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Sabbath School Lessons on Evangelism and Witnessing
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: Equipping for Evangelism and Witnessing *
Introduction: Have you ever made a spur of the moment decision to do
something? How did that work out? Often, last-minute decisions are
a bad idea because they give us little time to prepare. If we go
for a hike, we need to consider what kind of clothes to wear, what
kind of shoes we need, and whether we need something to repel bugs
or the sun. We might even need a GPS! If we have a work project, we
find the tools and supplies that we need to accomplish the task. If
we decide on a certain career, we go to school to prepare for it.
Is witnessing and evangelism any different? If we want to be
effective, we need to prepare. Ephesians 6 is a great chapter about
how to prepare. But, this week we will look at other ways to
prepare. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can
- Fishers of Men
- Read Mark 1:14-18. If you were Jesus, and the time had
come to preach the good news that you had come, would you
choose these two? Do they strike you as being "prepared?"
- What are the positive aspects of choosing fishermen?
(In a general sense, they were in the "catching"
business. They were also willing.)
- What are the negative aspects of choosing fisherman?
(No theological training. They seemed to know
nothing about the business of evangelizing.)
- What did Jesus promise to do for them? (If they will
follow Him, He "will make [them] fishers of men.")
- What hope does this historical account give us? (We have
previously discussed the issue of natural and spiritual
gifts, but this shows us that Jesus can train us for
witnessing and evangelism. Jesus will prepare us.)
- The Think Big Training
- Read Matthew 14:14-15. Would you make such a suggestion?
This is being practical, right? This is a person who is
paying attention to reality. A person who is not so
heavenly minded that he is of no earthly good (to
paraphrase a popular saying). Right?
- Is there anything wrong with this suggestion? (No.
It makes sense.)
- Read Matthew 14:16. Recall that Jesus told them that He
would make them fishers of men. Is this fisher of men
training - being asked to carry part of the load of
- Read Matthew 14:17. Is this fisher of men training - to
be logical and reasonable?
- Look again at the response the disciples made to
Jesus. Are they "following Jesus?" (Remember, Jesus
said "follow Me" and I will make you fishers of men.
They are not following Jesus, they are questioning
- Read Matthew 14:18-21. What lesson should the disciples
have learned about becoming fishers of men? (Jesus'
miracles extend to practical things. Jesus could have
reasonably sent the crowd away to go eat. But, God
encourages us to "think big" - even when it comes to
practical things that are not strictly needed, but which
help to advance the Kingdom of God.)
- Making the Main Thing the Main Thing
- Let's continue on with the training! Read Matthew 15:1-2.
My hope is that the disciples washed their hands before
they started handing out all that bread and fish! Do you
agree with the religious leaders?
- Read Matthew 15:3-6. Have you ever done what Jesus
appears to be doing? Someone criticizes you and in
response you criticize them for something they do wrong?
- Have you ever heard that two wrongs do not make a
- Have you any defense for Jesus' defense? (The hand
washing thing is a tradition of men. The failure to
help your elderly parents is a violation of God's
law - the Ten Commandments. Jesus is saying that you
criticize my followers over small matters, while you
teach people to violate the Ten Commandments.)
- Read Matthew 15:7-11. What lesson is Jesus teaching for
those who want to be fishers of men? (That we should not
get bogged down with the teachings of humans. We need to
keep God's requirements front and center.)
- How do we do that? (Jesus teaches that this is a
"heart" thing. A heart for others does not get
bogged down in the petty religious requirements
created by humans.)
- Read Matthew 15:12-14. Why did the disciples care about
giving offense? (I don't like to offend people. Jesus was
generally against giving offense ( Matthew 17:27). But,
when someone is leading others astray, you can (and
should) leave them alone. Some fish get tossed back in
the water because they are dangerous to others in the
- Read Matthew 15:15-20. Peter asks Jesus for an
explanation of this, and Jesus says, "How dumb are you?"
Is there a lesson in this for us? (The point we are about
to study is not a close theological question. If you
disagree about Jesus' conclusion, you are a dope.)
- In our evangelism, what should be the target of our
efforts? (The mind.)
- Why? (It is the source of the evil in our
- Why do you think that the first thing Jesus
lists is "evil thoughts?" (Our thoughts are the
foundation for our evil deeds.)
- What would you do to target the mind? (We
should work on changing opinions, not on
changing the outward appearance. Our main goal
is to change hearts, not change diets or
clothes. A change in heart brings change in the
- The Faith Component
- Read Matthew 17:14-16. What report do we have on the
evangelism efforts of Jesus' disciples? (Fail! The
disciples tried to heal the boy, but they failed.)
- Read Matthew 17:17-18. Who is being addressed here? The
father? The boy? The disciples? (I think the
- Read Matthew 17:19. Why did the disciples come to Jesus
privately? (This confirms they were the target of Jesus'
words. They came privately because they did not
understand why they failed. They did not understand how
Jesus' words applied to them. They did not want to be
publically humiliated again.)
- Read Matthew 17:20. What was wrong? (A lack of faith.)
- How can we relate this to our first story - the one
about feeding the crowd? (Jesus asks us to have
faith that nothing is impossible for us. Just a
small amount of faith can do great things. The
failure to have faith shows us to be an "unbelieving
and perverse generation.)
- How do we reconcile this instruction with our desire
to do God's will? Don't we normally say, when
someone is not healed, "It was not God's will?" We
don't say, "We are a wicked and perverse generation
that lacks even a mustard seed of faith - that is
why this person died." Which should we say?
- Could there be any doubt about God's will in
the situation of this boy?
- Read John 15:5-7. Jesus again promises to give us what we
ask, if we satisfy certain conditions. How does Jesus
describe the condition? (Remaining in Jesus describes
faith. We have to be connected to Jesus. This connection
should give us an insight into His will.)
- I always get worried when we use terms like being
"connected" to Jesus. What does that mean, as a
practical matter? (Read John 15:26. This connection
is the presence of the "Counselor" - the Holy
- Is your life filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you
seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit on who to heal?
- Friend, we need Jesus to make us fishers of men. Part of
that training is to think big, to understand and be
focused on what is important, and to keep a solid faith
connection with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit will give us the power and direction to do the
great and important things to advance the Kingdom of God.
- Next week: Releasing Into Ministry.
* 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.