Evangelism and Witnessing as a Lifestyle

Evangelism and Witnessing as a Lifestyle

Scripture: Acts 9:36
Date: 04/28/2012  Lesson: 4
"Whether we acknowledge it or not, all believers preach a message by the example of their lives."
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We're so glad that you're tuning in. Whether you are on the other side of the planet - it is a privilege to have you as part of our Sabbath school family here at Sacramento central. We have many extended Sabbath school family members that are listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org, or on various television networks - however you are joining us we are so glad. And, of course, it is that time in the program when we pull out our hymnals and we sing praises to God.

This morning - no exception - 'tis so sweet to trust in Jesus'. Turn in your hymnals to #524. This is a request from veronica, angel, and jasmine in the bahamas, ocian in england, lornah in florida, nicola in germany, nazaria in grenada, Simon and xylona in the isle of man, chevenna, soroya, and stephanie in jamaica, tina in malaysia, deleira in Maryland, Michael in Michigan, howard and diane in Mississippi, ronald in New York, sanora in saint lucia, wendy in saint vincent and the grenadines, florine and colleen in trinidad and tobago, savannah and charlene in Texas, nicola in Virginia, william in Wisconsin, and rodgers in zimbabwe. We're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas - 'tis so sweet to trust in Jesus'. Aren't you glad that you can trust Jesus? And the more you learn to trust him the more you realize you can.

And you can trust him with absolutely everything because he has your best interest at heart. Even though you sometimes might feel like you would do things differently, it is actually the best way. When you can look back you would realize that leaving it to Jesus you have nothing to worry about. If you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program it is so simple. You just go to our website at saccentral.

org, click on the 'contact us' link and send in any hymn request and we will do our best to sing that for you as quickly as possible. Our next song - 'there is sunshine in my soul today' - #470. This is from nora in argentina, aaron, gloria, and marion in australia, dennis in California, zoraida and zeny in Canada, hellevi in estonia, karl, liseby and gloria in France, bob and Paula in Idaho, dave in Indiana, iiya in ireland, jose luis in Mexico, leo and dorothy in Michigan, bonnie in new zealand, pastor charles and sharon in North Carolina, Karen in the Philippines, cassy in the russian federation, ashley in tennessee, remy and jess in thailand, giselle, irvin, and wayne in trinidad and tobago, jay gabriel in united arab emirates, carlos in venezuela, and Christa in Virginia. So this is another favorite - #470 - and we are going to sing the first, second and fourth stanzas. Father in Heaven we thank you so much that you have put sunshine in our souls today.

You have put sunshine in our souls because when you come into our hearts that's what happens. We start radiating your love. And we just pray today that those around us will see that love shining through us and that they will want it too. Be with each one that is here ready to open up Your Word and study together. Be with our extended Sabbath school family around the world that one day very soon we will all get to meet together on the streets of gold and have a central study hour song service.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by almost a visitor, Pastor Doug Batchelor - he's been gone to europe for like the last five months it seems like - and he might be bringing us a lesson study with a german accent this morning - yah. So, Pastor Doug is - oh there he is - he's bringing us the study. Nein. Thank you debbie - our musicians - and thank you friends.

Yes, it is good to be back home and in a moment I'll maybe give you a little mission report of where I've been and what I've been doing and - but I want to begin by welcoming our friends that have been watching and studying with us - our extended class. Part of the fun that I experienced when I was gone to europe in the last few weeks was meeting so many of the extended Sacramento central class. A number of people came up and they said, 'we're members of central' or 'this is our Sabbath school.' And some drove quite a ways. I met people that drove over a hundred - two hundred kilometers to come to some of the different events that were in isolated places and they - while english may not be their first language, they speak well enough to study with us and this is their Sabbath school class and they're members of central church and part of our online membership and I want to welcome them again. Forgive me if I can't say all their names - partly because I can't remember them all and partly because I pronounce them poorly, but we want to welcome you.

And some of you who have been watching maybe for years and you're in that category - maybe you're isolated from any church family you can worship with - you can become part of the church. If you'd like to join Sacramento central there's a way to be one of our online members. It's better to have a local church you can attend, but we'd like you to be connected. Just go to 'saccentral.org' - saccentral.org. There's information there on how you can do that.

Also, we have a free offer - written by a good friend of mine, pastor richard o'ffill - I wrote the forward to this book. Our lesson today is going to be talking about evangelism and witnessing and this book is talking about faith reclaimed. It went along with the evangelism series we did by that title but it especially talks about how do you keep people in the church - reach visitors that may be attending - and part of evangelism is not just getting new people into the church, but how do we keep the people we have and our children? So it's talking about how people can reclaim their faith and how to keep people from going out the back door. Oh, by the way, we'll give that to you for free. Just ask for it.

Call the number on the screen - offer #788 - and the number again is 866-study-more or 866-788-3966 - we'll send this to you. Now, I don't have a real sophisticated way of doing this and so I'm just going to be saying 'next slide' to our studio and hopefully they'll be on the screen for us here in central as well as for our friends who are viewing at home, but just returned from a trip of just about three weeks - to europe. Went to four different countries of germany, austria, switzerland, and a brief visit to France. Part of the reason for that trip was we were doing some final taping. How many of you saw the cosmic conflict dvd we did a few years ago? Well then we said now we're going to do cosmic conflict part 2 and that's dealing with Revelation 12 - that vision there of the woman - and it talks about the great apostasy and the great reformation.

And so, in needing some more footage for the great reformation - went to germany and some of these countries and geneva. There I was videotaping in worms and, by the way, went to that spot where martin luther said, 'here I stand' and we videotaped there. Our team did a lot more traveling than me - I did some personal narration and then they went and they got footage of where luther was in the castle wartburg and wittenburg where he nailed his theses on the door. And they went to switzerland and all over germany - went to rome - I think they just returned from rome. Matter of fact, part of our team stayed behind and is in rome this weekend for when the pope gives his annual address because they're going to have phenomenal crowds and so, hopefully, our team member was there getting some really good video footage of the vatican and the easter service and the pope addressing the crowds.

And part of what we were doing there was a series of revival meetings - largely among youth, but also just meeting some of our friends and preaching the word. Did some meetings there at darmstadt and there's a beautiful center there called the Christian advent center and one of the reasons we were happy to go there is we are soon going to be having an afcoe-to-go training program there. Some of you know one of our afcoe teachers - eric flickinger - who our viewers see on television periodically, was born in germany and you can't tell because he has no accent but he speaks german and he'll be going with pastor jëan ross who's from south africa. They sort of speak afrikaans, so I think they understand a little german. And they'll be doing some meetings there - an afcoe-to-go session.

Next slide. All the meetings we went to were very well attended. We were just so thankful, we weren't sure if anyone was going to come because it's been my first time - this was my first time I've ever preached in germany - I've been there two or three times but I've never preached there before. And so, we were just thrilled that the crowds came. Next picture.

You've heard of the nuremberg trials? Well, I went to nuremberg and I was on trial - no. Did visit some interesting sites there but, again, we have a seventh day adventist church there and was happy to visit with them and, of course, everything was translated in german so I did learn a few more words. Again, well attended. Then went from there to a - the Sabbath we spent up in bad windsheim and there was a youth congress there - the adventist theological society - and 2000 young people came out and that was really a thrill - it's sort of like gyc - matter of fact, gyc is going this month to germany and pastor - I think nelson, as I'm teaching this class, is preaching in mannheim to a large group of young people there. And so, we had a wonderful series with the youth and we're talking about evangelism and the Word of God - went from there to - you know I'm giving you a very quick overview of what happened.

This is sort of a mission report for our Sabbath school class - went from there to the seventh day adventist college and high school in bogenhofen and did a week of prayer there. Now, part of the reason I show this to you is when a pastor is gone three weeks and I made the mistake of sending you a picture of me skiing in the alps - I want everyone to know that it took me two hours from bogenhofen to get there, I skied two hours and then two hours back, I preached that morning and I preached that night. I always feel guilty - I want you to know I was working, it wasn't vacation. Yes, I did take two hours to ski, but that was the only day I went skiing - beautiful, by the way. I'm not going to show you that picture or you're going to be jealous.

But this is a wonderful school and it's, you know, not too far away from the alps - it's also not too far away from the town where adolf hitler was born and pope benedict - I thought that was interesting. Braunau is not far from there, but bogenhofen is a separate place - beautiful school - it's sort of an international school in austria. We've got students from all over - one fun thing that happened to me while I was there - three students from korea came up to me. They said, 'will you take a picture' - some of you saw my Facebook page - they said, 'will you take a picture with us?' I said, 'sure.' And so I took a picture and they all held up photographs while they took a picture of me standing with them. It turned out their photographs were all pictures that they had taken with me in seoul nine years ago when they were 11 years old.

And so they all three had those pictures with them in austria that I had taken with them on the other side of the world nine years earlier and I thought that was really a kick. So the students from all over the world - it's a wonderful school. And we had a week of prayer - a revival series - 22 young people made decisions for baptism while we were there so it was a wonderful experience. And then went from our meetings - in three weeks I preached like times so I stayed real busy. I went from there to bern, switzerland and did some revival meetings there - was there twice - again, well attended, but they have the same theology there in switzerland we have in America where you don't sit in the front row - I don't what that is - it's sort of an international rule.

I'm looking for the verse and the chapter on that. But they were in the balcony but nobody sat on the front row. And so went from bern, switzerland then to geneva. Now, it was really exciting because, you know, europe is very secular and, you know, we need to pray for the work in europe. I believe that there is a revival that is happening there but there is something of two camps.

That's - I guess you have everywhere - some are just really seeking after biblical Christianity but europe is very secular. There's a lot of questions about creation and the accuracy of the Bible and some of that has actually influenced the church. And so, when we went from place to place in europe, with very little advertising, we wondered if anybody would come. And so we were just so thrilled by the crowds that turned out - and especially in geneva because we weren't in a church, they rented a theater. And this was sponsored by asi europe there in switzerland, in particular.

They rented a theater right downtown. I said, 'well how many are coming?' They said, 'we don't know if anyone's coming.' - Because it was advertised on radio 74, the church members gave out some fliers, and we were really happy when the theater - this is the place where we met - next picture - was filled and over 500 came. I've never done an evangelistic meeting where over half the people there were non-adventist and so, after the program, all of these catholics and different people came up and they had been watching the programs or listening to radio 74 - one man said, 'now I'm kind of convinced about the Sabbath, but I'm a catholic - can I go to mass Saturday? Will that work?' And so they're asking these kind of questions, you know, just really the right kind of questions you want to hear at an evangelistic meeting. And so, wow, after the meeting - and you'll see a picture afterward I just visited with people sometimes for an hour afterward that had all kinds of questions and I needed about six weeks there. But in just four days we covered the basics and asked for a decision for baptism - of course, they're not quite ready but they filled out cards - 45 people requested to be baptized and to become Christians.

I told them I was seventh day adventist - shared my testimony so they knew what we were talking about and so all the work that the radio and the members have been doing there - we're seeing fruit. And I took a quick excursion to France and here's ron myers who's the founder of radio 74 - they broadcast all over europe - all over switzerland and out of a very humble spot. And we did - I think we did one program there and then he took me to our school in collonges and did some - one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen is our school in France. Big rock - granite rock of the alps - is up above the school. You've got the school and it overlooks geneva, which is switzerland, but it's in France.

And then did a lot of taping also there. Did a program - bogenhofen - you can go - next slide. That's the - that building at the top is what they call the castle - that's where I stayed at bogenhofen - we did a program with hope channel europe and hope channel in germany. Next slide. And then when we were in bern we did some tv programs with the youth there and so - this is a quick overview of what happened in three weeks.

But I had one day - one night where I didn't do anything. Every other day it was two or three sermons a day or interviews or something so - but it, you know - I came back energized. I took a little - took a little while to recover from the plane ride but I'm still very excited about what the Lord is doing there. And pray for the work in europe. We're praying that there'll be a new or second reformation there.

Anyway, sorry, that was a long mission report of what I've been doing - kind of show and tell. I do want to get into the lesson - very important study - dealing with the subject of evangelism and witnessing and I envy my associates who have been able to do the first three lessons. By the way, it was fun when I finished last Sabbath in geneva, my hotel room had internet so I went back to my room, took a little rest before our final meeting, woke up and turned on Sacramento - and so I heard pastor white teaching the lesson - I heard pastor allred's entire sermon - great message, by the way, both were good. And so, it was fun to be able to log on there and I wanted to call somebody up to see if they had their cell phone on and say, 'I'm with you.' Yeah, the internet's amazing. 'Evangelism and witnessing as a lifestyle' - very appropriate.

Being a Christian and being a witness for Christ - God has called us all to be his witnesses. Why does God give us the Holy Spirit? Acts chapter 1, verse 8, 'you'll wait in Jerusalem, I'll pour out the Holy Spirit, and you shall be my witnesses.' Is that just for apostles or for every member? But when we think about being witnesses, some think about getting up in front and everbody looking and all the courts looking and you're about to make a statement and you start to shake and tremble - any of you afraid of public speaking? You all heard this story about the Christian that was being thrown to the lions in the coliseum of rome many years ago and the Christian was out there having a prayer and finally they opened the gates and a lion came bounding out - hungry lion - pounced on the Christian and put his paws and was ready to bite in and the Christian whispered something in the lion's ear. And the lion shrank back in horror - kind of looked to the right and the left and then he went and pounced on the Christian again and the Christian whispered something in the lion's ear and the lion shrank back again and finally the Christian got up and he walked towards the guard and he said, 'how did you get out of that?' He said, 'well I just told the lion' - he said - 'you'll be asked to say a few words after dinner.' And he was so scared of public speaking. Some people are terrified of public speaking and they think, 'if I'm going to be a witness it means I need to be a teacher or a preacher.' You know one of the - they've got all these different phobias. Some are afraid of the dark, some are claustrophobic - afraid of being confined - some are afraid of spiders.

One of our students this last week in europe was asking - actually it was an afcoe student - was asking 'is it true that you inhale, you know, two spiders a week?' - Or something - I don't know, they got to one of these myths out there on the internet. I said, 'does that bother you? They're probably microscopic.' 'Oh, I hate spiders.' But you know what the most common fear is? It's the fear of public speaking. And so, people are afraid of that. The good news is you can be a witness and you may not have the gift of teaching or preaching or evangelism, but you are still to be a witness and you can be a witness by the life you live. Everybody should live a life that can witness for Christ.

Now, we have a memory verse - it's from acts 9:36 - acts 9:36. I always like to encourage you to say this with me. Are you ready? "And at joppa there was a certain disciple named tabitha, which is translated dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did." How many of you remember when we used to call our community service 'the dorcas society'? And then we changed that because, while Christians knew what that meant, a lot of people in the world thought, 'what kind of weird thing is this?' They'd say, 'are you going to the dorcas?' They didn't know it's a Bible name for someone who just did good things for the community so they changed it then to community service. But how many of you still call it the dorcas? It's kind of entrenched.

Well, dorcas was one of the saints who, as far as we know, never preached a sermon but everybody in town loved her and when she died they all showed up and they were crying and wailing and said, 'she knitted this for me.' And 'she did that for me.' And Peter, moved by that, he prayed and brought her back to life. Which is a good lesson. People will miss you if you're a good witness while you're alive. And the Lord is more prone to resurrect those that are making themselves useful. Don't forget that.

He's more prone to resurrect those that are making themselves useful and being good witnesses for him. Every believer preaches a message. The question is not if you will preach a message, it's what kind of message will you preach? The question is not 'will you be a witness?' Everybody is a witness of one type or another. Just this week - I mentioned - I was talking to the afcoe students up at weimar and we talked about Jonah and I said that when Jonah was running from God he was doing evangelism - for the devil - and everybody around him was about to sink. When Jonah surrendered to God there was the greatest revival recorded in the Bible and the whole town of nineveh was converted - thousands.

Jonah was doing evangelism both times. When you're listening to God and following the Lord, you're doing evangelism. If you're running from God you're doing evangelism. Everybody, when you get to your destination - whether it be heaven or the other place - will find people who are there because of you. That's kind of a sobering thought.

So, while you're thinking, 'do I want to be a Christian or do I not want to be a Christian? I don't know how I feel about what I want to do with my life.' Stop thinking that it only involves you. Your decision to follow the Lord or to not follow the Lord will impact others for eternity. Is that true? Absolutely. I think when you get to heaven you'll be shocked by people who are there because of your influence and you had no idea they were watching you. And if you end up in the lake of fire you will see people there because of your influence and you will shudder because you had no idea how many people your choice to turn from God and run from God was affecting others.

That's a fact. All of us will impact others. So, if you're going to be a witness, be a witness for the winning team, amen? And so, by your life - now somebody look up for me John 13:35. We've got a hand right here I think - you've got that verse. And while they're getting lined up for that, I'm going to read Corinthians 2, verses 2 and 3.

This is a very clear verse that talks about our lives being a testimony - a sermon. "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart." If we were to have our closing prayer right now, this verse by itself says everything in the lesson. Your life is a living letter - an epistle is a letter - written by the Holy Spirit. And we are, by our lives, giving a word - whether it's the word of God or the word of the enemy, we are being read by all men. And so, our lives are a testimony, they're a witness - 'known and read by all men.

Clearly you are an epistle of Christ.' You know, we become the sum total of what we read and what we look at. And as we're feeding on the word it begins to impact our lives and our lives become a letter from God. If we're feeding on the world, we typically will reflect that. So people will know by our lives and they'll know by something else. John 13:35 - I didn't forget.

Are you ready? "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another. Did he say, 'all men will know you are my disciples because you preached loudly'? 'All men will know that you are my disciples because of your eloquent lectures'? No, what does he say? 'All men will know you are my disciples by the way you love' - he doesn't even say 'love your enemies.' He says, 'by the way you love one another.' Because before you can really be good at loving your enemy, you would think you would be okay at loving your neighbor. It's interesting, in the Bible it says, 'love your enemy, love your neighbor.' And someone drew my attention to the fact that it's often true that your enemy can be your neighbor. Sometimes those closest to you - a nigh brother - can end up being an enemy. And you call that friendly fire.

Sometimes it's even that person in your Christian community - a nigh brother - that can become an adversary. Is that a new thing for new testament Christians or do you find that in Bible history? Of course Jesus - did the disciples argue among themselves? Were they angry with James and John when they asked for the position on the right and left of Jesus? They were angry that they didn't think of it first. And that they sent their mother - that's a low blow. And were they upset with Peter that he denied Christ or that he was always out front? Did Judas deny Jesus or did he betray Jesus, I should say? Joseph sold by his brothers. David hunted by his king and his son.

You can see lots of examples - gideon was, you know, first turned away by his family or jephthah - and you can see there's a lot of in-house problems in the Bible history. And so Jesus said, 'first show the world you're Christians, not by saying we love the world and love the lost - love each other. We should have love for one another and, you know, it's a little easier to put on the Christian garb at church once a week and even for the world out there - and some do a pretty good job at the place of employment. And while you're fooling everybody, it's almost impossible to fool your family. So real Christian witness begins at home.

The first place that you want to be a missionary is under your own roof - by being a good example for your spouse, for your family, for your - it might be your parents, your children. And for me, one of the reasons that - you know there's a lot of evidence for a prophet that the Bible gives - how do you tell a true prophet from a false prophet? But for me, one of the things that persuaded me that Ellen white was a real prophet was when I looked at how her family viewed her. Her siblings, her husband, her children - they all believed she was authentic. And for me I said, 'that's a slam dunk' because, you know, you can look at a lot of people who claim to be prophets and their kids said they were impossible to live with. But Ellen white, her own kids and her own spouse said, 'she's a saint.

' Now that doesn't mean that she wasn't human - I'm not saying that - but they saw there was a consistency in her life with her message. We, as Christians, ought to be witnesses in our lifestyle for our families. And if we haven't been, we ought to apologize to them and pray that God will help us be consistent. By the way, I've had to apologize to all my kids and my spouse for times when I wasn't a good witness. We should be striving to be good witnesses for Jesus in our families.

Amen? All right. Peter 3:1-4. While we're talking about the household, "wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, might be won by the conduct of their wives." It's not a very popular verse for today's religious political climate about the role of women in the church, but I'm just reading the Bible and this would work both ways, by the way. If a man is a believer and his wife is not a believer, can he be a witness by his behavior? It says, "without a word they might be won by the conduct of their wives when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment merely be the outward adornment arranging of the hair, wearing of gold, putting on of fine apparel - but rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, which is incorruptible, a beauty of a gentle and a quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

" In other words, let them see that you have priced the inward adorning as supreme - that you've got the change of heart. Do you know what the key is? Again, I could sum up the whole lesson right now about lifestyle evangelism - Christ has to be in your heart. If he's on the inside - if you've got that ark in the temple - you know during the time of Christ they had all the temple was adorned on the outside, but the ark was missing and he said, 'your house is left to you desolate.' But if we've got the gold on the inside - if Christ is on the inside - it will affect what's on the outside. Because wherever your heart is, it's going to affect the rest of your life and people will see if it's in your heart. But I like the part - it says, 'without a word your husbands might be won as they behold the conduct.

' And again, husbands, wives can be won without a word. Sometimes spouses - if a believer is married to an unbeliever - and, by the way, if a believer is married to an unbeliever and you were a believer when you married an unbeliever, you deserve some of your heartache. Isn't the Bible pretty clear on that? We shouldn't be unequally yoked together. But whatever circumstances - however you got into those circumstances - I won't chastise you for that right now - maybe just a little. But if you want to reach them you don't get them by nagging them into sanctification.

Some husbands have hardened the hearts of their wives by badgering them to be Christians and it has a counter effect. And likewise, some wives have made it even more difficult for their husbands to come to Christ because instead of them letting them behold - without a word - they're trying to do it by nagging them into it. And so, it should be a lifestyle that they see. That doesn't mean that you never speak a word - I'll just stop right here and say something. It's very simple but it's true - I've said many times - people come to me all the time, 'Pastor Doug, I want to reach my son, my daughter, my spouse.

What can I do?' And I first heard c.d. Brooks say this and I thought about it and thought about it and thought, 'I can't improve on that, that's true.' He said there's only three things you can do - only three - but they're three powerful things you can do. You have someone you love that's lost - you want to reach them? Three things. Everything will fall into one of these three categories. One is if - notice the if - they're open, share information.

Sharing that information means you might talk to them - don't badger them - give them a Bible study, give them some Christian -sometimes it's easier to hand a person a dvd because they can't argue with that, you know - I mean sure they can argue with it but it's easier to argue with a person when you're talking to them. But otherwise, they sit down - they just kind of have to listen while the tape is going or the cd is going or the dvd is going - they're listening. So if you can give them material - give them a book, give them a study, give them information if they're open. Give them a website link. You can do that - forward a link - say, 'you'll really enjoy this, take a look at it.

' So one thing is share information. The second thing is you can pray - now I don't want to say you pray as though, 'well, it's the last thing' like a fire alarm that says break the glass in case of fire. And if you're in some desperate circumstances you pray. Pray all the time. Prayer is powerful.

I could tell you a lot of stories about people that I've seen that have - their hearts have been changed. They've come to the Lord through someone praying for them. Pray - not only pray - pray from your heart, pray consistently, pray patiently and persistently. Sometimes it takes years of praying - don't give up. You've got to knock on heaven's door sometimes a long time on behalf of a person.

And then be a good witness - by your example. Those three things. Share information if they'll listen. Don't push it on them. If you've got kids out there that are lost and just in every little letter you're also sending them volumes of books and they say 'look, I'm not interested.

' You just - you've got to pace yourself. It's so hard - you keep thinking, 'oh, if they would only read this' - and you send them stuff. So, you've got to pray. If they're open, share things with them. Pray for them and be a good example.

And if you do those things consistently, patiently, with prayer, that changes - that has a big effect. Okay. What was I talking about? Oh, I talked about Peter. Corinthians 7, verses 12-16 - let's read that - Corinthians 7, verses 12-16. "But to the rest i, not the Lord, say: if any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.

And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife," - what does that mean? - "And the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean," - in other words, if you've got an unsaved spouse and your children maybe haven't made a decision yet and they're only under the influence of an unsaved spouse if you separate, by staying together there is a sanctifying influence on your unsaved spouse and your children. You are that light and salt in that life. And so, by all means - now what it's talking about here is many pagans - they were married as pagans - one spouse heard the Gospel and accepted it. Their pagan husband/wife said, 'look, I didn't buy into being a Christian - I'm not in for this.

' And they don't have the same view on divorce and remarriage and they say, 'I'm getting rid of you.' And - but you're saying, 'I'm willing to stay together.' And they're willing to stay together even though there's a difference of belief, you should stay together. See what the circumstances are he's talking about? He's not talking about two Christians that one says, 'I'm not so sure I want to do this.' He's talking about a circumstance where people were married - they were pagans - and one became a believer - because the Gospel was spreading throughout asia back then. Stay together if they're willing to stay and it has a sanctifying influence. Your life will be a witness to them. So it's lifestyle evangelism.

And then under the section 'having compassion for people' - by being kind and compassionate, Matthew 9 - someone look up Peter 3:8 - just get that set up first. Who has that verse? Peter 3 - pretty sure I gave that out - Peter 3, verses 8 and 9. Do I see a hand? Oh, it's over here - let's get you a microphone. Hold your hand up so they see you. And while we're doing that, I'm going to read Matthew 9, Matthew 9:36-38, when Christ was teaching, after he got done, the multitude was just milling around.

It says, "when he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion for them." They could actually see that he was moved "because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. And he said to the disciples, 'the harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray for the Lord to send laborers out into the harvest.'" People will see that you care. You know, people often, you've heard it said, they don't care what you know until they know that you care. Could they tell that Jesus was moved by people's needs? They could just look at him and see that he yearned over people.

And he cared about them. They need to see that in us. All right. Read for us 1 Peter 3, verses 8 and 9. "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another.

Love as brothers. Be tenderhearted, be courteous. Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, blessing, knowing that you were called to this that you may inherit a blessing." Now when he says, 'finally', he's summing things up. 'Finally, have compassion for one another. Love as brothers.

' Let people see your compassion and your love. You know, I heard a story years ago about some Christian missionaries and this - you know, this is one of these stories I hope it's true - but it was passed on to me the way I'm going to tell it to you. In china, these Christians who had converted, they lived by the river and they used to have to water their garden by hand - their paddies - and they would carry - very grueling labor - they would carry water from the river up these plateaus that they had terraced to their rice paddy and dump it into their rice paddy and, you know, you've probably seen rice paddies here in California - Sacramento - you know, there all bordered and it's kind of flooded. Well, below them they had a bunch of pagans and they would mock the Christians all the time. And after going through all this work one day to irrigate their rice paddies, during the night some of the pagans dug a ditch in their dam and drained all their water down into their rice paddies so they wouldn't have to haul water - theirs was below the Christians.

The Christians woke up and saw what was happening - instead of getting mad and trying to retaliate by breaking the dam on the pagan rice paddies they went and they hauled all their water back up and re-watered their paddies again. And they had - I mean, there's a whole lot of irrigation they had to do up there. During the night the pagans cut a hole in the dam, drained it all out again into one of their other rice paddies. The Christians woke up and they were just exhausted from all this work and they're afraid they're going to lose their crops. They got together and said, 'what do we do?' They said, 'let's first irrigate all of our enemies' rice paddies so they won't have to do this anymore and then we'll do ours.

So they woke up and their enemies saw them carrying water and watering their rice paddies and they were so ashamed they came to them later and they said, 'why are you Christians, what does this mean? Tell us.' And the pagans were converted by the kindness of the Christians. So instead of just retaliating and having a big battle and sabotaging and vandalizing everyone's rice paddies each night, they said, 'look, we'll do theirs too. Overcome evil with good.' Have compassion, people see that. Then under the section 'walking in their shoes' - Corinthians 9 - someone look up for me acts 4:13 - who has that? Acts - got a hand right here - we'll get you lined up. Acts 4:13 for you and I'm going to read 1 Corinthians 9 and I'll be reading verses 19 to 23 - and this is in your lesson - Corinthians 9:19-23.

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all that I might win the more; and to the jews I became as a jew, that I might win jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law towards God, but under law towards Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became" - Paul's saying, you know, 'I tried to relate as far as possible to the pagans that don't know the law of God that I might reach them, but not breaking the law of God - "that I might win those who are without the law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I may be a partaker of it with you." You know, part of lifestyle evangelism is learning how to relate to people where they're at, and being able to share in their experiences. And when you're talking to a person who maybe has grown up - I've been to india and I've visited with hindus - and I didn't grow up a hindu, but because I've spent a little time there and studied it, I understand where they're coming from - you can't go to those folks and just say, 'do you realize that your belief in reincarnation is a sin and it is the craziest thing I've ever heard?' You're not going to win people like that. You've got to show love and respect for them.

And then just reason with them from their perspective. And so, I would say to my hindu friends, 'you know, I used to view reincarnation just like you. And then I found out in the Bible that there really is one reincarnation - it's called the resurrection.' And you try to relate to them on their level and then you get an audience. And - because that's how - actually, it helped me. I used to believe in reincarnation and so you try to relate to people where they're at.

And by relating to their lives, Paul said that you become all things to all people that you might reach some for Christ. This is why Paul was so successful. Because he was so widely traveled in asia, he was also - he spoke more languages. You know on this recent trip to europe, I guess I can say this now, since I just gave you a report, I was really challenged because I don't speak german, even though my wife is from a german family she doesn't speak german, I don't speak german - I've been there, I can say, you know, a few words - verboten - but I recognize some of the highway signs but when I was in geneva it was all translated in french in that part of switzerland - in bern - that part of switzerland it's all in german and, you know, switzerland is an international city and so the four days I was doing meetings there in geneva, people came up to me if my translator wasn't there, and they were speaking portuguese - and they'd forget I didn't speak and they'd be speaking to me german, french, portuguese, spanish, just everything under the sun. But I speak a little bit of spanish and so sometimes when I couldn't talk to somebody in german I'd say, 'tu hablas poco - tu hablas de espanol?' They'd go 'oh, yeah, I'm italian.

' So they'd start talking and I'd pick up a few words. You know, it actually helps you. So I came back and I said, 'look - nathan you're taking spanish now.' Stephen's thinking of - well he's taking it - I said, 'you're taking spanish now.' - I said - 'you will never regret it.' I said, 'almost anywhere in the world you go, if you speak a little spanish, a little english, you can communicate with people.' And so that was a lot of fun because the portuguese people could speak to me or the brazilian people or the italian people - and even if you speak a little spanish, - french - a lot of words you can say, 'oh, I know what they're saying. I recognize those words.' So it helps you, if you learn another language, to be a witness for Christ because you can relate to a lot of different people that way by learning another language - I recommend it. They were teasing us over there.

In europe they say, 'a person who speaks three languages is called trilingual, if you speak two languages you're bilingual, if you speak one language they call you an American.' And so, we really do need to - and you know, part of the reason for that is when you're in europe, every border somebody speaks another language. In America - true, we've got the canadians and we've got the mexicans on the north and south - but when we go east to west we speak American on both coasts. And so we are a little spoiled that way. All right, I'm wandering now. Acts 4:13 - who had that? Did we read that already? Right here.

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus." Now this is a different kind of verse because it's not talking about hearing the apostles preach, it says, 'when they saw them.' That means that because of their exposure to Jesus - you notice what it says? 'They had been with Jesus.' It doesn't say they heard Jesus - they'd been with Jesus. Something about being with Christ - Jesus' life spilled out and radiated into those around him and they began to be like him. You know, if you become like what you worship - you do - you become like your God. And when they were exposed to Christ for three and a half years, you could tell.

I can sometimes tell how a preacher preaches, who their mentor was. I've seen some pastors by their illustrations and by their body language - you know, amazing facts trains evangelists and so you spot some of the other prominent evangelists out there and you can see by sometimes the way they walk and they talk and their illustrations, I say, 'oh, you spent time working with so and so.' Because you become like who you spend time with. And they had been with Jesus and they could tell just by looking at them. Wouldn't you like people to accuse you of that? 'I can tell they've been with Jesus.' If you want to be a lifestyle evangelist, you spend time every morning with Christ - in His Word. You spend time with Jesus in prayer - it'll show.

You'll come like Moses from the mountain with your face glowing. That's what it means. And then, while we're talking about lifestyle evangelism, one of the most powerful ways - and it's not a happy subject but it's true - one of the most powerful ways we are witnesses for Christ is through trials. It's easy for us to preach when everything is going great and your crops are in the barn and you're blessed and say, 'I serve the Lord.' But you know, historically, Christians often are the best witnesses and the church tends to grow during times of trial and persecution. Mark 15:39 - I gave to somebody.

Who has that? Mark 15:39 - if you got that verse handed to you - over here, sylvia? Okay, we'll get to you in just a second. I just want to get cameras ready Peter 2:20 and 21. Here the apostle says, "for what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in his steps." You know, I think of one story in the Bible when Paul was shipwrecked - he's a prisoner, he's in chains, he doesn't look like a man of God. But he - I mean, here is this famous apostle - he's going around after the shipwreck and he's gathering wood for a fire to help warm up all the other prisoners and the soldiers.

Nobody asked him to do it, but Paul had a servant's heart. While he's doing this, the locals who are watching all this, they first thought, 'oh, he's just a common prisoner, but he's nice.' Snake comes out and bites him on the hand. And the local natives saw this - this is acts 28, verse 4. They "saw the creature hanging from his hand," - Paul took up the serpent, you know it talks about you'll take up serpents? - "And they said to one another, 'no doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow him to live.'" It's like a Greek tragedy - survived the storm, died by snake. - "But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.

However, they were expecting that he would swell up suddenly and fall down" - they're waiting for him to keel over - "but after they looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said he was a God." When Paul survived the bite of the snake, people were watching him be attacked by the devil and when he survived, he was preserved by God through this trial, they changed their mind by watching him. They said, 'look, he just keeps on gathering sticks and helping everybody. He's not a villain, he's a saint.' People are watching. They're not only watching us as we witness through trial, they're watching what God - what happens to us providentially. Ah, here's a good example.

When shadrach, meshach, and abednego went to the fiery furnace, all the people on the Babylonian plain were thinking - before they were thrown into the fire they were thinking, 'those stubborn jews. They had to stand up when everyone else bowed down. Couldn't they compromise for ten minutes? Now let's look what's going to happen to them. What fools.' They were thinking. But after Nebuchadnezzar called them out of the furnace, then what were they thinking? When a declaration goes to the whole kingdom about their God, they were witnessed through their trials and the Gospel went everywhere because of their consistency.

I want you to read your verse here, before I run out of time. Mark 15:39. Go ahead sylvia. "So when the centurion, who stood opposite him, saw that he cried out like this and breathed his last, he said, 'truly this man was The Son of God.'" Where was Jesus the most powerful witness? Wasn't it on the cross? Even through his sufferings when he prayed, 'father forgive them.' That centurion that watched, he just was left dumbfounded and said, 'this was The Son of God' as he took it all in. Even though he heard all the false accusations, Christ witnessed through trial - converted others.

Well, they're telling us we are out of time and I just want to remind our friends who are watching at home that you do have a free offer we'll be happy to send to you, it's called 'faith reclaimed'. Just call the number on the screen 866-788-3966 - we'll send it to you, it's offer #788. God bless you and keep studying the word between now and next Sabbath. Thank you for joining us for this broadcast. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.

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