruction suggest to us about those former members? (If they were not given a clear presentation of the gospel of grace, we need to try to educate them about it, rather than shaking the dust off our shoes.)

      2. Read Matthew 5:23-24. What is our obligation to former members who "[have] something against [us]?" (To be reconciled to them.)

        1. Do we have to be at fault for this text to apply? (If we are at fault, we certainly need to try to be reconciled. But, this text also applies to those who think they are "innocent" of wrongdoing. Years ago, this text convicted me to try to reconcile with a former member who seemed to hate me, even though I thought I was innocent. My reconciliation efforts blunted her anger, but did not bring her back to the church. However, her children saw what I had done and it reconciled them to me.)

      3. Read Matthew 5:44. What are we required to do for our enemies? (Pray for them.)

        1. Should we do anything less for former members?

    6. Read 2 Timothy 2:1-4. Why does a soldier not get involved in civilian affairs? (That is not the purpose of the military. The people will fear or reject the military if it is involved in civilian matters.)

      1. Timothy is not in the military. Why is Paul writing this to him? (In part, Paul wants him to stick to his appropriate work and message.)

      2. How many times are people in the church offended over things that are not central to the work of the church?

      3. I have some strong political views. While I like to think they are all driven by my religious beliefs, I know Christians who do not share my political views. What is my obligation with regard to my political views and giving offense in church?

    7. We have recently read this, but let's read it again: 1 Corinthians 9:20-23. What does Paul teach us about the extent to which we should go to avoid giving offense on matters not central to the gospel?

    8. Friend, the Bible teaches us that we can slow down with age, but we should never turn inward and seek only to please our self. We should always be rich towards God by sharing His message of reconciliation. While we should not be routinely wasting our time chasing after former members, we need to be sure that we are not creating "former members" by giving offense. If people have left over being offended, or being taught improperly, we need to try to fix those errors. Will you commit, today, to intelligent "perpetual ministry?"

  3. Next week: We begin a new study of the letters to the Thessalonians.

Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

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