Category Archives: Evangelism

Confessions of a Missionary (3 of 3) Platform for the Gospel

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What do you do if you find yourself wanting to be bold, but you aren’t in a position to be a full-time supported missionary? What if you can’t go back to America and raise support? What if you are an Engish teacher and already have a contract signed for the next semester or year? This is the situation my friend found himself in. He decided to use the position he was already in as a platform for the gospel.

Teaching English at first seemed to hinder my ability to let the world know who God is. After I had experienced this peace and boldness from fearlessly preaching Christ my English teaching style changed drastically. While teaching, no matter what the topic, God would give me ingenious ways of dropping in tidbits of truth regarding, why God created us and loved us, what sin is and why it separates us from him, and why and how the death of Jesus gives us the ability to reconnect with him. Every bit I dropped on them started the skeptics to ask the questions I wanted them to ask giving me a platform to continue in my explanation.

I have now decided to be more intentional about how, when, and how long I will preach the gospel in class. I am using four of the 18 class periods to focus on explaining the Gospel and defending it using the Bible, logic, metaphors, personal testimony, and science. I start with having the students tell me about a holiday they celebrate in China and the next class I use the whole class to explain Christmas, but not in the traditional sense. I go through all the reasons we want to celebrate the birth of Jesus including death, resurrection, forgiveness of sins, salvation and so on. Then a few weeks later I showed the movie Facing the Giants. I discovered that many of them if prompted, will say that the movie was ok, but the parts about God were stupid and just coincidental not a miracle or just downright impossible.

I then proceed to tell them that because the movie has much to do with my faith they are calling me and what I believe in dumb. I tell them that I need to defend myself and the Gospel so they can see it from my perspective. I start with my testimony that is a very similar experience to the kids in the movie (I believed and baptized on a football field). Then I proceed logically through creation, and many different topics using science. After finishing my defense, most of my students second guess everything everyone has taught them. I tell them God loves them and wants to know them. I bring up a question that someone asked me in an English corner. The questions he asked was, ” If God wants us to know him why does he not just show himself to us?” My answer to them is I believe he does show himself to us. Besides pointing back to all the absurdly complex things, God has created I explain to them that the Bible is the word of God, and man by the power of God has translated at least one book of the Bible into over 2000 languages and currently prints over one hundred million Bibles a year. It’s never on the best-selling book list because it is always the best selling and would be pointless. The best selling list is always to see what comes in second best. I argue that God is working and making his word available and sending people out to attempt to give everyone an opportunity to hear and believe the Gospel. I argue that they would not go into a library and point a random book and say they believe or reject what the author wrote before they know what the books content is. I argue they should not make a decision about the Bible before they take the time to read the Bible thoroughly and make an attempt at genuinely understand it’s content.

Our current ministry is to plant lots of seed and water seeds others have planted and harvest what is ready to harvest. Everyone I have helped lead to the Lord someone had already planted the seed. Here in China almost everyone I have led to the Lord had an English teacher or Christian relative tell them about God and opened them up to what I had to share with them. This result is why I feel it is worth the risk. I may not see the fruit, so we are trying to fulfill our part of the responsibility trusting God will do his part. It’s God’s glory, not ours.

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Why are Christians Different? —Discover the Difference!

Before I came to China, I worked at our sending church for several years. During my time there I taught a course on Personal Evangelism and helped develop a tract for the church to use. I wrote the tract and then it was revised and improved by those I was working with. It has morphed over the years and different churches have used it and adapted it for use in their church.

I recently updated the text and wanted to share it with anyone who is interested in using it.


 

Why are Christians Different? —Discover the Difference!

What makes Christians different? It is this, through the Bible, we learned the message of Jesus to imperfect, rebellious people and it graciously, radically and completely changed our lives. I want to give you a brief summary of this life-changing message.

First, I need to ask you a question, do you consider yourself to be a good person? Most people do. But what does it mean to be “good?” The Bible says that our Creator God is good and that one of His standards for defining “good” is His law, the Ten Commandments. So, let’s look at part of God’s Law from Exodus 20:1-17 with a tender conscience and ask yourself if you have obeyed the following:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Have you always loved God above all else?
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Have you made a god in your mind that you’re more comfortable with, a god to suit yourself?
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. Have you ever used God’s Holy Name without the respect that it deserves?
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
  6. Thou shalt not kill. God considers hatred to be equal with murder—Matthew 5:21-22.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Includes looking upon someone with lust, and sex before marriage—Matthew 5:27-28.
  8. Thou shalt not steal. The value of the item is irrelevant.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Have you lied even once?
  10. Thou shalt not covet. Have you ever jealously desired what belongs to others?

Have you obeyed all of these or were there some that you disobeyed? If there were some that you disobeyed, the Bibles say you are not “good” according to God’s standard. It actually tells us that “there is none that doeth good…for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”—Romans 3:12-23. It becomes evident that we have lived in rebellion against God when we should be living in thankful submission to Him—the One who gave us life.

Those who aren’t “good,” the Bible calls sinners, because they have committed sin, i.e. broke God’s laws. With any wrongdoing or rebellion, there is a consequence. The Bible says that, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”—Hebrews 9:27. One day we will die and this is a result of sin. After death, we will be judged and if we aren’t “good,” meaning we are sinners, we will be eternally separated from God, because He “…will by no means clear the guilty”—Exodus 34:7.

This is where the life-changing message comes in, God made a way for us to be made “good!” The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16. It also says, “But God commendeth {showed} his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8. This means that even though we were rebelling against Him, He chose to love us anyway!

God showed His love by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save imperfect, bad and sinful people like us. Jesus was perfectly good or sinless—He never disobeyed God’s laws. He didn’t have to die, but He loved us so much that He willingly died on the cross to pay the price for our sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness {goodness} of God in him.”

Jesus died in our place, fulfilling the consequence of our sin with His life. Then something radical happened, three days later He arose from the dead! He defeated sin, death and everything bad. He proved that all He had claimed was true and today He lives as the Lord of lords!

Now God offers to save us out of our badness or sin through forgiving all our wrongdoing and He offers it as a free gift! “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”—Romans 6:23. We can’t earn this gift, because we aren’t “good.” What we have earned is not God’s gift of salvation, but death. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”—Ephesians 2:8-9.

Not only does He offer to forgive and take our sins away, but also offers to give us His “goodness” in exchange—2 Corinthians 5:21. With this “goodness,” God sees us as “good” and grants us eternal life. We will be saved from being eternally separated from God and will have a joyful and loving relationship with Him for all eternity.

It is important to understand this is God calling us unto Himself. Through our defiance we don’t recognize His rightful position in our lives, but this life-changing message is calling us to stop living in opposition, give up, trust and live for Him—the One who gave His life to save us!

What must a person do to receive this good gift? The Bible says, “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”—Acts 20:21. You must repent and put your faith in Jesus.

Repentance is renouncing your former way of life (sin, pride, self-righteousness, etc.) and turning to a new way of life that is only found in the Lord Jesus. This is a change of mind, heart, and life based on the understanding of truth.

Faith is trusting in Jesus to save you. You trust that Jesus’ death and resurrection is enough to forgive your sins. This is more than intellectual assent of the facts about Jesus, but you are basing your salvation on them.

If you are ready to do that, repent and put your faith in Jesus, the Bible says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”—Romans 10:9. This means you believe Jesus Christ alone is Lord and the only way to be forgiven of your badness and receive Jesus’ goodness is through faith in Him.

If everything you read describes you and you want to receive this good gift, through repentance and faith, confess to God that you have realized you’re not as good as you thought you were, your wrong actions and thoughts were actually sins against Him and you have lived in rebellion to Him. The consequence for this is eternal separation from Him, but you heard that He will forgive all your sins and give you Jesus’ goodness. Therefore, today you give up and turn away from all your wrongdoings and turn to Jesus, putting your trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Today, you believe Jesus died, rose again from the dead, and is the only way for you to be saved. Today you are trusting in God to forgive you and grant you His gift of eternal life.

Remember, it is not about saying the exact words that brings about the forgiveness of sins, but it is truly repenting and believing in what the words of truth contain.

This is what makes Christians different. The love of God invaded our imperfect lives and through the death and resurrection of Jesus, He saved us from our sin and made us “good.” Now Jesus is our Lord and, with God’s help, we live daily to glorify Him!

I pray that you will discover the difference!

Evangelism Tip #7: Start the Conversation

When getting started in a conversation to share the gospel, most of the time, you are not going to start directly with spiritual talk. When you are talking to a stranger, family member, or friend, usually the conversation will start off talking about everyday life. It is your responsibility to transition the conversation to the spiritual realm. You are the one that is looking for an open door or you will make an open door to control the conversation to what you want to talk about!

It should always be our goal to find out the spiritual condition of the people we come in contact with. We need to be crisis men and women that share our faith willingly with anyone we come in contact with. So it doesn’t matter how you get the control of the conversation to talk about the gospel, it just matters that you do it.

Here are some basic tranistional questions:

  • Do you go to church anywhere?
  • What is your church background?
  • Did you grow up in any certain religion?
  • If you died today, do you know 100% for sure that you would go to heaven?

Here are some other transitional ideas or tools:

  • Use a gospel tract
  • Use the nearest holiday
  • Use the news or recent headlines
  • Meet a person’s needs

Evangelism Tip #6: Proper Actions

Reaching someone from a different culture or background can be hard. Our actions play a major role in the lives of people. That is why Paul says that he is “made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” His desire was to limit his freedom and not offend people with the things that are indifferent to scripture. So your starting point also includes having the proper actions to the people you are witnessing to. Let’s look at the scripture:

1 Corinthians 9:19-22 “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

The things that Paul would be talking about here are things that are indifferent to scripture. For example, if you enter into an Asian person’s house, most likely, you will need to take off your shoes at the front door, and they will probably offer you tea to drink or something to eat. Taking off your shoes, drinking tea or eating what is offered are a few examples of things that are indifferent to scripture. This does not mean that anything that is not clearly mentioned as sin in the Bible is ok. Here are some guidelines to follow when having the proper actions:

1. WE ARE NEVER TO DO ANYTHING THAT IS SIN

  • Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
  • 1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

2. WE ARE ALWAYS TO ABSTAIN FROM THE APPEARANCE OF SIN

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23 “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

3. WE ARE NOT TO OFFEND OTHER CHRISTIANS BY IT

  • 1 Corinthians 8:9-13 “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

So when evaluating your actions, ask yourself, is this sin, does it appear to be, and will I offend my brother. Then, ask yourself if you are really willing to set aside your likes and dislikes to reach someone else with the Gospel message by being “made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

Evangelism Tip #5: Start Where They Are

START WHERE THEY ARE: THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Starting where they are means that you are going to start at a different place with different people based on their previous knowledge of God. This does not mean that you change the message. This does mean that each person is an individual case and may need to start at a different point. This was common in the book of Acts; when evangelizing the Jews, they would start in the Old Testament showing Christ out of the law of Moses and the prophets (Acts 26:22; 28:23). When they were evangelizing the Gentiles, they instead started with creation (Acts 14:15; 17:24). Therefore, do not expect every one to be on the same page. For example, an atheist from China is not on the same page as a Roman Catholic. A Roman Catholic already believes in Jesus and the Bible, but the atheist from China doesn’t believe in a Creator God or the Bible. Here are a few examples of how real people that I have witnessed to responded. You can see each person was at a different starting point.

Eric – Chinese – Atheist – 23
-He acted like he sort of understand the concept of what I was saying but didn’t believe there was a God yet so it was hard for him to apply to his life. I showed him God through creation. He is still searching.

Jerry – Chinese – Planted – 22
-It was basically like picking fruit from a tree, there already was much planting done and watering and he knew he was a sinner on his way to hell and wanted a way out.

Teenager – Iraqi – Muslim – Teenager
-He was very resistant and said that God was the same over all. I explained the difference of Jesus Christ and he was under conviction and became very closed minded saying Mohammad did the same thing.

Zhen – Chinese – Atheist – 21
-He listened but just wasn’t really interested and didn’t act like it was the major worry in his life.

So how does this play out practically? Here are three things to remember:

  1. You need to constantly be reading and studying your Bible so that you will be able to start at different points (Colossian 4:6; 1 Peter 3:15).

  2. A person needs to understand enough to believe, and therefore, it may take a long period of time for that person to make a profession of faith—don’t seek quick decisions (Romans 10:13-15; Luke 14:28-35).

  3. Every person, no matter where their starting point is, needs to be taken through the Law of God–to see the condemnation of their sin, the Gospel of Jesus Christ–to see the forgiveness of their sin, and then brought to a crisis point–to accept or reject the forgiveness of their sin (Acts 20:25-27).

Evangelism Tip #4: More Caught than Taught

Sharing your faith is more caught than taught. If you want to learn how to share the Gospel then get around those who are doing it. If you want to teach others how to share the gospel, then take them with you! Just as in many things, sharing your faith is more caught than it is taught. Go out every week and share your faith! Get passed memorizing the dull “witnessing outline” and actually do it!

Evangelism Tip #3: Way of Life

Evangelism shouldn’t be something you get hyped up about for four weeks and then quit. Nor is it a weekly program to clear your conscience, but it is to be apart of your life. We are to share our faith in everyday life. We are to be a witness anywhere and everywhere we are. Therefore, make sharing your faith as a way of life. This should become part of your personality and part of who you are. Visitation on Saturday morning or Tuesday evening is great, but there is so much more opportunity…everyday, to anyone, be a witness! We demand life-change: Changing the way you live to make Him know!

Evangelism Tip #2: Every Christian is to Evangelize!

Every Christian is to Evangelize!

IT WAS JESUS’ GOAL FROM THE BEGINNING
Mark 1:17 “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”

IT WAS JESUS’ COMMAND UNTIL THE END
Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

IT WASN’T MEANT JUST FOR THE DISCIPLES
Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

THE CHURCH IN ACTS WAS INVOLVED IN EVANGELISM
Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Acts 8:1 “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

Acts 8:4 “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”

As a servant of the Lord, go proclaim His truth today!

Evangelism Tip #1: Our Attitude and Actions

Our attitude in witnessing should always be one of genuine love and concern. We should always declare and tell the truth but tell it in love. Our message itself is offensive, so we don’t need to add to that by the way we act or by having a bad attitude. (For example, many times in witnessing we can find ourselves getting upset with the person we are talking to because they are being hard to work with or trying to argue with you about something.)

In 2nd Timothy, we find how our attitude and actions are supposed to be when we are doing the work of the Lord.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

1. MUST NOT STRIVE
• Strive means to fight or make war.
• Don’t go out and be argumentative and mean. Quarrelsome.

2. BE GENTLE TO ALL MEN
• Gentle means to be mild or kind
• How do you come across to other people?

3. APT TO TEACH (HEART OF A TEACHER)
• This means you are able to teach or instruct someone
• This means that you are willing to spend the time to do so

4. PATIENT
• Forbearing; To keep on keeping on
• Enduring of evil and despite the outcome

5. MEEKNESS IN INSTRUCTING
• Having a humble spirit; gentleness
• Calmly show them the truth

As a servant of the Lord, go proclaim His truth today!