Tag Archives: evangelism

Church and Salvation: Reaching Outward

Today’s message summary of October 8, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Church and salvation goes with evangelism, which is reaching out to other people.  It is to be understood, then, that one who wants to evangelize must be willing to “go.”

You will only practice what you truly believe.  If you don’t believe that there is a world of people who are lost, you won’t go out and speak with them about the gospel.

If we, as a church, are to be taken seriously of our desire to reach people for Jesus, it must begin by being believable first to ourselves, and then to others.  Next, we must ask how successful have we been in teaching the Bible to adults in such a way that they believe the Word of God to be true–to the extent that it influences behavior.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The Lord told us not to “go” and save people, but to go and teach others.  You are taking a journey.  In the journey, you will discover what God is doing for you.  In the going, the teaching will make disciples of other.  The teaching is beneficial for the teacher, as well, in being a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Being a disciple is like being an apprentice.  All apprentices have to have a master teacher.  All learning takes place upon receiving instruction from the one who is leading you.

You have to be willing to “go.”  There’s no specific direction that you are being given, but you at least need to go and step out into areas where you have never been before.  Either way, you can’t be obedient to God by just “staying put” (John 20:19, 26).

You are, as a servant of Christ, both a priest and a teacher.  You are being equipped by the Holy Spirit to learn and be able to serve Him in these ways.

A new believer in Jesus Christ must prepare to serve Him.  He is not ready to teach immediately.  He has to learn what it is to serve and minister to others.  Over time, he can share his experiences with others in giving instruction.

Mark 16:14-17

Later, He appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been resurrected. Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 1:3-5

After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

You can’t do anything in the flesh that will bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ, but when you go in the power of the Holy Spirit and speak the gospel, the name of Christ will be proclaimed, and that is whether the hearers of the Word choose to respond or not.

The “go” indicates a willingness to go.

John 3:17

For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Luke 5:27-32

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him. Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them. But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

In His going, Jesus met Matthew.

  • He went out and saw a tax collector (see the tense of the word “went” from “go”).
  • Matthew saw Jesus as being observant–giving careful attention.
  • Levi had a banquet for Jesus and invited his friends (Jesus’ disciples were also there. They were learning by observing Jesus’ behavior).
  • The Pharisees saw them as sinners.
  • Jesus is not blind or ignorant of their lives. He knew the depravity of their lives (immoral people).

What did Jesus do?

  • He loved and welcomed them into His life.
  • He offered them a refuge–a safe place.
  • Jesus is going after the real person–the one that was hidden behind the tax collector and sinner (the word used by the Pharisees).
  • Jesus is going after that person who is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God (Psalm 139:14).

The people of the church are to look at people in this same way.  To see people in the world, beneath their facades and protection, and help them to see Jesus Christ.

How many of you are studying the needs of your community?  You want to understand the community’s basic human needs, and how the details of their lives correlate into their lifestyle.

To serve, we must open our eyes to the people around us and know their needs. Think about what is important to them and how might the message of Jesus intersect with their needs.

Our community is a target for service.

The word “target,” according to Webster’s Dictionary, refers to one or a group who are to be changed or influenced by action or an event; therefore, we target our community to manage the perception of a person or group (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).  Paul is saying that all people will not see things in the same manner.  We, as a church, are the ones who change first, in the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to bring about change.


Scrambled Eggs

A message summary of April 10, 2016 from Mr. Paul Buzzi:

This church is blessed with many different things. If you know that you have been blessed beyond belief, then you should share with others.

Today, we are going to talk about scrambled eggs, about life, about death and about living.

(Holding up a bible) What is this? Yes, it is a bible, and it is a Book of Instruction. I was reminded that the Lord has taught me a lot of lessons. You have to be willing to hear His Word and do it. Don’t add a question mark to something where God has a period!

My wife tells me not to brag about anything, but I am willing to brag about what the Lord Jesus has done in my life.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not rely on your own understanding;

think about Him in all your ways,

and He will guide you on the right paths.

We are all a bunch of Humpty Dumptys. We scramble our eggs, and we don’t know how to unscramble them. Jesus knows how to do it.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

I have had to ask the Lord for forgiveness for my behavior with my wife and even for the questions I have asked that made known my positions in a selfish manner.

To be forgiven is to experience freedom. When I was called to speak at a church, He told me that I needed to ask that congregation for forgiveness, as well, because of how I felt in my heart.

There is healing that needed to take place. God is the One who unscrambles the eggs.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from Gods Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For

who has known the Lords mind,

that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.

My wife and I are two different people, but we are joined together as one spirit in marriage. God proclaimed it, and it has been very good.

We need the Spirit of God in order to understand His Word; otherwise, it is a mystery. And, we cannot figure it out on our own.

God gave me the gift of evangelism and the gift of prophecy, and I don’t know if I like that! Because where much is given, much is required.

What are the wages of sin? The answer, of course, is death (Romans 6:23).

All of us are sinners, of course.

Once you are dead, you are dead. There are no degrees of dead. It’s all the same.

Thankfully, all of us received grace through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who took away our penalty of death.

I was asked to represent a person who was caught in a bank drive through with stolen checks and was high on meth. I went to the jail where the person was, and I told him that there is not much that I can do for you except tell you about Jesus.

Forgiveness is for both the perpetrator of sin and also the victim. It lifts a burden for both of them when there is complete forgiveness.

Ephesians 5:25-26

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.

When you learn to forgive your wife in the way that Christ forgave those as He was being crucified, you understand how much love you need to give to your wife.

Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing. And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

Hebrews 4:11-13

Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.

1 Corinthians 3:19-20

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written: He catches the wise in their craftiness; and again, The Lord knows that the reasonings of the wise are meaningless.

1 John 5:11-12

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesnt have the Son of God does not have life.

He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son is perishing.

He is only the Lord of your life when you make Him Lord.

The fields are ripe with the harvest of those that need Jesus. The devil will tell you that it is too much trouble to witness for Christ. It is a lie from the devil.

One week after I accepted Christ, I was representing a young man who had a long juvenile record who was sent to jail. God spoke to me and told me to go back and speak to him about Me. I hesitated twice because I knew so little about Christ, but I was able to speak to him and he accepted Christ. We were holding hands in prayer in a jail cell and he made a decision for Him.

Psalm 127:3-5

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,

children, a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior

are the sons born in ones youth.

Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.

Such men will never be put to shame

when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

If you leave church today alive, you won’t be half-dead. Be sure to share the Bible with everyone you come into contact with–to see people pass from death into life.

Make sure that you leave church today alive in a life for Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is Gods giftnot from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

Go and Make Disciples

A message summary of February 28, 2016 from Asst. Pastor Travis Jackson:

Matthew 28:16-20

The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Then Jesus came near and said to them, “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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The point of this passage is to go out and make disciples.

I have been thinking to myself as to why we, as a church, are not growing, as we should. I want all of us to go out and make disciples. If we are not making disciples, then why are we here?

The disciples were called to follow Jesus, and this passage represents one the last times they would see Him. They thought that they would return to their normal, daily lives, as fishermen and tradesmen. He informed them that He would go before them in Galilee repeatedly (earlier in the chapter). It was on this mountain that he would guide them into their own phase of the ministry. It was the beginning of their efforts to carry on the gospel of Jesus Christ. It leads into what we would read in Acts, chapter 1.

The summary of Jesus’ command is this: Go. Make. Disciples.

I.  In order to be a disciple here, it was Christ’s ascension that effectively turned over the gospel message to the disciples. They were empowered to believe in Him and follow Him to the point of persecution and death.

They worshiped Him. Their worship meant that they were surrendering their heart, mind and soul before Him.

Worship is indeed important in evangelism? Why is that? It gives one the fervor and energy to go out and worship before Him and reflect the same passion before others. You are now focused and can do this effectively. It should invigorate you to be able to say that you are recharged to go and make disciples.

In the passage, we see that “some doubted.” There were some disciples there that were beyond the eleven that traveled closely with Him. Those that doubted had lost focus on Him. They knew that Jesus was in authority, but perhaps they needed more evidence.

If there is any doubt in your faith that does not allow you to wholeheartedly serve Jesus Christ, then perhaps you need to see more evidence of Him working in your life.

Mark 9:17-27

Out of the crowd, one man answered Him, Teacher, I brought my son to You. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I asked Your disciples to drive it out, but they couldnt.

He replied to them, You unbelieving generation! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me. So they brought him to Him. When the spirit saw Him, it immediately convulsed the boy. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. How long has this been happening to him? Jesus asked his father.

From childhood, he said. And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.

Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can? Everything is possible to the one who believes.

Immediately the father of the boy cried out, I do believe! Help my unbelief.

When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly coming together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!

Then it came out, shrieking and convulsing him violently. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, Hes dead. But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.

Matthew 14:31

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, You of little faith, why did you doubt?

Matthew 17:20

Because of your little faith, He told them. For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Our faith is very important when it comes to evangelism.

II.  Christ’s authority

Who Christ is to the person who is evangelizing means everything.

Ephesians 1:20-23

He (God) demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens–far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.

No one, on his own, has any power to keep himself from death and raise himself up. Only Christ has such power.

We are to understand that Christ’s ascension gives us cause to worship Him, and that His authority reinforces His deity.

III. His confirmation of baptism reflects His authority.

Baptism is a sacrament that reflects obedience to Christ and His authority in our lives. It is an appeal to God for a good conscious in the power of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:4

Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.

IV. Perseverance in the Lord

After baptism now comes the teaching and instruction of God’s Word in order to help a person to endure what is to come. A person who is prepared in the Word is conforming to the truths of Jesus Christ, and it leads to a strengthening of the person in Christ.

Matthew 28:19-20

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

The disciples were to head out to the ends of the earth, as commanded by Jesus Christ.

Acts 1:7-11

He said to them, It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.

Our Jerusalem is our city of Akron. Judea is beyond the city, and our Samaria is even further away from that. As we hold the fort here in Akron, we move on to the next destination, and so forth.

Luke 24:46-49

He also said to them, This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.

The disciples were witnesses, and they were also martyrs. Only John was a survivor, but he lived in exile on the island of Patmos. They were all willing to sacrifice themselves, endure and persevere for the cause of Christ. We have an idea as to where they began, and where there lives ended. While we may not experience the same fate, we understand the importance of serving a life for Christ, and that means enduring and facing opposition, yet it is a worthy cause to serve the living Christ.

Go. Make. Disciples.

The Church is a Corporate Witness to The World

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
The church witnesses corporately to the world. It is to build up, minister, and encourage one another in Jesus Christ. The world observes what the body of Christ does in its ministry and should be drawn to Christ through its actions.

Acts 4:13-16
13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in response. 15 After they had ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them, and we cannot deny it!

Acts 2:46
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.

Ephesians 4:16
From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Romans 14:19
So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.

God wants the people of the church to actively minister to the world, and to build up one another. We are to proclaim that God can change lives. When the church acts, the evidence of what has been accomplished is present for everyone to see, whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ.

The church has a tremendous responsibility to minister to the world. A church fails to lead and be a witness by deliberately becoming a secular organization–by not praying and looking to the Lord and by removing the teaching of God’s Word (the Bible).

There has to sincere prayer and God’s Word is to be taught in order for the church to act in accordance to God’s will.

Jeremiah 9:23-26
23 This is what the LORD says:
The wise man must not boast in his wisdom;
the strong man must not boast in his strength;
the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth.
24 But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me—
that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the LORD’s declaration.

25 “The days are coming”—the LORD’s declaration—“when I will punish all the circumcised yet uncircumcised: 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all the inhabitants of the desert who clip the hair on their temples. All these nations are uncircumcised, and the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”

John 5:39-40

39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 40 And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.

Romans 2:21-22
21 you then, who teach another, don’t you teach yourself? You who preach, “You must not steal”—do you steal? 22 You who say, “You must not commit adultery”—do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob their temples?

1 Corinthians 3:3
…because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like unbelievers?

A church cannot be an effective witness to the world when it is in isolation from the world and withdraws from it.

John 17:15
I am not praying
that You take them out of the world
but that You protect them from the evil one.

Mark 2:15-17
15 While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Acts 10:25, 34-35
25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him.

34 Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, 35 but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.

A church is an effective witness for the world when it engages the world in “holy worldliness.” God wants us to be Christlike as we live in the world, even though we are not of the world.

John 20:21
Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

1 Peter 2:12
Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

Luke 5:27-32
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him.
Dining with Sinners

29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

The Church Displays the Grace and Wisdom of God

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
What makes the church the greatest organization ever? It is in the church where the greatest wisdom and knowledge of God can be found. Jesus Christ declared that He would build His church.The real church is not the brick and mortar of a building. The real church consists of the people who are redeemed in Christ…a collective group of people who make up the body of Christ, and Christ is the head of the church.

The most important person to follow is Jesus, without regard to congregation or position of its members. All members, in acknowledgment of their salvation through Jesus Christ, submit to His authority (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

The church is a society of sinners who admitted their need for a Savior. Jesus came to save a lost world, and someone prayed for each of us to be saved into a fellowship with Christ and with other believers.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

God’s grace is always at work. It is His grace that saves us.

Ephesians 2:1-5
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

Believers in Jesus Christ are reminded that, they too, followed their own desires and devices, but thankfully received the grace of Jesus when they acknowledged Him as Lord and Savior. God is readily available for anyone who seeks Him.

Acts 2:23
Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.

God’s will was being done in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. God allowed the atrocities to take place upon His Son because of His grace…God withheld His wrath that we might receive eternal life instead of death.

Ephesians 2:6-7
6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

The display of His wisdom is to bring all people together in the church. No one made any prophecy that the church would be the vessel for the gospel…only God knew it and revealed it. The church is fulfilling God’s will and desire to see people won over for Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 3:6-10
6 The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power.
8 This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, 9 and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. 10 This is so God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens.

God has redeemed and reconciled the people who believe in Christ to Himself through the church. It is God’s plan and desire for all men that is being carried out through the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:22-25
22 For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. 24 Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, 25 because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

The primary purpose of the church is evangelism…to share the gospel with others. The church delivers the message through the equipping of the saints. The church–the body of Christ–doesn’t save anyone…Christ is the one who saves the people through the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the kindness and sensitivity of the believer that leads people to make the decision for Jesus Christ through the gospel.

What Christians are not to do is to change who they are in their witness to others. Don’t live in the same way as the unbeliever or even separate yourself from them. In order to be a light in the world, you need to be amongst unbelievers, but remain faithful to yourself in Jesus Christ.

  • Urgency of the time
  • Our presence…we are there to help and lead
  • Share your common experiences…”We’ve been there, too.”
  • Show mutual respect
  • Show openness…nothing hidden about who we are in Christ
  • Be honest…speak the truth
  • Be accepting to all people in all walks of life
  • Show grace to everyone
  • Show humility in your service
  • Show patience in your service and in your conversation
  • Celebrate in every victory
  • Reflect that there is always hope…because there is life
  • Take responsibility to share the gospel with everyone who needs to hear it

Evangelism is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. To minister to others is to be obedient to God’s will and is a fulfillment of your purpose. In your actions for Christ, God is glorified.

We are to make disciples of all men and women.

Matthew 28:19-20
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

John 20:21
Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Mark 16:15
Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.

Acts 5:42
Every day in the temple complex, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

The church is the place where new life is seen. Men and women are reconciled to God and to other people.

Acts 11:22-24
22 Then the report about them was heard by the church that was at Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to travel as far as Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And large numbers of people were added to the Lord.

Above all, love one another.

John 13:35
“By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The church witnesses to the entire world to worship and to edify Christ in everything we do.

Acts 2:46
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude.

Acts 4:13
When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.

Ephesians 4:16
From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Romans 14:19
So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.

Lifestyle Evangelism

A special thanks to Lois Thiessen, our guest for today during our Sunday school and morning worship service.  Lois is presently serving with her husband, Duane, as missionaries in Uruguay with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  She and her husband have been in service as missionaries since 1979, with the first 23 years of service in Peru before being reassigned to Uruguay.  They are both instructors at the Bible Institute in Uruguay, which prepares persons to enter ministry full-time and plant churches.  Throughout their journey, they have played an important role in assisting many others to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Duane and Lois have three children and a new grandchild that was just born this past September.

Here is the transcript of her message to our Sunday school class on November 21, 2010:

I love what I do.  We work in Uruguay, South America, and I can’t think of any place I would rather be than in the center of God’s will.  One of the things that we do with our students in the Bible Institute—and that is our primary responsibility—is to teach them Bible theology, practical ministry subjects, in an attempt to raise up a new generation of leaders and pastors for our Alliance churches in Uruguay.  One of the things they have just recently done in the last three—well, actually it started about five years ago—is a restructuring program of the Bible Institute, and in that, what they have tried to do is that every course includes practical application of what they are studying.  Prior to that, it was basically academic, and then they were to find the way to apply that when they went into their ministry situations in the church.  So, in each of our courses, whether they be Bible theology or practical ministry subjects, we look for ways to take them into a walk of experiencing what we are talking about.  And I had the fun of teaching evangelism.

Now, I have to admit to you that I have never felt that my strength or my gifting was in evangelism, but I believe that scripture teaches that every one of us is a witness to the power of God—and to the changing—the power of Jesus to transform lives.  And that is going to take us into evangelism whether we think about it or not.  But there are people—I would like to differentiate—who have a gift as an evangelist, and that is their primary involvement.  We use the book written by Bill Hybels on Becoming a Contagious Christian—I highly recommend it.  He wrote a second book called Just Walk Across the Room—talking about being willing to move out of our comfort zones, and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading to people that are around us that are isolated, and be willing to listen and hear their story.  I’ll back up a bit and come back to one of his main concepts, but he starts from authentic Christian lifestyle—that’s our starting point if we expect to ever win anybody to Christ.  Because if our life does not back what we speak, it will just wash out the testimony that we give.  And so we talk a lot about where we are at in our own personal lives.  And then, we walked for a month in a series of homework, and our purpose in the initial homework assignments in that evangelism class was to do the groundwork to earn the right to speak.  You see, so often when we go to an evangelism seminar, or we go to some kind of an evangelism motivational experience or class, the idea is how do we talk the gospel? And so we wanted to start with how do we walk the gospel.  One of the things in an article that I read in a—I think it was a Christianity Today years ago talking about the wonder of it all.  It talked of a 90-year old man who walked with his bible under one arm and his newspaper under the other arm.  And he said my purpose is this—“I read my bible to know what God is doing, and I read my newspaper to find out where He’s doing it.”  As you see the moving around the world and what is taking place in the nations, it speaks to what God said was coming—and he said “the wonder of it all when you observe the world around you, and you see the hand of God at work.”  And so we talk to our students about first observing—and work through not just their values are—what their priorities are and what their evaluation of the problems in our society are—but to begin to observe and see.  And as they would go out and observe their communities, they began to feel what was taking place.  They began to see the materialism that is our priority in the country of Uruguay.  They began to see how much importance we put in education, but how low a priority we put on God or His Word.  And as they began to look at people and see sad faces and troubled hearts, and conflict and division, they began to understand why God reached out to this desperate, desperate world.  And then, they were sent to people to talk and ask questions—ask them what they value, what they see as problems in society, and what they saw as the world that we were leaving to the next generation—and we’re going to end on that point in these twenty-five minutes—because the world that they felt they were leaving to the next generation was a world that was corrupted, contaminated, hopeless, desperate, violent.  And all of sudden you’re saying you’ve got these values of family and hope, and love and harmony—and this is the kind of world we’re leaving?  Then where is the discrepancy?  How come I’m not able to live the values that I hold so dear?  And you know the answers to that.  And as the people began to see how sin takes us down a road that inevitably leaves disaster and destruction around us—what a need there is to get the gospel message out!  But I am very aware, as I move down that road of teaching my students in the classroom that I have to live what I’m teaching.

And so I’ve asked God to give me people in every age group that I can be sharing the gospel with.  When I was about 13, I asked God to help me to remember every stage of my life so that I would never get to be one of the adults that forgot what it was like to be a kid.  And so you see I can’t live without getting down on the floor and playing with children, because I remember what it felt like to be four and five years old.  And I can’t live without frolicking in a swimming pool, or playing games with eight to twelve year olds, because I remember how much fun it was to have adult friends that would do that with me.  And I can’t stand looking at new mothers without getting involved in their lives, because I remember what it was like to have young children—and people who said, “enjoy it—they’ll grow up soon enough,” and you’re just tearing your hair out because you don’t know what to do next.

And so God has given me friends in all those different ages of life.  And I want to tell you a story about one of them because it overlaps with the story of our students in the Bible Institute.  One of our pastors and his wife had difficult times in their family situation.  Their son, who was not really living for the Lord, was in a very critical motorcycle accident at the age of eighteen.  He was in intensive care for a couple of days and then passed away.  His sister, who had been buddies like that with him just turned against God—against the church—and couldn’t understand why God would take her brother.  And she started to walk down a road that took her to hardness of heart.  She made a bad choice in her marriage decision, and (there was) a lot of conflict in their home—separated a couple of times but kept coming back together—and longing for a child.  But eight years passed, and she had no children.  Her parents prayed for her, the church was praying for her—and God gave her the gift of a child—the ability to conceive.  And she knew that it came from God.  I had tried to get to know that girl.  Her Mom had asked me to see her because the daughter and I lived in the same city—the mother lived farther away.  And the one time I met her, she was so culturally courteous to me that I knew a door was being slammed in my face.  But I thought God will bring the time when I can get to know her on a different ground.  Just a few months after that baby was born, the baby had bronchitis, and the mom also had bronchitis.  She took an antibiotic that she had an allergic reaction to, and the doctor thought they were going to lose her.  She got a strong wake-up call that she was not in control of her life—and that she needed to recommit her life to God.  She wanted her baby to live, and she wanted to live to enjoy her baby’s life.  And her Mom phoned me and said, “you know, Jackie’s not doing well—do you think you could just go and visit her?” I didn’t know what kind of a reception I would get that day, but as the door opened, she just threw herself into my arms and burst into tears, and I thought, ‘Well, this is different.’  And that was the beginning of a friendship.  And that day she was so sick, she took me right into her bedroom.  She hopped into bed and I took care of the baby—and we talked.  And tears rolled down her face as she talked about her battle with God and her battle with the church, and her desire now to bring up her child in the faith of God—to bring up her child to know the Word of God, but an inability to know how to come back.

And so we started a journey together, where I took her hand and we started walking back together.  She had met three women in prenatal classes, and they became friends and would get together maybe once a month.  And she started inviting me to that group.  Now, listen to the composition of this group—one of the girls is a graduate from our bible school—well, actually she was in our last year at our Bible Institute, but she had a baby together with these girls.  Another one—her Mom and her brothers and sisters had gone to an Alliance church in a small town outside of Rivera, but she had chosen to live with a fellow, have a baby, and was far from God.  The other one had been brought up Catholic (and) had no desire to have anything to do with God.  But these four girls came to love each other.  And that was four years ago, and we still meet together.  And two of those girls now are following God—the one of them, she and her husband are in one of our church plants helping in the teaching program.  The other one is still quite resistant to spirituality, but very open to love.  And so, in each of the times we get together, when it’s at my house, we do a little teaching activity.  The moms and the kids decorate cupcakes together.  The last time they came in(to) my home, they drew their hands and they drew pictures of what their hands do together.  And then they drew their feet, and they drew pictures of where their feet go together.  And then I talked to them about how as moms we’re models, and they (the children) will follow us whether we go bad or whether we go good.

And then I talked to my evangelism class, and I say ‘what are you doing to listen to people’s hearts? How are you loving on the next generation in order to reach them for Jesus Christ?’  And so as the evangelism students went out, they listened as they interviewed people.  And I said ‘you are interviewing—you’re not preaching.’ And as they listened to hearts of people who said, “I didn’t know you cared what I thought.”  Interesting—we go so quick to speaking and so slow to listen—they began to get a passion to see God work in the lives of their family and their friends and their neighbors and their workplace.

I mentioned the other day that one of the women went into a bank after we had talked about how to steer normal conversations into spiritual themes.  And as she put her money down to pay a debt in that bank, she said to the banker, “I’m so glad that somebody has paid a debt much larger for me.” And the guy said, “Really? Tell me about it.” All she did was talk the guy’s language.  She entered his world and began to share a little message—a little tiny bit of the gospel.  And she said, “I had a debt so big of sin and Jesus paid that debt for me—I don’t ever have to pay it.”  And then she came back to class and she says, “but then I didn’t know what to say!”  And I said ‘that’s why we’ve got a few more classes yet,’ and we kept on going.

I remember when one of the missionaries from Montevideo came up and he shared what they were doing to try and build bridges into a community that is very resistant to the gospel—the upper middle and the upper class people in the city of Montevideo—less than one percent Christian.  They have been brought up in an agnostic, atheistic environment—very humanitarian, philosophical, (and) materialistic—but God—He’s not even a blip on their computer screen.  He doesn’t enter their life.  They aren’t out seeking Him, and the only way to begin to let the gospel enter into that community is (that) they did what we saw Jesus did—was to move into those communities and live among them—become a part of their life.  Go to the places that they go—be involved in activities that they are involved in.  And begin to look for those bridges that will permit them to share their faith in Jesus Christ.  They’re living authentic Christian lives—they’re loving those people to Jesus, and earning the right to say why they are the way they are.  And so, Tom came up to talk to our evangelism class and talk about relational evangelism—lifestyle evangelism, not evangelism as an activity where we say, “well, from four o’clock to six o’clock tonight, we’re going out to evangelize.” No—he said where your whole life you live intentionally, and every opportunity—every door that opens that crosses your path, you walk through it in the power of Jesus and share your faith when He gives you the opportunity.  And one of the guys was just sitting there visibly agitated. And he’s quite a verbal guy, and I knew that any minute, something was going to blow—and I wasn’t disappointed.  Just a couple minutes later—poof—out it came!  “Just a minute,” he said, “what you’re saying takes too long!”  And Tom said, “Yeah, it takes time.”  But he said, “You know, when you go in with an aggressive form of evangelism into that area, they just turn it off.  A barrier goes up, and there’s resistance.”  And Luis, the student said, “I’ve just kind of always thought that my responsibility is to get the message out there,” and he said, “you tell them that Jesus came, He came to save them, that they’re sinners, they want to accept Him, they can—then I wash my hands of them.  If they don’t want it, I’ll go somewhere else and talk to somebody else.”  And he said, “But you’re talking about building a friendship and a relationship.”  And Tom said, “What did Jesus do?”  “Awww!” he said, and then I could see he was kind of moving (but) Tom kept talking. And finally, Luis—he’s looking for another out.  And he said, “Well, I don’t know.  Maybe that works in Montevideo, but I don’t think it works in Rivera.”  And I said to him, ‘I sure hope it works, Luis, because that’s what I’m using with my neighbors and with my friends like Jackie.’  Looking for those bridges—those little times that they invite you into their world, that they invite you into their realm of thinking.  And you move in like Jesus did and you begin to look for cues that relate to the gospel.  And so, Luis said, “Well,” a little bit agitated, “maybe.” Funny, when we took him into reading a couple of chapters in a book called The Church of the Irresistible Influence written by Robert Lewis about a church in Little Rock, Arkansas that began to look for ways to build bridges into the community.  Every chapter of that book is introduced by a real-life bridge story.  Some of them fell apart because the foundation wasn’t adequate.  Some they said could never be built, and (yet) they were built.  And they used that as a jumping off point to tell about their experience in growing in relational evangelism.  And as they read the last two chapters of that book, I might have known—my objections came from Luis, and he’s kind of agitated again in class after reading these two chapters, and he said, “Well, I think that works in the United States because you guys got money there, and you’ve got the money to do these programs there.” And I said, ‘Luis, I’m not talking about how big the program is—I’m not talking about how much money they put into it.’  I said, ‘One little church started with one idea, and then it mushroomed—it grew, and it went to other churches, and a community got involved.’ I said, ‘Take the principles and apply the principles.  Don’t look at the dollar signs and try and get that amount of money to work with.’ When Luis graduated, he went back to the church that he had been born and bred in as a Christian, and he became one of their strong leaders in that church.  That church has now started small groups in the community, and Luis is one of the leaders in a home, reaching out to neighbors.  And Luis’ understanding now—it’s all about relationship.

You see, God is in relationship.  He is a triune God.  He’s called us into relationship with Him.  And He calls us to live in fellowship—in relationship in the body of Jesus Christ.  And you know, when I’m on that road to heaven, I want to take as many people as I can with me through the door of heaven.  And God is giving opportunities to do that.

One of the classes, as they had the opportunity to finally get to the point of being able to share the gospel in an organized way, and just see what peoples’ response would be—out of nine students, six or seven of them shared their faith that week—three of them led someone to the Lord.  These are people that don’t have a high (level) academic training, but they have a heart for God and a passion for people.  And as I mentioned in the message the other night, that class—we didn’t even need chairs that day because they were just walking on air when they came into class.  And one of the students said, “I didn’t know that sharing my faith could be so easy.”  But she did it with somebody that she knew in an environment that she knew with an example that she had learned that she was secure in.

One of the examples we use is the example of marriage.  You see, when Duane (her husband) told me that he loved me, it was one of the most exciting days of my life.  And when he proposed marriage, I couldn’t believe it!  And when I walked out of that restaurant after he had proposed marriage, I could have gone the rest of my life saying, ‘Do you know what? Somebody loves me!’  I could have gone the rest of my life saying, ‘Somebody invited me into (a) relationship.’  And I could have basked in the warmth of that love without ever making a response.  But that would have been really stupid.  I mean, he was offering me to come into a relationship with him, but it required a response on my part.  It required a yes or a no.  And I think you figured out what I said.  I said yes, and then, not only did I have the offering of that love, I had all of the benefits—the privileges of that relationship.  And when we go out to share our faith in Jesus Christ, use the example of marriage and say, ‘Do you think someone would be stupid enough to say “no”? I’ll just enjoy the fact that someone said once, “they love me.”’  Well, God has said, “He loves me.”  And I could go all through life going, ‘God loves me.’ Isn’t that wonderful?  And there are many people in our culture here in the states that bask in the knowledge that God loves them without ever having committed themselves to a personal relationship with Him.  They need to respond, and we need to be the ones to give them that opportunity to respond.

And so our students walked into that experience, and began to see it wasn’t a hard thing—it was a fun thing, it was an adventure to go through an open door and give someone the opportunity to not just bask in the knowledge of God’s love, but to enjoy the privileges of that love because they said yes to Him.  One of things our students struggle with, and I think we struggle with back here in the United States, is not all of us are evangelists in terms of our way of thinking of evangelists.  But Bill Hybels in his books takes us into a very interesting chapter to evaluate ‘what am I like?’  ‘What has God made me like?’  And he talks about six different kinds of evangelists.  I want you to listen and think which one fits me.  You’ve got Peter, the proclaimer.  He was the perfect choice for the day of Pentecost.  He got up and preached to a multitude, and three thousand people accepted Christ.  That was my idea of a typical evangelist.  But scripture doesn’t stop there.  There’s Paul, the one who would sit down with intellectual groups, and he had an apologetic approach, where he would reason with them and he would start from where they were.  ‘I’ve walked through your cities; I’ve seen your altars to the gods that you worship, and I’ve seen one to the unknown God.  He’s the One I want to tell you about.’  And so he moved in an intellectual approach of apologetics—a defense of the faith, and an invitation to think about it.  There was the Samaritan woman who couldn’t express what just happened but she went to a whole village and she said, “Come and hear someone talk who told me everything about my life.”  Now that town didn’t need to be told about her life—they knew her lifestyle.  And they wanted to know what this guy was like.  And the town went out to hear Jesus because of the invitation of that woman, and they spent two to three days listening to his teaching and it says that many people believed in that town because of the change in that Samaritan woman’s life.  The blind man, I love that guy, they called him up before a council and they said, “Explain to us what took place.” And he goes, “I can’t explain it.  All I know is that I was blind, and now I see!  Doesn’t that make sense to you?”  He gave a personal testimony of a transforming change in his life.  He couldn’t give all of the theological arguments.  He didn’t know what the process was, but he knew the change and could express what the change was.  Uh—there’s one more in there I’m missing.  Dorcas was a woman who did acts of service—they had such a profound impact on her community that the people were lined up crying when she passed away.  And God gave that woman life to continue doing acts of kindness, which spoke of His love and transformed people in that neighborhood.  Oh, yeah, my favorite one—this is the guy I like—Matthew.  He had a party.  I love to have parties.  I love to have people come in and have fun together because I think life should be fun.  And it should be an adventure.  And I think that, in the midst of that, we should find Christ.  He’s the one that gives us joy—life and life abundantly.  And Matthew said “Hey you guys, come on over.  Listen to this guy I met.”  And they celebrated—they ate together.  And they got to know somebody who changed their lives and their ways of thinking.  So who do you identify with?

I want to end with what is my desire and my testimony in life, and I’d like to challenge you with this.  Psalm 71—I had always taken it as my mother’s psalm as she came to the end of her life.  My mom passed away last June, and this year it’s become very evident to me—I’m now there, and it’s my psalm.  Listen to these words and you’ll know why.  Verse 17 and 18 of Psalm 71:  “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me.  And to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God.”  Listen to this, “Until I declare Your power to the next generation, your might to those who are to come.”

I like being with people of my age, too, but my heart’s passion is to be with people that are younger than me—to be with people that are coming up behind me.  My desire is to turn over a world to them, or at least a corner of the world, that looks different than what we hear on the news every night. I want to turn over to them the potential for peace, for joy, for love—for meekness, for self-control—in a world that is totally out of control.  And as I meet with my moms and their little kids, I love on those little kids.  The one whose mom is resistant to God—she sat with the other three little children when they were three years old and listened to the Christmas story as I used the little figures that my mother-in-law made for me out of plastic and wool.  And we told the Christmas story and how Jesus came to give us life.  And a year later, that little four-year-old saw a Christmas Nativity scene.  And she said to her mom, “Mommy, just like at Lois’ house.”  The bible says that a little child will lead them; and so I’ll love on those kids and I’ll love on those moms.  That mom lost a baby (a) short time ago, and when I went to see her, I took her a rose and I said to her, “This rose will only last for a couple of days, but it’s a thing of beauty.”  And I said, “God put life in you, and that life only lasted for a couple of months but it brought joy and beauty as you waited for that little one.  And now, the flower is wilted.  The bible says that little child is in the presence of the Lord.  And you live without that presence with you, but never lose the joy of the beauty of those few months of expectancy.”  Find ways to make bridges into your community.  Find ways to touch the generation that is following you.  Someone said to me in a church that we were in these two months, and I’m coming to an end, we were sitting with some of us older generations, more my type, my age group, and one of them said, “You know, the young people in the church—they never come to us.”  I said, “You know what—we’re the adults here.  We’re the ones that should be going to them.”  You know, I understand that sometimes we don’t feel comfortable with them, but we’re the ones that have been through life—we’re the ones that have something to say and to share.  We’re the ones that need to make bridges into their world and say, “Do you know what?  God is powerful.  He transforms our lives.  I see life in you.  I want to pray for you.  I want to know what happened this week.  Who did you talk to?  Who hurt you?  Can I pray for you?”  You know, it’s not their responsibility to come into our world, but as we move into theirs, they will come into our world.  They’ll open their lives and they’ll tell us what’s happened.  The other day, I went up to a couple of kids in a church.  We were at a potluck, and I said to them, “What is it that you love about your church?”  You know what they told me?  “We’re not a group of people here—we’re a family.”  I thought, ‘Nobody paid them to say that.’ Nobody told them they were going to be asked that question.  That came out of the bottoms of their heart.  And I thought, ‘what a tribute to that church.’  They feel love—they feel accepted—they feel like they have a part.  When the kids are running around and noisy, what is our reaction?  When the music isn’t our style, what is our reaction?  We need to move into their world—build bridges into their world, and love on them.  And let them see through our life how much God loves them.

One of the pictures we used in one of our seminars was of sandbags in a war.  Sometimes we forget in the church—we forget in our families, we’re on the same team.  We’re fighting on the same side.  We’re on God’s side, and we’re going to have victory as we fight together.  There’s an enemy out there who seeks to destroy and to kill and to rob, but as we work together, he (Satan) will not prevail.