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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 12: Evaluating Witnessing and Evangelism *
Introduction: At work you have annual leave (vacation) and annual
review (evaluation). Which do you prefer? Which is most important?
Our world is filled with evaluations that start in the first five
minutes after we are born (Apgar score)! How does this work with
witnessing and evangelism? Should the approach and standards of the
world apply to evaluating the work of the church? The work of God?
What about your personal witnessing and evangelism, should that be
evaluated? Let's jump right into our study of the Bible and see
what we can learn!
- The Nature of Evaluation
- Read 1 Timothy 3:1. Would you like to be promoted at
work? Does the same kind of thinking apply to the
church? (Paul writes positively about desiring promotion
in the church.)
- Read 1 Timothy 3:2-3. Is this an evaluation? (Yes.)
- What kind of an evaluation is it? (Essentially, an
evaluation of the person.)
- Read 1 Timothy 3:4-5. In some ways I find this an odd
requirement. Are the two really the same? Is managing
your family and your own money like managing a church and
- Read 1 Samuel 8:1-5. Would Samuel have passed the
test for overseer?
- If not, how do we explain that God chose Samuel to
be one of the greatest overseers of Israel? (Perhaps
the emphasis is on the word "children." When they
are young their behavior is a test of leadership.)
- Read 1 Timothy 3:6-7. Are these qualifications or
evaluations? (They seem more like qualifications.)
- As you consider the verses we have just read, does
anything strike you as being unusual for job evaluations?
If you are evaluated at work, does your boss evaluate you
on this type of criteria? (No! I am evaluated on how
well I did my job. I am not asked about how well I did
with my family.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-11. How does Paul evaluate
himself? (He calls himself an "expert builder.")
- Read 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. What kind of evaluation is
done here? (Circumstances will test the quality of the
work done by the teacher.)
- Why is there no mention for either the teacher or the
overseer about a church committee to evaluate past
- Did you notice the two evaluation points in our
texts so far:
- Spiritual qualifications for the job; and,
- Why is there no on-the-job evaluation?
- Holy Spirit Test
- Read Acts 15:4-5. Peter and Barnabas give a report of
their activities to the leaders in Jerusalem. Does
everyone at headquarters give them a good evaluation?
(No. Some think they are not giving the correct message.)
- Read Acts 15:6-8. How does Peter answer the performance
criticism? (He says that proof of the propriety of their
preaching is the approval of the Holy Spirit.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:3-6. No matter how we serve the
church, no matter the nature of our job, what insures our
success? (The Holy Spirit!)
- What does this teach us about performance evaluation in
witnessing and evangelism? Does this explain the absence
of evaluation during the job? (This is not like the kind
of evaluation we go through (or give) at work. The church
selects Godly people, people who show that the Holy
Spirit is at work in their lives and in the life of their
family. The church then lets them go into ministry.)
- What, then, is the basis for evaluation of
witnessing and evangelism? (Logically, the only
question we are competent to ask is whether we see
the power of the Holy Spirit in the work of the
person? If we see that power, who are we to second
guess how the Holy Spirit leads?)
- Read 1 John 4:1-3. Would you use this as the test for
whether the Holy Spirit was at work in a person?
- Are you comfortable with the conclusion that the
evaluation approved by the Bible is merely whether a
person is Spirit-filled?
- Should we also be concerned about whether the Holy
Spirit is manifested in the person's work?
- Read Romans 12:6-8. What does this suggest about the
Holy Spirit, our gospel work, and evaluation? (We
should not look only at whether the person is
Spirit-filled, but whether the person is working in
the area in which they have gifts from the Holy
Spirit. Just because a person is filled with the
Holy Spirit, does not mean they are fitted for every
kind of work. That is why we could have a Spirit-filled person, who did not manifest the power of the
Holy Spirit in a particular type of work.)
- Historical Example
- Read Genesis 6:9. Is Noah a Spirit-filled guy? (Yes!)
- Read 2 Peter 2:5. What is Noah? ("A preacher of
righteousness." New Unger's Bible Dictionary says,
"Jehovah ... allowed a respite of 120 years, during which
time Noah sought to bring the people to repentance.")
- Read Genesis 6:3. Who was Noah's partner in preaching?
(The Holy Spirit! "My Spirit will not contend with man
forever." The suggestion is that the Holy Spirit
contended for 120 years through the work of preacher
- Read Genesis 6:13-14 and Genesis 7:11-13. How would you
evaluate Noah's witnessing and evangelism? How many
people entered the ark? (Eight.)
- What does this suggest to us about evaluating the
witnessing and evangelism of others? (Noah had a
divine appointment. He was Spirit-filled. Any
evaluation must center on whether God is in the
- Read Exodus 31:1-3. Is Bezalel a Holy Spirit filled
- Read Exodus 31:3-5. What is Bezalel's Spirit-filled work?
(He is a master craftsman.)
- What does this suggest about the work of the Holy
Spirit in witnessing and evangelism? (It is not just
preaching. The Holy Spirit gives us excellence in
whatever gift we are given. Excellence gives us the
opportunity to share our faith with great
- What does this suggest about evaluation? (Noah
taught us that it is not about numbers, but Bezalel
teaches us that the Holy Spirit gives "skill,
ability and knowledge." If our work is not
excellent, then the Holy Spirit is not at work. The
entire key to evaluation is to determine whether the
Holy Spirit is in the work.)
- Friend, do you see that a proper evaluation of your
gospel work is an evaluation of whether the Holy Spirit
is in your life? The focus is on you, rather than on
your "numbers." But, the Holy Spirit is the author of
excellence. If we are not excellent in what we do, it
might mean we are not working in the area of our Spirit-gifts. It might mean we are lacking the Holy Spirit.
Will you ask, today, that the Holy Spirit fill you, and
show you the gifts that He has given you?
- Next week: A Perpetual 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.