Evangelism for the 21st Century
Mid-State Bible Institute
Last week we started looking at tips to help you in your evangelistic efforts. In review, the first tip was to “Draw Near” to people. Make yourself available to talk and interact with them. The second tip was to “measur your approach”. Don’t always make your purpose known to them, but strike up a conversation and watch for God’s leading to bring in the Gospel. The third tip we looked at was, “listen to them”. By learning to listen, you can better understand the person you are going to Evangelize, and thus be able to cater your message to them on a personal level. Tip number four builds upon this listening but includes “exploring their heart”. Ask open ended questions so that you can better learn who they are, where they are at, and what type of approach might better work in dealing with them.
In closing last weeks lesson, we also introduced the “Romans Road”, plan of salvation. This is basically a list of verses found in the book of Romans that spell out the Gospel. It is easy to use because you can stay in one book of the Bible in witnessing, and do not have to jump all around the Bible. It is just one of many different methods, and of course if you are a more mature Christian and have been Evangelizing for a while, you no doubt have other verses, and other methods you use. AS LONG AS IT IS CENTERED AROUND SCRIPTURE, you can’t go wrong. Holy Spirit will do the internal work as you sow the seeds. Last week you were ask to commit to memory the first few verses in the Romans Road. If you have not, please spend a few moments refreshing your memory, and trying to memorize them.
Now, lets move on to a few more tips.
Witnessing Tip #5: Be Aware of Everything
Ask the Spirit to give you Christ-like awareness and discernment. Jesus saw that these two men were sad (literally gloomy or of mournful appearance), and He specifically asked them why they were so!
Facial expressions matter, and they can tell a lot about what’s going on in someone’s head. It’s never safe to assume anything based on just a facial expression, but it certainly does not hurt to ask.
Jesus’ question and observation drew a revealing response from one of His travel companions.
“And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Luke 24:18,19)
As you “listen” to Cleopas, can you sense his sadness? Perhaps he sounds a little bit angry too. Interestingly, this is in keeping with the actual meaning of the word translated as “sad,” which can include the idea that the person is also experiencing anger.
But Christ, the master communicator, recognizes that it’s still not quite time to speak. He hears within Cleopas’ question the desire to share even more information, so He beckons Cleopas to continue by asking, “What things?”
As you read Cleopas’ answer, see if you can identify and diagnose the cause for his sad anger:
“And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not” (Luke 24:19-24).
Did you see the reason for Cleopas’ anger? He offered it! So what was the problem? These two were despondent and their conversation with one another was not helping one bit; it was only further depressing them.
Bottom line, they had lost hope and were in a very vulnerable and discouraged state of mind. Jesus, being aware of their demeanour was able to pick up on this and by asking questions, draw the root of the problem out of them.
Witnessing Tip #6: Be Patient
If you patiently wait long enough, people will often tell you their problems and give you a chance to offer a solution. What Christ said next would be of vital importance to them physically, mentally, and spiritually. It could very well be the difference between life and death for them. So what did He say?
“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25,26)
While at first it could appear that Christ’s choice of words might seem ill advised, they are actually saturated with meaning. First, Jesus says, “O fools” Should a fool know better? Is a fool unintelligent or merely unwise? What exactly is a fool anyway? Well, according to one Scripture, a fool is one who says “in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).
So what we have now is a picture of two individuals who had walked and talked with Christ for three years but were in danger of walking with God no more. They were about to give up completely, even questioning their faith and trust in God.
Let’s go to the next phrase: “slow of heart.” Slowness of heart in the Greek is “bradeis cardia”, and it’s where we get the word “bradycardia,” which is a term used in medicine today to describe a dangerously low heart rhythm. In other words, their spiritual foolishness had caused them to lose heart.
What was the cause of this life-threatening condition? Because they had not “believed all the prophets had spoken.” And because of this selective and faulty reasoning, what was actually a magnificent blessing was something they thought was the worst possible curse; what was depressing them was supposed to be seen as a glorious fulfillment of Bible prophecy. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”
Here the entire tone of this witnessing experience changes. Christ moves from being an active listener to being an active presenter of heart-saving Bible truth!
Witnessing Tip #7: Be Complete
Jesus continued to ask open-ended questions until He and those He was witnessing to had shared enough information to have a complete picture of the diagnosis and the solution. No Evangelistic effort is complete until the Gospel has been fully, and completely presented and understood. Never go into a witnessing situation where you are going to be rushed, or not have enough time to spend with the person you are Evangelizing.
Witnessing Tip #8: Be Direct
Once Jesus knew the problem and its seriousness, He wasted no time in directly, but tactfully, sharing not only His diagnosis of the problem but also the solution: believing all the prophets have spoken. Tip toeing around the truth, watering it down, or changing it so as not to offend someone is a complete waist of time. Be loving, be caring, but be direct. Telling someone that being burned with fire is unpleasant may seem like a loving approach, but when their house is on fire, they need to hear, “your house is on fire, get out or you will die”.
Now, let us take a look at the Romans Road again. This time, refresh your memory on the first two verses. These verses Speak to the fact that we are all sinners. Today, let us look at Romans 6:23. This verse tells us what we have gained because of our sin. It is important that any person you are Evangelizing understands these two points before moving on. (1) We are all sinners, and (2) the wages of those sins is “death”.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”