Read Y2Q4;Personal Evangelism Curriculum text version

Forever Forever Family

Personal Evangelism

Evangelism Evolution Curriculum for Making the Transition From an Established Congregation to an Evangelistic Church

Adult Bible Class Lessons

Year 2: Quarter 4

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Table of Contents

Lesson 1: Introduction to Personal Evangelism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Lesson 2: Analysis of Gospel presentation: Acts 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Lesson 3: Transition: From Conversation to Gospel Dialogue. . . . 11 Salvation Highway Flow Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Gospel Presentation Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Lessons 4-12: Verse-by-verse Analysis of gospel presentation

Lesson 4 : 1 John 5:13; John 8:24; Matthew 16:13-17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Lesson 5: John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Lesson 6: John 8:58; Matthew 3:16-17; 1 Timothy 2:5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Lesson 7: Isaiah 59:2; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 . . . . . . . . 27 Lesson 8: Ephesians 1:7; Jude 24; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 . . . . . . . . 30 Lesson 9: 2 Timothy 1:10; Romans 5:10; Romans 10:9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Lesson 10: 1 Corinthians 6:9; Luke 13:3,5; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. . . 36 Lesson 11: Romans 6:3-6,17-18; Galatians 3:26-27; John 15:20 . . 39 Lesson 12: Luke 14:26-28; 2 Peter 2:20-21; Acts 22:16 . . . . . . . . . . . 42

3 Lesson 13: The Gospel Presentation in the Great Commission . . . 45

F A M I L Y

1

Personal Evangelism

The great commission is comprised of three parts:

1. Make disciples of all nations. 2. Baptize them (in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). 3. Teach them to obey everything Christ has commanded (Matthew 28:19,20). The first part of the great commission is the work of an evangelist: to preach the gospel. Those who have received the gift of evangelism ("he gave some to be evangelists," Ephesians 4:11) and who have been equipped in the use of that gift, are able to function in a way that is often frightening or intimidating to others. The purpose of this series of lessons is to equip gifted and non-gifted evangelists. That last statement bears some explanation. There are three types of evangelists: 1. Single-gifted evangelists 2. Non-primarily-gifted evangelists 3. Skilled evangelists These three categories of evangelists will be described in greater detail, including the application of the gospel presentation contained within this study. I. Single-Gifted Evangelist It does not take much observation to realize that evangelists come in many different styles. Some evangelists are aggressive, and some are passive. Some are good at presenting the gospel to someone who is seeking truth but who has not yet found it. Others are good at pre-evangelism, or presenting Christian evidences to the skeptic or agnostic. Some like door knocking, others like small groups, and still others do best one-on-one. There are even reluctant evangelists, like Jonah, who are capable of performing the function, yet who are reluctant for one reason or another. Then there are those who are attracted to evangelism, yet who are not particularly gifted at it. Please remember that when we use the term gifted, we don't mean it in the same way our culture speaks of a gifted athlete. We are speaking of a gift given directly by the Holy Spirit to some (as he sees fit) for the building up of the church (Eph. 4:11-16). The single-gifted evangelist is the person who has received one gift from the Spirit, and that gift is evangelism. To this type of Christian, evangelism is the world view through which they see everything, like looking through an evangelistic window on the world. Evangelism is second nature to this style of evangelist and he has been unconsciously equipping himself since soon after he was baptized. In fact, he may be so equipped that he finds studies like this one to be puerile and unnecessary. Most often this evangelist has an evangelistic style that has been perfected over the years, and it will seem to him to be second nature. Jesus is a great example of such an evangelist. Read John 4:7-38. The encounter with the woman at the well gives us a rare insight into the one-on-one evangelism

4

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

of the Master Evangelist. As you read the passage, notice that Jesus does not have a prepackaged spiel that he drops on her. He has no film projector, no charts, no record player, no easel, etc., etc. In fact there is no mention that he even had the scriptures with him. Jesus talked about water with her and it was very easy for him to guide the discussion to living water, then to eternal water, and finally to her marriage situation. This was not anxiety-producing to Jesus, because it was his world view. He came to seek and save that which was lost, so that is what he saw, lost and saved. Mercy people, for instance, may tend to look at the world in terms of who is hurting and who is not. It is interesting to note that Jesus just may have stumbled upon (that is, if you don't believe in providence) a gifted evangelist. Her reaction was to go and evangelize a whole town, not your typical response. Some gifted evangelists have multiple gifts, of which evangelism is one. However, if it is their primary gift, then it often tends to overshadow their other gifts, because evangelistic zeal is so visible. In the next section we will consider the secondary-gifted evangelist. First, however, we need to consider the current dearth of gifted evangelists in our congregations. Evangelists can often become easily discouraged when not allowed to utilize their gift. That discouragement can come in many forms: 1. Frustration with lack of follow-up of converts by other members. As we have noted before, it is the rare evangelist that is effective at follow-up. They are two separate gifts, and follow-up tends to take evangelists off the front line. They are dependent on other members completing the third part of the commission (teaching them to observe all things), yet since we have not taught much about this in the past, many churches have no structure for follow-up, so it falls back to the evangelist. 2. Frustration with being blamed when new Christians die. When follow-up fails, the methods or function of the evangelist is often questioned or criticized. He must not have taught them right if they fall away (even though they might have fallen away from neglect). This is further downside of evangelism having been made sales in the past. Many of our non-evangelist members are very sensitive to people being "coerced" into obeying the gospel, so when a new Christian falls away, the evangelist must have pushed too far. Friendship evangelism is in part a reaction to such coercion practices of the past. 3. Frustration with evangelism as a program. Rather than focusing on equipping gifted members, many congregations have tried to establish an evangelistic program complete with meetings, classes, assignments, etc. Often, gifted evangelists do not work well within such structure, and are thus unconsciously made to feel that they are not team players. Gifted evangelists do not understand why assignments are made (its like a cold call sales assignment rather than an intuitive evangelistic opportunity) and why we need charts, graphs, projectors, etc. They thus allow themselves to be marginalized. 4. Run off from the church. Paul was a gifted evangelist, and he caused many problems for the church. He attracted riots, and things went anyway but smoothly when he was around. Evangelism causes problems in the community (why are you stealing our sheep) , problems in the church (we do not have the facilities to handle these new

5

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Christians) and problems for members (why is this person sitting in my seat?). "Boy that sure is a set of problems we would like to have," is usually the refrain of those churches who are not in the middle of the major changes that are brought about by evangelism. The Jerusalem council of Acts 15, illustrates the major challenge that was brought to the church leaders as a result of the growth among Gentile Christians. Often in such situations, evangelists are blamed for causing the problems, when the issues are actually much more systemic. When frustrated, such evangelists will often fall away (due to frustration and lack of involvement) or they will drift toward opportunities to be effective. We lost many evangelists to the Boston movement because they saw in that movement an opportunity to use their gift in a situation in which leaders were willing to deal with the "problems" created by an influx of new Christians. Some congregations may not have any gifted evangelists left. Through evangelism the Lord will bring you gifted evangelists that simply need to be equipped and turned loose. But how do you evangelize if your evangelists have drifted off? That is where non-primary-gifted evangelists and skilled evangelists can help to replenish the congregation's evangelistic core. They are still at the church because they are using their other gifts to remain involved. II. Non-primary-gifted Evangelists The second style of evangelist is one in whom the gift of evangelism is not his primary gift. It may be number two , number three, etc. Such a person is often more timid about evangelism that the single-gifted evangelist. An example would be a person who gifted high in mercy, followed by evangelism. Such a person would have a great concern for souls, but would also have a fear of hurting or offending someone with the gospel (not a problem for the Apostle Paul). In such a situation, the evangelistic gift would take back seat to the mercy gift. This person might feel quite pulled between the two, maybe even feeling guilty for not being bold with the gospel. This evangelist will respond very well to this series of lessons, because he/she is always willing to hone the evangelistic craft. III. Skilled Evangelists In any congregation, when evangelistic opportunities are presented, there are members who are attracted to the prospect even though they may not gift out highly as evangelists. They have an interest in evangelism and motivation to be involved. Many years ago the author played in a musical group. He played guitar and spent a lot of time practicing the instrument in order to continually improve. He was not a gifted guitarist or musician. Although he was able to emulate the guitarists whose style he liked, all he was ever able to do was emulate. He could not originate the styles and sounds that the truly gifted guitarists produced (who could not explain how they did so, hence the gift), but since he could emulate them every well, many people thought he was gifted. In fact, he had worked hard to develop skill. In similar fashion, there are those in every congregation who are attracted to evangelism even though it is not a primary gift. This is the evangelists who works very well with training, and with structure. Such an evangelist will enjoy these

6

F A M I L Y

2

Personal Evangelism

A restoration approach to evangelism would dictate that we search the firstcentury evangelism examples for the message that we will share with the lost. In the past we have often utilized human methodologies that made good sense to us at the time. Sometimes such methodologies were biblically sound, however sometimes they were a human response to a human generated problem. For instance, in the middle of the last century many were concerned about a perceived high dropout rate of new converts. Drop out rates are usually associated with lack of follow-up with new Christians. As you have learned, that lack of follow-up is associated with the failure to restore the Ephesians 4 model of church growth . . . each members being equipped for ministry so that every need is met, including follow-up, as the church builds itself in love, as each "joint" supplies its function. Having not restored such ministry structure in the church, the issue of new Christian dropout was then attributed to insufficient teaching before baptism. Thus began the development of evangelism tools that taught lost people just as much as possible before they were baptized, in hopes that they would remain faithful. But the solution to the problem did not address the correct problem. We were trying to insure the success of the conversion before the conversion by adding study of the church to the gospel. That raised issues about instrumental music, frequency of the Lord's Supper, etc., which led to church doctrine arguments and debates rather than to conversions. Thus we have had to revisit the fact that the evangelists of the first century used only the gospel to convert people, and that follow-up was done daily and from house to house (Acts 2:42ff). We must apply the correct solution to the challenge in order to have a successful, biblical outcome. That is why we have established all of the gift-to-ministry and leadership structure before we explored the evangelism process. We are restoring the biblical structure of things, as God intended them to be. A restoration of New Testament evangelism directs us back to scripture in order to discover how they pursued the ends of evangelism in the first century. As we noted in a previous survey of Acts: 1. They did not pre-load the gospel presentation with church doctrine teaching. 2. They did not teach dispensations, or divisions of the Bible, etc. 3. They did not mention anything about instrumental music, Lord's Supper, or even matters associated with worship. 4. They preached only the gospel (death, burial, and resurrection of Christ). As we begin our restoration of the New Testament gospel presentations, we will look first to the prototypical gospel presentation which is found in Acts 2:14-38. Read Acts 2: 14-38 In order to equip ourselves to present the gospel to the lost, let us turn to the example of the evangelists hand chosen by Christ, to whom the great commission was

7

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

directly given. The first gospel sermon was preached by Peter at Pentecost. It is the most extensive example that we have of how the gospel was presented in the first century. Notice the following aspects about that gospel presentation: I. Old Testament Prophesy About Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21) II. Introduction of Jesus (Acts 2:22) III. Gospel of Jesus (Acts 2:23) IV. Old Testament Prophesy About Resurrection (Acts 2:25-28) V. Application of David's Prophesy About Resurrection to the Gospel (Acts 2:29-35) VI. Proof of the Resurrection (Acts 2:321-32) VII. Application of Gospel to the Audience (Acts 2:36) VIII. Audience Response to the Direct Application of the Gospel (Acts 2:37) IX. Teachings About Response to the Gospel (Acts 2:38-40) X. Response to the Gospel (Acts 2:41) Our presentation of the gospel will follow the same basic outline of Peter's presentation with adaptation to the modern Gentile audience. Peter preached from the Old Testament, because that was all that was extant at that time. In fact, most of the evangelism that took place during the time of the formulation of the New Testament (which was not bound together in the form in which we have it until about AD 250 or so) was done with the Old Testament. Highly motivated modern evangelists will learn how to present the gospel from the Old Testament in order to be ready to share the gospel with Orthodox Jews. But that is not the scope of this study. Since you will almost exclusively be presenting the gospel to Gentiles, and since they will most often accept the New Testament as inspired by God, and since gospel presentation is so much easier and direct from the New Testament, that will be the purview of this study! I. Old Testament Prophesies About Pentecost (17-21 Peter did not go directly into the gospel presentation. Peter had to prove his right to teach a strange, new message before he could present the gospel. The miracles that had occurred attested to his message, but he also taught how the events of Pentecost were a fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy. We have no corresponding need today. Pentecost has been fulfilled, and we do not need miracles, since we have the revealed Word as our authority to teach. However, just as Peter proved that his message was a fulfillment of prophesy and inspired by God, we need to be able to do a similar kind of pre-evangelism presentation where needed. There are people who do not believe in God, or Jesus, or the Bible, or truth, etc. It is pointless to dive into the gospel with such people until the groundwork has been laid to allow them to believe the gospel. Whether you call it Christian Evidences, Apologetics, Convincing, Pre-Evangelism, or whatever, there is a whole body of presentations that can lead the agnostic to the point at which he/she is ready to accept the gospel. As we have learned before, every evangelist needs to either be and apologist, or know one. Peter's introduction was the "apologetic" foundation for his message. 8

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

II. Introduction of Jesus (22)

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Peter briefly reviewed the authenticity of Jesus who was authenticated by the miracles of God. Peter states that the miracles were done "in your midst," so there is really little to argue or object to since, as he adds, "as you yourselves know." They are eye witnesses to the events of Jesus's life, including the "mighty works, wonders, and signs" which Peter lists. Today, there are no eyewitnesses to Jesus. Before you and I can get to the heart of the gospel, we have to introduce Jesus as the son of God, but we must also introduce the mission of Jesus while he was on the earth. The New Testament offers us a treasure trove of scripture to demonstrate who Jesus is and why he came to the earth. Many of the evangelism tools of the past did not even include an introduction to Jesus. That is ghastly, since we cannot obey the gospel until we have heard the gospel, and the gospel is the message of Jesus. Without Jesus, baptism becomes merely a salvific act of obedience (a work). III. Gospel of Jesus (23) Having introduced the lost person to the historic Jesus, we will then, just like Peter, turn to the gospel. You will discover that very few people with whom you will study, no matter how religious, or how many years they have attended church, can answer the question, "What is the gospel?" You will ask them during the presentation, and they will probably answer, "The Bible." You will allow the scripture to define the gospel for them (the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ), and then they will slowly begin to see the association between the response to the gospel (baptism) and the gospel itself.

F A M I L Y

IV. Old Testament Prophesy About the Resurrection (25-28) Peter used the Old Testament, but we will use the New. The Resurrection is the most difficult part of the gospel to accept. Everyone dies, and everyone is buried, but only one has ever been resurrected from the dead. This is the greatest miracle that God has performed (with the possible exception of the incarnation itself). Studying the gospel with the lost is not complete until they are ready to confess with their mouths that they believe that Jesus is the son of God, and that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9). Only then is one ready to be baptized. Our study will not only teach the resurrection, but it will teach why Jesus had to be resurrected, and what application the resurrection has for people today! V. Application of David's Prophesy About Resurrection to the Gospel (29-35) Peter argued that David could not have been talking about himself when he described one who would be resurrected, since David's tomb was known to all the hearers. Our task with the resurrection is not to prove that David was not the one

9

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

resurrected, as Peter did, since no one today confuses such teachings. However, the application of the resurrection to the modern hearer will be explored utilizing the New Testament. The two greatest events that occurred during the gospel were the death and resurrection. Few understand the significance of each of the acts, or the application of the death and of the resurrection to the sin and death of a Christian. Without a proper understanding of these two acts of the gospel, baptism makes no sense. Baptism has been separated from the gospel in our teachings for way too long! VI. Proof of the Resurrection (22-32) Those in our culture who are enamored with science do not believe in miracles, therefore they do not believe in the resurrection. Many of the scholars of mainline denominations do not believe that miracles ever took place, therefore they reject the resurrection. What is even sadder is that many people were "raised in the church" and do not know why they believe in the resurrection. As Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15, the resurrection is the whole foundation upon which the Christian faith rests. If Christ be not raised, we are of all men are to be most pitied. Being able to demonstrate the importance of the resurrection, and even using scripture to prove its occurrence, is the basis of faith and hope in our own resurrection. VII. Application of Gospel to the Audience (37) Evangelism is different from teaching. Teaching shares information, and evangelism calls for obedience to the gospel through conversion. Much evangelism is not taking place today, because the gospel is not being applied to the sin of specific persons. Peter used the words, "this Christ whom you crucified" in every one of his gospel messages. He showed how Jesus was crucified for their sins, but also because of their sins. Today, we want people to become Christians as painlessly as possible. Conversion is not painless, because sin is deadly, and guilt for the death of Jesus is universal. Those who do not come to grips with their own sin will never be truly converted. VIII. Audience Response to the Direct Application of the Gospel (41) At Pentecost they were pierced to the heart. The Philippian jailer did not want to hesitate, and was thus baptized the same hour of the night. The urgency to be baptized follows a complete understanding of the seriousness of one's sin, but it also follows the heartbreak of understanding that "I" killed the son of God. Many today are being baptized to go to heaven, or to escape hell, as the obedience to a command that facilitates such outcome. Many today have little urgency in being baptized as they "wait until Sunday so that grandma and grandpa can be here." It is not just the matter of risking the return of Christ, it is the lack of understanding that I will wait (remain) many more days as a killer of Christ, whose blood is still on my hands due to sin. To many, it has become a ceremony, almost a rite of passage.

F A M I L Y

10

Personal Evangelism

IX. Teachings About Response to the Gospel

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Peter did not preach baptism, he preached the gospel. He did not even discuss baptism until they raised the question of what to do ("Men and brethren what shall we do?"). In the past we have taught five steps to salvation that presented the response to the gospel without even teaching the gospel. Peter did not even tell them how to be saved until they responded (pierced to the heart) to the message of Jesus he had preached. If the 3000 had responded the same way the others did, by turning away, they would have never received teaching about baptism. One is not ready to learn about baptism until one has learned the significance of the gospel. We will teach the gospel . . . and only then, baptism as the response to the gospel. X. Response to the Gospel "And he testified with many other words and exhorted them saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received the word were baptized, and there were added to them that day about three thousand souls" (verses 40 and 41). Once the gospel has been presented, you do not teach anything else until it has been obeyed. Many times people will toss in all types of rabbits to chase, but once the gospel has been shared, the next next move is a biblical response. If someone does not respond, and yet is willing to continue to study, you review until you discover what part of the presentation that they did not understand, and you consider what hinders them from "arising and being baptized, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Thus we shall learn to do.

F A M I L Y

11

3

Personal Evangelism

It will be assumed that the majority of evangelism opportunities that you will

encounter will not require that you address a group of several thousand people like the group assembled at Pentecost. The greatest majority will involve one-on-one opportunities to share the gospel with a friend, coworker, etc. It is probably also a safe bet that you will rarely enter an evangelistic opportunity in which the other person brings up the subject of salvation. So you must transition the conversation into a gospel interaction. It is that first step that is so intimidating to so many Christians. There is absolutely no reason why it should be intimidating. However, the greatest fears that Christians have concerning evangelism generally fall into the following categories: 1. Don't want to be perceived as obnoxious. 2. Don't want to be perceived as a "salesman." 3. Don't want to be perceived as pushy. 4. Don't want to lose a friendship. 5. Don't want to offend the other person. 6. Don't want to be perceived a judgmental, condescending, better-than-thou, etc. In this lesson we will focus on how to make the transition from simple conversation to gospel communication. And we will see how to do that without impacting the relationship in a negative way. If we feel confident that we can discuss the gospel with lost friends and relatives, without ruining the relationship, then we will not feel the pressures often associated with evangelism, and we will not withhold the gospel from those we love waiting for "just the right time to spring it on them." A note about timing: there is urgency about being lost, and we should never buy a lost person's time in order to find a situation in which we fell more comfortable to present the gospel. That is the major problem with "Friendship Evangelism." In the New Testament, there was never a delay in presenting the gospel to lost people. Philip and the Eunuch were not friends before their encounter. Lydia was not a friend to Paul when they met by the river. The philosophers at Mars Hill were no friends of Paul when he shared the gospel with them. We were not commissioned to make friends, but to sow the seed. Yet we do not want to make enemies either. Many of the salesmen evangelists of the past ruined the concept of evangelism for many members. By using coercion or pressure in order to convince people to be baptized, they hurt some people. That need never take place, ever again. The following instructions have been adapted from We Care Ministries, a campaign group that helps congregations host evangelistic campaigns. They have done a tremendous work in advancing understanding about evangelistic methodologies. On the next pages you will discover how to make the transition into gospel dialogue as well as what passages to use in order to present the gospel to lost people. On a following page you will discover the "Salvation Highway Flow Chart." This flow chart guides you into how to make the transition from conversation to gospel dialogue. It begins with the opening question, "If the Lord were to come right now, would you know for sure, nothing doubting, that you would go to heaven?"

12

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Before we explore the flow chart, let's consider some etiquette about making the transition to gospel dialogue. One of the most important aspects of evangelism is to be yourself. Remember, you are not selling, and you certainly shouldn't be acting. If you are concerned about harming a friendship, acknowledge that to the person. If you are ashamed because you have known this person for years but have never asked the question, then admit that. The more you clear the air and are open about your feelings, the more relaxed and open the other person will be. Give the person the opportunity to say "no." Give them the opportunity to end the discussion at any time. By doing that you are protecting the relationship but also fulfilling the great commission. Consider the following dialogue between an evangelist and a longtime friend in which the evangelists is presenting the opportunity for Bible study for the first time. As this scene opens, they are getting into the evangelist's truck after having gone to the movies together. We will consider this scene with two different endings. Evangelist: Wow, that movie had to set the record for number of cars demolished in a chase scene. Friend: Yeah, but it is no match for a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour. Evangelist: Oh yeah, I forget that you used to live there. How long has it been since you moved here to Centerville? Friend: Carnegie moved me here to the distribution center about ten years ago. Evangelist: So you had been here about a year before we met. Friend: Yeah, Patty and I rented a house for about a year before we moved into the neighborhood close to you. Evangelist: Wow, I can't believe it has been nine years since that pickup basketball game at the YMCA. Little did I know that the creep who almost broke my leg fouling me would develop into my best friend. Friend: For the last time, it wasn't a foul. I had the inside position. I can't help it if you can't keep your leg out of my way! Evangelist: Anyway, I got a best friend out of the deal. I guess that was worth six weeks on crutches. It has been a great nine years! In fact, there is something that I have wanted to ask you, but just haven't found the opportunity . . . Friend (curious): What is it? You know you can ask me anything! Evangelist: Yeah, but I would never want to hurt or offend you. Your friendship means too much to me for me to ever do anything that would threaten that.

13

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

Friend: This is not about the lawn mower deal is it . . .

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Evangelist: No, forget about that. This is more serious. And I am a little nervous about bringing it up. Please promise me that if my question makes you uncomfortable, or if you don't want to talk about it that you will let me know and we will forget the whole thing, okay? Friend (very curious and more somber): Sure, no problem. What is it? Evangelist: Jim, if the Lord were to come right now, would you know for sure, nothing doubting, that you would go to heaven? Ending One Friend: (Long pause) I am not really sure what I believe. Evangelist: Can we talk about it? Friend: (Pause) Not right now, maybe some other time. Evangelist: No problem. Jim, would you remember that I asked and if you ever do want to talk about it would you let me know? Friend: Sure, you'll be the first to know! Evangelist: Just one more thing, Jim. Would you mind if I checked back with you about it in a month or two? Friend: No problem (laughs), as long as you don't nag me. Evangelist: I won't, but please let me know if you feel that I am and I will stop . . . your friendship is too important to me. Hey, are you up for some ice cream? My treat! Since I got that raise I haven't really celebrated. Speaking of raises, did you speak to your boss . . . Ending Two Friend (long pause) I am not really sure what I believe? Evangelist: Can we talk about it? Friend: I guess so. Evangelist: When would be a good time for you?

14

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

Friend: I'm not sure. Maybe this weekend?

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Evangelist: Hey I have an idea, why don't you and Peg come over for dinner Saturday night and we can discuss it over lasagna. Friend: That would be good, because Peg has been bugging me to get the kids into Sunday school. Evangelist: Great, and thanks. I was nervous about bringing this up, but you are a true friend . . . Friend: Hey, no problem. I told you that you could ask me anything. Oh, and Pete, thanks for caring enough to ask. What would you have done if I had shut you down? Evangelist: I would have dropped the subject and still been your best friend. I would have told you that if you ever did want to discuss it that I would always be available. (Smiling) Then I would have prayed that God would bring a tragedy into your life to soften your heart to talk about it. Fiend: (Laughing) What a jerk. He already brought tragedy into my life . . . I have to have a Christian jerk for a best friend. (Serious) Hey man, thanks for everything. Oh, and thanks for not pushing me or preaching at me! I will see you Saturday night . . .

F A M I L Y

You really can leave as a friend no matter what. Remember, no means no, but a handshake can leave the door open for a future opportunity. The flow chart will guide you through every possible answer to THE QUESTION. And the great thing about THE QUESTION is that when you ask it, no matter what, you will have gospel dialogue. The answer to THE QUESTION merely determines the direction that the dialogue takes. If the person answers both questions in the affirmative ("Yes, I know I would go to heaven," and "Yes, I am a Christian") then the square in the bottom right suggests questions you can ask about their conversion. Ask as many questions as you can, get as much detail as possible about how they became a Christian. Do not argue or attempt to show fallacy, just gain information and reflect it to be sure you understand what they did as a conversion experience. Later you will contrast that with what the Bible teaches. Once you have heard their story, it is time to share yours. But you will share yours from the Scriptures, because your conversion account is not about your story, it is about your submission to what the Bible teaches. The scriptures utilized in the gospel presentation that follows are the best way you can tell your story, which is not about you, but about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The subsequent lessons of this study will consist of a verse-by-verse analysis of the gospel presentation. Why these passages? Why this order? What does each passage do to progress the presentation? Each lesson will address such questions.

15

S a l v a t i o n H i g h w a

1

No!

Question: What if the Lord were to come right now; would you know for sure, nothing doubting, that you would go to heaven?

No!

Yes!

Does it Bother You?

When I Think about it!

Can we think (talk) about it?

"I Don't Know!" "I Think So!" "I Hope So!"

Yes!

Can we think (talk) about it?

Remember I asked and want to talk about it!

No!

Remember I asked and want to talk about it!

Yes!

Stop

Stop

y

2

Question: Are You a Christian?

"NoI" "Yes!" Where you ever a Christian? "Yes!"

1) How old were you? 2) Where was it? 3) Was it Sunday or during a revival? Was it at home? 4) What night was it? 5) Did you respond to an invitation? 6) Did the preacher pray? 7) Did he say _________? (Use familiar denominational

F l o w C h a r t

Adapted from We Care Ministries

"I Don't Know!" "I Think So!" "I Hope So!" Where you ever a Christian? "I Don't Know!" "I Think So!" "I Hope So!"

8) Then you are telling me you were saved in the prayer, right? (Yes) 9) When did you join the church? 10) Oh, you were saved on Tuesday night and were baptized into that church on Sunday morning, right? (Yes)

Where you ever a Christian? "NoI"

Do you love God?

"NoI" Remember I asked and want to talk about it! Stop

"Yes!"

Wonderful!

I was not saved that way!

3

Question: May I share with you how I was saved? (Move to gospel presentation)

The Gospel Presentation

"What if the Lord were to come right now? Do you know for sure, nothing doubting, that you'd go home to live with him in heaven forever?"

1. We can know that we have eternal life! 1 John 5:13 Then what has been written? 2. Is this a life-and-death statement? John 8:24 Then who is Jesus? 3. Whose son is he? Matthew 16:13-17 Is His being the son of God all we must believe concerning His eternal identity? 4. Jesus, being the son of God, is God. Notice here: John 1:1; John 1:14 When Jesus came to earth, did he leave His Godhead in heaven? 5. Notice that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. Colossians 2:9 6. God the Father calls His own Son God: Hebrews 1:8 Who does Jesus himself claim to be? 7. Jesus Himself claims to be the great "I Am." John 8:58 So, we must believe Jesus is God, or we will die in our sins. 8. There are three "persons" in the Godhead. Matthew 3:16-17 Jesus is one of them. 9. What is Jesus called here? Why is he qualified to be a mediator? 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 4:15 Why do we need a mediator? 10. What has separated us from God? Isaiah 59:2 What can save us? 11. What is the power of God to save us? Romans 1:16 What is the gospel of Christ? 12. The Bible interprets itself: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Why did Jesus have to do each of these things to save us? 13. In His death we reach His blood. Ephesians 1:7 How wonderful is His forgiveness? 14. He can present us how? Jude 24 Jesus takes care of our sin problem with His death. Now why was he raised for us? 15. Watch how Jesus takes care of our grave problem. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 16. In a nutshell, what two things does the gospel bring to us? 2 Timothy 1:10 Paul says it another way. 17. What can we be through Jesus' death? What can we be through His life? Romans 5:10 18. Must we confess Christ and believe the gospel to be saved? Is this a life and death statement? Romans 10:9 19. Must we change our lifestyles? 1 Corinthians 6:9 Ephesians 4:17-5:7 Galatians 5:19-26 What if we do not change? 20. Are these life and death statements? Luke 13:3,5 To get in on the saving gospel what must we do? 21. What must we do to escape God's vengeance and everlasting destruction? 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 How do humans "Obey the gospel?" 22. Do you see the gospel here? How do we get into His death? Romans 6:3-6, 17-18 Why would God want us to get "into His death?" 23. Where does one actually become a Christian? Galatians 3:26-27 24. If one becomes a Christian, will he/she face persecution? John 15:20 25. What is the worst kind of persecution? Luke 14:26-28 We need to count the cost. 26. Jesus commands commitment. 2 Peter 2:20-21 27. Please read these words and give God your answer. Acts 22:16

Adapted from We Care Ministries

4

Personal Evangelism

1 John 5:13 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.

This first scripture sets the tone for the whole study. The need to be saved, and to know that one is saved is really the whole point of existence. When you consider that 100 years means nothing when compared to eternity, you realize that James was correct in describing our lives as a vapor, here for a short while and then gone. God did not put us on earth to stay on earth but to choose where we will spend eternity. Once we have chosen to spend eternity in heaven, the rest of our lives is spent in the sanctification process (being formed into the likeness of God) and in sharing our choice with others, not the least of which are the family generations that follow us. So to establish our salvation (eternal relationships with God) is our purpose for living. This first verse describes that each can meet that purpose. Many people have been raised to doubt whether they have been saved. Many in the churches of Christ were raised to believe that one cannot make the "boast" that one is saved, because one may be in for a "Judgment Day surprise." Such a perspective reflects the misunderstanding that one can only be sure of one's salvation if one can be sure that one has been totally obedient. The focus is thus on salvation by obedience rather than salvation by grace. When we understand and accept salvation by grace, then our confidence in knowing that we are saved is not boasting, for our confidence comes from the promise of God. So, maybe even especially for members of the churches of Christ, this passage is the best place to begin a gospel presentation. The passages that follow are going to demonstrate the work that Jesus performed on the cross that bought us out of sin and presented us sinless before God (Jude 24). The first passage beings at the end . . . we can know that we have eternal life. The rest of the study will demonstrate how we can know that reality, and upon what basis. What follows is the gospel presentation that will demonstrate in great detail that Jesus brought salvation to us through the gospel. We are saved by the gospel. The acts that we perform in response to the gospel are merely acts of accepting the gospel's power to save us. What if someone were taught just the following steps (passages)? 1. Hear: Romans 10:17 2. Believe: John 3:16 3. Repent: Luke 13:3,5 4. Confess: Romans 10:9,10 5. Baptism: Acts 2:38 If the person obeyed each of those passages as they were taught, within about ten minutes that person could obey the commands. But has such a one obeyed the gospel? By the way, some have added a sixth step: 6. Live a faithful Christian life (Revelation 2:10). As the person learned more commands to be obeyed, he would wonder if he were obeying them all well enough. That is obedience to commands, and the answer is no, we do not ever do them well enough. However, obedience to the gospel brings security, hope, and peace, because it is not based on how well we obey; it is based on the work Jesus did at the cross, where HE took care of our sin problem and our death problem. So, having begun at the end, the next passages will help us flash back to how we get here . . . to where we can know for sure that we have everlasting life. 18

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

1

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins: for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

The is the first of the so-called "life-and-death statements." A life and death statement is a statement in scripture that makes one of the following claims: 1. If you (do) _________, you will live. 2. If you (do) _________, you will die. 3. If you don't (do) _________, you will live. 4. If you don't (do) _________, you will die. Not all people in the church agree on what constitutes "salvation issues," however we can all agree that when scripture makes a life-and-death statement, we all need to perk up and evaluate our lives in reference to that scripture. It is the salvation equivalent to an expert saying, "if you swallow strychnine, you will die," or " if you do not take an antibiotic for that infection, you will die." It is the fool who does not heed the life-and-death warning from the expert. In this case Jesus is the expert, and eternal life and death are the issue. So when Jesus, or any other New Testament writer, makes a life-and-death statement, we had best make sure that we do or don't do what the statement warns us about! There is something about Jesus that we must believe in order to not die in our sins. Ask the student if he/she wants to die in their sins. Of course they don't, so the life-and-death aspect of the statement now kicks in. We had all better perk up and be sure that we understand who Jesus is, or we will die in our sins. The first step to understanding the gospel of Christ is to understand who Jesus is. Notice the difference between how this study begins and how the traditional evangelistic tools of the past begin. It does not start with the Old Testament and dispensations. Nor does it start by teaching the authority of the New Testament over the Old Testament, as the basis of arguing New Testament church practice versus taking scriptures (and thus practices) from the Old Testament. It begins with Jesus. That is what the gospel accounts begin with, and that is what every gospel message in the book of Acts starts with . . . who is Jesus? And the issue is so important to Jesus that he makes a bold life-and-death statement about acquiring such knowledge. In the next verse (25) the Jews asked for clarification about Jesus's statement. They asked, "Who are you?" The next several passages will answer that question, and in so doing will set the foundation for the gospel. The nature of Jesus will be explored, for if we do not understand who he is, his purpose on earth will not make sense, and our understanding of the gospel will be lacking. This is a different approach than we have made in the past, but I hope it is clear to you that it is the path of New Testament evangelists. We did not come to baptize people, or to make members of the Church of Christ. We are here to preach Christ and him crucified, and that gospel will convert people, whom the Lord will then add to his church. It is not about getting people into church, it is about getting people into Christ, so that he can add them to the church!

19

2

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Matt 16:13-17 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

3

F A M I L Y

The case for Jesus will not be made from speculation or from subjective perspectives. The testimony about Jesus will come directly from eyewitnesses. First we will hear from three human eyewitnesses who are testifying under inspiration. Then we will hear from God the Father. Lastly, Jesus will take the stand and we will see if his testimony is consistent with the others'. The first testimony that we will consider is that of Peter, the apostle who denied Christ three times. At the time he asked his followers who the people thought he was, there was a lot of confusion concerning the identity of Jesus. But when he focused his questions on his immediate followers, Peter made the confession that would later become the basis for entry into a relationship with Christ Jesus. Peter is the first one who is recorded as having made the great confession. Jesus acknowledged his testimony as carrying weight beyond just Peter himself, by acknowledging that Peter did not figure this out alone. The people probably felt that they were paying homage to Jesus by placing him in lofty company. Elijah and Jeremiah were certainly marvelous prophets of God. And John the Baptist was the modern-day Elijah. Yet Peter's answer placed Jesus in a category by himself: "Thou art the Christ." That word Christ mean "anointed." He had been personally anointed by God with the Holy Spirit at his baptism. No one had ever received such an anointing. But he is not just the anointed one, the messiah, but he is the son of God. Peter had been paying attention concerning Jesus's baptism, when the voice of God declared Jesus to be his son. Peter had to have known of the mystery surrounding his birth. There are times when men make great statements, sometimes without even understanding how great the statement will turn out to be. Did Peter fully understand the significance of "Son of the living God?" Do we? Jesus even acknowledged that Peter's insight into who Jesus was, was not a matter of his own deduction, but rather was revealed to him, by inspiration, from heaven. If you will, here are three testimonies in one: (1) Peter testifies to what he has seen and heard concerning Jesus, (2) heaven testifies to the Christ, the messiah, by giving Peter insight that transcends his own feeble powers of observation, and (3) Jesus testifies on his own behalf that not only is Peter correct ("Blessed are you, Simon Barjona") but that he is testifying by revelation from God himself. But remember, Jesus's testimony about himself is not admissible for proof of who he is (John 5:31), that must come at the hands of two or three witnesses. So we will withhold Jesus's testimony about himself until a little later in the study, and then in order to demonstrate that he knew who he was. What a great passage to begin with in order to show the student who Jesus is!

20

5

Personal Evangelism

John 1:1,14 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

4

F A M I L Y

Added to the testimony of Peter is that of John. The testimony of each of these eyewitnesses is adding a little more clarity to the picture of who Jesus is. This is all in the effort to fulfill the statement that Jesus made earlier, " Unless you believe I am he you will die in your sins." As we saw, that is a life and death statement. Yet it is not enough to believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God. John adds to that foundation that Jesus IS God. But he makes his point in such a powerful way! In the beginning was the Word. The Greek word that is translated word is "logos." We get words like logic and logistics from it. To the Greeks, the concept of the logos was of an all inclusive power that held the universe together. This all-pervasive logos was an impersonal force much like the concept of "The Force" in the movie "Star Wars." John wrote his gospel to the Greeks and used their concept of an all-pervasive life force to introduce to them Jesus, the personal, all-pervasive life force. As in English, the Greek "logos" also carries the notion of word, or communication. Jesus is the Word of God. He is the revelation of God. If you want to know what God is like, watch Jesus. And he was in the beginning with God. In the Old Testament, one could not approach God directly, or one would die. The only way humans could learn of God was through his revelation of himself through the law. God sent his Word (revelation) through prophets, and the people had to read the writings to know God. In the fulness of time the Word of God came to earth and walked among us! The Word of God could be seen and touched, and is living and active. He is no latter day revelation because he was with God in the beginning. But that is not all. He was not only with God, the Word is God. This is John's testimony to the deity of Jesus. He is not the son of God in the sense that we use the term, he is not created, and he is not a lesser god. If the Word were not God, his revelation would be that of just another prophet, even though a heavenly prophet. He would have simply shared what he was told by revelation. We would not have the security of knowing that the revelation of God's will is perfect, because it came from the source. Jesus is the Word, and he is God, so the word is complete and unadulterated. It has not been filtered in translation from the Father to the Son, because the son is God. John is saying so much more than that Jesus is deity, but he is definitely testifying to the deity of Jesus. Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. There has never in history been such an intimate relationship between God and man. No one except the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies because sin had separated humans from God. So God came to earth. He walked among us and revealed the will of God because he is the Word! But this relationship does not end with the Word. As Christians we have an even more intimate relationship with God, for at our conversion the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. Look at the increased levels of intimacy: (1) God in the Holy of Holies, removed from us, (2) Jesus among us, and finally (3) the Holy Spirit within us. Although the Greeks had trouble with the concept of the Word being a person, John was not afraid to use their word as the basis of teaching them what the Word was really like. For our purposes, he is definitely laying claim to the deity of Jesus. But he is also, by using the carefully selected words that we often gloss over, telling us some very deep and powerful truth about the nature of Jesus, and of his relationship to 21

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, bodily.

5

F A M I L Y

To the testimony of Peter and John, we will add this, a further insight from the Apostle Paul. We are still attempting to be sure that we obey the command of Jesus: Unless you believe I am he you will die in your sins? Who is he? Peter told us he was the Christ (the anointed one, messiah) the SON OF GOD, and John testified that he is the Word of God, and God himself. John said that he was God and was in the beginning with God, all past tense. What was his nature when he came to earth? Did he stop being God while here on earth? Paul staightens out that potential confusion in a very short, heavily loaded statement. Who is Jesus? He is the fullness of the godhead in bodily form. There are matters in our walk with God that we must simply accept by faith. It is impossible for us to be able to comprehend the reality of Jesus being 100% God and 100% man. 100% + 100% = 2 persons. Yet in Jesus they are one. The Greek word pleroma (fullness) simply means that everything that it takes to comprise the godhead is found in Jesus in its entirety. In him is the fullness, the completeness, of deity in bodily form. The incarnation of Jesus, God becoming man, is possibly the greatest miracle in scripture. It would seem to be like squeezing an elephant into a sausage skin to place all the pleroma of the godhead in to a human package, but that is exactly what the incarnation of Jesus entails. Jesus lost none of his deity when he became a human, and because he was a human he could relate to us in a way that God the Father had never experienced, by living among us as one of us. As we will soon see, Jesus had to be God and he had to be man in order to complete the sanctification work that he came to do. As God, he could meet the requirements of salvation for God, and as man, he could be the sacrifice for man. You may have heard it stated in a class or in a sermon that God could have saved us in any number of ways, yet he chose to do so through the death of his son. That is simply untrue. There was no other way to save us than for the sacrifice of a perfect human sacrifice, yet if Jesus were just a human being, that sacrifice would have been incomplete. More on that later. Peter testified that Jesus was the son of God. John testified that among other things, Jesus was God. To their testimony we have this from Paul that tells us that when Jesus came to earth he did not lose any of the aspects of deity. He did not become a lesser God, or God junior. All of the fullness of deity dwells in him in bodily form. He is 100% man and 100% God, the only suitable one to save mankind, as we shall see later in the study.

22

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Hebrews 1:9 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever."

Okay, lets play devil's advocate for a moment. We have received marvelous testimony from Peter, John, and Paul about the nature of Jesus. These passages have helped us to obtain a clearer picture of Jesus so that we can obey the statement that Jesus made, "unless you believe I am he you will die in your sins." Neither you nor I want to die in our sins, so it is a matter of life and death to be sure that we know who Jesus is. Peter testified that he is the Christ, the son of God. John stated that he was deity from the start. Paul has told us that Jesus did not lose any of his deity when he became a man, but that, rather, in him was the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form. This Jesus is unlike anyone who has ever lived. Yet, this is just human testimony. And sometimes human followers of great men tend to exaggerate the accomplishments of those great men. Let us put aside that these men are apostles, and that they are testifying by inspiration of God. Wouldn't it be good to hear testimony about Jesus directly from the source . . . God? In this passage God adds his direct testimony to the testimony that he inspired through Peter, John, and Paul. Here it is, direct from the Father himself! The Father says to the Son, Thy throne, O God . . ." The Father is calling the son God! So, in summing up this testimony: Peter: He is the Christ, the Son of God. John: He is the Word, and he is God, and was in the beginning with God before he became flesh and dwelt among us. Paul: The fullness of deity dwells in him, bodily. God the Father: Thy throne, O God . . . The context of this verse is the argument by the Hebrew writer that Jesus is superior to the angels. In fact the angels are to worship him (verse 6). That fact in and of itself proves the deity of Jesus. The first of the ten commandments is, "You shall have no other gods before me." For God to command that the angels worship Jesus is in direct violation of the first commandment, unless Jesus is God. That is, of course, what he affirms in verse eight. We are coming closer to understanding what it is about Jesus that we must know in order to not die in our sins. However, there is one testimony that is missing. And it is the most important testimony yet. Who did Jesus understand himself to be? It is one thing for others to believe that he is the messiah, and God, and the fulness of deity, but it is still another for him to claim that for himself. Did Jesus ever claim to be God? The answer to that question takes us full-circle back to John 8.

23

6

F A M I L Y

6

Personal Evangelism

John 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM."

In our current humanistic'\, cultural portrayals of Jesus, he is usually human to a fault. He is presented as a tortured, doubting man who is unsure of himself. Rather than heeding the call to become like Jesus, our culture likes to present him in our own image. It surely seems that at age twelve Jesus had a real sense of why he was here, and what he was supposed to accomplish (Luke 2:41-50). Regardless of the testimony of those from whom we have already heard, if Jesus is not God, and if he did not know who he was, his journey to earth was for naught. Yet to any modernday, skeptical humanist who would like to cast Jesus in his own image, John gives the testimony of Jesus himself to clear the record. And like John did in John 1:1, Jesus testifies to his own deity in an almost incomprehensibly powerful way. The Jews were concerned at the teachings of Jesus and asked him if he thought that he was greater than Abraham (the greatest Jew), in verse 53. Jesus replied that Abraham rejoiced in seeing the day of Jesus. He saw it and was glad. When Jesus stated that, the people marveled because Jesus wasn't even 50 years old and Abraham had been dead for hundreds of years, so how could Jesus have seen Abraham? Jesus replied, "Before Abraham was, I AM." Now that grammar is incorrect in English, in Hebrew, in Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) and in Greek. But his "bad" grammar made for powerful truth. The Jews knew fully the scripture about Moses approaching the burning bush, from which God called him to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. When Moses, who was fearful of the job, asked who to tell the Egyptians had sent him, God replied, "I AM that I AM." To the Jews "I AM" was tantamount to God's personal name. Jesus was claiming (and used "incorrect" grammar to make sure that they got it) to be the great I AM. You will notice in verse 59 that the meaning of Jesus's words were not lost on them, because they picked up stones to stone him. In their minds he had blasphemed the name of god, which is punishable by death under the law. The only one who can make the I AM claim is God himself. And Jesus made the claim clearly and unequivocally. But if we look closer we will see that this was not the first time in this context that he made that claim. Turn back to verse 24, which brings us back to the second verse in this study. If you look close you will notice that the `He' is italicized. That means that the translators added the word for clarity, and put it in italics to let us know it was not in the original text. So let's take that added word out and see what Jesus actually said: "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins: for if you do not believe that I am (I AM) you will die in your sins." They did not understand who he claimed to be, so in the next verse (25) they asked "Who are you?" Yet when he repeated the statement in verse fifty eight by using the present tense verb again, yet contrasted to the past tense for Abraham, they heard and understood loud and clear: before Abraham was I AM. By claiming his deity in this way, Jesus said so much more than "I am deity," or "I am God." He laid claim to being the "alpha and the omega" as well as the one who interacted with Abraham in the Old Testament. Jesus knew exactly who he was and why he was here in earth. He knew exactly who and what he had to be in order to fulfill the law and to become the one sacrifice, once and for all, that would fulfill the justice of God, while allowing mercy to be extended to sinful human beings. This was no frightened, unsure, flawed, humanistic, accidental savior! 24

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

7

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Matthew 3:16-17 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from water and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

8

We are now close to the middle of the gospel presentation. After the introductory verse about being able to know without a doubt that we are saved, we looked at several verses that answered the question, "Who is Jesus?" The gospel presentation is founded on the answer to that question. We started in John 8:24, and went full circle back to John 8:58. The graph below may be useful as a memory device: John 8:24: Unless you believe I Am He ... die in your sins."

John 8:58: Jesus's testimony: "I Am" Who is Jesus?

Matthew 17:13-17: Peter's testimony: Christ the Son of God.

Hebrews 1:8 God's testimony: "Thy throne O God . . ."

John 1:1,14: John's testimony: Christ is God (deity).

F A M I L Y

Colossians 2:9: Paul's testimony: 100% God, 100% man. Matthew 3:16-17, describes the baptism of Jesus, but more than that it gives a great picture of the interaction among that Godhead that took place at his baptism. When Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. The dove was probably a visual symbol for all to see. This is the only time we see an interaction among all the members of the Godhead. The picture consists of God the Father in heaven, Jesus the son on earth as the God/man, and the Holy Spirit "connecting" the one to the other. God then makes the statement about Jesus being his son. Rather than focusing on the significance and need for Jesus to be baptized, or the significance of the descending of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus, this passage serves us by showing the godhead all together and Jesus as the most earthbound member of that Godhead. At this point in our study we will shift our focus from who Jesus is to why he had to come to earth in the first place. We have completed the need that we first investigated: to know who Jesus is so that we can "believe that I AM he" so that we do not die in our sins. Before we move on to the mission of Christ, we will take a short respite at Matthew 3, to see the summation of this section of our study, all the members of the Godhead on the scene at the same time, with the Holy Spirit being the connector or go-between, between Father and Son. 25

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

9

F A M I L Y

As previously stated, our study thus far has centered on answering the question, "Who is Jesus?" Many students, raised in denominations, will feel that the study has been a review of things they already know so far. And if that is the case, then you have built consensus with them, and they will have begun to relax in the fact that you are not presenting to them a "different gospel" than the one they already know. If they have had questions about the deity or uniqueness of Jesus, those have by now been answered. In all cases, the upcoming presentation of the gospel is built upon the foundation that has been built in answering the questions of Jesus's nature. NO MATER HOW SURE YOU ARE THAT THE STUDENT KNOWS ALL OF THIS, DO NOT SKIP THE PREVIOUS PART OF THE PRESENTATION. Do not assume any knowledge on the part of anyone. It is almost guaranteed that even the most dedicated believer will have learned much up to this point. And every one of them must know what has been taught in order for the power of the gospel to work. Having established who Jesus is, we now turn our attention to what Jesus has done, why he came to the earth. This passage describes the fundamental role that Jesus plays . . . mediator between God and men. It is well to consider that role. A mediator is a go-between. Yet more than just a go-between. The concept of mediator suggests two parties that cannot communicate. In fact, they are at war. Whether in the middle-east talks or in a heated therapy session, a mediator attempts to restore functional dialogue between two parties that have trouble communicating without war breaking out. The sad reality of Jesus's job as a mediator is that very few people know that they need a mediator. If you ask the average person on the street about their relationship with God, they will probably tell you that it is okay. They certainly would not suggest that they need a mediator, because they do not perceive themselves to be at war with God. Most people are not angry at God nor do they wish him ill. Most people believe that all "good" people will go to heaven. The role of Jesus as mediator upsets the whole common perception that God loves everyone as a grandfather, and that Jesus was a peace-loving, wonderful teacher who died to get everyone into heaven. There is a war going on, and everyone is either at war with God, or was at war with God and has done something about it (through Christ the mediator) so that the "fighting" can stop. It will come as a shock to many on Judgment Day that God is angry at most people. This function of Jesus, as mediator, sets the stage for the soon-to-follow discussion about the second-coming of Christ, in which he will be returning with vengeance (retribution), another concept that most people do not understand. This passage reiterates that there is one God, and one mediator. That mediator, between the one God and the totality of men (humans) is the MAN Jesus Christ. The humanity of Christ is accentuated in this passage in order that humans can take joy in the fact that the one who is going to speak to the creator and sustainer of all that is, is also a human being, subject to all the trials and temptations that God does not experience. As a mediator that is both God and man, Jesus is able to build a bridge to God and build a bridge to man. Jesus can start with God and build that bridge, and start with man and build the bridge. He can unite the bridge to build access from one to the other. To be a real mediator (advocate) he has to be able to have the experiences and perspective of each side. Jesus does! And no one else can! 26

7

Personal Evangelism

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you.

Okay, Jesus is the mediator between God and man. God and man are at war with each other, yet very few people feel that they are at odds with God. So, why do we need a mediator? This passage from Isaiah states it as succinctly and as straightforwardly as is possible. Our sin has started a war with God. God is righteous, and sin is unrighteousness, so when we sin, we are choosing the anti-God. We are choosing the team that is opposing God. Since God is righteous, he cannot be in the presence of unrighteousness. When we choose unrighteousness we are declaring war on God, or at least fellowship with God (which is the same thing). It matters not whether we understood that sin is war with God. It matters not what our intentions were. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and the meaning of death is separation. Separation from God results in eternal destruction, so this war is serious. Isaiah uses heart-rending poetic descriptions of this separation. God's face is hidden from the sinner. As was the case with Jesus on the cross, God cannot look at a sinner. His sin is repulsive to God, for it is the anti-God. God cannot be in the presence of sin, so he cannot even look at sinners. This is not abandonment or punishment on the part of God. This is the necessary result of our choice of sin. If a man's wife were to choose to take a job 2000 miles away, that man would not be able to spend time with his wife. He would not be able to look upon her face. Her choice removed her from him, and as a result they would not be able to experience community. So it is with our choice of sin. The passage does not say that God has hidden his face from us. It says that sin has hidden his face from us. God has not removed himself, sin has obscured his view. To put it another way, when God attempts to look at me (as a lost sinner), he cannot see me at all, for my sin has blocked his view. When he looks at me he sees sin. When I turned to Satan as Lord, through my choice to sin, I took on the nature of evil, or as Paul calls it, the flesh. While all of us are made in the image of God and are good by nature, we have been sold (or sold ourselves) into sin and have assumed the nature of evil. God cannot see the me that was made in His image. He sees the new nature of sin that I have become. Once I have chosen sin I am powerless to overcome its nature. As we will see yet, Jesus was able to overcome my sin(full) nature with the gospel, to remove sin's claim on me, so that I can be sanctified. Since that nature of sin (the flesh) is destroyed, my godly nature returns and I am no longer obscured, in the vision of God, by my sin. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. We need a mediator, and intercessor, because our sin has become a veil that has hidden the face of God. Since I cannot survive without the glory that glows from him, as if He were my own personal sun, I will continue to die. Separation leads to greater separation. Yet wretched man that I am, who can rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord! Because of sin, I need a mediator, and thank God for the Man Christ Jesus!

27

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

10

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

We know who Jesus is, and we know what his primary task was in coming to this earth. Now we turn to the critical part of our study that will be built on the understandings we have now gained. How is God going to deal with our sin problem, so that his face will not be hidden from us any longer? Remember, we are powerless to do anything about this. We are sold into sin, and we are slaves of sin. To be saved, God will have to do the work. Paul tells us that it is through the gospel of Christ that God saves. In fact he tells us that the gospel of Christ is God's power to save. God's saving power is applied to us (and to everyone who believes) through the gospel. Soon we will attempt to understand what the gospel is, but for now let us see what the gospel does. The Greek word that is translated power is the word dunamis, or dynamis. It is the word from which we get our English word dynamite. Paul is not merely speaking of power here, he is speaking of explosive power. The explosion that will destroy sin in our lives is the gospel. If the student has been raised in a denomination there is a good chance that he knows that the term gospel means good news or good tidings. So we are saved by good news! Yet Paul does not want us to be mistaken about what good news it is that saves us. It is the gospel of Christ, the good news about Jesus! "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ!" he wrote. Paul warned the Galatians about any other gospel: Galatians 1:6-10 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Many of the people you will study with have received another gospel. And they don't know it. And it sounds like good news to them. But salvation only comes through the good news (gospel) of Christ. And Paul wanted it on record that he for one is not ashamed of the gospel! The implication is that there were people in his day that were ashamed of the gospel (remember it is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks). Brethren, there are many in the church who are ashamed of the gospel and are trying to grow the church by any other means than by simply presenting the gospel to lost men and women. It is sad that many will join a "church growth" church through some other gospel, who will have not obeyed the gospel of Christ . . . the only power of God to save! In the last part of the verse Paul makes it clear that the only power to save that God offers is the gospel of Christ, and everyone who is ever saved, Jew or Greek, will be saved through that one gospel. What is the gospel? BEFORE you turn to the next passage, you must ask that question to the student. Obedience to the gospel rests on understanding what the gospel is. Very few people know what the gospel is. Most of the people you ask will tell you that the gospel is the Bible. Many will tell you that they don't have a clue. Before you can answer the question for them, they must attempt to answer that question for themselves. Later on we will see why it is important that they wrestle with the question of what constitutes the gospel.

11

F A M I L Y

28

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which you are also saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you - unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

12

F A M I L Y

The gospel is not the Bible. That is, however, what most people will answer when you ask them. It is understandable that many are confused about this matter. We have called many men gospel preachers who preach the whole council of God (Bible). In the past we have conducted "gospel meetings" where anything but the gospel was preached. There was a recent "gospel meeting" whose theme was advertised as "Stressbusters." The Bible is not the gospel, but the Bible does contain the gospel. Consider it this way, the term gospel means good news. Is everything in the Bible good news? No, of course not. The first four books of the New Testament are called gospels and they tell us about the life, ministry, and crucifixion of Jesus. Is that what the gospel is? Close! The best answer for a Bible question comes from the Bible itself! In this passage, Paul describes the gospel . . . and it is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Before defining the gospel, Paul reminds us that it is the gospel that saves us, if we hold fast to it when it preached to us. That is reminiscent of the last passage we considered in this study, (Romans 1:16) in which Paul proclaimed that the gospel was God's power to save Jew and Greek. It is a knowledge of the gospel that will lay the foundation for understanding how we are saved. The next few passages will help the student to understand why Jesus had to die and the specific benefits that we received from each of the activities of the gospel: the death, the burial, and the resurrection. Knowledge of the gospel is fundamental to obedience to the gospel, and obedience to the gospel is the basis for our salvation. It is frightening to realize how many people do not even know what the gospel is. This is particularly frightening in the churches of Christ in which many have been converted to obedience to commands (hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized) with little if any training about the relationship of those acts to the gospel. Baptism as a command is not the same as baptism in obedience to the gospel. Not only is the gospel the center point of Paul's teaching and preaching (we determined to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified), it is the central point of worship. The Lord's supper is the preaching of the gospel in metaphor. It is the gospel in action, not in words. The gospel is so important to God that he wants his believers to internalize it . . . literally. It is no wonder that denominations who do not preach the gospel, much less obedience to the gospel, do not partake of the Lord's Supper weekly. They have marginalized that activity just as they have marginalized baptism. If you do not preach the gospel, and obedience to the gospel then other aspects of the gospel will not be important either. Most of our favorite evangelistic tools of the past taught the steps to salvation with little if any focus on the gospel (that was simply unheard of in the book of Acts). Some of them attempted to convert people by showing the fallacies in their worship doctrines. The commission makes clear that we are to preach the gospel, and in this passage Paul makes clear what the gospel is. What difference does it make? Mere obedience to commands is a powerless conversion. The gospel is God's power to save. It is also our motivation to stay saved in the presence of temptation. The old, old story of the death, burial, and resurrection is as refreshing to veteran Christians as it is exciting to the lost believer. The power to be saved is in the gospel. The power to live in the midst of persecution is in the gospel, not in a series of obedient steps. Are the steps necessary? Absolutely! But do the steps contain the power to save and motivate? No, the 29

8

Personal Evangelism

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

With this passage we begin to discover how each segment of the gospel (the death, the burial, and the resurrection) plays an important role in our salvation. Yet it is common for us to lump them together as one seamless event. Each is profoundly important in its own way. First, we will consider the death of Christ on the cross. According to this passage it is through the blood of Christ that we have redemption. The concept of redemption has fallen from use in modern culture. Some of you may remember S & H Green Stamps, that you used to receive at grocery stores and other businesses as a reward for your purchases. You would lick the stamps and paste them into books. When you had saved up enough books you would take them to the S & H Green Stamp REDEMPTION Center where you would trade the books in on a lamp, a radio, or some such item. The Redemption Center was redeeming (buying back) their stamps, paying for them with something of value to you. In like manner a pawn shop will give you money and hold your tools or VCR as collateral. When you have saved enough money, you can return to the pawn broker and redeem your item. You buy it back at a higher price than what you received for it. If you don't buy it back, the broker can sell your property to someone else. Jesus redeems us with his blood. The blood referred to in this passage represents his death. Through his death Jesus was able to purchase us back (redemption) for God. In that process we receive the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus paid for our sins (the wages of sin is death ... Romans 6:23) with his death, so that we don't have to die. This was all accomplished because of the richness of God's grace through Christ Jesus. The reference to riches suggests how much God had to pay to buy you back. It cost Him his son, because of the depth of your sin. Now we can begin to understand why Jesus had to die; why their had to be a gospel in order to save us. Yet there is more at work here. This is why Jesus had to be man and God. The Hebrew writer explained that the blood of bulls and goats cannot remove sin (Hebrews 10:4). If I am guilty of murder and sentenced to death, I cannot offer my favorite dog as a surrogate. If a man sins, a man must pay the price. But God did not want us to have to pay the price for our sins, so when a man sinned (me) a man (Jesus) died. A man sins, a man must die. Jesus took away my sin by becoming my sin and bearing my death penalty. Well that is all well and fine for me, but what about you. If Jesus were merely a man, he would have to die for his own sins. If Jesus were a perfect (sinless) man he could die for another man's sins. But since he is God (infinite man if you will) he can die for everyone's sins. Jesus had to be 100% God and 100% man in order to be our propitiation. And he had to die if he was going to pay our wages for sin. There was no other way, and there was no other one who could do it. The death of Jesus (his blood) redeemed me to God, because a sinless Jesus paid the price of my sin (wages = death), but because he was God, he did the same thing for you also . . . and for everyone else who has ever lived! How

30

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

13

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Jude 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.

14

Look at what Jesus was able to accomplish with his death! Look at how he took care of my sin problem! He presents me as faultless before the presence of God! He didn't say I was faultless, he said he presents me as faultless. Remember Isaiah 59:2, in which we are told that our sin had hidden God's eyes from us? Now we see how the death of Jesus took care of that separation (remember, we needed a mediator?). God is now able to look at me! For when God looks at me his vision is no longer blocked by my sin. Jesus took the sin away, and so I can now have communion with God once again. When God looks at me he sees no sin. And that blood that washed me clean at the cross keeps on cleansing me: . . . but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9). Once this blood starts to work on my sins, it never stops, as long as I keep walking in the light with Christ. Not only that, but he empowers me to be able to not stumble. I am not only forgiven of my sins, but I can overcome them! Now about presenting you as faultless . . . how does that work? I want you to imagine the judgment scene as in a courtroom. God is the judge behind the bench, Satan is the prosecutor (his name means accuser), and Jesus is your defense attorney. God calls you to the bench and then asks Satan if there is any charge against you. Satan calls to the back and several of his minions bring in box after box of evidence. You see, he has every sin you have every committed recorded for just this day. All he needs to convict you is evidence on ONE sin. Satan takes a file folder of the top of the first box and plops it down on the bench before God. God opens the file folder and sees a neatly typed page, however it is covered and obscured with blood! God tells Satan that it is inadmissible because it has been tampered with. One by one Satan goes through every piece of evidence, written, video, etc., and each one just yields red. Satan is hopping mad because he knows he had you dead to rights. He knows you committed every sin that he has recorded. And you know that he has you dead to right also, because you committed every one of the sins of record. But the blood of Jesus prevents God from seeing the charges against you. Every one is inadmissible. God then instructs Satan that if he cannot bring charge against you that God will have to drop the charges (there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus). With his blood (death), Jesus removed your sin problem and allowed God to once again look at you. And as you walk in the light, his blood keeps cleansing you.

31

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

1 Cor 15:20-23 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

15

F A M I L Y

Human beings have only two real problems. The things we stress about every day are not really problems. The test for real problems is how much of an issue they will be in 100 years. The 100-year test is great for giving perspective to life's daily challenges. The two real problems that we have are sin and death. It is sin that has separated us from God and hidden his face from us. It is sin that has secured for us an eternity of damnation in the fires of hell. And there is nothing that we can do to remove our sins. So Christ Jesus came to earth as 100% God (to meet the righteous requirements of God while still allowing God's mercy to reach out to us) and 100% man (in order to be our propitiation). We have seen how in his death Jesus took care of our sin problem. But while that is nice and loving and all, what difference does it make if we still have to die physically? So what if I go down into the grave with my sins taken away if I am only going to stay in the grave? Great question! This passage helps us to see how Jesus, having taken care of our sin problem with his death, also takes care of our death problem with his resurrection. Because Adam sinned, all men must die. Except for the ones who are still alive when Jesus returns, every human must endure the transition from this life that is called death. It is the last foe that we must all face. But Jesus has already faced that foe and conquered it for each of us. The world had seen people raised from the dead before, like Lazarus, but they eventually got over it and died again. No one had ever seen a resurrection before, and Jesus went into the tomb powerless and dead, but God resurrected him from the dead. And he made him the first fruits of all who would be resurrected at Christ's coming. Each one in order, Jesus first, and then all of those who belong to him when he comes again. Please notice that on his return the only ones who will be made alive (spiritually) are those who belong to Christ when he returns. We do not know when he will return. He will come like a thief in the night, when no one is watching for him (Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2,3). It will be a day just like today. There will be nothing special about that day that will hint that he is coming. And when he comes, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52), there will be no time to try to make things right. There is urgency in remaining lost, because we never know when Christ will return. When he does return only those who belong to him will be resurrected to spiritual life. The rest will have to endure spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God. A little further in this study we will see the horrors that that outcome entails. So with his death, Jesus took care of your sin problem and with his resurrection he took care of your death problem. That means that if you are in Christ Jesus all of your real problems have been taken care of. That means that you can live in total confidence and joy knowing that you have nothing of consequence to worry about. Now we are beginning to see not only that the gospel is the central message of the New Testament, but why each aspect of the gospel had to take place! In one weekend, over two thousand years ago, Jesus took care of your sin problem and your grave problem! 32

9

Personal Evangelism

2 Tim 1:10 . . . but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel . . .

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

16

That is an interesting concept . . . to abolish death. Death is the killer. Can death be killed? Absolutely! And that is what God accomplished in Christ through the resurrection. As mentioned earlier, this is not merely being raised from the dead. This is being raised incorruptible and immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53-54). That means never having to die again. But it means so much more. It means never having to be tempted, never having to get tired or sick or feverish, never having to quit because you have run out of energy, resolve, or fortitude. Every day we experience the impact of death as we decline a little more. We are so used to decaying that it is heard for us to imagine life any other way. But all the daily impacts of dying (getting old, losing faculties, getting sick, getting tired) will all be done away with in a twinkling of an eye. When Jesus emerged from the tomb, death had to leave him forever. It could not hound him, it could not aggravate him. It was gone from his experience forever. When Jesus went to the cross it looked as if he had been defeated, as if Satan, the father of death, had won. Yet in a most dramatic irony of all ironies, Jesus emerged from the tomb having encountered death and won! He killed death! He abolished it! Death reigns no more! For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality , then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:53-58). The other side of the coin of abolishing death is bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel. When death is dead there is nothing but life . . . forever. We were intended by God to live forever. The tree of life was in the garden and gave man eternal life. When man sinned and was removed from the garden (community with God) he no longer had access to the tree of life, and thus began to die (Genesis 3:22). That tree was moved to heaven (Revelation 22:2) where we will once again have access to it because of the work that Jesus accomplished through the gospel . . . destroying death and bring life and immortality to light. One final note. Notice how Jesus was able to abolish death and bring life and immortality to light: through the gospel. The centrality of the gospel to everything that we teach and do should become ever increasingly clear to us as we press on toward a deeper understanding of this power of God to save us . . . the gospel.

33

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

17

F A M I L Y

If you will reflect on our discussion of the need for a mediator and how our sin has hidden God's eyes from us, then you will appreciate the focus of this verse on being an enemy to God. Of course, Paul is speaking to the Christians at Rome who used to be enemies of God. That past tense reference does not apply to your student. So we need to reiterate that anyone outside of Christ is an enemy to God. No "good" people will be saved. The impact of that reality will be brought to bear with great force in the next few passages we will study. Make sure that you do not get ahead of yourself . . . we are always in a hurry to get to baptism without always setting the proper foundation for understanding how baptism relates to the gospel. Remember from Acts 2, it is present the gospel first, and then obedience to the gospel last. From the discussion of Ephesians 1:7, the student will remember that each person needs a mediator between himself/herself and God. This passage builds on that foundation in a rather frank way . . . anyone who is not in Christ has declared war on God (and vice versa). Allow the student to express what it must be like to be at war with God, and the eventual outcome of such a conflict. You will soon add to that frightening picture. That war with God need not be the condition in which we find ourselves. Jesus died on the cross to reconcile us to God. Ask the student what reconciliation means, and be ready to help. This, again, builds on the mediator concept. We could not commune (fellowship) with God because sin has separated us from him (remember, he can't look at us). Jesus, the mediator, through getting rid of our sin problem, brought about reconciliation between God and man. To put is in common language, we were able to "bury the hatchet." Two parties at war are able to enjoy peace. If you will, God and man can now come to the table together and share good times and fellowship. Is it amazing how often the end of a war leads to reconciliation. How many Americans, Japanese, and Germans killed each other during World War II. Immediately after the war we started reparations with those nations and we are now very much dependent upon one another for commerce and cultural exchange. We have been reconciled! The war is over. Jesus did that for us and for God through his death. But that is not all! Having been reconciled through his death, we have salvation through his life. This must be talking about the life that Jesus established for himself and us through the resurrection . . . eternal life. We were not saved when he was formerly in heaven, or even when he came to earth. We were saved when he conquered sin and death at the cross and out of the tomb. We have salvation (safety) through his life! Had Jesus not emerged from the tomb, we might have been forgiven of our sins through his death, but we would have stayed in the ground forever. Through his Life-After-Death we have salvation. Not just sinless . . . saved! Not a spotless corpse, but a saved, living, eternal, new creature raised to walk in newness of life . . . through his life!

34

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Romans 10:9 . . . that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved . . .

The testimony of those who we studied earlier has set the foundation for our confession of Christ. With this passage we are beginning to make the transition in our study from who Jesus is and what he has done to what we must do in order to take advantage of the tremendous work he did at the cross to solve our sin problem as well as our death problem. Before we move on to the confession of Jesus as Lord, let us first notice what it is we are to believe. This is one of those lifeand-death statements: if you do such and such you will be saved. In this case, if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, then we will be saved. In this passage the focus of our belief is not about Jesus as Lord, although that is certainly a necessary inference to confessing his name. Rather, the focus of our belief is on the reality, by faith, that God raised him from the dead. Do you see the gospel in this passage? You might quickly answer, "No I don't see the gospel, I just see a reference to the resurrection." In first century preaching and description, the resurrection often represented the gospel: 2 being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead . . . 33 And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all (Acts 4:2,33). This does not seem so mysterious when you understand that the resurrection validated the whole gospel because, after all, everyone dies and is buried, but only one has been resurrected. So here again we see the gospel as the basis of what we must believe unto salvation. When you ask the transitional question here, "Must we confess Christ and believe the gospel in order to be saved?" most every student will reply with a firm "yes." This is a good place to explore with them the "salvation cafeteria." You can play the devil's advocate here if you like. "Wait, I thought Jesus said unless we believe that He is who he said he was, we would die in our sins. Now he adds that we have to confess Jesus as Lord and believe the gospel (that God raised him). So which is it?" If he says to do one thing to be saved in one passage, and says to do another thing to be saved in another passage, can we choose which one we want to do, like in a cafeteria? The student will usually answer with a resounding "no!" insisting that we must do everything that God commands. You have just set the foundation for your future discussion of baptism. Peter, John, Paul, God the Father, and even Jesus himself made the great confession (1 Timothy 6:3), as we noted earlier in our study. In Matthew 10:32, Jesus taught that only those who confess him before men will be confessed by Jesus before the Father. These are the words that we live and die by. This is step-up-to-the-plate time in which we confess exactly for whom it is that we live. It must be verbal, and it must be witnessed. This is testimony, just like those great martyrs gave, and paid the price for. These are the greatest words that can ever fall from human lips: "Jesus is my Lord!" This is life or death. The confession gives life, but it may bring death! "Let come what may, Jesus is my Lord!" 35

18

F A M I L Y

10

Personal Evangelism

1 Corinthians 6:9,10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. See also Ephesians 4:17-5:7; and Galatians 5:19-26

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

19

F A M I L Y

By this time in the study most every student is ready and willing to get in on the benefits of the gospel. Yet to continue with the gospel presentation without helping the student to count the cost would not produce true disciples. Remember, the words "disciple" and "discipline" carry the same root word. In our modern culture many people want privilege without responsibility, but reality simply does not work that way. These three passages will help the student to understand the lifestyle changes that they will have to make as disciples of Christ. This creates what is for many teachers a theological bind. While it is good for the student to face the changes that he/she will have to make in order to repent of a sinful lifestyle, there are sins in their lives that they simply cannot overcome on their own. One of the reasons that God gives us the Holy Spirit is so that he can complete the sanctification process, which is the process of forming us into the image of his son. A life without the indwelling Spirit is a powerless life. This again brings us back to the basics of the gospel, for when we obey the gospel God sends his Spirit to indwell us to give us the power to live the Christian life. Therefore, there is a great difference between repenting of sin before baptism, and having gotten rid of all the sinful behaviors, habits, and addictions in one's life. Some represent a lifelong process of overcoming sin. But God does not expect us to be perfect in order to be converted. This will be a great relief to many students who believe that they must totally clean up their lives to be acceptable to God. The student must understand that a major life change is about to initiate. however, he also needs to understand that he will not be alone in that process. A full discussion of that transformation is best suited for later in the study, rather than loosing focus on the gospel by trying to get an unregenerate mind to understand the things of the Spirit. They need to know that all of their sins will be forgiven and that God will begin from that point onward to sanctify them. First, though, they need to do something about the sin in their lives. Now! It is recommended that the teacher spend considerable time going through the passages listed above, explaining what the various sin words mean. Many of them (idolaters, fornicators, revilers) carry no meaning to modern people. Sad, but true. It is also recommended that the teacher be sensitive to the situation of the student. You do not need to go on a sin hunt, but if the person is an alcoholic or you are studying with a couple who are living together, you will want to be sure that they understand the meaning of the sins listed, especially those that apply directly to them. Some will choose their sinful lifestyle, but many will be ready to begin to change their lives when they see that their behaviors are judged by God. One of the great things about letting the passages lead the discussion is that you are not judging them, but rather they are being judged by the Word of God. That way you do not become the issue. So the answer to "So, are you saying that we can't live together?" is to point them back to the scripture and reply, "I am not saying anything, but would you explain to me what you understand God to be 36

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Luke 13:3,5 3 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." 5 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Having looked at the New Testament teachings about sin, it is now time to consider the need for repentance. We now find ourselves confronted with another life-and-death statement. In order to prevent experiencing what it means to perish, we must repent of our sins. These two passages represent a rather interesting phenomenon. This is the only place in scripture that you will find two verses that are exactly alike. It is useful to point that fact out to the student. This life-and-death statement is stated and then repeated! Is Jesus having a senior moment? No, anytime the Lord repeats himself it is for emphasis. When the point is repeated, it underlines the importance of the statement. Jesus did not want anyone to misunderstand the impact of this life-and-death statement. Everyone must repent or they will perish. This passage represents a good place to revisit the "salvation cafeteria." Again, you can play the devil's advocate with a question like, "Wait a minute. Before, the Bible said that we must confess Jesus as Lord and believe with our hearts that God raised him from the dead in order to be saved. Now, this passage says that we must repent in order to be saved. And it says it twice! So which is it, confess and believe or repent? And who decides which one?" By this time the student will usually smile or laugh, as they see what you are doing. But since repetition is the mother of learning, to have introduced the idea that we cannot "shop" the verses we want and ignore the ones we don't like, and then to revisit that same theme with this passage, makes a huge impression. Many students that would reject baptism would normally take refuge in their favorite passage about what must be done to be saved. Usually it is John 3:16, or Romans 10:9,10. But you have already undermined their ability to escape the truth by trying to find refuge in their favorite passages. The student will again insist that you must obey all of the commands studied. You have established a tremendous precedent that will make it difficult for the student to invoke the salvation cafeteria argument against baptism when the subject is broached. To reinforce the compounding effect of these passages, ask the student if he/she is willing to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and ready to confess Jesus as Lord, and ready to repent of his/her sins. If not, there is no point continuing. If the student says that he/she has already done these things, congratulate them for being someone who wants to please God and move on. You are making progress toward the goal of helping the student to obey the gospel and apply the work that Christ has completed at the cross to their lives. Try to not get stuck chasing rabbits on the way!

20

F A M I L Y

37

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 . . . when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.

21

F A M I L Y

This passage accomplishes several things at once. First, it demonstrates that the Bible is not the gospel. The word gospel means "good news" and this is certainly not good news. The Bible contains good and bad news, and this is some of the worst. To the student who answered your question about what the gospel is with the understanding that it is the Bible, here is a passage that reinforces the fact that not all of the Bible is good news. The bad news is that Jesus is coming in vengeance against two classes of people. This description of the second coming does not match the artists' portraits of him lilting in the clouds. He is described as coming with angels and blazing fire seeking vengeance. Vengeance is payback. It is revenge. In Revelation 6:9-10, the souls under the altar cry out day and night asking how long until God brings vengeance against his enemies. Jesus's return ushers in that vengeance. There are two classes of people that Jesus will wreak vengeance upon. The first are those who know not God. That offers little hope for anyone who worships any other god. This message is not multicultural, inclusive, or politically correct, but it is nevertheless true. The second class of people slated for vengeance and flaming fire are those, and this is incredibly important, who have not obeyed the gospel. Notice that it does not say who have been baptized. Baptism has become a term that is held captive by denominations. Many will boast of having been baptized. But the issue is obeying the gospel, not whether one has been immersed, sprinkled, or poured upon. But you will not get into that discussion until you have used the scriptures to answer the question, "How does a person obey the gospel?" A third teaching of this passage concerns the outcome of those who (1) do not know God, and who (2) do not obey the gospel. This picture cannot be painted too graphically. After all, if the student rejects the gospel, he/she has a right, and you have an obligation, to warn them of what will befall them when the Lord returns. What awaits them is eternal destruction. This is impossible for humans to fully grasp. In this life the destruction of a human is relatively quick. In eternity, the destruction will be eternal, with no end. It will be like Moses's burning bush that is never consumed. Yet the most horrible aspect of this destruction is described in the last sentence. Those who do not know God, or who do not obey the gospel will be eternally removed from the presence of God, and from the glory of his power. Everything in this life that we enjoy, or love, or that has any sort of positive value to us we enjoy because this world still represents the presence of God. Every good and perfect gift comes from the father above. Can you imagine a world in which everything you love and hold dear does not exist. That is a world in which God does not reign. That is the worst part of being in hell, not the fire and darkness, as horrible as they are, but being separated from everything that is good and wholesome. Those things will be with God in heaven. What is left over when God's presence leaves a world is evil, death, decay, hate, abuse, etc. Every one of us had 38

11

Personal Evangelism

Romans 6:3-6, 17-18 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have become united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin . . . But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

22

F A M I L Y

Here it is! The most beautiful description of the answer to the question, "How does one obey the gospel?" The gospel is a historical event that took place over one weekend, two thousand years ago. Everyone knows how to obey a command or to even follow an example, but how do you obey a historic event? Time does not permit us to explore the depth of this passage, to glean how powerful the images are that Paul describes in his explanation of how we obey the gospel. One obeys the gospel by reenacting it! We are buried with him in baptism into death! We are united with him in baptism. We are baptized into him! Our old man is crucified with him. The body of sin is done away with. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are united with him in the likeness of his death. And even as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, so we too are raised to walk IN NEWNESS OF LIFE! Can it be more clear? In fact, if you have a diagram that represents the death, burial, and resurrection, point to each part of it as you read this passage and it will becoming brilliantly clear to the student that we obey the gospel by being united in the gospel through baptism. Mercifully, our is in water, not on a cross and in a tomb, which of course we would not survive. The more you meditate on this passage, the more insights into obedience to the gospel that you will receive. Too much to mention here! In verses seventeen and eighteen, Paul congratulates the Roman brethren that they had obeyed from the heart the doctrine that he was writing about. As a result, they were no longer slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness. When did that occur? Look again at verse six. When we were baptized with Christ, and into Christ, the body of sin was done away with in order that we would no longer be slaves of sin. What he described in verse eighteen took place in verse six, when they had obeyed the gospel by being baptized! How can anyone misunderstand obedience to the gospel? Maybe it is partially because we have been stressing Acts 2:38, and its command to be baptized for remission of sins. Maybe we have been teaching baptism without its marvelous connection to, and reenactment of, the gospel. Maybe Romans 6:3-6 needs to be our baptismal (obedience to the gospel) morning star passage rather than Acts 2:38. On final note: This gospel message is so central to who we are and what we do, that God wanted us to have an intimate relationship with it, even to the point of reenacting it. It is similar to the intimacy of the Lord's Supper, taking the gospel emblems into our bodies, literally. God honors us by allowing us to take part in the very event that cost him his son, and which bought us back. Every time someone is baptized, the gospel is preached, and God has to re-envision that cruel cross all over again! He must 39

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Galatians 3: 26-27 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

The transition sentence that leads to this scripture asks: "Where does one actually become a Christian?" That is bottom line. If we are going to escape the vengeance of Christ's return and be sure that we are in Christ, then we need to be able to pinpoint the exact moment that we are transferred from darkness to light, so that we can know that we are truly saved. Although Romans 6:3-6, made it perfectly clear, here Paul states it forcefully and succinctly. Some argue that we are saved by faith . . . alone. And it is true that we are saved by faith, but Paul demonstrates what saving faith looks like. We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus . . . FOR as many as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. The word "for" is a conjunction that connects the two ideas, making them interdependent. Some would like to view faith and baptism as separate entities, but Paul sees them as two sides of the same coin. We are sons of God BECAUSE we were baptized into Christ Jesus. Many today teach that one becomes a Christian by having faith and asking Jesus into one's heart. Well, the Bible nowhere teaches such a concept and there is no Biblical example of anyone asking Jesus into their heart or of praying the sinner's prayer. In fact, the focus on asking Jesus into one's heart misses the whole point that Paul makes in both of these passages that deal with how to be saved. We are to be baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3, Galatians 3:27). We are not saved by getting Christ into us, we are saved by getting into Christ. Now the Bible does teach that Christ is in the Christian (Col. 1:27) , and that the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian (Rom. 8:9), but that is after the sin problem has been taken away. When we are baptized for the remission of sins, our sins are taken away, and then the Holy Spirit comes to live in us (Acts 2:38). The Spirit of God can no more live in an unwashed sinner, than God could look on us in our sinful state. Once the sin is removed (washed away) then we are sanctified and God can take up his abode in us. Therefore, we must be baptized into Christ before Christ can come to live in us. We must be a holy temple before the Spirit can live there! If all spiritual blessings are in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3), then where do we need to be in order to receive all spiritual blessings? Rephrase the question: If every spiritual blessing is in Christ Jesus, where do we need to be? IN CHRIST! Okay, so how do we get there? Paul has told us twice. Here he makes it simple . . . as many of us as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no other way into Christ than through baptism. And we can know it with assurance the moment we have completed the act! The word that Paul used to describe putting on Christ is a word that describes putting on a coat. When you put on a coat you are totally surrounded and engulfed by it. You are covered, you are protected, you are ensconced. Baptism is how we get into Christ, and baptism is how we put on Christ

40

23

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, "A servant is no greater that his master." If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.

By now, the student is either starting to be convicted, or his/her heart is becoming hardened. Either way, he/she will never be the same. You have shown them the gospel and you have shown them how to obey the gospel so that Jesus does not come after them in vengeance. Either way they are without excuse, and you have fulfilled your responsibility to Christ and to the gospel admirably. In a few moments you (actually the Scriptures) are going to ask them for a commitment. Many people have churning hearts at this point, and many become very quiet as their minds race with the responsibility that has been shown to them. Yet again, you will not have fulfilled your responsibility to make disciples unless you help them to count the cost. Earlier, before you taught them about repentance, you took the time to show them what sin really is and what they will have to repent of. You showed them that Jesus expects a change of life. They counted that cost. Now it is time to count the cost of discipleship. By now some will want to dispense with the study and obey the gospel. They have seen the benefits of obedience and are willing to repent and change their lives. But now it is time to count the cost for Christ. As stated before, everyone wants benefits, but few are willing to pay the price. Now the cost that we are talking about is not the cost of salvation, for Jesus paid that at the cross. Rather, this cost to be considered is that of remaining faithful to the Lord. It is not good enough to get a good start, we must finish the race as well. Jesus is warning us that anyone who follows him will be treated as he was. Justice demands that those who are considering leaving their nets to follow Christ should know exactly what they are getting into. There is a serious reason for this cost counting which will be explored two scriptures from now. So many people are surprised that their lives as Christians are often tougher to live than the old life in sin. Somewhere people get the idea that a Christian's life should be free from trial, sorrow, or suffering. It is probably a perverted perception of God, that if he is allmighty and all-caring, he wouldn't let his children suffer. Anyway, that perception needs to be dispelled to ensure that the student does not believe that the Christian life is all about benefits (I get saved, and everything goes better) and not about cost. Humans do not do well counting the cost before they get into a situation, but rather wait until the heat is turned up to decide what to do. We Americans are great joiners, but we are not good at follow-through. But as long as the cost is investigated by the teacher, the follow-through is between the Christian and his Lord. The parable of the sower (Matt. 13: 1-23) lets us know that a great percentage (most) of the people who accept the message and obey it will eventually die away. This is a sad fact but a true one. Let's be sure that when that happens it is not because of neglect on our part!

41

24

F A M I L Y

12

Personal Evangelism

Luke 14:26-28 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it . . .

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

25

F A M I L Y

Jesus warns the potential disciple to count the cost. Notice that he does not try to explain the cost. Jesus taught in parables to see who was willing to work at understanding his teachings. It was, in part, a weeding out process. In the same way, he expects the potential disciple to investigate the cost before making the choice to follow Jesus. The wise man does his homework, and does not act impulsively. The fool acts impetuously. By not trying to spell out the cost, Jesus leaves it to the potential disciples to demonstrate whether or not they have the wisdom to investigate. Following Jesus is a marathon, not a sprint. Probably the greatest cost that many will have to pay in order to follow Jesus is rejection from family and friends. It is in many ways the unkindest cut of all, the way Satan uses the people closest to us to try to prevent us from following the truth we have learned. When a Jew became a Christian, his family would often have a funeral for him/her. That was their way of saying that "our son or daughter is dead to us because they have left the faith of their fathers." In Jesus's day the cost would have been one of the first things to consider in following him. Sometimes today it is less considered because we are all taught that we should do our own thing and have it our way. So, often the cost of obeying the gospel is not considered until one gets home. This has been an age old problem at youth camps . . . when a young person sees the truth, obeys it, and then returns home to a family that places tremendous pressure on them. It is an unfair tactic that Satan uses, but he has a win-at-all-cost attitude about us. Jesus is so emphatic about the consistency of a disciple that he uses strong words to describe relative relationships. Unless a follower hates father and mother et al, he cannot be a disciple. Certainly Jesus is using accommodating language rather than literal hate, since we are supposed to hate no one. But the words help us to understand that when one compares the love that he/she has for the Lord, it must make the love for friends and family members look like hatred in comparison. In the past we may have often been guilty of persuading prospects to make an immediate decision about the gospel, and maybe even pressuring them. Every student should be given all the time necessary to count the cost of discipleship. After all, using Jesus's example, it takes time to plan the building of a tower, along with cost estimates. Remember, you are not selling Jesus, you are sowing the seed. If the gospel does not convince them, there is no other power to do so. Your fear is . . ." but

42

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

2 Peter 2:20-21 For if, after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

26

F A M I L Y

This is the reason for the cost counting. It is not like many people's perception of a modern marriage in which we give it a go and if it doesn't work out we just cut our losses and part ways. If folks decide to obey the gospel and submit themselves to Jesus as Lord without the wherewithal to follow through, they will end up worse off than they were before. Have your student speculate how that could be. Is there anything that could be worse than being lost? Apparently! What could it be? Maybe there are degrees of hell? The Bible suggests that such might possibly be the case. Maybe what Peter is warning about could be the fact that one might end up in hell with the knowledge that he/she didn't need to be there, because such a one knew better. Maybe he is just speaking of living in guilt in this life, having rejected the Christ who died for the forgiveness of sins. Maybe it is all of the above or something else. Maybe it is best that we just heed the warning and not find out for ourselves what it means. Anyway, it is a very serious warning. This passage illustrates the point that once a person has been exposed to the gospel, his/her life is forever changed. Once you have shared the gospel with others, they cannot go back to the life that they lived, whether purposefully or in ignorance, in the same way they had before. If they go back to a sinful lifestyle, they will have the guilt, whether they face it or deny it (and allow it to work on them subconsciously), that they put Jesus on the cross (by their sins) and have rejected the work that he did on that cross to eternally save the very people who put him there. If they are willing to obey the gospel at this point, then they can never live the same life again. And they must beware of slipping back into the old habits and associations that helped them to maintain a lifestyle that caused their war with God. This is not to say that they will be perfect, for they will most certainly sin. But sins of weakness are very different from sins of rebellion. Yet sins of weakness can evolve into sins of rebellion if changes are not made. There is one other warning in this context that you and I as evangelists must heed. If a student obeys the gospel and then falls away due to neglect by the church, then we become codependent to their damnation. The parable of the sower teaches that Christians will fall away, but that parable speaks of inadequacies within that person. If we fail to have prepared the church for the influx of new Christians, and if each of us is not utilizing our gifts of evangelism, teaching, nurturing, etc., such a one may fall away due to starvation or neglect. Then their blood will be on our hands! Folks will fall away, but lets try to ensure that they must walk away, "over our dead bodies!"

43

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Acts 22:16 "And now, why are you waiting, arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."

27

F A M I L Y

Notice that the transitional statement that leads to this passage states: Please read these words and give God your answer." It is a dramatic ending to a tremendous journey. Many will be ready to give you an answer right then. Others may need to think about it. Remember, you are not a salesperson, but remember also the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:11: Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . . And consider Peter's example in Acts 2:40: And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Each evangelist will have to find the balance between exhortation and pressure, and probably the line is not the same for any two. If the student is not ready to obey the gospel, but is willing to continue studying (always seek permission), then set a time to continue. However, do not pursue any other biblical subjects until the gospel has been obeyed or the student halts the study. When Jesus was teaching the woman at the well and moved to the subject that opened her wound (her marriage situation) she tried to change the subject to a theological debate (in which mountain should we worship God). Satan loves us to chase rabbits. And people under the weight of sin will often try to open other discussion to get out from under the burden. Simply write down their questions and agree to address them at some subsequent point. Then get back to the gospel. If they need addition study about what has been brought out in the gospel presentation, there are many tools available for you to use to go deeper into certain aspects of the gospel presentation. If they need to count the cost further, then certainly give them space, but do not leave the gospel until they respond to it, one way or another! One issue that often comes up at this point is the concern of what will happen to the person when they do obey the gospel, especially concerning their church membership. It is recommended that you even bring it up yourself, especially if a denominational student is desiring to obey the gospel. In such a case, take them to Acts 2:41-47. This works as a good review, no matter what. Here is the historical verification from the first century church (at the beginning of the church!) for what you have taught them, with scripture, to do. Those who gladly received his word (he preached the gospel) were baptized (they obeyed the gospel) and about three thousand souls were added that day. Verse 47, teaches that the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. So the Lord adds people to the church when they are saved (baptized). So when the student is baptized, what will the Lord do with him/her? Add them to the church! And what is the church? Those who have been baptized! Ask: "Once you have obeyed the gospel will the Lord add you to a body that does not teach either the gospel or obedience to the gospel? No! He will add you to the group that has done what you are just about to do." How could one tell the saved from the unsaved

44

13

Personal Evangelism

The Gospel Presentation in the Great Commission

In the introduction to this series of lessons we learned that the gospel presentation found in Acts 2, represents the prototypical gospel presentation. Now, in the conclusion of this study, it is time to step back and see the larger picture of how the gospel presentation that we have learned fits into the overall picture of discipleship. Remember, discipleship is the whole process of making disciples (evangelism) and keeping disciples saved, growing, and flourishing in Christ. That brings us to the consideration of the role of the gospel presentation in the Great Commission. So it is back to the Great Commission that we turn: Matthew 28:18-20: And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Mark 16:15, 16: And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. Thus we see in the Great Commission three parts: 1. Preach (teach) the gospel (make disciples . . . in the sense of initiating disciples). 2. Baptize them. 3. Teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. The part of the Commission that takes the most effort, time, and congregational resources is part three. A disciple can be initiated in an afternoon. Philip, in one session, preached the gospel to, and baptized the Eunuch in the desert. The development of that disciple takes the rest of his life. This is where the church has failed historically, by not focusing on a plan to complete the third part of the Commission. The New Testament includes one book on how disciples are created (the book of Acts), which is followed by twenty one books (the Epistles) that teach how to keep those disciples saved, growing, and flourishing. That ratio of books may give an indication of how much focus we need to give to the various parts of the Great Commission. That does not mean that we focus twenty one hours of teaching the saved to every one hour of teaching the gospel to the lost (21:1 ratio). Rather it demonstrates how to allocate congregational resources. Now it should be clear how a few evangelists, even one highly motivated evangelist, can keep the rest of the body busy in discipleship (keeping the saved saved). Not everyone is an evangelist (Eph. 4:11), but everyone is involved in discipleship in one way or another (Eph. 4:16). Thus the Great Commission is the summary statement of everything that we do. Bible classes, worship assemblies, community outreach, member involvement, leadership structure and function . . . it all works together to fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples and keeping disciples. The Great Commission is not about evangelism only, but about discipleship . . . which includes, but is not limited to, evangelism! A congregation with properly utilized resources and involvement will demonstrate a balance between outreach (evangelism) and inreach (teaching them to observe all 45

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

be able to just meet the continuing needs of the disciples that the evangelists initiate, and everyone will be involved (according to gifts) in the process (Ephesians 4:11-16). This quarter has been utilized in preparing the evangelists to share the gospel with the lost. That has only been accomplished after everyone else has been equipped to complete the third part of the Great Commission. Now if we only had a working model of how this all comes together so that we could see the functioning. As it turns out we do. Turn back to Acts 2 in your Bible. Not only does this chapter gives us the prototypical gospel presentation in Peter's sermon, it demonstrates the prototypical fulfillment of the whole Great Commission. And they started fulfilling the Great Commission completely from the first day!

1. PREACH THE GOSPEL

The first part of the Great Commission was initiated when the twelve stood up and preached at Pentecost. Thanks to God's providence, we have at least the gist of Peter's sermon and the prototype of the gospel presentation. We covered that presentation in lesson #2 of this series, and a review of that lesson would be appropriate here. I. Old Testament Prophesy About Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21) II. Introduction of Jesus (Acts 2:22) III. Gospel of Jesus (Acts 2:23) IV. Old Testament Prophesy About Resurrection (Acts 2:25-28) V. Application of David's Prophesy About Resurrection to the Gospel (Acts 2:29-35) VI. Proof of the Resurrection (Acts 2:321-32) VII. Application of Gospel to the Audience (Acts 2:36) VIII. Audience Response to the Direct Application of the Gospel (Acts 2:37) IX. Teachings About Response to the Gospel (Acts 2:38-40) X. Response to the Gospel (Acts 2:41) Please refer back to that lesson for refreshing before continuing, as needed.

F A M I L Y

II. BAPTIZE THEM (IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, SON, HOLY SPIRIT)

It is sad that in modern times many in the churches of Christ have begun to doubt, debate, and even reject the necessity of baptism. What is ironic about that fact is that many are doing so in the name of evangelism. The less obstacles there are between lost people and saved people, the easier it is to "add" lost people to the church. As one large Texas congregation reasoned about introducing instrumental instruments into certain assemblies: people in the world are looking for a certain type of music in worship, and in order to reach them, we must remove the obstacle of acapella music. In other word, if we just sing, they won't come. It is through church growth pressure that every "obstacle" to getting people to church is being reconsidered. And such is the case with baptism. Yet notice that we are commanded to baptize disciples. God is insuring that the gospel is obeyed by giving a command to each person involved in the baptism. Acts 2:38 commands a repentant respondent to the gospel to be baptized for the remission of sins. The Great Commission commands the one who is responsible for the gospel presentation to baptize such a respondent. In a sense, this is a two-way commandment, that involves obedience on the 46

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

one receiving baptism and on the part of the one doing the baptizing. At Pentecost, three thousand did not shirk the responsibility of obeying the gospel by reenacting the gospel, and the apostles did not shirk their responsibility of the second part of the Great Commission . . . "baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." To do something in the name of someone conveys the concept of doing it by the authority of that person. The first part of the Commission states that Jesus has all authority on heaven and on earth, therefore . . . teach, baptize, and teach. We either complete the Commission as authorized by Jesus himself, or what we do is human-based and "unauthorized." A conversion without baptism is not only unauthorized, but it brings the one sharing the gospel under potential condemnation because he is not obeying the authorized commandment of the Commission. . . teach, BAPTIZE them in the name(s) of God, and teach them to observe all things. Notice that the "in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" phrase of authority is only associated with baptism. This is serious business. Acts 2:41: So then, those who had received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. Hey look, they baptized them.!

III. TEACH THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU

Now focus your attention on Acts 2:42-47. And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone had need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. There is the follow-up ministry of the early church, which began on its first day. Notice a kind of parallel between the summation statement about the creation of the world and the summation statement about the creation of the church: And God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:31). And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). Acts chapter 2 offers us not only the prototypical gospel presentation, but the whole Great Commission being fulfilled from day one. 1. The Gospel Preached (verses 14-36) 2. Baptism (verses 38-41) 3. Follow-up (Discipleship) Ministry (verses 42-47) 47

F A M I L Y

Personal Evangelism

F O R E V E R

COPYRIGHT 2002 Forever Family

Your evangelists are now trained in how to share the gospel. The rest of the congregation has been equipped to fulfill the third part of the Great Commission. Together, with each individual Christian providing his/her individual function, the body in almost ready to begin building itself up in love (Ephesians 4:11-16). Yet before we make the final emphasis on crosscultural evangelism in preparation for D-day, there is one final although major focus of this study. Look again at the description of Acts 2:42-47. God added to their number daily such as were being saved because people were being saved daily. Look once again at the description of the lifestyle of the first congregation of our brethren. God will not grant us the success they had, until we restore the commitment to the Christian lifestyle they had. We can see in our lifetime the restoration of verse 47, God adding to our congregations daily . . . when we follow the example of the verses preceding this one. Consider these questions about verses 42-47: 1. How were the knowledge needs of the new Christians met? 2. How were the fellowship needs of the new Christians met? 3. How were the physical needs of the new Christians met? 4. How were the encouragement needs of the new Christians met? 5. How did the lifestyle of that congregation meet the needs of Christians who grew weak? 6. How did the lifestyle of that congregation meet the needs of Christians who fell into sin? 7. Can this lifestyle possibly be restored in American society? 8. Can this lifestyle be restored in this church? 9. Describe what this congregation would look like once Acts 2:42-47 has been restored here. 10. Will this congregation, from leadership on down, commit to the fulfillment of the Great Commission as we have seen accomplished in the first days of the early church? 11. Will you commit?

F A M I L Y

48

Information

Y2Q4;Personal Evangelism Curriculum

48 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

3589