Personal Evangelism and Witnessing

Personal Evangelism and Witnessing

Scripture: Isaiah 43:10
Date: 05/12/2012  Lesson: 6
"Those who have the joy of assurance of salvation will want to lead others to experience the same."
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We are so glad that you have joined us to study along with Pastor Doug this - for God's - with God's Word this morning. We want to invite you to open up your hymnals and sing along with us as we sing hymn #598 - 'watch ye saints'. This comes as a request from jizelle and malika in antigua and barbuda, stewart in the bahamas, gemma in Canada, denise in florida, bob and Paula in Idaho, donnolee in jamaica, linda in Massachusetts, andy in Missouri, judy in Nevada, kelly in New York, darlene in Oregon, and richard and delores in Washington. And, as you can see, behind us we have the Sacramento central choir joining us so we have some back-up music this morning with us singers and we're loving that.

So join us - hymn #598 and we'll sing the first, the second, the fourth and the last verses. That song cannot be sung quietly so I'm sure your houses were ringing wherever you are. If you have a special hymn - a favorite hymn that you'd like to sing with us on a coming presentation, I invite you to go to our website at saccentral.org. There you can click on the 'contact us' link and you can request any hymn in our hymnal and we will sing that with you on a coming presentation. Our next song is hymn #604 - 'we know not the hour'.

This comes as a request from katia, francisco and natalie in australia, pedro in barbados, danny, stacey, george, shawn, joanne, and elias in California, horace in england, nicola in germany, ethan, sophia, donald, michelle, and nadine in jamaica, and my friend yolidavey in Mexico, julie in Michigan, howard and dian in Mississippi, jamie, jenny, vern, and sandie in North Carolina, merbeth in the Philippines, valerie in saint vincent and the grenadines, darrel, gillian, avion, and sheldon in trinidad and tobago, chris in the united arab emirates, and Christa in Virginia. Hymn #604 - we'll sing all three verses - 'we know not the hour'. Our Father in Heaven, we don't know the hour that you're coming but everything around us shows that you are coming soon and we trust in your word this morning that you are coming to take us home. So we are gathered here to learn more about you and how much you love us and how that we can be witnesses for you in a cold and dark world and that we can do our part to hasten your glorious return. Lord, we just cannot wait for that day and we trust and pray that each one of us that are listening to this message this morning will be ready when you come.

We pray these things in the holy and precious name of Jesus, our Savior and our Lord. Amen. Our study today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, the senior pastor at Sacramento seventh day adventist church. Welcome, friends to Sacramento central church. We're very glad that you're studying with us and, again, I want to welcome those who have called in from around the country and all over the world - it's fun.

As I mentioned, I just came back from the trip in europe and to meet so many people that tune in to the Sabbath school program is a thrill. We have a free offer for our class that, if you've not read this book, it is a great study on understanding the nature of Christ as it relates to the Gospel, and it's called 'face to face with the real Gospel' by our friend dennis priebe. If you'd like to get a free copy of that then we invite you to call the resource line and that is 866-study-more that stands for 866-788-3966 (788-3966) ask for offer #789. All you've got to do is ask and it is free. We'll send it to you.

We're continuing in our study on evangelism and witnessing and they, of course, can be one and the same thing - evangelism and witnessing. Today we're going to be getting into lesson #6 - talking about personal evangelism and witnessing and, you know, I hear a tension in the church sometimes. I don't mean right now at this moment here, but as I travel - I heard it just this week. People say the days of public evangelism are over. Really I did - I heard somebody say that.

I kind of - if it wasn't so sad that somebody would think that, I kind of laughed to myself because I just came back from a trip where, on this trip, people said 'it's obvious that public evangelism is alive and growing. And so you hear people going on both extremes and it almost seems like there's a tension between the idea that the way that we're going to win people is either only by your personal witness and friendship evangelism or totally by the public evangelism pastors that are out there with large groups, teaching and preaching. It always has been both. We need both. Did Jesus talk to large crowds? Did Jesus have time for the audience of one whether it was nicodemus or the woman at the well? Did he see the value of the personal touch - the one on one? We need both.

And I think until the end of time we need to be doing both. Now, granted, it's true that not everybody has the gift of, maybe, public evangelism - not everybody is going to be called into the service of being an ordained pastor or an evangelist. Every believer is called to be a witness and everybody is called to some field of evangelism and we're all invited to use our gifts. Why does God give us the Holy Spirit? Let's go to our lesson here, real quick. I'll get to the memory verse first.

The memory verse is Isaiah 43:10 - Isaiah 43, verse 10 and this is from the new king James version. Why don't you say it with me, please? "'You are my witnesses,' says the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen.'" All of us are called to be witnesses. Now, if you look in acts chapter - acts 1, verse 8 - Jesus, after he arose from the dead, he appeared to the disciples over a period of about 40 days - nice biblical number - and just before he ascended to heaven he, of course, gave the great commission, the disciples said, 'will you, at this time, establish the Kingdom?' And then Jesus made this statement - acts 1, verse 8 - "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and samaria, and to the end of the earth." As we would sometimes say, 'to the ends of the earth.' Now, is that something that Jesus promised just to the apostles who maybe were gathered there around bethany on the mount of olives as he ascended? Is the promise of the Holy Spirit given to those who are baptized? Peter said in acts chapter 2, 'repent and be baptized every one of you for the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.' Why does the Lord give the holy spirit to those who make the commitment to follow him - that choose to love and serve him? 'That you may be my witnesses.' Now, does that mean everybody's given the Holy Spirit so they can all preach at pentecost? Were all of the apostles great preachers? It doesn't really say that. Were they all witnesses? When you think of one of the apostles who was the most outspoken speaker, who do you think of? Well, Paul was an apostle, that's true. He wasn't in the first batch, but he certainly was called later.

Then I heard several people say Peter - I would probably vote for Peter because he ended up being sort of the spokesman at pentecost. Then it talks about Peter and John were speaking there, in acts chapter 3. But - anyone recall a sermon that andrew gave? Any sermons by andrew? But do you find andrew being mentioned? What is andrew typically doing? Andrew seemed to always be like bringing people to Jesus. It's andrew who brings the Greeks to Jesus. It's andrew who brings the little lad to Jesus.

Andrew was a little more quiet than his more gregarious brother. And so, I don't even know that all of the apostles had the gifts of public speaking, per se. It doesn't tell us that in the Bible. I think they were all called to teach and to preach. He did send them out going from town to town to preach, but they went two by two.

It could be one was more of a prayer and he had the gifts of the personal evangelism - maybe a little more organization - and one was the more verbose of the two. It seems like he paired them up that way. And even the great reformation - I just came back from where luther was working there in worms and wittenberg and in germany and, you know, we think about the reformation and you had luther, who was the very outspoken - a little bit bombastic - preacher and then you had melanchthon who was a little more of the cerebral - the writer - he was a good teacher also, but he would organize things and he was sort of the back-up man and - I think God sometimes pairs people not only in evangelism, but in marriages that way. But everybody's been given gifts for personal evangelism. The reason he gives us the spirit is to be his witnesses.

When you look at the different gifts of the Spirit - matter of fact, I'm going to do that now even though it's not in order in the lesson. Go in your Bible to Corinthians 12 - Corinthians 12, please. And for those who follow along with us because you teach, forgive me for doing this totally out of order. Corinthians 12, verse 12, "for the body is one and has many members, but all the members that are of one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one spirit we're all baptized into one body - whether jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - we've all been made to drink one spirit.

In fact, the body is not one but many." And then he goes on and he lists the different gifts of the Spirit that are given to everybody as the Spirit decides. God gives every member - when you're baptized - just like Jesus - there'll be temptation. How many are tempted? Jesus was tempted after his baptism. Everybody get tempted by the devil? We should be, I mean, you know, if you're trying to follow Christ you'll be tempted. And not only was Christ tempted but Christ began his ministry with his baptism.

Was Jesus anointed with the Holy Spirit at his baptism? For what? For ministry. Everybody gets the gifts of the Spirit for ministry. It may not be the gift of preaching, but everybody gets gifts to be used to somehow witness for the Lord. That's what I'm trying to say. So, not everybody in the church is a mouth.

Some are eyes. Some are ears. Some are hands. Some are feet. Some are hearts.

Some are heads - some of you are more organized versions - but everybody is given gifts of the Spirit. And what's the purpose? To be witnesses for him. Not only when we come together in the church for a public meeting, but when you meet people on the street and when you go to work. When someone knocks at the door of your house. We're all called to be his witnesses.

Question is are we being faithful witnesses. Now, one more thing I want to mention here - when I read acts , verse 8 it's not an accident - go back to acts 1, verse 8 - it's not an accident that Jesus said, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you and the purpose of this power is so you can speak in tongues." No, he doesn't say that. One of the gifts of the Spirit is tongues, but he doesn't mention that. He says, "the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be my witnesses." You read also in acts chapter 4, they prayed and the place where they were assembled was shaken, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke the Word of God with boldness. But it gives a sequence here - 'you'll be my witnesses in Jerusalem' - where were they when Jesus said this? They were on the mount of olives just outside Jerusalem.

Where was the Holy Spirit poured out? Jerusalem. 'And in Judea.' After they began preaching in Jerusalem at pentecost where did their work take them next? Judea. 'And in samaria' - 'no, not samaria!' 'Yes samaria.' They didn't want to go to the samaritans. But where did they finally go? You read in acts chapter 8 it tells us the Holy Spirit was poured out in samaria and then after the stoning of stephen a great persecution arose and they went everywhere - the uttermost parts of the earth - preaching the Word of God. You know, if I give you four Numbers and ask you to arrange them sequentially - I don't know, what are the odds? One in twelve you'll get them the right way? But the order in which Jesus mentions it here is exactly the order, those four places, that they spread the Gospel.

But you'll notice that it starts at home in Jerusalem and then it went to Judea - call that their neighborhood. And then it went to samaria - sometimes they were forced to work with the samaritans in their business travel - that might be where you work. And then the uttermost parts of the earth - that's everything else. That's a good pattern for your personal witness. Some of you accept Jesus and you say, 'I want to go to the mission field.

' Well, have you reached anybody in Jerusalem yet? Your neighborhood? Your family? You've got to start at home. And what about where you work? You don't have to quit your job and go do missionary, start with the people where you work or your neighbors, and then, you know, you go beyond there to your neighbors and the place where you work, and then the uttermost parts of the earth. And we want to be faithful witnesses. Somebody look up for me acts 4, verse 33. I think we gave these slips out.

Who has acts 4:33? If you know that, hold your hand up so we can get you a microphone. Oh, it's over here, okay. And in the Ten Commandments do you find the word witness? You're taking too long. Do you find the word witness in the Ten Commandments? No, huh? Thou shalt not bear false - are we told to witness in the Ten Commandments? It's stated kind of in the negative but the reason God says, 'do not bear false witness' - what is that really saying? 'I want you to bear true witness.' So it even talks about witnessing in the law of God, doesn't it? It's telling us don't be a false witness, which means we should be a true witness, right? And if you say that you follow Christ and you're not sharing your faith and you're not showing people Christ, you're being a false witness. So you're really commanded to witness in the Ten Commandments.

You are commanded to witness honestly. Okay. Go ahead - read for us, richard acts 4:33. "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

" Couple things I want you to notice about this verse. Great power - for what purpose? To witness. And what went along with the great power when they were witnessing? 'Great grace was upon them.' You've heard it said before 'where sin abounds grace abounds'? I think it's also biblically true that where you are doing great work and witnessing, God will give you proportionate grace. The more grace of God that you need as you are working - if you're willing to witness, he'll give you the power of the Spirit. If you're willing to witness a lot, he'll give you a lot of the power of the Spirit.

But when you're witnessing who's threatened? The devil. And you're going to need extra what? Grace and power. God doesn't just give us grace to cover our sin, he gives us grace to keep us from sin. People always use the term grace in the context of the cover up of sin, and biblically grace is, more times than not, used to keep us from sin. He gives us grace to live new lives.

Grace to obey. Grace to witness. And so, he'll give you great grace. They were given great power, he'll give you great grace - was upon them. I want that great grace, don't you? Acts 10, verse 39 - talking about witnessing.

Peter speaking here and he says, "and we are his witnesses of all these things which he both did in the land of the jews in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day...chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with him after he arose" - now stop here for a second. If I'm going to give a personal witness about somebody, it helps if you know that person. You know, Amazing Facts, periodically we hire people and we start out we say, 'can you please send us a resume? We often get a stack of resumes in certain areas. In some areas it's hard, you know, because we're a ministry we pay modest wages.

All the church ministries are sort of governed by a policy - a pay scale - that maybe is different than what the world offers and especially when you get in the realm of media, they pay so much in hollywood for people who have talent in 3d and graphics and animation and editing - and finding a Christian - finding a seventh day adventist Christian who will work for ministry wages - that's tough. Sometimes you'll get a stack of resumes and you find one you like - after you get the resume you say, this looks like good experience then you do one more thing. You say, 'we want a person who is going to be a committed Christian, can you please send us some references?' Now, what are you looking for in a reference? Are you wanting them to just attach the name of famous people? Or do you want people that know them, that will say, 'I know this person. I've worked with this person. I've been in their home.

I can tell you about what kind of person they are.' Not just their work experience but we want to know are they a committed Christian. And so you get a personal reference. Peter is saying, 'look, we're not only going to talk to you about Jesus, I'm going to tell you we ate and drank with him. Isn't that why he mentions that? He says, 'we knew him on a personal level.' Now, we're talking here about personal evangelism and witnessing. Can you go out and talk about Jesus on a personal level? Well, you can't say what Peter said that, you know, you had Jesus wash your feet or that you heard him snore at night, you know - not that he did - I'm just saying you didn't know him in that way, maybe, but should we be able to say we personally know Jesus? I think every Christian should know Jesus as a personal Savior.

Some people will say, 'how do you know he's alive?' I say, 'because I know him personally. We talk to him every day and he talks to me.' That you've got a personal relationship - Peter said, 'we're witnesses. We ate and drank with him.' I'm still on acts chapter 10, verse 39 or 40. "He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets witness that, through his name, whoever believes in him receives remission of sins.

" Right here in this passage here it says, 'witness. Witness. Witness.' Three times it tells us that we are called to be his witnesses and it talks about on a personal level. Acts chapter 14, verse 3, "therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord," - acts :3 - "who was bearing witness to the word of his grace, granting that signs and wonders might be done by their hands." So they're witnessing a few ways here - they're witnessing by their life, they're witnessing by their word - and what's the third thing they're doing to witness? Signs and wonders. Now, have you ever prayed that God would witness through you by signs and wonders? Have you ever had God use signs and wonders through you? I've got to be careful how I say this.

I have seen God perform what I would call signs and wonders - not the miracles that you're thinking of where someone who might be missing an eyeball has it pop into place. But I've prayed with people before - I remember - I'll tell you one quick story. I had a friend named doug - his name was doug also - he played guitar - and when I was a baby Christian we were on the street panhandling - I'm not, you know, don't think - at least we were offering a service. We were playing music and saying we needed money. And I'm telling him all about Jesus.

He said, 'oh doug, I'm really religious and I'm spiritual but, you know' - he said, 'I'm spiritual but I'm not religious and I'm not into Christianity' and I said, 'oh, it's not enough.' I said, 'you need Jesus.' He said, 'I believe in God. I'm not sure I believe in Jesus.' I said, 'I'll prove to you that Jesus is real.' Now I was just really - what's the word for it? I was really reckless - I had a reckless kind of faith back then.' He said, 'how're you going to do that?' I said, 'all right, well we're trying to get some spare change right now.' He said, 'yeah.' I said, 'how much do we need?' He said, 'I don't know.' He said, 'it would be great if we got enough to, like, buy breakfast.' I said, 'what do we need?' He said, 'well, two bucks apiece.' Back then you could buy breakfast for two dollars apiece at a restaurant. And it was a good breakfast. I said, 'okay, I'm going to pray that the next person that stops and listens will give us four dollars so we can each buy breakfast. And if that happens you'll believe in Jesus.

' Now it was a dumb thing to pray, but I said this quick prayer. I said, 'Lord, just help doug know that you're real - that Jesus is real and it's not just God but it's Jesus and - amen.' And I prayed. So we - he thought I was crazy - so we started playing and next thing we know - we're in palm springs we're on the street and it's in the morning - that's why I was praying it was breakfast. This lady walks by and she stops for a minute and she listens. And I was surprised she stopped because she was dressed nice and she just didn't look like she'd be interested in listening to two hippies play.

And so, I don't know, I was playing the flute and doug was playing the guitar and she listened for a minute and we said, 'you know, ma'am, do you have any spare change?' We said whatever we usually say, and she looked a little taken back by that like she wasn't prepared for us to say that and then she stopped for a minute and she thought - she opened her purse and we got a little excited and I'm saying, 'oh Lord, please - four dollars, four dollars.' And I remember - still remember she said, 'you know, I normally would never do this but today is my son's birthday and he's about your ages so would four dollars help?' And doug looked at me - now, was that a sign and a wonder? So when you talk about signs and wonders on those levels - where you see unusual answered prayers that will help other people believe - and doug came to believe in Jesus after that - we were friends for a long time - does the Lord still do those kinds of signs and wonders? Incredible answers to prayer? So on that level, I think that we ought to pray that we can witness by our lives, by our words, and that God would be pleased to show his power through us. Now, I think there'll be more of that in the last days. I do. And I think the kind of miracles that you see in pentecost will be done. But if you want to be a vehicle through whom God is going to use his power, then we need to be willing to be personal witnesses now and sometimes you've got to stretch your faith a little bit and go out on a limb for Jesus.

You know, the Lord, I think, will do great things. He says, 'up til now you've asked nothing in my name.' I think sometimes we need to walk with the Lord - you'll feel the impressions of the Spirit. Pray big prayers. Give God a chance to do great things in behalf of others. He wants to.

I'll tell you one more story. I was kayaking with a bunch of friends - most of them were Christians. One person on the trip was not a Christian - he was really cynical - he kind of made fun of us. We went through some rapids and I had a waterproof camera and my waterproof camera got swept away from me in the rapids - actually my boat capsized and everything washed out and I lost the camera. And this is a river - a lot of water going down - so we pulled up to shore and I said, 'oh, I lost my camera.

' And they all stopped and I got my act back together again. I think several people dumped out going through these rapids - they were what you call number four, number five rapids - and so, one of my friends - I don't remember the exact wording of the conversation, but one of my friends he said, 'that would take a miracle for you to find your camera.' And I said something to the effect, 'well I'm going to pray that I find my camera so you'll believe in God.' Now I didn't stop there and pray, I just said that and then I got back in the boat. I didn't have a formal prayer or anything like that. In my mind I didn't really think I'd find my camera. But as we were going down the river someone in my group yelled - my camera was yellow - and they saw it still bobbing - it was a waterproof camera, it floated - and I went over to this guy and said, 'so, now what do you think?' He said, 'well, I didn't hear you pray.

' But, I thought to myself, the Lord, you know, he does these things because he wants to show his power and I've seen it many, many times - these signs and wonders. I'm taking up too much time. Somebody look up for me Matthew 9:37, 38. Who has that? I gave a slip to somebody - right over here. Let's take him a microphone.

And then someone else has got John - someone else has John 10:14 - I don't know, is that on this side? Get a microphone - hold your hand up. So, okay - you'll be next andrew. All right, I'm going to read Numbers 11:27 - you didn't know I was going there. God said that he would pour his spirit out on the seventy elders of Moses so that they could help him administrate the people of Israel. Two of those seventy did not come - maybe they didn't feel worthy.

Their names were eldad and medad, which, by the way means, I think, righteousness - or beloved rather - "and a young man ran and told Moses, and said, "eldad and medad are prophesying in the camp." When the Holy Spirit fell out on these sixty-eight elders that came to the tabernacle, the holy spirit also fell out on eldad and medad and they didn't even come because they didn't feel worthy - or for whatever reason - and "Joshua The Son of nun, Moses' assistant, one of the choice men, he answered and said, 'Moses my Lord, forbid them!'" - 'They're prophesying like you - only you are supposed to prophesy.' And listen to what Moses says to Joshua, "oh that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them.'" Now, why it's true not everybody is an ordained pastor or an evangelist, how many are called to be a nation of Kings and priests and to share? What did Moses say way back in the old testament? Now, this is an important point. Some people are going to try and co-mingle this with this very hotly disputed debate on women's ordination and our church right now and I'm not trying to go there. I'm actually trying to make what people might be surprised is an opposite point. While in the time of Moses they did have a distinction between the men prophets and the priests and all of that - and I still believe that - how many people did Moses say he wished that God would pour the Spirit on? All. God wants his spirit poured on everybody.

And prophecy - what did prophecy mean? To proclaim. It doesn't mean you go around predicting the future because one of the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians - he said, 'I would that you would prophesy' - you know, he said, 'nice if all men spoke in tongues, but rather that you might prophesy.' That doesn't mean that he wants every member going around like Elijah calling fire down from heaven and making predictions. Prophesy, in the classical sense here, it meant to proclaim the Word of God. To share the Word of God. the Lord wants us all to be able to do that, amen? That should not be reserved to a select caste of people - and I'm going all the way back to the time of Moses, so it's not like a new testament teaching.

God wants everybody to proclaim the truth. All right, please read for me - what did I say? - Matthew 9:37 and 38. Go ahead gene, I think you're up. "Then he said to his disciples, 'the harvest truly is plentiful but the laborers are few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

" So, is the problem there aren't enough people who want to know the truth? Or is the problem there aren't enough people who are willing to share it? The harvest is what? Harvest - big or small? Harvest - big. The ripened grain - big or small? Big. People willing to work in the harvest field - big or small? Small. What are we supposed to be praying for? More people who are willing to get out there. Does that mean that everybody in the world should be ordained so we'd have more people? Or everybody ought to be able to minister and to work? God's calling everybody into this capacity of ministry and he wants us all to be spirit-filled involved in ministry, right? And so Jesus said this is a great need out there.

And then, I think you've got the next verse here, but I'm going to read something first. You'll be reading John 10:14. I'm going to read acts 4:13, talking about now our personal relationship with God - my God and me - acts 4:13, "now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and they perceived they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the men who had been healed standing with them, they couldn't say anything against it.

" When they saw Peter and John speaking boldly, what was the comment that's made? They could tell that they had been with who? They had been with Jesus. You know, I could always tell - I've probably told you this before but my mother, you know, she used to be an actress so this may be part of her personality but she had friends all over the world because she lived in england, she lived in New York, she spent time in florida, she spent time - she lived in l.a. And she had friends in show business everywhere that were very unique people. I could tell who my mother was talking to on the phone by her voice. She always seemed to sort of sound like whoever she was talking to in a very obvious way - and I think she did it on purpose - she was just, like, practicing acting.

If she was talking to a friend in england, all of a sudden she had an english accent. If she was talking to a man she sounded different than if she was talking to a woman. And I could just listen to her and tell who she was talking to. Well, if you're a Christian and you spend time talking to Jesus, you start sounding like him. If you spend a lot of time reading the word - you know, there are some preachers that I listen to and - well, some preachers - I know that they are charlatans - it's a show, they may be involved in doing it for other purposes, whether it's their own glory or money, I don't know - but just something doesn't ring true.

I'm talking about from all churches. And then I listen to some people out there who are opening the word and I can tell that they have spent time on their own on their knees with their Bibles open and that they love the word. And you can just listen and you say, 'they know the Lord, they love the word, they're doing what they do because they love the word. I'd like to know them better.' And you just feel like - it's almost like there's this connection - it's like you're family members because they just - you know they've spent time - it's almost like you share dna because you know that they've been with Jesus. And, you know, you feel attracted to those people.

Peter, James, and John - they had spent time with Jesus. If we want to be his witnesses, we've got to spend time with him like that too. We need to know the Lord. All right, I'm going to have you read then that verse. John 10:14 - I think you're up andrew.

"I am the good shepherd; and know my sheep, and I am known by my own." You know what makes the difference? How do people know that you've been with Jesus? Because you know the Lord and he knows you. You've got that intimate relationship. And I won't overstate this, but please don't forget, in the Bible, that term 'know' took on very intimate definition - it says, 'adam knew eve and they had a baby.' It makes statements similar to that all through the Bible. And so, when it says that we should know the Lord, it's talking about something that is very personal, very intimate - as close as it can be in a relationship. It's that terminology.

In fact, someone - John 17:3 - who'd I give that to? Right up front here - let's get you a microphone - behind you - you'll find one. Okay - and just before we get to that, I'm going to read Jeremiah :23 and 24, "thus says the Lord, 'let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this,'" - what are you going to glory at? Your money, your property, your strength? What is it that we should glory in? Let him glory in this "'that he understands and knows me.'" What is the thing we should be most excited about? That we know the Lord. "'That I am the Lord exercising lovingkindness, and judgment and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,' says the Lord." Jeremiah 31 - here's the new covenant - Jeremiah 31, verses 33 and 34 - it's one of the first times you find the new covenant in the old testament. "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: 'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, they will be my people.

No more shall every man teach his neighbor and every man his brother saying, 'know the Lord,' for all shall know me." The new covenant we always talk about - was it the old laws or the new law, was it the ceremonial laws or was it the moral law? Most important part of the new covenant - it says he puts the laws in our mind and we know him. 'They'll all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.' Okay, now you've got John 17:3? Are we ready for that? Yep, go ahead. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." If you forget everything in our study today, remember that and you've got something. 'This is eternal life' Jesus said. This is not Pastor Doug or even one of the minor or major prophets - this is Jesus - he said, 'this is eternal life that they might know thee.

' So if eternal life comes from knowing God, for you to have successful personal evangelism, you can't give away what you don't have. You can't share what you don't possess. First step to personal evangelism is you need to have it in your heart and that means you need to have him. If your cup runs over it's going to get everyone around you wet with the Spirit. If you are full of that living water, it's going to flow out to those around you - you will not be able to keep it to yourself.

You know, earlier this week I had two experiences - actually opposite so one will sound like bragging, the other will sound like repentance. I went to the racquetball court - I go to the health club a few times a week - exercise. Karen and I went and played racquetball - after a couple of games she said, 'I'm tired. I'm going to work out.' And I saw a friend there that I didn't know very well, but I'd seen him there - he plays racquetball - he was working out. He said, 'I've got my racquet, let's play a game.

' I said, 'great.' So we were playing. And when we got done we were resting because Karen wasn't quite done exercising yet and so we were visiting and in the process of visiting I said, 'so, you know, what do you do?' And I'm talking to him trying to get to know him better. He seemed like just a nice guy. And in our conversation, you know, I didn't come right out and say, 'are you a Christian?' But in our conversation he used things like he said, you know, 'this was a blessing.' Or 'that was a blessing.' And you wonder when you hear people using these kinds of words you wonder, are they Christians? And when I played racquetball, if something didn't go right - some guys I play with they say words I can't repeat, you know, they're not the church members, they're just - sometimes they get angry and, you know, guys get upset and they say things and then I say, 'oh, you know I'm a pastor.' Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't help. I don't exactly do it like that.

But some of the guys they know I'm a pastor and so - sometimes they'll repent - they'll say something and say, 'oh, sorry pastor.' So I was talking to this fellow and I started thinking - you know he was sharing some personal struggles he's going through - and I just thought, 'oh boy, I'd like to share the truth with him.' And I had a witnessing book in my bag and it just was spontaneous for me to find a book and to give it to him and I'm hoping he reads the book and so next time we talk it can go from there. And so that's - I'm not a pastor preaching - I wasn't giving a Bible study - it was personal witnessing. Then yesterday, yeah? No Thursday - I came back from playing racquetball and I was sitting in my parking - in my garage - if I pull my car all the way into the garage my phone reception goes bad - so I'm in my car and it's on hands free and I thought, 'well, I'll just stay here for a second and finish the conversation - we're almost done.' So I'm parked in front of my garage - I don't pull into the garage - and I'm talking on the phone - a young man comes to the door while I'm in the car right there he comes and he rings the doorbell. Well, I don't get up, I think maybe Karen will hear him and she'll answer the door so I'm talking - she never comes to the door and I - I'm finishing my conversation - I'm thinking, 'I ought to go out and find out what that young man wants.' And to me he - he had a bag and I said, 'oh, he's selling something.' We have a lot of people come to our door and they're selling something. And I'll be honest with you - I'm a little suspicious sometimes.

Just this week two men came to the door - Karen answered the door - and they said that they were offering their services and she said, you know, 'what are you offering?' And they said, 'what do you need?' And they said, 'yeah, we'll do siding, we do roofing, we do painting - we'll paint your Numbers on your sidewalk - we'll do whatever you need.' And she said, 'well, you know, I don't know that we need anything.' 'You know, well, we could look around back. You might need some work out there.' And I got suspicious - to me it looked like someone casing the place. You know, maybe it's - I'm just I - they say it takes one to know one, you know I used to be a thief - and I just - and I thought, 'oh' - I said, 'Karen you've got to be careful.' And she said, 'oh, I know. I know.' So we sent them down the road - thanked them very much and said, 'we don't need anything.' They were suspicious. So I was automatically suspicious when this young man was knocking on the door.

I thought, 'oh, you know, we just had this experience.' And so I finally got out of the car and I talked to him and he said, 'you know, I'm going to this school and I'm trying to raise money.' And I'm so suspicious and I'm thinking 'how do I know you go to that school? How do I know this is for your education?' And, you know, when he got done he said, 'or - well, if you, you know, don't want to donate towards this college fund we're offering these coupon books.' And he pulled out these coupon books that they're selling and stuff like that and I'm just pulling my car in the garage and, you know, I'm dirty, I've been playing racquetball, I need a shower and I'm just thinking about, 'look, you know, I don't have time for a long sales pitch right now.' And I said, 'you know, not now, thank you.' And he left. After I came in I started feeling guilty. I thought, you know, you missed an opportunity. You could have bought a coupon book, it wasn't that much. You could have given him one of your books - you had a stack of them at the door.

And I started thinking, 'Lord, why wasn't I thinking like a soul winner? I was thinking more like, 'I've got to guard my house from predators' you know? I just - not only predators, people who are selling all the time. You all know what I mean? How many of you get phone calls around dinnertime? Karen, she always - not always - sometimes Karen, just for fun, she starts sharing the Gospel with them - they want to get off the phone then. They don't want a Gospel pitch, they just want a will you buy their magazine or whatever it is. But I really missed an opportunity and I thought, 'Lord, how do you get to the place where you always recognize those opportunities before they leave?' Have you ever thought at the end of the day, 'why didn't I think to give a tract or a book or a study to this person?' We meet so many people in our interchange with humanity. I thought, 'how do you get to the place where it becomes spontaneous to be a personal witness?' Sometimes we remember.

Sometimes we forget. And I get scared. I think, 'Lord,' - you know, if it wasn't for God's grace I'd be afraid to find out in the judgment how many opportunities I'd lost because I was preoccupied with my selfish needs at the time. Like when I get on the airplane and I just want to go to sleep and God sits me down to a person right next to me that I could witness to but all I'm thinking about is I either want to rest or I want to get my sermon notes prepared for my next opportunity - and I'm thinking about me. Or I'm thinking about 'I want to go in the house.

' Or 'I've got things to do.' And God puts people in our path - we become so preoccupied with our agenda, we forget. Ultimately, everybody you meet, I believe - everybody you meet in one way or another is an opportunity for us to learn something about God, to be a witness - we either can help them or they can help us, but there's a purpose. And I don't mean everybody you pass on the sidewalk, you know what I'm saying? But I'm saying when you have contact with people it's always an opportunity - even if it's a smile - to somehow be a witness for Christ. But we forget that because we're so preoccupied with what we're doing. And I just pray the Lord will help me to do that naturally, don't you? So, we've got to know the Lord.

My personal mission field - we're running out of time here. Matthew 9 - I'll tell you what - somebody look up John 4, verses 28 and 29 - who has that? Over here, okay? John 4:28 and they'll get you a mic. I'm going to read Matthew 9 - this is one of the great verses in the Bible - it summarizes the ministry of Jesus - Matthew 9:35 - we're going to add 36 also. "Then Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues" - so Jesus believed in going to the church - adoration and worship - teaching, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, healing - so is there a difference between teaching and preaching? It says here he was teaching and preaching. When he sat down outside he taught the people, but he went in the synagogue and he was preaching - "the Gospel of the kingdom, healing every kind of sickness among the people.

" - You notice it says he was in the villages - country ministry - and he was in the cities - city ministry. All different kinds of people, all different kinds of ministry. Whether it was teaching or preaching in the context of out in the field or in the synagogue - a place of worship - and it's all summarized here - "but when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion" - that means he felt empathy for them - "for he saw that they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd." You know, what is the main thing that Jesus said when he talked to Peter after Peter denied Jesus and Jesus rose from the dead there by the sea of Galilee? He said to Peter, 'feed my sheep. Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.

' So, we're to have a personal witness caring about these people. All right, read please John 4:28 and 29. The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city and said to the men, 'come see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?'" After the woman at the well met Jesus, her next - and he revealed who he was - he said, 'I am the Messiah.' The next thing she had to do was go and tell others. And how did she tell them? 'Come and see.

Come and see.' The first place she went was her hometown to tell the people in her neighborhood. After Jesus healed the demoniac - you know that story? The man who had that legion of demons cast out? This is Luke 8:38 - he wanted to sit in the boat with Jesus and go with Jesus. When they sent Jesus away he said, 'I want to go with you and Jesus said, 'no.' He said, "return" - this is verse 39, Luke 8:39 - "return to your own house." Where do we go after we find Christ? "Go to your own house and tell what great things God has done for you." Why does Jesus want us to start our personal witnessing in our own house? Because if you can do it there, you can do it anywhere. It is the hardest place because they know you at your best and they know you at your worst. They may not even know you at your best, but they definitely know you at your worst.

In your own house. Sometimes our best is once we leave the house - we put our best foot forward. And he said, 'you go tell them and your house.' And he went everywhere - did he do it? Telling them what Jesus had done for him. I've got another verse for you - I'm rushing here - John 1:37 - talking about personal witnessing - after John the baptist pointed to Jesus and said, 'this is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.' It says then "two of the disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus" - after they heard John make this incredible announcement - they fixed their eyes on Jesus just like with a laser tagging - they wouldn't let him out of their sight - and they followed him. And Jesus turned and he saw them following him.

By the way, does Jesus know who's following him? "And he said to them, 'what do you seek?'" You notice he doesn't say, 'who do you seek?' He says 'what do you seek?' "They said, 'rabbi (which is teacher), where are you staying?' He said, 'come and see.'" - By the way, that's the key to salvation - come to Jesus and see - 'come unto me and you will see.' "'Come and see.' And they came and they saw where he was staying and they reMained with him" - they abode with him. Christ wants to abide with us. "(That was about the tenth hour). One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He found his brother Simon (or Peter) and he said to him, 'we found the Messiah' (which is translated, the Christ).

And he brought him to Jesus." There you've got andrew again doing the personal ministry. "And he said, 'you are Simon, The Son of Jonah, you will be called cephas'" and you read on through this story and then later it says Philip goes and he finds nathaniel. So you've got them all - the disciples, the apostles there - they're all telling on a personal basis and, by the way, several times it says, 'come and see.' When Philip calls nathaniel he says, 'we've found the Messiah, Jesus of nazareth.' He said, 'can anything good come out of nazareth?' What was his answer?' I'm not going to debate with you, I'm not going to argue, I'm not going to give you a list of proof texts - find out for yourself, come and see.' You know, one of the best ways to get people to church is just say, 'come and see. We've got great things happening.' 'Well, they'll ask questions.' 'Come and see for yourself.' And you invite them. And so you've got the personal - the church really begins here - the Gospel of John begins with personal invitation - inviting people to look to Jesus and see.

Oh - and then, of course, it talks about our personal potential - Moses didn't think he had the gift - little did he know. He became the greatest writer in the Bible. We've all got different gifts - if we consecrate them to God he'll bless and he'll multiply them. We are out of time, friends. I want to remind anybody - if you didn't hear at the beginning - our free offer today is this great book by dennis priebe, 'face to face with the real Gospel'.

We'll send it to you free for asking. The number you need to call is 866-788-3966. Ask for offer #789 and we'll send you that book. Well, we didn't cover the whole lesson but, hopefully you were able to get some things that will be a blessing and we just pray God's blessing on you until we study together again next week. God bless.

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