Friday, April 7, 2017

Connect--Greg Laurie--Evangelizing Jesus Style

Samaritan’s Purse is not a relief organization; it is an evangelistic organization that does relief work. The real emphasis is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If we leave that out, we’ve left out everything.

We’re going to talk about how to share your faith—how to share your faith effectively or Jesus style.

John 4;  Believers and unbelievers are all uptight about sharing the gospel
Who is called to “God into all the world and preach the gospel?” – We are (Matt. 28:19,20) 

Our mission is to lead people to Christ, get them on their feet spiritually, and do it again and again. 

It’s the Great Commission and not the Great Suggestion but for many it’s become the Great Omission.  Sin can be not doing what we are supposed to do—the sin of omission. 

Where are we to preach? – EVERYWHERE!  We call it FRANgelism (friends, relatives, associates, neighbors)

Why should I preach the gospel? – because God’s way of reaching people is through people.  I Corinth. 1:21  -- the primary way God chooses to bring people into the Kingdom is by the verbal proclamation. Jesus didn’t say “go into the world and be a good example”

When are we to share the gospel—ALL THE TIME!  2 Tim. 4:2-- be on duty at all times.  One day I went into a restroom and took my seat then heard someone beside me in the stall clear his throat.  Then the person said, “hi” so in as masculine a tone as I could muster I said, “hi”.  He asked “Are you supposed to meet me here. I was gonna buy some drugs.”  I wondered if God’s Spirit could use me in a men’s room.  So I said “I don’t have any drugs for you but I have something better—a relationship with jesus.”  He said, “I already tried that. I even went to church at Harvest Christian Fellowship.”  I said, “I’m Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship>” and He replied, “Oh, my God.”  I moved the conversation outside the rest room and he made a recommitment.

How do we share the gospel?--   There’s no better example than Christ Himself.  The Bible says “The common people heard Him gladly.”  He was the friend of sinners. Unbelievers were drawn to Him.

--Our objective in sharing our faith is to build a bridge not burn one.  Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves.  Start talking with the person about himself.  We see this in John 4 with Jesus and the woman at the well.  We know she made bad moral decisions.  My own mother was married and divorced seven times and I was conceived out of wedlock.  So I feel I know this woman at the well.  This woman thought men would meet the basic needs of her life.

John 4:3-10 – Jesus NEEDED to go through Samaria – it was really out of the way for Him but Jesus needed to go because He knew there was a woman who needed to hear the gospel

--“Jesus Style” sharing starts with caring  the Care Bears have one thing right – If you don’t care about non-believers it doesn’t matter how much you know.  Sharing our faith can’t just be a job; it has to be a passion;  We must be ‘weepers’ of souls before reapers of souls.   Jesus overcame prejudice and went to a woman of a different race.  Jesus wants us to leave our comfort zone. 

Jonah—God asked him to go to Ninevah but Jonah didn’t want them to be spared.  God said “Go”; Jonah said “No”; God said “Oh” (God will always have the last word.)  The story of Jonah is not about the fish; it’s about one of the largest revivals in human histories with the whole city repenting.

--If we want to evangelize “Jesus Style”, use tact  Isaac Newton said, “Tact is the ability to make a point without making an enemy”  We tend to speak Christianese. We call them ‘sinners’ and ask them to ‘repent’ and be ‘washed in blood’ and you freak them out.  Don’t assume your listener understands what you’re saying.  Use illustrations.  Jesus made it a dialogue not a monologue. Engage in conversation.  Jesus engaged people.

--To share “Jesus Style” we have to adapt to the situation – A person cannot fully appreciate the good news of the gospel unless they know the bad news.  The whole gospel is you’re a sinner separated from God.  If they don’t think they’re a sinner, ask if they have ever done anything wrong.  Let them know there is a judgment; God doesn’t send people to hell; we send ourselves there because of our rejection of Him. You have to tell the whole truth or you haven’t given the gospel

--To share “Jesus Style” you have to stay focused – John 4:20-24 – don’t get sidetracked on side issues.  The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing and that’s the gospel.  The main thing is not politics or a certain point of view—it’s the gospel.

I once asked Billy Graham “What would an older Billy Graham say to a younger Billy Graham? He answered, “Preach more on the cross of Christ and the blood of Christ. That’s where the power is.”

Telling your story (your testimony) is a wonderful bridge to the gospel.  This woman, minutes old in the faith, immediately goes out and tells others.  Many people believed as a result of her testimony.

Paul would always start with his testimony about the Damascus Road.  People can’t argue with your story.  It’s a way to preach to a person without really preaching. 

Tips on sharing your testimony—
--Don’t glorify or exaggerate your past
--Don’t make your past sound better than your present..  We all have the same story—you were guilty and afraid to die and headed to hell…
--Lift up the name of Christ in your testimony—He is the star of your story. Don’t boast about what you gave up for Him but what He gave up for you! 

My mom was a beautiful woman raised in a Christian home but she ran away from home, eloped, got divorced quickly. She’d drink every night and pass out.  I was more of a parent to my mom and I followed in her footsteps.  But God in his mercy got hold of me at age 17.  The hardest person for me to reach was my mother. She’d come to my crusades but never received Christ.  She never wanted to talk about it.  I prayed for over 30 years.  At age 70 she had an auto accident because of driving drunk. She was on dialysis.  One day the Lord spoke to me about having that conversation and I went to talk with her and pressed the issue.  That resulted in her making a recommitment to Christ and one month later she died.  Sometims the Lord will prompt you and you need to respond.  My mom was married to Bill for 25 years and he never seemed that interested in the gospel. He lived a few years after my mom and when he was dying someone said I should go talk to him. God spoke to me on the way to the airport and I went to talk with him.  I realized he was not far from death and I shared the gospel and he prayed with me to receive Christ.  Minutes later he did.  When the Lord prompts you to have that conversation, do it! 

Next to knowing Christ myself the greatest joy is leading others to Christ. 

We have our marching orders to go to all this world to preach the gospel.  And I pray God uses you in the months ahead to see more fruit than you’ve ever seen.

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