Defining Evangelism and Witnessing

Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20
Date: 04/07/2012 
Lesson: 1
"If we are to be involved in fulfilling the great gospel commission, we must understand what we mean by 'evangelism' and 'witnessing'"
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We're coming to you from the capital city of California on the west coast of the united states of America, for those of you who are not familiar with where we are. And we are a large thriving church - Pastor Doug Batchelor is our senior pastor and we love to have visitors. So, those of you who are thinking 'oh, I'd love to visit that church.' We want you to come and fellowship with us on an upcoming Sabbath. Of course, many of you - our extended Sabbath school family - listening on the radio this - watching live on the various television networks or live on our website - have sent in favorite song requests.

And we love to sing those with you and today is no exception so, we are going to pull out our hymnals and sing the first one 'I shall see the King' - #426. This is a request from kenyon and felicia in australia, cleonice in brazil, maisie and karl in France, martin in guyana, jean, gloria, ching, and carol in italy, carson, lowin, elisea, and monique in jamaica, irma in the netherlands, elaine in the Philippines, annalee and edward in qatar, philina in saint lucia, heinz and myriam in switzerland, la toya and majorie in trinidad and tobago, dale in North Dakota, joy in Mississippi, and susheela in Maryland. We'll do all three stanzas - #426 - 'I shall see the King'. I shall see the King someday - is that your prayer? The desire of your heart? Amen. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it is so simple.

Just go to our website '', click on the 'contact us' link, and you can send in your favorite hymn requests. We would love to sing that with you on an upcoming program. #468 Is a huge favorite - I think that and amazing grace are the two most popular songs that we get when people request. And so - jizelle in antigua and barbuda, Moses, sokula, and richard in australia, sao in austria, carmetta in the bahamas, alciro, ameidi, valencia, abelino, and wilbert in belize, and dina in California, goodwin, nenita, and deng in Canada, gayreen in cayman islands, kate and frode in denmark, hyacinth in england, Karen in florida, robert and glemda in Georgia, Samuel in ghana, deonne, jacqueline, zaria, and Matthew in grenada, raylene and josh in honduras, pau and hezron in india, althea, Christopher, and monique in jamaica, carol in Maryland, earina in netherlands antilles, elizabeth in New Jersey, gerdeer, delrita, and vanja in New York, thomas in nigeria, lise in norway, annaliza in the Philippines, julio in portugal, cheryl in saint lucia, perla in saudi arabia, michiel in south africa, Ruth in switzerland, Michael in tanzania, patricia in tennessee, Joel in Texas, michelle and eugene in thailand, nancy and sammy in trinidad and tobago, pam in Utah, and jason in zimbabwe. That was a lot of names and it - it means a lot to everyone that we sing their favorite song and so we will do that.

'A child of the King' - I love this song. We'll sing the first, second and fourth stanzas, #468. I love that song. This week jack, my oldest little boy, he's three so we have interesting conversations about heaven and he looked at me and was like, 'mommy, is Jesus building a mansion? What's a mansion for me?' I said, 'well it's a really nice house.' 'Well, after we're done living in it will we come back and live in our house?' I was like, 'no, we're going to live in heaven and Jesus is building mansions.' He was happy with that as long as he has a pet rat in heaven. And so, I'm sure Jesus has a rat for jack somewhere, but we're all children and when you put it into the perspective of a little child - you know, we think 'little children - child of the king' but we are little children in Jesus' eyes.

We are his children and he loves us more than I love jack and the love he has for the pet rat that he will have in heaven one day. It's exciting. Jesus loves us. If you have a favorite song, I told you what to do, go to our website and we will sing that for you on an upcoming Sabbath and we're going to open up God's word and study together, but before we do that, we're going to pray and ask him to be with us. Let's bow our heads.

Father in Heaven, thank you so much for loving us. The love that you have for us, your little children - thank you for giving us life, for blessing us with the Sabbath, for dying for us and for giving us the hope that one day we will have a mansion. No matter what our circumstances are on this earth, we have something so much better to look forward to and we know that that day is coming very soon and I pray that we will each be ready so that we can see you, cast our crowns at your feet and say, 'this is the Lord, we have waited for you, and you have saved us.' Be with us as we open up your word and we study together. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by pastor steve allred.

He is our collegiate - young adult - collegiate, young adult, and family life pastor. Is that right? I don't know. He doesn't know. Yeah I kind of changed job descriptions recently a little bit but, so I don't know. It doesn't matter but Happy Sabbath, good morning.

It's good to be here together with you today. Let's start off with our free offer. It's a book that you can call into the number on your screen and obtain this book. It's a series of essays by Pastor Doug Batchelor that talks about how God's people in the last days are going to be proclaiming a special message - 'the Elijah message' - so call into the number on the screen -866-788-3966 - 'The Elijah message'. There's a story told about a pastor who was shaking hands as people were coming out of church and, on this particular day, the pastor saw a man who he only saw about twice a year and so the pastor shook the man's hand and said, 'brother, brother, you need to join the army of the Lord.

' And the man said, 'pastor, I am part of the army of the Lord.' 'Well then, how come I only see you twice a year at easter and Christmas?' The pastor asked. The man leaned in and he whispered, 'because I'm in the secret service.' Does God have a secret service? What do you think? Well, you know, there might be something called the Christian secret service, I don't know, but being in the secret service is one thing, being in the army reserves - the Lord's army reserves- is another thing. Isn't it? I don't think God has an army reserves, do you? In fact, if we're Christians, everyone who is a child of God, born again, is in - on active duty, would you agree? Active duty. And too many of us, I think, sometimes feel like we are on, you know, we're going to sit on the bench and we're not on active duty. Well, let's go to Matthew, chapter 28.

Today we're going to be starting a new lesson quarterly, we're talking about evangelism and witnessing. Evangelism and witnessing. And so, we're starting the first Bible study out here, Matthew chapter 28. Let's go there to the great commission. And this is a familiar verse, probably to you and to all of us here.

Here we go in verses 18 - I'm sorry, verses 19 and 20 - here's what Jesus told his disciples. He said, "go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and of The Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." The great commission. This, you could say, is the job description of Christians, isn't it? It really does describe what we are supposed to be all about. Going and making disciples of the nations. That word there translated in some versions as 'teach' is better translated to 'make disciples' - in the Greek language that's really what it means.

And so, God calls us not to just go out and proclaim a message - that's part of it - but also to help people go from simply being knowledgeable about the truth and to be baptized to actually going out and winning other people for Jesus. So, it's basically we're just helping other people win more people for Jesus. The lesson talks about a job description. Too many of us today - even in the adventist church - are not fulfilling the job description that God has given us. It's the truth.

We're sitting on the bench thinking 'someone else can do this job for me. I don't really know how to do evangelism. I'm not sure how to go out and teach all nations so I'll let somebody else do it for me.' Now, part of the blame for that goes to the pastors. Let's read Ephesians chapter 4. Let's read that.

Someone out here, I think, has that verse this morning. Who has Ephesians 4, verses 12 and 13 for us? Okay. Let's let aaron read that for us. Ephesians chapter 4, new testament - let me find that here - verses 12 and 13. Go ahead and read that for us.

"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of The Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Thank you so much. Now, I should have given you verse 11 as well. Let's - let me read verse 11. It says, "and he gave some to be apostles, and prophets, and evangelists, and pastors, and teachers," - and then verse 12 - "to equip the saints for the work of ministry for the building up of the body of Christ." So pastors, evangelists, prophets were placed in the church so that we could equip you to do works of ministry. Does that make sense? That's the job of the pastor and so in many ways - in some ways in America, our church has come to a place where we think, 'well, you know, the pastor's role - we pay him to do the ministry.

That's the job of the pastor.' But if we go back and we look at what happened in Bible times, if we read the verses of what the job description of the pastor is - actually it's different than that - the pastor is not just to do ministry. That's part of it, yes. But more importantly and, perhaps primarily, the pastor's role is to equip the members of the church so they can do ministry. And, by the way, much more gets done that way. Much more ministry happens in the world that way.

There are a lot more ministers when we go by that model. Now, the other part of the blame for the job description of Christians not being followed is, of course, with us, the members. We just haven't maybe keyed in and realized that this is what God has called us to do. We're content to sit on the bench, instead of being out there on the court in the game. Right? And so, God is calling us to get into the game.

He's calling us to enroll in active duty and to realize that we are not in the reserves, we are in God's army. Can you say 'amen' to that? All right. So now, they go on - on Sunday's lesson to talk about what evangelism is. What is evangelism? If you were to define the term evangelism, what is it? And so they - they delve into - now this is interesting - how evangelism was done in the apostles' day. What did evangelism look like back then about two thousand years ago? Is it the same thing today? That's a good question, isn't it? The lesson posits that little has changed since the apostles' time and ours.

And, in one sense, they're correct. In one sense they're correct. People - do people still have the same basic needs today that they did two thousand years ago? Do we still feel the same emptiness without God today as we did two thousand years ago? Absolutely. Are people still getting depressed today like they did two thousand years ago - needing joy and hope from God. Absolutely.

And so, they give a statement here from a philosopher that I had never heard of before, his name is arthur - can you say his last name? - Schopenhauer, I think it is. And here's what arthur schopenhauer said, listen to this. He said, "no one has ever lived" - ever lived - no one - "who has not more than once wished that he did not have to live through the following day." He was, by the way, considered a pessimistic philosopher and you can see why. "No one has ever lived" - he said - "who has not more than once wished that he did not have to live through the following day." And you probably have felt that way at least once, right? 'Oh man, I hope I don't have to see tomorrow.' Right? And he's saying this has been a common thing throughout human experience and so the lesson - the people who wrote the lesson said, 'you know what? People were basically the same back then as they are today and so they're correct on that standpoint; however, if you look at it from a different standpoint, things today are quite a bit different than they were two thousand years ago, aren't they? I mean, are people, now this is probably somewhat - we're going to have subjective answers - are people a little bit busier, do you think, than they were two thousand years ago? Maybe it depends on who you are I guess - who you were back then. Well, this is probably the case - are people more distracted today? I don't know - I mean, you can carry around distraction in your pocket now, right? On your cell phone.

I mean, you've got everything there. You could spend hours just reading the news or playing games or who knows what, you know, - on Facebook or whatever - and a lot more distractions today than there were two thousand years ago, I think - readily available, at least. I mean, back then you had to go to the colosseum or something, you know? It was an event - as opposed to now it follows you around where you go. So, people today are busy, they're stressed out, they're distracted. I think they're also overly stimulated.

Their minds and their senses are overly stimulated - in more ways than they were back then. We watch movies that take us through a whole life span of events in an hour and a half or two hours. Tv advertisements are these things that, you know, almost give you a seizure, you know? Right? So people today, I think, - a little different mind set. We have to think, 'how can we reach this generation?' But, there's something common between what the apostles did and what we do and must do today, that must be in our evangelism just like it was in theirs. Let's go to some of the specific themes - go to the book of acts - we're going to find out what the apostles did.

This book - 'acts of the apostles' as it's entitled. We can say it's the acts of the Holy Spirit working through the apostles. Acts chapter 4, verse 33 - first verse - let's look at that. Listen to this - now I want you to, as we read these verses here quickly today, I want you to ask yourself this question: 'what are some specific themes that the apostles were preaching about back then?' And then we're going to see if those are the same things we ought to be talking about today. Acts chapter 4, verse 33, it says, "and with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

And great grace was upon them all." What was the theme there? Giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Acts chapter 5, verse 42 - next chapter - acts chapter 5 and verse 42. Here's what it says, "and every day in the temple and from house to house they did not cease teaching and preaching" - what? - About Jesus. Acts chapter 2 - they're skipping back a few verses here - a few chapters. Acts chapter 2, verses 36 through 39.

It says - here's what Peter and the other apostles were saying, they said "'let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.' Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'brothers, what shall we do?' And Peter said to them, 'repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.'" Again, what were they preaching about here? Jesus? And what else? Repentance, the resurrection - and basically the same theme again, right? Okay, go to acts chapter 7 now, verse 56 - these are some other verses they gave us here. We're going to look at a few verses this morning, I hope that's okay. Acts chapter 7, verse 56. Stephen the deacon is preaching here.

He said, "behold, I see heavens - the heavens opened, and" - what did he see? - "The Son of man - Jesus - standing at the right hand of God." Then we'll go to acts chapter 13 - one more chapter here, one more verse - acts chapter 13 and verse 48 and here is what the apostles were preaching about in this situation. It says, "and when the gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the Word of God, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed." So, we see different themes here. Was Jesus - the preaching of Jesus and his death and his resurrection - his salvation a theme? Absolutely. Was the theme of repentance one of the apostles' core themes? Absolutely. How about the Word of God - this last verse here - they're preaching the Word of God.

Are those same elements necessary in our evangelism today? In fact, if we were to take those out of our evangelism today - and let's say we were to just preach about end-time events without including Jesus in end-time events - would our evangelism be lacking something? Absolutely. What if we were to preach about biblical standards and lifestyle issues and leave Jesus out of the picture altogether? Would that be missing something if we were to preach it that way? Absolutely. What if we were to just preach about Jesus but leave out the message of repentance? Would that be an imbalanced message as well? Say, 'oh, Jesus loves you.' But never talk about repentance - that would be imbalanced as well, wouldn't it. And so, God calls us to preach these same core themes that were mentioned repeatedly in the apostles' messages they preached. The lesson brings out this point - they say evangelism and witnessing - that's what we're talking about today.

We're defining these terms - what they mean and what they look like. They say, they surely have to do with speaking about the life and teachings of Jesus, the difference those teachings and beliefs have made in the individual believer's life, and the difference Jesus can make in anyone's life if he accepts him as Lord and Savior. Now, the lesson under Sunday's study - they said this - they said, 'evangelism is more than an event.' When you think of the word evangelism, what's the first thing, as an adventist Christian, that pops into your mind? You think of an evangelistic series maybe? Excuse me. Maybe you think of coming to church for what, 26 nights? And having somebody preach and go through all of the biblical beliefs. And that is one way to do evangelism and it's a very - it's been a very successful way for the adventist church to do evangelism over the past hundred and some-odd years.

But evangelism is more than that. And the lesson says this - they said, 'evangelism is a lifestyle.' It's - it's - it goes beyond that - actually I don't know if they said that, but I'm going to say that. Evangelism is more than an event - it's an ongoing thing - it can be a lifestyle. Let's go to acts chapter 2 - I want to show you where I believe this is evident in the Bible. And this is a theme I've been harping on recently here - whenever I get a chance to speak.

In fact, I was talking to somebody on my way out of church the other day and they said, 'you know what, you preached that sermon before.' And I was happy that they recognized that because the more I can get the point across, I'm going to do it. So go to acts chapter 2 - all right, check this out. This is talking about the apostles - listen to this - now, I want you ask yourself - as I read this - we read this together, was evangelism in this case just an event, or was it more than that? All right. Was it an ongoing thing? Acts chapter 2, verse 42, it says, "and they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers." This is speaking about the church - the new believers - and everyone together. Verse 43, and it says, "an awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.

" - Verse 44 - "and all who believed were together and had all things in common." - Verse 45 - "and they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all as they had need." - Verse 46 - "and day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts," - verse 47 - "praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord" - did what? - "Added to their number daily those who were being saved." So that last part clues us in that this was evangelism, right? In other words, people were coming into the church because of what was going on in the verses beforehand - before this. Was this just a one-time thing or was this kind of a way of living for the early church? The latter, wasn't it? Absolutely. And notice, too, that it was double pronged, it had two aspects to it. On one hand, they were in the temple - that would be the large group, gathering at church together, just like we're doing this morning. On the other hand, they were, it says - let's see - verse 46 - "day by day attending the temple together and breaking bread" - where? In - from house to house - in each other's homes.

There's something about having that kind of contact that's different than me standing up here and talking to you today. Isn't it? It's different. I mean, we can sit here and talk all day like this but I'm not going to get to know you any better by doing this, am i? You might get to know me a little bit because I'm the one doing the talking. And if we didn't have tv cameras we'd be doing a lot more back and forth right now because that's just the way I like to do teaching, but the deal is that it's only when you get together in a smaller group that you can actually get to know people and you can find out what's going on in their life, how you can help them spiritually, you know, and the early church had this figured out. And as a result, their church was growing big time.

And so I think as we come closer to the end of time, God's church is starting to figure this out again and I'm excited about that because I think this is how evangelism is going to happen even more and more. It's going to have both the large group and, you could say, the small group evangelism going on. By the way - by the way, when you do have small group evangelism it eliminates a lot of the road blocks that come with when we only do large group evangelism. For example, imagine someone walks into a large group meeting for the first time, they've never been in a church in their life, and they're sitting there with a bunch of strangers, they don't know anybody, they're listening to a message. The message convicts them because God uses preaching, the Bible says, to bring people to him.

But let's just say that they're, you know, they leave and, you know how the devil works - that the Bible says that when the good seed is sown the devil comes along and snatches it away, doesn't he? Unless there's good soil that's been prepared. So let's just say this person goes out, the devil snatches the seed away, and they don't make it back to another large group meeting. No one knows who they were really, maybe we got their address or their phone number, but the point is that when there's that small group and when we've integrated them into a small group - maybe they came in through that group to begin with - maybe someone in that group invited them to the group and then later on they invited them to a larger meeting, that person has a social network. They know people. Those people are looking out for them.

They notice when they're missing. Do you get the point? So there's that - it's - that's the way the church should be. That's what we are trying to work towards here at central. We've got a little ways to go and we need your help. The other aspect is this.

How about you? When you're thinking about witnessing, how many of you feel comfortable getting up front and preaching a sermon? Who feels uncomfortable doing that? There are a few of you who do, right? And I understand. In fact, they say that public speaking - I don't know if this is true, but it's the second most fearful thing for most people. I don't know - for some people - that it really gives a lot of people a lot of - and that's understandable because you're standing up in front of a bunch of people, you're very vulnerable in some ways, etc. Well, imagine though if you could just talk with a group of friends and a new person comes into that small group of friends, and you're able to share with them your testimony about Jesus, answer questions - is that a lot less scary sounding? Absolutely. And so, it takes away the road blocks that we often encounter with evangelism too, doesn't it? So, anyway, you see how the early church did it and I think God is bringing us back to that in these last days.

Let's go to Monday's lesson here. The Bible there - or the lesson there talks about witnessing. What is witnessing? So we talked about evangelism on Sunday, what the apostles included in their evangelism, what that looked like in the early church. Now when we use the term witnessing, what does that mean? A witness - now if we're just to define tHis Word in a broad sense, a witness is one who gives their testimony; one who attests to something that he or she knows from personal experience. When someone asks you what you know about God or His Word, does it due for you to say, 'pastor steve said that God is good so I know that God is good'? 'Pastor Doug said that God is good so, therefore, I know that God is good.

' Is that - does that work? That's not a witness, is it? That's just sharing information, isn't it? And that's fine, we can share information, but that's not the point. The point is, God says, 'I want you to be a witness of my goodness for yourself.' Does that make sense? And then you can share - 'hey, this is what happened in my life. I know this from personal experience.' And, by the way, you can't really argue very easily with that kind of testimony, can you? 'Really, you saw it? Okay, all right.' Right? And so, God calls us to be witnesses. Now we, pastors, have a place in teaching and equipping and encouraging. We talked about that earlier.

But don't let us or our experience be a substitute for your own. Go directly to God. You have as much access to God as I do - as Pastor Doug does - as pastor white does - as pastor mike. You can go to God's Word, learn his truth for yourself, and have experiences with God for yourself. Notice this - go to Mark chapter 5.

We have someone who is going to read verses 18 through 20 for us. Who has that verse? Mark 5:18-20 and let's turn there - Mark chapter 5 - let me see if I can find it - and verses 18 through 20. All right, let's go ahead and read that one. "And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, 'go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee and hath had compassion on thee.

And he departed, and began to publish in decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel." Amen. Thank you. Now this story is about the man who was demon possessed. Jesus met him there - he came rushing down and scared the living daylights out of his disciples, right? They went running back to the boat. Jesus is left standing there and Jesus cast the demons out of this man.

The man then is sitting there - we don't know how long they had together - an hour, 15 minutes, a couple hours - the man has just, you know, come into his right mind - just been converted - and if it were us we'd probably be like, 'you know what, you need to go to school' or 'let your track record get clean for a while' - right? - 'Before I send you out to do evangelism.' But Jesus said, 'you know what, go.' - And do what? What did he say to do? 'Go and tell people' - what? - What I did for you' essentially. Go and share what the Lord has done for you. You see, and I think this is so amazing, because, really, that's what it's all about. Has God done something for you? And if you don't feel like he has, I would encourage you to search your heart - search your past - look back and I believe you will find that God has done something for you. If he hasn't then seek him now and he will do something in your life that is powerful and amazing.

And so God says, 'go and share' - to this man - 'what I have done for you.' Powerful stuff. And so the man went and he shared and it says that when Jesus came back there, that people were waiting for him - because this man had gone around and done evangelism just by sharing what God had done in his life. Now there are a couple other verses that the lesson gives us and they ask the question, 'what is the common and essential point being made by all these following verses? And that is that witnessing is sharing what God has done in your life. That's what it is. That's the common factor between all of these different examples of witnessing in the Bible.

Have you ever heard the little statement 'God has no grandchildren'? What does that statement mean? 'God has no grandchildren.' Is it true, first of all? Is it true? I've never heard of any grandchildren for God. Now, grandkids and grandparents - great thing. I love my grandparents. I'm so glad that I have grandparents. I'm so glad I'm a grandkid, by the way, but when it comes to God, God has no grandchildren.

And why? Let me ask you this: if a Christian couple gets together and they have children, are their children automatically Christian? Is that how it works? No. Because we're not born into Christianity, we're born again into Christianity. And so, God says, 'listen, I want you to be my son or daughter. It's not enough that you were born into a Christian family - that's good, but it's not enough - I want you to be born of God yourself - to become my son or daughter yourself'. Witnessing is much the same way.

We must experience God for ourself. You must become a son or daughter of God for yourself. And God says, 'listen.' That's what he wants more than anything else. Now, witnessing can be a very spontaneous thing, the lesson notes, given that the opportunity to share the good news about Jesus can arise anywhere at anytime with anyone. Let me just share a little something with you.

This is something that I like to do. All right, you've heard of 'glow' tracts, haven't you? I've got another one in here somewhere. Have you heard of these before? I've got two of the same kind - I thought I had another one. Let me see. Hold on.

If I keep reaching back in maybe I'll find something else, sometime. Here we go. Wait. Anyway, all right. I thought I had a different one.

Ah, it's in my pocket down here. Okay. These are a couple of them here. Great little witnessing materials, by the way, put out by an organization called 'glow' - giving light to our world - it's an acronym. I love acronyms.

You can go online and find them. Google glow and you'll find them. I like these because number 1, they're small. I can fit them in my pocket without even knowing they're there. So can someone else.

If I give them to somebody else, they're not going to have to carry around a bulky book with them for the rest of the day. You get the point? Because most people, if they do have to carry around a bulky book for the rest of the day, they're not going to. They're going to set it down and forget it. They might even throw it away. Or if they're a woman and they have a purse, they might put it in their purse, but guys don't have purses.

So these work great for guys, especially. But anyway, these are great because not only that, but they also look pretty attractive. They look neat, they're small, and if you read them, they're really pithy, you know? They're kind of short and they give you a really good message in a short amount of time. People today are busy, right? They want to kind of know what this is about and know it now. And these are great ways to do that.

And on the back they have a website they can go to for Bible studies, to get more information - they can read a lot more if they have more time, etc., Etc. Anyway, I wanted to share that with you because these are great at the grocery store. You know, pass these out to the checker - just say, 'hey, you like to read?' You know, because sometimes they're standing there with nothing to do - they've got a little bit of time. Or, you know, when you're going out of the parking structure and the attendant wants something to read. Great.

And, by the way, they open up incredible conversations sometimes. People say, 'oh, what is it?' 'Well, it's a little book about the Bible.' And people start to ask questions and talk so, to me, a great way to witness. This is not the only way. Now, if I'm with people that I have an opportunity to be around for awhile and to build friendships with, I'm not going to go right out and give them one of these because - that- Christ's method is to, first of all, become friends and get to know people and find out where there at and then, when they're open, share the good news. But if I'm never going to see someone again, this is a great opportunity.

Okay? So just an idea there. The lesson asks the question, 'when was the last time you had a chance to witness to someone about what Christ has done for you?' What did you say? What was the reaction? Think about that. God is challenging us to say, 'be my witnesses in this world. Be my witnesses.' I want to be a witness for Jesus, don't you? How has Christ changed your life? What is there in your life that would make someone want to learn more about Jesus? Now, that is a thought question that we need to really consider, isn't it? What is there in our lives that would make someone want to learn more about Jesus? Now, I've asked myself that and I need to ask myself that question often because sometimes I don't know. I don't know if there's a lot.

I know information but - is our faith attractive? Like what Ellen white says - she says, we should strive to make our faith attractive to unbelievers.' Let's go to Tuesday's lesson here as we get close to finishing up today. They talk about this: the biblical evidence. Now, it's one thing to witness, to share our experience, but if our - but we need to base our - what we're sharing on the word of God as well, would you agree? In other words, this needs to be a vital part - we talked about that earlier, the apostles shared the Word of God. They did that, the early church did, they would preach the Word of God. And as you read acts chapter 13, the whole chapter there, you could read about how the apostles barnabus and Saul - who later became Paul - proclaim the word of the Lord, they proclaimed salvation, they proclaimed the story of redemption.

Let's go to acts chapter 6. Let's read a couple of verses there. Acts chapter 6, verses 1 through 7. Notice what happens here, it says, "now in these days when the apostles were increasing in number, a complaint by the hEllenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve" - the apostles - "summoned the full number of the disciples and said, 'it is not right that we should give up preaching the" - what? - "The word of the Lord to serve tables.

Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, and we will appoint them to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of'" - what? - "'The word.' And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip and prochorus, and nicanor, and timon, and parmenas, and nicolaus, a proselyte of antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And" - what happened in verse 7? - "The Word of God" - what? - "Increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith." What enabled the early church to have success in evangelism in this story? The Holy Spirit and preaching what? The Word of God, amen. And that is really what we need today as well.

In other words, we can't just go out and just share how Jesus makes me feel good, we need to do more than that, right? We need to talk about how - what the Word of God says and what it means to us in our lives and the truth, right? So, the lesson brings this point out. Listen to what they say - they say this: 'however powerful and compelling the testimonies and witness of these first evangelists, these people were constantly referring to the Scriptures - that is, they were using the Bible to interpret their experiences.' And then they ask this, 'how well do you know the Bible and can - how can you get firmly enough grounded in it to use it in your own witnessing?' How well do you know the Bible? Do you feel comfortable with your knowledge of the Bible? All right, it's time to get uncomfortable and start learning more, right? Whenever we get comfortable God challenges us and he says, 'hey, come on, let's keep growing.' Right? Now, if you're not comfortable and you realize you want to learn more, good. That's a good place to start. And I encourage you to know what you believe. If you don't know what you believe, now is the time to - to understand what you believe and why you believe what you believe.

Ellen white said these words - listen to this, this is from a book 'fundamentals of Christian education' page 256. This is really challenging stuff. I read this and I thought, 'boy, this speaks to me, but I need this.' She says, "the great educating book is the Bible." Amen? This is the book - boy I tell you - she says, in another place, and the Bible says this too in psalm 119 - "the entrance of Your Words gives" - what? You know that verse? Psalm 119 - I think it's verse - "the entrance of thy words giveth light. It giveth understanding to the simple." So, the Bible actually helps our minds to actually grow. It's not just a book that is helpful to our spiritual experience, it also is helpful to us in every other way, including intellectually, and so on and so forth.

All right. She says, "the Bible is the great educating book and yet it is little read or practiced." It is little read or practiced. I encourage you to read your Bible. One thing that I've been doing and I just picked up a new version of the Bible - I read through a new version every time I read through - and this year the book I'm reading through it's the esv. And I've got a Bible-reading plan in the back - I just put in there - I just started this a little while ago.

This keeps me on track. It is a great way to have a goal to work towards, to be able to check off and see where you've been. I'm a goal-oriented person, I like to kind of know where I've been and where I'm going. And it - if I ever open my Bible up and don't know where to go, I go back to the Bible-reading plan and there it is. Now if I feel one day like I want to read something else, that's fine, I can do that, but it's a great way to keep yourself motivated.

Read your Bible. It will do wonders in your spiritual life. She said, "yet the Bible is little read or practiced. Oh that every individual would seek to make himself (or herself) all that he could, improving his opportunities to the very best of his ability, purposing to use every power which God has given him. Not simply to advance his temporal affairs, but to advance his spiritual interests.

" Then - "oh that all might search diligently to know what is truth" - to know what is truth. Are you searching diligently to know what is truth? - "To study earnestly that they might have correct language and cultivated voices that they might present the truth in all its elevated and ennobling beauty." Then she says, "let no one imagine that they will drift into some position of usefulness." Don't think you're just going to pick it up by coming to church. We need to be diligent students of the Word of God. I know you're busy. I know we're all busy, but make time for this.

It should be a priority in our lives because it will - it will transform your spiritual life, let me tell you that. If you spend time in the word of God consistently, it will make big differences in your spiritual life. Then it finishes up. She says, "if men would be used to work for God, let them put to the stretch their powers." Stretch yourself, challenge yourself. "And concentrate their minds in earnest application.

" I like that. I read that and it challenged me this week. I thought, 'that is powerful stuff. I need to share that.' In winding things up here, lets' - you know, Wednesday's lesson talked about sharing our testimony. Telling our stories.

How do you share your testimony? What is your testimony? It's sharing what God has done in your life. It's witnessing to what he has done for you. How do we do that? And the lesson gives a simple set of guidelines. We share, first of all, what our life was like before we came to Jesus. Then we share what - what? How I met the Lord.

And lastly we share what our life is like now that we've met the Lord and what it's like to walk with him. If you look in acts chapter 22, verses 2 through 21, the story of the apostle Paul is there. And if you look at his testimony it was divided into those three categories pretty much. And that gives you a good set of guidelines. As you think about your life before you met Jesus - what was it like? Write it down.

Make it short - you know, just a few - couple of lines. What happened when you met the Lord? When did you meet him? How did you meet him? What changed immediately? Write it down. And then the third bullet point, what is your experience after getting to know Jesus? What has your experience been today? This week? How is your experience being kept fresh with God? So, a testimony, when you share it with someone - if someone says to you, 'you're a Christian? Okay, why? Tell me about that.' That testimony can be right there. It's ready for you to share. Now, it shouldn't be long.

It shouldn't be an autobiography. All right. That's one thing I think that we as Christians need to learn is that - and I'm speaking to myself, by the way, that, you know, we are not necessarily God's gift to the world. You know, in the sense that people just want to sit and listen to what we have to say for hours on end, right? But if we can make it short and to the point and God can use that in a powerful way. The Bible says 'be quick to hear and slow to speak,' right? So, God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

So, make our testimony short and yet - and yet to the point. So write it down, first of all, and it will be ready for you when you need it. Let's go to one last verse here. Peter, chapter 3. This verse is a powerful one and it's one that I'll tell you, it gets right to the heart of the matter - right to the heart of the matter.

It really is one that challenges me because I want this to be my experience. I think you do too. Acts - I'm sorry, 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 15. Now in this version of the Bible here's what it says, it says "but in your Christ - in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy." I think in other versions it says, 'but sanctify the Lord God.' The word sanctify means to set apart as holy. And so, it says, "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy.

" So this begins with something that must happen inside of us first. To sanctify God - to set him apart in our lives as holy - to worship him as holy in our lives really means that we should have no other Gods before us. It goes back to worshiping God - making him number one in our lives. Would you agree? Put God number one in your life. That's the first step in being a witness for Jesus.

All right? Verse 15, going on, "always being prepared to" what? Be ready to what? - "To answer" - who? - "Anyone" - right? That does what? - "Asks you a reason for" - what? - "The hope that is in you." Boy, make God number one and always be ready. Don't the boy scouts have some sort of a motto like that? What is it? Always be prepared or something? Which means that as Christians we always want to be - get your testimony ready - always be ready. I want to be ready, don't you? "For the hope that is within you. Yet, do it with" - what? - "Meekness and fear" - this version says I think it - probably a little bit more modern way of understanding it - "with gentleness and respect." Meekness, gentleness, respect, fear - kind of a sense of respect. "With meekness and fear, gentleness and respect.

" How much evangelism is often done without gentleness and respect? Does it happen? Have you ever done it that way? Yeah, maybe argued down that family member who doesn't believe like you, right? Until you prove them wrong, you know? But honestly, argument usually doesn't accomplish much and I - i, you know, in my short life have been learning that. It really doesn't. I think we have to learn sometimes to just say, 'you know what? Okay. We're free to disagree. If you're interested in knowing why I believe what I believe, I'd love to discuss it with you.

' But, you know, arguing just doesn't do it. So what about you? What are some ways that you can do evangelism? You know, I'd like to share just a few with you today as we close up. First of all, be friendly to people at your job. That's a great way - a lot of us work. A lot of us have jobs and we're mingling with people who are not Christian - who are maybe not adventists - they don't know the truth that we know.

Be friendly. Invite your neighbors or coworkers over for dinner. Get to know them. Open up a home Bible study once a week or the couple times a month that you're home. And you'd be surprised by just opening up your home and inviting people for dinner and say, 'hey, we're going to have a - we’re going to read the Bible together afterwards' what God can do through that.

Start up a lunch group at work where you pray and read Scripture together with people. Amazing opportunities abound out there - those a just a couple. Ellen white says this in 'Desire of Ages' page 152. She says, "not alone from the pulpit are the hearts of men touched by divine truth. There is another field of labor, humbler it may be, but fully as promising.

It is found" - listen to this - "in the home of the lowly, in the mansion of the great, at the hospitable board" - in other words, at the table - "and in gatherings for innocent social enjoyment. That is a field of labor that God calls us as Christians to infiltrate." Not all of us can preach a sermon, maybe you don't even feel like you can give a Bible study, but we can all give some service, that God will bless, unto the salvation of a soul. Once again our free offer today. You can call into the number on the screen 1-866-study-more. 'The Elijah message'.

If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at ''. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including Amazing Facts presents. One location. So many possibilities. One location.

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