Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Methods of Personal Evangelism

Matt. 28:19 - The Great Commission. Reads "make disciples", which (by necessity) includes Evangelism.
And this is more than "get a profession", "get a baptism", "gain a church member".

Did you know?
  • The U.S. is the third largest unchurched nation in the world.
  • North America is the only continent where Christianity is not growing.
  • Seven out of 10 people in North America do not know Christ.
  • More than 70% of all churches in the United States are plateaued or declining.
  • Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth.
  • While the U.S. population grew by 11.4% over the last 10 years, church growth declined by 9.3%.
So - Some Methods of Personal Evangelism

#1. Preaching Evangelism
Today in the U.S. only 1 in 10 people who make a decision to follow Christ do so in a church setting.
Why? 1 reason is that the lost don't come to preaching anymore.
Example: 85% of the more recent responses in a Billy Graham Crusade are made by churched people!

#2. Confrontational Evangelism. One on one. Face to face.
Traditionally this is recognized as the form of personal evangelism.
This is effective for those who are geared and gifted for it.
BUT, it is ineffective for most Christians because it's NOT their gift and they're NOT going to do it!! This kind of evangelism is very uncomfortable for most Christians.

#3. Teaching Evangelism. Examples: Sunday School, AWANA, Bible Time

#4. Testimonial Evangelism (Personal testimony)
Example #1 - the Blind Man - John 9:25 - what I know
John 9:17 - what I think (believe) about what I know

Example #2 - Legion Mark 5:18-20
Testimonial evangelism is usually used in combination with other methods

#5. Ministry Evangelism - in two forms
A. Ministry to the lost - in a crisis, funerals, weddings, etc.
NOTE: We minister without strings, BUT NOT without purpose!!

B. Ministry with the lost - involving people in social impact work (volunteer work). This is one of the most effective ways of reaching them today. Especially the Busters and on down!

#6. Relational (friendship) Evangelism.
Today this type equals A. the most decisions and B. the best results.
70% of active Christians accepted Christ due to some form of Relational evangelism.
87% of inactive Christians accepted Christ due to some form of manipulative monologue.

Note: it's OK to befriend for the purpose of evangelism.
BUT, it is NOT OK to de-friend because they don't respond!

#7. Family Evangelism. Win your kids, spouse, siblings, etc.
This is undoubtedly the most effective fomr when:
A. it's applied early
B. used properly and consistently
C. in conjunction with #8

#8. Lifestyle Evangelism. Means living in such a way as to encourage people to inquire about your faith.
BUT, you can't witness without words!! Rom. 10:13-15 Nobody is saved by your lifestyle.
For example: What good is a governor's pardon if left signed on the desk, not delivered to the condemned?

#9. Discipling Evangelism. (mentoring)
Traditionally, the view was WIN them, then disciple. BUT, this works well in reverse. Disciple and as you do, they are won! Person can become aware of their lostness by being discipled.

#10. Conversational Evangelism. Bring up during a casual conversation. Some have a real gift for this. If don't, shouldn't force it.

#11. Invitational Evangelism. - inviting people to church, events, etc.
NOTE: While only 10% of decisions are made in a church setting, 77% said, "attending church" was a contributing factor.

#12. Tract/Literature Evangelism. (this is shown to be a contributing factor)

#13. Child Evangelism.
In the USA, 64% of those who accept Christ did so before the age of 18. (43% before age 13)
Another 13% between 18 and 21.
Only 23% accept Christ after age 21.
ALSO NOTE: people who accept Christ before teen years are:
a. more likely to remain committed to Christianity
b. more likely to embrace Biblical theology

#14. Prayer Evangelism. James 5:16


There is no wrong way to lead people to Christ. (if it's truly leading them to salvation - not just a profession)

No single approach is universally effective. (usually conversion is a result of combined influences)

Any method works better if used intentionally (with focus on the purpose)

We are not expected to win them - just to witness to them. John 6:44, 65
Only Jesus can convert. Unless the Father draws them, they cannot be saved.

God doesn't expect us to do it alone.
Matt. 28:19 Therefore, go.....
Matt. 28:20 and surely I am with you.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Judging Joe

After hearing the testimony of our candidate for office of deacon:

3 Areas to Measure (Character, Competence, Calling)

I. Character. In this case, "godly" character.
1 Tim. 3:8-12 Is this a check list? OR, a description of character? Meaning the type of man this person is.

This is Important because: a deacon leads, serves, AND represents our church, the faith, and the Lord.

On one hand, we can't expect perfection - Rom. 3:23
, there should be high expectations as this is a Biblical office.

II. Competence. Needs to have ability to perform the tasks and fulfill the charge.
Should be looking for a man already competent and serving.
But also want someone who is willing to serve.
A. Someone who recognizes his incompetence to represent Christ or do His work.
and, therefore, B. continues to develop his competence.

III. Calling This is an internal certainty that God has called him to serve.
Question: Should a deacon experience a call?
Answer: Yes & No
On one hand, some experience the call to deaconship.
But, on the other hand, all Christians are called to serve (according to need, opportunity, gift package, etc.)

Eph. 2:10 John 13:14-15 Matt. 28:19-20
Therefore: we need: A. recognition of a call
B. response to that call

For deacons, add IV. Church Approval

What God Expects of deacons He also expects of YOU. There is no double standard.
Specifics may vary, but principles do not!!


#1. Accept Christ
A. As Savior
B. As Lord

#2. Pursue Godly Character
1 Cor. 6:9-11 2 Pet. 1:5-7 Eph. 4:1 (hinge verse0

#3. Answer His calling (to ministry)
Eph. 2:10 Eph. 4:11-12
We're to be "salt and light" and "Make a Difference"

#4. Develop your Competence
Principle of.... 2 Tim. 2:15

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Restoring the Wayward (the wanderer)

Luke 15:1-7, 8-10, 11 - story of the Prodigal Son.
This couples with James 5:19-20

On one hand we have a problem here because it implies a loss of salvation! (KJV says "save a soul", NAS reads, "save his soul form death".
This can be argued from now on, and there is no certain answer.
BUT, something we can know from these verses: when a brother or sister wanders, it is our job to attempt to bring them back.... Compare Gal. 6:1-2


#1. We are not responsible for their sin (wandering)
We are responsible for our response to their wandering! (ie: responsible for our actions, reactions, inactions) Ezek. 3:17-21

#2. We are not responsible to bring them back
We are responsible to attempt to bring them back.
Question? Why are we not more diligent in our attempts?

Some possible answers:
it's very unpleasant (confrontation is not fun)
I might make the person mad. BUT, we probably upset more people by NOT going (not showing concern!!)

it's none of my business. This is the 21st. century "tolerant" society.
Contrast that with "am I my brother's keeper?" - as Christians, it is our business.

it takes time and effort .... it costs me to do it ...

it's just easier not to!

who am I to go and confront someone? I'm no better..... If you are a child of God, you are capable and have the responsibility.

we don't realize it's Biblical

We're not sold on the benefits of it

It doesn't seem to do any good (long term.... because, even if and when they are brought back, they tend to re-wander.)

Or, maybe, it's just a lack of concern.

Gossip is more fun than restoration.

These are just some reasons why we are not more diligent in our attempts to restore a wanderer.

#3. This work is NOT easy for anybody, but it is the responsibility of all.

#4. You are not responsible for everybody (who wanders)
But you are responsible for somebody!
Therefore, you need to be open to the Holy Spirit's leading and willing to respond.

#5. the object (point/purpose) is not to bring them back to church! But to bring them back to TRUTH! In other words, an active lifestyle that is in line with truth. Therefore, if they, for some reason, can't stomach your church, send them to another church)

#6. We'd have less wandering if we had more attempts at restoring.

#7. This work (ministry) is very close to the hear of Jesus. Luke 19:10

#8. If you go (in the power of the Spirit, the proper way, for the proper reason), He'll go with you. "Go, and I'll go with you."
This is HIS work. You don't do it alone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

When Others Judge You

What to do? How to respond? (A lesson from Proverbs)

#1. Get used to it.
A. You're gonna be criticized and scrutinized. There are 6 billion people on the earth with opinions and eyeballs. You WILL be scrutinized and criticized some time in your life.
B. the more you do, the more you'll be criticized. In particular, the more you do for Christ, the more you'll be criticized.

#2. Listen
Prov. 12:15 - The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
Prov. 13:1 - A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.
On the one hand, there is a time to say "enough!", but there is also a time to listen!!

#3. Bite your tongue
Prov. 10:19 - When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Prov. 18:13 He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame.
Even a fool who holds his peace is thought to be wise.

#4. Control your temper.
Prov. 14:29 A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
Prov. 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
James 1:19-20 (applies to #3 & #4) - we typically act in an unrighteous manner.

#5. Consider the criticism. There is a need for balance here.
On one hand, don't let man decide your course. But, realize that God may speak to you through man! He may direct you, correct you, teach you through them. REMEMBER, God spoke to Balaam through a donkey!! Num. 22

So, don't let men and their opinions decide, for you, But you might let God use them to direct you or correct you.
Contrast Col. 2:16 and Gal. 2:2

1 Cor. 4:3-4 On one hand, I care little for man's opinion, (or my own opinion!), BUT I care a great deal for God's opinion.

Therefore, I need to listen to man's criticism and consider it.
A. In the light of God's Word.
B. In a spirit of humility and prayer.
C. In the counsel of a wise friend.
All these lest I reject God's message!!

REJECT a "what right has he to judge me?" attitude. Truth is truth regardless of the source from which it comes, and regardless of the intent. (Balaam's donkey)
The source is NOT the issue, but is it truth!

Prov. 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.


#1. Give a controlled response or no response.
Prov. 15:1 A gentle answer truns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Prov. 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.
There is a time to explain or defend, but there is also a time to be silent!

#2. Let it go
Prov. 12:16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
Prov. 19:11 A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

#3. Continue to be open. There is a danger of becoming calloused, bitter, vengeful, unreceptive, unresponsive, or critical! Judgmental!!!


#1. Admit it.
Prov. 17:10 A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.

#2. Make appropriate response, change, amends
Prov. 14:9 Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.

#3. Learn from you rmistakes.
Prov.26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. "Everyone stumbles and falls, so, while you're down there you might as well pick something up"

#4. Grow!
Prov. 15:31-32 He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be a t home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.

God's purpose is to develop God-like character in you!! Don't waste your sorrows.

SUMMARY: Prov. 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. (and is likely to remain so)

1 Cor. 11:31 This doesn't mean wouldn't be criticized, but does mean wouldn't need (so much) correction.

Monday, October 13, 2008

When Judging Others Is Appropriate

As with the morning's message, there is no list to determine when and when not to judge. Therefore, we must gather principles form Biblical texts and examples.

When Is it Proper and appropriate to Judge Others?

#1. When an action is unquestionably wrong.
1 Cor. 5:1-5 Note: the Standard. Therefore, the homosexual lifestyle.

#2. When a situation or behavior is threatening or damaging to others. Rev. 2:14-16 & 20 - not done out of meanness but for the good of the body.
Example: an amputation for protection

#3. When spiritual leadership is involved. Tit. 1:5-9
Requirements to get in.
Requirements to stay in. Church discipline starts here!!

#4. In matters of stewardship.
2 Thess. 3:6-15
Acts 6:1-4
We need to determine who is needy, and who is worthy. Many times there are legitimate needs but judgment needs to be made as to whether it's a worthy need.
Example: a family has a need for electric bill money, rent, etc. Legitimate need but perhaps the need is there, because when the government assistance money was received, it was blown at the casino, so now no money left for the bills. You have to make a judgment call.

#5. When a person, action, situation is dishonoring, discrediting, grossly misrepresenting God, Christ, the Church, the Cause.
2 Sam. 12:13-14

Again, you don't have a list to go by. We must gather principles from Biblical texts and examples by which to measure, determine, decide when to judge.

#6. When it's yourself!! Matt. 7:3-5 1 Cor. 11:31

When Judging Is Inappropriate

The question: To judge or not to judge?
Matt. 7:1 - "don't"
Matt. 7:6 - "do"
John 7:24 - "get it right"

So, when is it proper & appropriate to judge another?
Answer: there is no list. Therefore you must use scripture and scriptural examples to determine the principles by which your determine or decide .
Generally speaking, we're to judge actions, behavior, lifestyle, not the person himself.

It Is inappropriate to judge others when:

#1. You are exercising a fault finding spirit. - nitpicky, hypercritical, fault-finding.
Matt. 7:1
The Greek word that is translated judge -
a. consider, as in judge in a courtroom
b. criticize, as in judge character by hairstyle

#2. The judgment is nothing more than gossip.
tale-bearing, backbiting, slander James 4:11-12
Slander = A. talking trash that isn't true. - technical slander.
B. talking trash that may be true but isn't necessary to say!!
Question: Why do we delight in putting people down? to lift self up? which= pride?

#3. When the judgment is a screen for a personal agenda.
John 8:2-6 This should be beneath moral and ethical character of Christians.
Vs. 6 - the Pharisees' motive? John 8:6
Compare this to: presidential elections, character assassinations
Contrast: Lev. 19:15 - "get it right"

#4. You are passing judgment on disputable matters.
Rom. 14:1-6, 10, 13
Context? - "Disputable matters" - ie: questionable, debatable, uncertain,
Examples: hairstyle, dress code, musical preference, tattoos

Be careful here. Different people draw the line in different places.
Observation: don't assume because you've got scripture, you are right. The Pharisees new the scripture inside and out and they were dead wrong in many of their judgments.

Don't assume wan can't get it right! That's the point of scripture! 2 Tim. 3:16
Remember, we can get it right in letter and wrong in spirit, and therefore, Be wrong.
Example: the Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery.

#5, You assume more than God reveals.
Example: Job's friends, their assumption. Job 42:7
Compare this to the statement that "aids" was God's judgment on the homosexual community.

#6. You have major sins in your own life.
2 Sam. 12:1-10 The problem was not David's judgment or verdict. The problem was His sin.

On one hand, don't wait until you're perfect to judge others. You'll never get perfect.
But, don't judge others if you're unwilling to judge Yourself!!

So...... judge yourself, score yourself on #1 - #6.
What's your score? What's your need?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Judging: How to do it properly!

Several scriptures give clear direction: don't judge. Matt. 7:1 Rom. 14:4 & 13

Then there are scriptures that say: do judge. Explicit direction: 1 Cor. 5:12
Implicit direction: Matt. 7:6 Matt. 7:15 Titus 3:10
There are more scriptures telling us TO judge than NOT to judge.

Compare: James 4:12 with Lev. 19:15

PROBLEM: on one hand the Bible says don't judge. On the other hand it demands that we do!

Either the Bible contradicts itself, OR we need a fuller, broader, more Biblical view of judging others.

#1. The Greek word for judge has BROAD application with various shades of meaning. The word is also translated: to think, to examine, to investigate, to weigh, to form an opinion, to discus between , to decide, to determine, to try, to conclude, to pronounce judgment, to pass sentence, to discriminate between, to decree, to vindicate, to condemn.

#2. We must examine the word in the contact and usage INTENDED by the passage. We must NOT determine the meaning based on:
A. one scripture alone
B. 21st. century century use of the word
C. current cultural trends/notions
D. personal preferences
God's word is NOT a smorgasbord where you get to pick and choose what you like.

The Biblical view says (mostly) that we are not to judge people, but actions of people.

We can't know the heart, motive, intent, reasons. And we mostly can't determine a person's value, worth, and goodness.

However, we CAN judge action, behavior, a statement, a decision, a lifestyle, a choice, a situation, a philosophy.

Touchstone verse: John 7:24 paraphrased: "get it right!". Every thinking adult has to make a judgment call now and then. For Christians we have Biblical guidelines.

HOW TO JUDGE PROPERLY. 5 necessary elements in making a proper judgment.

#1. A Proper Standard.
A. Word of God
B. Proper interpretation of God's Word
C. The Spirit of Christ to weigh it out.

The Word without the Spirit equals harsh legalism
The Spirit without the Word equals mushy liberalism.

NOTE: Many people will not accept your standard.
#A. Pre-modern age - standard that said "this is truth". Truth equaled revelation.
#B. Modern age - said "is this the truth?" "how can we be sure?" "What is truth?"
This was the 18th. century Enlightenment age of reason and rationalism.
#C. Post-modern age says "there is no truth". rejection of absolute truth.

A. Pre-modern - "these are the rules, by these we judge"
B. Modern - "I'm not sure those are the rules, so how can we judge?"
C. Post-modern - "there are no rules therefore we cannot judge!"

PROBLEM: In the 21st century, instead of Christianity affecting our culture (thinking), we've allowed the culture to affect the church (think for the church). Our salt has lost it's savor in this area!

#2. Proper Information (about a person, situation, etc.)
Problem is: A. we can't get all the information
B. if we could, it would be distorted by sin, and bias prejudice

Therefore: we must 1. go slowly 2. listen A LOT 3. ask others 4. be open

#3. Proper Motive
A. correction - example: Nathan by David
B. instruction - Eph. 4:17-20 this condemns the Gentiles to instruct the Christians.
C. restoration - Gal. 6:1 2 Thess. 3:14-15
D. protection - Rev. 2:20
Condemnation is God's perrogative, not ours!

#4. Proper Timing the truth is always true. But, there is a proper time to present it.
Example: Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.

#5. Proper Heart
Matt. 7:3-5 This is not a vision problem, it is a heart problem.
Matt. 9:10-13 the problem is NOT logic and reasoning
Proper Christian judgment calls for truth tempered with mercy, grace, and humility.
Micah 6:8 Gal. 6:1

As a human adult, you cannot avoid making judgment calls.

As a Christian, you can strive to "get it right". John 7:24