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Lesson 11: Sharing the Story of Jesus *

Introduction: They say that confession is good for the soul. Let me confess that the title of this lesson is confusing. What this lesson is really about is sharing our own stories of what Jesus has done for us. I guess in a round about way that is sharing the story of Jesus. Now that I’ve clarified things, let’s turn to the Bible to get real clarification of how we should best witness!

  1.         Our Old Self

                                                                                        

  1.         Read Ephesians 2:1. How did we start our journey in life? (Dead! Our sins merited eternal death. What we were doing would lead to losing our life.)

  1.         Read Ephesians 2:2. Did we have a good excuse for our sinful behavior? (We had lots of bad examples and influences. Paul says that this is the way the world leads. This is what Satan promotes. This is what our minds lead us to do.)

  1.         Let’s talk a bit more about “the spirit that is now at work” in sinners. Does Satan have something like the Holy Spirit? (No. This is impossible. Satan is a created being. He can only be in one place at a time. Thus, this must mean that we have adopted as part of our spirit (see Romans 1:9) the attitude of the world.)

  1.         We will look at this story later in more detail, but read Mark 5:7-9. What does this teach us about Satan and spirits? (This unfortunate man was possessed by evil spirits. These are allies of Satan, not part of Satan himself. This is unlike the relationship between God and the Holy Spirit.)

  1.         How would you distinguish between being possessed by demonic spirits and the Ephesians 2:2 spirit that is at work in us? Or, do you think they are the same thing?

  1.         Another interesting word in Ephesians 2:2 is “walked.”  Since it is not talking about actual walking, what does it mean? (It means the habitual direction of our life. This is important to keep in mind. The lifestyle issue is what is our habitual direction? Towards following God or towards following “the prince of the power of the air?”)

  1.         Read Ephesians 2:3. How many of us were walking towards death? (Paul says all of us.)

  1.         If you were born into a Christian home and tended towards obedience (as I did), then how can Paul say that all of us were walking towards death? (It is our nature! Paul says we “were by nature children of wrath.” This is what I’m talking about when I say that our “spirit” is our fallen human nature.)

  1.         What constitutes walking as a child of wrath? (We live in the passions of “our flesh” carrying out the “desires of the body and the mind.”)

  1.         What, exactly, are the “passions of our flesh?”  Does that mean eating a big, juicy steak? Does it refer to sexual desires and failures?

  1.         Read Galatians 5:19-21. What does this suggest is the meaning of “flesh?” (Flesh is a reference to the sinful tendencies of humans. This includes jealousy, anger, rivalry, dissensions and division, not merely sexual immorality.)

  1.         Read Romans 8:5. What are our choices? (The key is making choices. We either set our mind on what the Holy Spirit desires or we set out mind on what our “flesh” desires.)

  1.         That sounds pretty abstract. How can we tell if we are setting our minds on what the Holy Spirit desires? (Read Romans 8:7. If you find that you are hostile to God and to His law, then this is a sign that you are not setting your mind on the Holy Spirit.)

  1.         Do you ever think “I can’t get over this sin?” Is it possible this is because the way we set out mind makes obedience impossible?

  1.         Let’s get back to Ephesians. Read Ephesians 2:4-6. How were we saved? By setting our minds on the Holy Spirit? (No. Jesus made us alive with Him - even when we were dead.)

  1.         Read Ephesians 2:8-9. We have this apparent conflict that we need to sort out. This explains that eternal salvation “is not your own doing.”  Yet, we just discussed how we need to make the choice to set out minds on what the Sprit desires. Which is it? Could it be both?

  1.         Read Ephesians 2:10. What is a main reason why Jesus saved us? (For “good works.”  Jesus wants us to “walk with [God].”  Salvation is a pure gift. We have to choose to accept it.  But, once we choose it we need to continue to choose to live in accord with God’s will. That is, the choice of grace should result in a change in the way that we walk.)

  1.         Sharing The Walk

  1.         Read Mark 5:2-4. We studied this story in an earlier lesson. This time we will look at only one aspect of it. If you lived in this neighborhood and some out of town person was visiting you, how would you describe this fellow?

  1.         Read Mark 5:5. How was this fellow impacting the nearby community?

  1.         Mark 5:8 records that Jesus commanded the demons to come out of this man. Let’s read Mark 5:15 and Mark 5:18-19. If you were this man, how would you interpret Jesus’ command to “tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you?”

  1.         Would you talk about how you used to beat people up?

  1.         Would you talk about how you used to cut yourself?

  1.         Would you talk about how you used to live in a cemetery?

  1.         Have you hear a testimony by someone who details the sins of the past, and you are fixated on the past sins?

  1.         Is that what Jesus is commanding here? (No. No doubt this fellow would mention his past to those who did not know. But Jesus tells him to focus on the positive side, what Jesus did for him and how He showed mercy.)

  1.         Read Mark 5:20. How much theology was in this man’s witness?

  1.         Read Acts 26:1 and Acts 26:9-11. What does this teach us about telling about our past life when we witness?

  1.         Read Acts 26:13-15. How important is this part of Paul’s story?  Would the man we discussed in Mark 5 have a similar part of this story? (This is the critical part of a testimony - when Jesus entered the picture and changed you.)

  1.         Read Acts 26:16-18. Like the man in Mark 5, Paul is given specific instructions. What should be the content of his testimony?

  1.         Is Paul following his instructions in what we have read so far?

  1.         Read Acts 26:19-20 and Acts 26:22-23. Is this testimony different than you would expect from the man in Mark 5?(Paul is now talking about theology - not complicated theology, but rather the basic gospel message.)

  1.         What is the lesson in this? (Paul, as we know, was capable of complicated theological discourse. That is not needed for witnessing. Both Paul and the Mark 5 man told what they had been and what Jesus had done for them. Because Paul understood the gospel, he also shared it with his listeners.)

  1.         What order did Paul follow in sharing the gospel? (He did not start with theology. He started with his personal testimony.)

  1.         Is this something that you can do? Can you tell people what Jesus has done for you and give a simple statement of the gospel?

  1.         Read Acts 26:24. Should we expect a reaction like this from time to time?

                                                                

  1.         Read Acts 26:27-28. How does the reaction of King Agrippa compare to that of Festus? (Agrippa seems ready to believe.)

  1.         If you have been involved in sales, what is Paul doing in Acts 26:27. (I’ve not been involved in sales, but I think this is called “closing.” Asking the listener to make a decision.)

  1.         Friend, do you see how witnessing is not complicated? It is not beyond your ability. You tell what Jesus has done for you. You tell how He has made your life better. Only then do you explain the gospel in simple terms. Will you ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to people who want to hear about Jesus? Why not do that right now?

  1.         Next week: A Message Worth Sharing.
* Copr. 2020, 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.

© 2020 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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