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Lesson 4: Evangelism and Witnessing as a Lifestyle *

Introduction: Anyone who looks honestly at the world and at God's standard knows that there is a huge gap between the two. As a witness, as an evangelist, you stand between those two. You are the connection between the world and Christianity. Between the world and eternal life. There is at least one substantial problem with where you are standing. Jesus tells us in John 17:14 that the world hates us. How are you going to be a proper connection when you are dealing with hate? How do we connect with hate? Let's race into our Bible study and see what we can learn!

  1. Jesus' Battle Plan

    1. Read John 17:1-4. Jesus gives this wonderful prayer that describes what He has done on earth and His plan for the future. What is Jesus' main mission? (To bring glory to God.)

      1. How does this text say Jesus brought glory to God? (By completing the work God gave Him to do.)

      2. What is that work? (It is the bridge. To bring those in the world over to eternal life.)

      3. How does a person cross this bridge? (Eternal life comes from knowing Jesus.)

      4. If we are Jesus' apprentices, what clue do we have as to our own work? (We need to bring glory to God by helping people to know God. Helping people to cross this bridge.)

    2. Read John 17:13-14. How did Jesus help us to know God? (By giving us God's word.)

      1. What do you think it means that Jesus gave us God's word? ( John 1:1 comes to mind. Jesus is the expression of God. Jesus' life and teachings help us to know God.)

      2. What is the reaction of the world to the word of God? (The world hates them.)

      3. How do you feel about being hated? (Jesus says He wants to give us joy!)

      4. How does this work? They hate, you laugh? (If you understand that the reason for the hate is that you have the truth, you can feel good about life.)

    3. In John 17:14 Jesus is talking about His instruction, His word. What did we learn about our continuing education last week? (Read John 16:7-13. In our work as a connection between pagans and eternal life, in our work as apprentices to Jesus, He did not leave us an instruction book. He left us the Holy Spirit. Just as we would consult with Jesus, so we should consult with the Holy Spirit. Remember it was the Holy Spirit who worked out the book!)

    4. Read John 17:15-18. What else do we have to contend with, in addition to hate? (The evil one.)

      1. What does the "evil one" have in mind for us? (Whatever it is, Jesus has in mind protecting us from the evil one.)

      2. What is one of our main defenses? (Jesus prays that we will be sanctified (set apart) by the words of God. Again, this points to the Holy Spirit as critical to our defense.)

    5. Let's read three important texts: Ephesians 6:12, Matthew 9:36 and Luke 14:26.

      1. The word translated "hate" in Luke 14:26 is the same word Jesus used to describe the attitude of the world towards us. How does that shape our attitude towards the world? (The "hate" may merely be a preference for something else.)

      2. What characterizes most of the people we encounter? (They are helpless sheep. They may not prefer us, but we need to have compassion on them.)

      3. How does the existence of the evil one and his helpers help us to have a proper perspective on witnessing and pagan hatred? (While there are some truly evil people out there, our struggle is in general not against people, but against evil. This means the hatred is not personal between you and pagans. Rather, it is personal between God and Satan. You are just part of the bigger picture. You are mostly dealing with confused people who have other priorities.)

    6. Read John 13:34-35. As we stand as a connection between the pagan world and eternal life, what attitude are we to have?

      1. At least in this verse, the love command is directed towards fellow believers. How should we relate to fellow believers who are joining us as guides on the bridge to eternal life? (We will face hate from the world in our bridge work, but we should receive love (and give love) from our co-laborers.)

    7. Let's review. As witnesses and evangelists, we are guides to the bridge between the world and eternal life. Our work is to bring glory to God. We do this by helping people to know God. While our work is done in the middle of a battlefield, in which the evil forces on the other side hate us, our mission is for people who are not so much hostile as confused.

  2. Mission Story

    1. Read Mark 5:1-5. How do you think this fellow affected local property values? (Negatively. Would you want to live in an area where a crazy man was loose? Imagine hearing him cry out at night. Luke 8:27 adds that this fellow did not wear clothes.)

    2. Read Mark 5:6-7. How do you think the disciples reacted to this crazy, naked man who could rip chains in two, running towards them? (I suspect they were running the opposite direction. Their necks were probably not as tough as chains. Plus, how much could they take? In the previous chapter (Mark 4) they barely escaped drowning. This ministry stuff led to an action-packed life!)

      1. Have you seen the bumper sticker "Hate is not a family value?" What is really being said? (This is a product of the homosexual rights lobby. The suggestion is that if you believe homosexuality is wrong, you are a hater.)

      2. What false accusation did the crazy man hurl at Jesus? (That Jesus was a torturer. Jesus was cruel.)

    3. Read Mark 5:8. Why did the crazy man say this? (It was the demon inside him. Jesus told the evil spirit to leave. Jesus distinguished between the sinner and the sin. However, the evil spirit saw it all as one thing and falsely called Jesus someone who hated so much that He would torture a person. Don't be surprised if you are called names by evil spirits.)

    4. Read Mark 5:9-13. What do demons have in mind for your life? (They want to drown you.)

      1. Can they? (Not without permission.)

    5. Read Mark 5:14-17. What did the town people, those whose property values had just increased, ask Jesus to do? (Leave!)

      1. Why? (Their pig values had dropped.)

        1. What does this say about them and your ministry? (That people value their stuff over the salvation of other people.)

      2. Notice that these verses also say that people were afraid. Why? Jesus had just eliminated one obvious threat! (Think of the supernatural events that had just taken place. This was a huge battle between God and the forces of evil. The people were naturally afraid.)

  3. Nudge Evangelism - the Letter

    1. Read 2 Corinthians 3:2 and Mark 5:18-19. What is the formerly crazy man? (He is a "letter" from God.)

      1. Wasn't the crazy guy a little short on theological training? Could he have used a few laps around the lake in the boat with Jesus before being sent on this mission? (He was a witness. He was telling his own story. He did not need evangelistic training for this, because he knew his story better than anyone else. You know your story the best of anyone.)

    2. Read Mark 5:20. Was the man an effective witness? (The people were amazed.)

    3. Read 2 Corinthians 3:3. How often is our letter "mailed?" (Continuously. Our job is to continuously stand as a guide to the bridge between the pagan world and eternal life. Everything we do should be a "nudge" towards eternal life.)

      1. Who gives you daily instructions on how you nudge? Who is critical to the writing on your letter of life? ("The Spirit of the Living God." We cannot effectively minister without the Holy Spirit writing the letter of our life!)

    4. Friend, will you commit in everything to be a guide to the bridge, to be a letter, that connects and informs the pagan world about eternal life? It is for the glory of God!

  4. Next week: Sequential Evangelism and Witnessing.
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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