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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 37 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 10: A Love Response *
Introduction: After going through all of the lessons so far, you
likely feel that you need to witness to others. You need to do
something to advance the Kingdom of God. But after you come home
from work (or school) and you fix a meal and eat and do some other
chores, you feel like just sitting down and resting. Day after day
is just like that. Finally, you feel guilty because you look back
and see that you have done nothing! Is guilt bad? If we are to be
motivated by love instead of guilt, how can we change guilt to love?
Let's dive into the Bible and see what we can learn about our
motivation to witness!
- A Drive
- Read John 14:15. When you read the introduction, did you
answer "That is me!" If so, how do you feel now? (The
implication is that if you do not make time to advance
the Kingdom of God, you don't really love Jesus. That
makes us feel guilty.)
- Read Philippians 1:15-16. We looked at this text a couple
of weeks ago. What does Paul say about having a motive
other than love to share the gospel? (He acknowledges
that you can be motivated by something other than love.)
- Read Philippians 1:17-18. Does our motive to share
matter? We feel guilty, so we share. Is that bad? (No,
not as far as sharing the gospel goes.)
- Read Matthew 6:5. What does this suggest about
witnessing with the wrong motives? (Jesus suggests
that the wrong motive harms us.)
- The Right Drive
- The problem for me (and I'll guess for many of my
readers), is how to exchange guilt, ambition, or
competition as witnessing motives for a love motive.
Let's go back and re-read John 14:15 and then add John
14:16-18. What has this to do with Jesus' statement that
if we love we will obey? (I think Jesus realizes that
love obedience is not easy (to put it mildly)if we are
just gritting our teeth and saying, "I love, therefore I
must obey!" We end up admitting: "Okay, I don't love, so
I have guilt, therefore I must obey!" Because of this
practical problem Jesus sends someone who "lives with you
and will be in you.")
- What do you think this "lives with you and will be
in you" means, as a practical matter? (It has to be
a reference to a new addition to our thinking and
- Read John 14:19-21. Just in case you thought the "love
and obey" statement had nothing to do with the Holy
Spirit living in us, this makes the connection obvious.
What do you think Jesus means when He says that He will
"show [Himself] to [us]?" (We will be aware of Jesus'
presence in our life when others would not be aware.)
- Read John 14:22. What do you think is the answer to this?
- Read John 14:23-24. This is Jesus' answer to the question
of Judas. What does Jesus teach us?(Those who have given
their allegiance to God (love) stand on different ground
than the world. God rewards this love by showing us love
and sending the Holy Spirit to live in us.)
- Read John 14:25-26. What is the role of the Holy Spirit
when it comes to our obedience? (The Spirit both teaches
and reminds us.)
- How many times have you missed something when you
were not paying sufficient attention?
- Think about the last time you were given a
speeding ticket by the police. Did you know
you were speeding and just got caught? Or,
were you not paying attention, had no idea you
were speeding, and got pulled over? (Most
likely you were not paying attention. So many
things in life escape our notice because we are
not paying attention. The Holy Spirit helps us
- Let's revisit our introduction. You get home, feed
the family, do some chores and are too tired to do
something else to advance the Kingdom of God. How
does what we just learned about the Holy Spirit
change the picture? (What about all of our
relationships during the day and evening? If God
reminds us ("pay attention") to the opportunities to
advance the gospel, if the Holy Spirit teaches us
how to be constantly nudging others towards the
Kingdom of Heaven, then perhaps we will have already
done a great deal of Kingdom work by the end of the
- Understanding the Transformed Drive
- Perhaps you are concerned about the mystic nature of what
we have been discussing. We know that gritting our teeth
is not going to give us a love motive to witness. At the
same time, you may want more detail than just waiting for
the Holy Spirit to give us a love drive and make us more
alert. Of special concern is that some of the texts we
just read ( John 14:23) make it appear that love comes
before the Holy Spirit comes to live in us.
- Let's look at some practical lessons. Read James 2:8-11.
James starts out talking about love, but ends talking
about murder. What is James saying about love? (His point
is that obedience is not easy. If we show favoritism, we
sin. If we commit adultery, we sin. If we murder, we
sin. It is not easy to avoid sin because a single, minor,
stumble (favoritism) gets us in the same sort of sin
trouble as murder.)
- Read James 2:12. Given what James just said, what law
gives freedom? (Read Romans 8:1-3. James suggests that
keeping the law perfectly is not possible. Paul tells us
that Jesus kept the law on our behalf. This is what James
means when he refers to "the law that gives freedom.")
- Read Romans 8:4-9. What is God looking for in us? (To
have our minds set on what God desires. This is the
practical work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.)
- Read James 2:12-17. What does James say that God has
shown to us? (Mercy!) What should we show to others?
- Let's get back to guilt. After reading what James
and Paul say about the law, do we need to feel
guilt? (No! No amount of witnessing will make us
righteous. We cannot say, "I failed to earn my place
in the Kingdom today because I failed to witness."
Jesus makes us righteous. If we are motivated by
guilt, we don't understand the gospel.)
- How then does James hook the work of mercy to faith?
(He seems to say mercy is required.)
- Isn't that contrary to salvation by grace alone?
(Yes, on the surface it seems to be a contradiction.
Looking deeper removes the contradiction. Jesus
saves me. I'm not compelled to witness to earn
something Jesus has just given me. However,
salvation by grace alone is a tremendous act of
mercy. How can I neglect to show mercy to others?)
- Read James 2:18-20. Is James wrong when he writes that
"faith without deeds is useless?" (Read Romans 6:12-14.
The distinction here may seem small, but it is of
infinite importance. James is not saying that our deeds
create our faith. Rather, he is saying that when we truly
understand God's mercy to us (we who cannot obey without
stumbling), then a proper attitude, an attitude of mercy
towards others, follows. Just like you can be downstream
and test the purity of the water upstream, so you can
look at the deeds of someone to judge the authenticity of
- Read Romans 10:1-4. Can we be zealous for God without
having a proper understanding of this? (Paul says,
- What is the key to salvation? (Jesus. Righteousness
is available to all who believe. Keeping the law is
not required for salvation.)
- How do you feel when you read this? (Liberated!
I have been shown the ultimate mercy!)
- Do you want to share this? (This is the "mercy
motivation." It is the love motivation. God
showed mercy to us by saving us by His life,
death and resurrection. If we truly believe and
understand this, we have our motivation to
witness! The Holy Spirit convicts us of this
truth. The Holy Spirit reminds us of this
truth. The Holy Spirit points out
opportunities to share this truth. Romans 8:5:
"those who live in accordance with the Spirit
have their minds set on what the Spirit
- Friend, you can be motivated by guilt to witness, but
what a terrible thing that is for you. Jesus saved you
from your sins. He gave you eternal life when you
believed. He delivered you from guilt! If you believe
this, no one has to urge you to witness. Will you
confess your sins and accept Jesus' life, death and
resurrection on your behalf? You can be liberated right
now! And you can joyfully share your liberation with
- Next week: Let the Church Know.
* 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.