Corporate Evangelism and Witnessing

Corporate Evangelism and Witnessing

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:2
Date: 05/19/2012  Lesson: 7
"The dissemination of the truth of God is not confined to ministers. The truth is to be scattered by all who claim to be disciples of Christ."

Evangelism by Ellen White

Evangelism by Ellen White
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We are so glad that you are tuning in like you do every single week - whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org or on the various television networks - however you are joining us, welcome from across the country and around the world. At this time, like we do every single program, we are going to open up our hymnals and we are going to sing some of your favorite requests that have come in and our first one is 'onward Christian soldiers'. So pull out your hymnals, those of you at home, and turn to #612. This is a request from leon and betty in California, cristhian in chile, nelson in colombia, betina in denmark, sofia and steve in england, ritva in finland, alison in florida, rochelle in Michigan, Samuel in Minnesota, the eindhoven sda church in the netherlands, John in Oklahoma, mitos in the Philippines, charleston in saint vincent and the grenadines, and vikki, veronica, and stephen in trinidad and tobago.

We are going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas. I want to hear those of you at home sing this and everybody here, okay? 'Onward Christian soldiers' #612. Many through the centuries have held up those banners of Christ and have Marched through flames, fire, and death. And we, today, have that same opportunity - to hold up the Bible - what we believe in and go through anything. And we know that Jesus will be with us Marching like soldiers onward to heaven.

If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it is so simple. All you have to do is go to our website at 'saccentral.org' and click on the 'contact us' link and you can join the thousands of other people who send in your favorite hymn requests. And we would love to do that on an upcoming program, like I said - and jolyne just discovered last week, watching a back issue, that I had invited you to send in unfamiliar hymns and jolyne would love to sing those with you and she just discovered that I had said that. So go ahead, she's here today. Send them in and we will do our best to learn those with you.

Our next song is #216 - 'when the roll is called up yonder' - this is another good one. This is from oona and jizelle in antigua and barbuda, Esther in australia, helen in California, alison in florida, bob and Paula in Idaho, corrine and cheryl in india, shelley-ann and alsunae in jamaica, sisay in Minnesota, Timothy in New York, grace in the Philippines, clocolan in south africa, nita in Texas, randy and richelle in the united arab emirates, and katherine in Virginia. We are going to sing all three stanzas - #216. Father in Heaven, we want to be there that day when the roll is called up yonder - when you go through the list of names we want to be there. We want our friends and our families to be there and we want everyone to accept you and to be there so they don't miss out on spending eternity with you.

Seeing you face to face - I try to imagine what that day will be like and I just pray that I and everyone here will be ready when we stand before you - that we will have nothing to be ashamed of and that we will be ready to go home to heaven with you. Please be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together. Send your spirit to fill us. Fill our hearts, fill our minds, and speak to us today. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much debbie and Matthew, jolyne and our musicians - and those were some favorite songs. How is everyone? Glad to have you here. If you're visiting central church this morning, good morning. I want to welcome our friends who may be studying with us all across the world.

It's always a thrill as we travel and we meet people. I remember visiting folks in dubai and just recently in europe that say they study with us every week - we want to welcome you. And we also want to welcome those who might be members of central church via the online method. We've got over a hundred online members who are scattered around the planet. They may not have a local church they can worship with, but through the internet or through satellite they've adopted us and we've adopted them.

And if you're in that category and you'd like to be part of a church family as much as possible, then we'd like to connect with you. If you'd like to know more about how you can be an online member then just go to our website, 'saccentral.org' and we'll be happy to go through that process with you. And, you know, as I said, you can't download a potluck and a hug, but we'll try and do everything else we can do to connect with you and give you a sense of family and be able to maybe do some counseling online or other things. We are going through our lesson now dealing with evangelism and witnessing. Today we're on lesson #7.

As always, we have a free offer and the free offer for today's study is offer #134 and it's called 'the search for the true church'. 'The search for the true church' and we'll be happy to send that to you - all you have to do is ask - it's free or call the number on your screen - (866)-study-more - (866) and that's 788-3966. We'll send you a free copy of 'search for the true church'. You know, there are so many different churches out there and so many different denominations and does it make a difference? And this study addresses that. How do you find a good Bible-based church? It'll give you some of those criteria from the Bible for you to follow.

Now, our lesson today - I'd like to invite you to open it - we're on lesson #7 dealing with evangelism and witnessing. And I knew this day was coming and I planned ahead. This is a very important lesson, you know why? Because it's lesson 7 and that's a biblical number - the perfect number. No, that's not the only reason, it's the subject of the lesson today. And when I first saw this study guide 'evangelism and witnessing', I thought oh - you know, we tried to summarize what Amazing Facts does once with one word and we came up with the word 'evangelism' and so we always get excited when we see that word and the other word is witnessing.

And so we had - our church was kind enough to make a quarterly especially for Amazing Facts - we really appreciated that and - because this is what we're about and what we do. Today's lesson is 'corporate evangelism and witnessing' and we have a memory verse I invite you to say with me. The memory verse is from Timothy 2:2 in the new king James version - 2 Timothy 2:2 and if you have that in your Bibles you can read the Scripture right here out of your quarterly. Why don't you say that with me? Are you ready? "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." So one of the most important aspects of learning the truth is you learn it for the purpose of discipling then commit those things to others who have the capacity or the ability or the gifts to teach others and that's how the church grows. Jesus picked twelve men that he could not only teach - he picked twelve men that he could teach that had the ability to teach others.

And then Paul and the disciples went from town to town and they committed the truth to people who then would have the ability - men and women - to teach others also. And this is just a very important aspect of having the Gospel spread - teaching teachers. And that's one of the gifts of the Spirit. You know, when you look at the key thought in this lesson, right under the Scripture reading - I don't always bring it out but I will today. The key thought of today's lesson is "the dissemination of the truth of God is not confined to ministers.

" Amen? And I'm a minister - if I do my job right I'll work myself out of a job. That's what you want to do - you want to be able to give it to other people and so, every member recognizes they have a ministry. "The dissemination of the truth is not confined to ministers, the truth is to be scattered by all who claim it - all who claim to be disciples of Christ." And, you know, that's something that we're especially excited about at Amazing Facts, is mobilizing this sleeping army - this multitude of ministers that are out there in the pews and getting them excited. This is what Sabbath school is really all about, isn't it? It's time we come together, we study, we talk about evangelism and witnessing and mission work and how we can train - real good Sabbath school should be training to do evangelism, isn't that right? What a perfect segue for me to talk about afcoe. You know, I asked pastor jëan ross and I invite him to come up here with me - he's got a couple of guests.

Just for those who are watching that may not know, I think many of you have seen Pastor Ross. Pastor Ross co-hosts the Bible answers live radio program with me every Sunday evening - it's all over the country and the world via the internet. He's also the director of our afcoe program. Afcoe means 'Amazing Facts center of evangelism' and - five words like opportunity - five syllables. And we're in the midst of a class right now and we invite people who come from all over the world - we have one guest here from samoa today who's one of our afcoe students and another here from croatia and so, people come from all over the world - they go through - maybe I should let you do it.

Tell you what, I'll let you tell about it. I got so excited - I'll let you tell about it Pastor Ross and then you can introduce our afcoe class members today. All right. Thank you very much Pastor Doug. It's a joy to be with you here at sac central.

You know, often in Scripture the Bible talks about the church as an army and the members as soldiers. And, you know, if an army is going to be effective in battle, it needs to be trained. So we kind of think of afcoe as the boot camp - the training ground for Christian soldiers. It's a four-month program and we're right in the middle - actually, near the end of our spring program and we have here three of our students who are currently going through the program. And I've asked if they would come and just share a brief testimony of something the Lord has done for them through this afcoe experience so - sasha, all the way from - well you tell us.

Sasha, where are you from and - (sashka) - sashka - and tell us what brought you to afcoe? Happy Sabbath everyone, I'm from croatia. Does everybody know where is croatia? It's in europe near the italy - it's not in russia, it's near the italy. So how I come to afcoe - God trick me. But it was great blessing. You want to know how God trick me? So before that I come to afcoe, my goal was to study violin and I sent application to andrews university in Michigan and they accept and they give me a scholarship.

So I was so excited. But God's way are not our ways. So the government didn't give me a student visa because of lack my english - I didn't speak english so good. So they give me touristic visa. So I was like, 'what I will do with the touristic visa?' And they gave me for ten years.

I don't want to visit America - I like America, I'm sorry, but you know, I don't want to just visit, I want to go study. So I was praying and my brother he study already in andrews and he told me, 'you know, in afcoe it's really good music school and you will be doing evangelism with music and it's good way that God show you how you can - how can you doing something with ministry with music. So I come from croatia - I believe my brother, you know, my brother said it's true - I come to weimar and then I was waiting the Pastor Ross to say something about music but he didn't say nothing about music. Not only is the focus on evangelism and yes, of course, we sing in our afcoe class, but it's not really a music class and she was waiting to be taught something addition - but you know what? God had a plan. Of course.

Now, tell us about an experience you had doing outreach that was really encouraging for you. I already say it was a great blessing to come to afcoe and God show us and teach us a lot of stuff. When we doing outreach - when we go the mission field, we have a lot of experience with him. Once of that - when we was really discouraged so it's really good to see how God act when you're discouraged because everything is fine when everything is fine, you know? So we wanted to see God this day and some days people just encourage you 'yes, we want to talk about Lord. We want to see Jesus.

' But some day people yell to you. They don't want you in your - their property. So we was really discouraged this day. We didn't have experience with God - we was like not useful for him - we was feeling like that - not useful for him. So we prayed Lord to have experience with him - to see how he act - did he answering our prayer? So we come to the store because we finished with the outreach and it was down and we come to the store and then we see some lady - some young lady - she was fifteen - fourteen/fifteen and she was more down than we are so we say we need to do something with her.

We need to give her something, you know? God call us to do that - not just when we working - all the time we working for him. So we decided to give her 'glow' and the glow it's - little Bible tracts. Yes. We give her that and she was not acting good - she was not feeling good. You can tell that she's not good.

So she go to the store and we wanted to see something - what she doing with this glow - not just we give her glow and then go away with our ways, we wanted to see how God act - how he answered our prayer - so we come to the car and we come to the light and it was red all the time and we started to share testimony about answer - how God answer and we decided to pray - pray Lord to see how she come out and she read the glow - and not just that, to sit and be normal - to acting normal because she was not acting normal. And we said, 'now Lord. We want to see how you response to our prayer.' And all the time it was red - it was already seven minutes - eight minutes - you know, red. It was like, 'okay' you know, searching like that and looking like that in the store and she come out and she was reading glow. She was calm, she was peaceful and we were screaming.

We were so happy. You were overjoyed, right? We were so happy because we needed to see how Lord act. We needed to be encouraged and obvious, this girl needed that. So praise the Lord for that. Well, that's an answered prayer.

Thank you. Amen. Ellie, tell us, how did you end up coming to afcoe. Well, I'd gone to weimar for about a year and a half and I saw the afcoe students come and go and I never really wanted to go to afcoe, I was like, 'no, it's not for me. No, I don't really want to be there.

' And so my - the summer before my last semester at weimar, God really spoke to me and he said, 'go to afcoe, I want you to be a Bible worker after that for your church.' So at that point I felt peace at coming to afcoe, so I'm now here. So you're here. Now, we're involved in an evangelistic meeting - we've got a couple more weeks to go and so you've had the opportunity of seeing people come to these meetings - their lives begin to change as they hear the word. Share with us an experience about two sisters that's coming to the meeting. And this is - this is a testimony that's still being played out so keep the folks in prayer that's coming to the meeting.

Yeah, so there's two sisters, they're ukrainian and their mom is back in ukraine but their dad is in California and he's actually a pastor of a different denomination and they found the flier in their mailbox. Now, this is a divine appointment because if their dad would have gotten the flier, he probably would have thrown it away because he's a pastor, you know, somewhere else. But the girls got it and now they're coming to the meetings and one is very consistent and the other one is here and there because they're full-time going to school, full-time working, studying for school plus studying for what we learn at the evangelistic series. So they're like really busy, but they're so excited. There's - one of the sisters actually brought her husband to the seminars as well.

They were there on a Sabbath morning and they heard the Sabbath message and they said, 'I want to go home and study this out before we go to sleep.' And so they're a work in progress and they're really, really excited about what they're learning so keep them in prayer. Amen. You know, there's no greater joy that we can have in life than seeing people come to Jesus, realizing that we've played a part in that experience. And then, janelle, tell us, how did you end up at afcoe and what's been your experience? Happy Sabbath. My name is janelle and I'm from santa cruz, California.

Before coming to afcoe I was studying at a community college but I did not feel any peace. I was like, Lord, I want to be used for you. I don't know what you want me to do though so please give me an opportunity.' So I prayed for that - put it aside. A very good friend of mine who is actually an afcoe grad really encouraged me to come and said, 'janelle you should go' and kept handing me applications. I was like, 'I can't afford it.

' But I sent in my application anyways. Within two weeks the Lord provided for me to come and he wanted me here. Amen. So what's been your experience now that you've been at afcoe? I know it's intense because I teach some of the classes - I know who teaches, I know the homework load. What's been your experience? Wow.

Being at afcoe has been the most profound experience. Everything we're learning we're not just learning to have - we're learning to share. And you remember it so much better when you take what you learn and you share it. Afcoe has been the most challenging yet the most encouraging experience I've had. The challenges have been good because they've been faith-testing challenges.

the Lord is like, 'do you really believe that I'm going to come through for you? Do you really believe that I'm in control of this?' And they're opportunities. Challenges are opportunities for God to work on your behalf and for him to answer prayers. So it's been very powerful - so what would you say to somebody who's maybe at home - they're watching or listening and the Holy Spirit has been convicting them. They want to learn tools or skills that they can utilize in soul winning and they maybe have heard about afcoe - maybe for the first time they've heard about afcoe. What would you say to somebody? Well, you can never grow if you stay inside your comfort zone.

So allow God to push you outside of your comfort zone. He will do that at afcoe. But if you come you will be encouraged, you will learn, you will also learn how to share and there's nothing more powerful than seeing the Lord change lives by you being willing for him to use you. So allow him to do that. Well thank you so much for sharing.

We appreciate you and I know you're going to be heading back up to the other church where we're having our evangelistic meetings because there's a lot happening this morning and then, of course, this afternoon, for the evangelistic series. Well, Pastor Doug, thank you for allowing us to share a little bit. We're excited about what God is doing through afcoe. You know, not only do we see people's lives changed that we are working with, but the students' lives - our lives are changed as we spend time in God's Word and we allow God to work through us to be a blessing to somebody else. So if someone is interested in learning how to do evangelism and Bible work - and we have pastors that also come to afcoe program because it's the whole science of evangelism.

They learn how to prepare for an evangelistic meeting, they go through an evangelistic meeting, and then they're involved in the follow up - they do door-to-door work. If a person's interested in that, what do they do? All you need to do is get ahold of us. You can go to 'afcoe.com' - just 'www.afcoe.com' or you could call us - I believe a number should be on your screen - a phone number that you can give us a call and just say, 'I'm interested in afcoe.' We'd love to talk to you and provide you with some additional information. You're right, Pastor Doug - not only is it the outreach and the evangelism, but it's also the time spent studying God's Word talking about Bible doctrines and personal evangelism and Bible prophecy - all of these things are all included in the afcoe experience. Amen.

Well thank you very much. I know one of the high times of the week for me is when I go up and I teach the afcoe students. And we also do Bible questions and answers and, wow, I learn a lot too. Absolutely. Thank you so much Pastor Ross.

And I want to mention, you know, this was a wonderful commercial for afcoe. Afcoe is one of several lay-evangelism training programs in North America and we just - we encourage everybody - if you've thought, 'you know, I'd like to know more about how to share my faith. I've never really been trained.' There's some longer programs - afcoe, the full program, is four months. We also have a 10-day program, it's sort of an intensive - but there are other good programs that are out there. There's a program called 'arise' with David asscherick.

There's the 'alive' program in florida, and others. And so, I'd encourage everybody - if the members would all feel like we should train for ministry, this church would spread the way it's supposed to spread. You know the places where the church is growing the fastest? They have the fewest pastors. That's sort of an indictment against me but it's where the members realize 'we are the ones who are responsible.' And if the people get involved then it really takes off. Oh, one more thing.

We - we've sent something that goes along with our study guide - Amazing Facts sent a flier to every church in North America - that has witnessing tools, personal witnessing tools - now, of course, it's Sabbath so I'm not going to go into any of the specifics, but if anybody wants to know how they can receive this, you can download it right at the af bookstore - afbookstore.com - it's got witnessing tools for churches so that everybody can find out 'what can I do if I want to go door to door and maybe use some of the materials like the girls were talking about just a moment ago. Everybody can be involved in ministry. Now, we've got some verses we're going to hand out and I want to dive into the lesson and cover as much as I can. Luke 10, verse 1. Who has that? We gave that to somebody.

Get a microphone up here. Just before you read that, I'm going to read Ecclesiastes - and this is in your lesson under 'letting the left hand and the right hand know'. In Ecclesiastes 4:9, "two are better than one" - two are better than one - "because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will help his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls.

For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they'll keep warm. But how can one be warm alone? Though one might be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." How did Jesus send out the disciples? With that we're going to read our next verse, so go ahead and read for us Luke chapter 10, verse 1. "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, wither he himself would come.

" Now when Jesus sent out the disciples, at one point it tells us he sends out the twelve in pairs of two - so there were six teams of two - and here it says he sent out, I guess, thirty-five teams - seventy total - two by two. Did that matter to the Lord that they went two by two? What if Noah didn't believe in two by two? Well, of course, for the clean animals they went by sevens. Let me read a statement to you from the book 'Desire of Ages' - this is, by the way, page 350 - 'Desire of Ages', "calling the twelve about him, Jesus bade them go out two and two through the towns and villages. None were sent forth alone, but brother was associated with brother, friend with friend, thus they could help and encourage each other, counseling and praying together, each one's strength supplementing the others' weakness. In the same manner, afterward he sent forth the seventy.

It was the Savior's purpose that the messengers of the Gospel should be associated in this way. In our own time, evangelistic work would be far more successful if this example were more closely followed." I know in our afcoe program, when we send out the students to knock on doors or to share and witness, we send them out in teams. Now not only are they there so one can pray while the other talks, not only are they going out two by two so that one gets lost the other runs their gps, one's navigator and one's pilot, but we send them out two by two for safety purposes and not only for physical safety, but for moral safety. You know, I think it was interesting that it says, 'woe to him who is alone when he falls.' You know how many people involved in public evangelism have fallen because they didn't have accountability. I read something interesting - I found it again last night in preparing for the lesson, when billy graham became a successful evangelist, he finally realized, 'you know, I'll do better if I have an organization I'm working with.

' And the organization got together and they set out principles so that they could be an upstanding organization. They looked at the places where evangelists often have problems - one was in the area of finances so they set up some accountability guidelines there so there'd be no problems with - you know, they remembered billy Sunday was a very - not billy graham, billy Sunday - was a very famous popular evangelist but he kind of got accused of the money being mismanaged. And so billy graham said, 'look, I don't want that to be a problem.' So they set up some guidelines there. And the other area - you know, they say there's two areas where evangelists get into trouble - 'it's the money and it's the honey.' It's often they end up getting alone with women - they're out there, you know, and they're in a position of visibility and they get - do private counseling and visitation - and so billy graham set up something here it says - a quote from a book on his life - 'early in his organization's development billy graham and his staff developed ministry and professional guidelines to ensure the staff's own protection. Graham stated, 'from that day on I never did travel, meet, or eat alone with a woman other than my wife.

'' And that was their policy. Always traveled with another team member and - unless, of course, it was his wife, and just - it helps avoid the appearance of evil and getting into trouble that way. So going out two by two - the great reformation that we think of. When you think of the reformation who is one of the champions of the reformation? I heard several people say 'luther.' I was just back at - in germany and at worms where he was tried for his position. Well, you know, he had a right-hand man.

Do you know his name? Melanchthon - Philipp melanchthon - how many of you know that name? And while luther was a little bit more outspoken and sometimes even bombastic, he was just - he'd speak - he was a very intelligent man, but his partner, Philipp melanchthon was a little more studied and careful and he'd write things out and he was a little more pensive and they made a perfect team because they balanced each other out - and it's good when we go out in teams of evangelists that you have that. Have you noticed that when Jesus sent them out, one of the teams was Peter and who? John. Yeah. After pentecost you often see Peter and John, Peter and John, Peter and John. Well, they knew each other from their fishing days, but their various gifts complimented each other.

Peter was often the spokesman. You read the Gospel of John and the letters of John - John was a little more studious. He wrote more - of course in the book of Revelation - John wrote more than Peter. And so, they balanced each other out. John was probably younger and he did a little more of the background work and the praying and Peter was a little more of the mouthpiece you'll often see - but they both spoke - but they were a team.

And I think that's part of God's original plan. We ought to do more of that. Now, I've got to be careful how I say this but, you know, I respect the method of jehovah witnesses and when they knock at my door, if I have time that day, I'll invite them in. And, you know, bless their hearts, I don't agree with their message, but their method is a biblical method of going out two by two. And, you know, they do not have a paid pastor - they don't have paid pastors but somehow they're a worldwide movement.

Isn't that interesting? Because every member believes it's not going anywhere unless it goes with me. They all train during the week to get out there and to share that. So, again, I respectfully disagree with their message, but they got a good method. I've got a lot of dear mormon friends - church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. I've studied with them.

They go out and, you know, it's always - it's something you've got to respect when you see these clean-cut young men. It always kind of makes me laugh - they've got a name badge that says 'elder' and some of them can't grow a mustache yet but it says elder. And, you know what I mean, so I respect that. Frankly, our church made me an elder - I thought I was too young too at the time. But part of their training is everybody - all these young men, in particular, they go out and they do mission work.

And how many of you - let me just see your hands - how many of you have had a mormon missionary or a jehovah witness come to your door? Let me see your hands. Now wouldn't it be nice if you could say that about our church. Why not? Well, that's why we're doing the afcoe program and the others. We need to change that, you know, go back to the model in Israel and the days of Samuel where we've got these schools of the prophets. You had the priesthood and the sons of aaron and levi, but there was something else going on in Israel.

Samuel set something up called the schools of the prophets where anybody from any tribe who was called could be involved in ministry. And so, that's one reason that we have this program. I think that's important. Again, I may not agree with their message, but even though the mormons don't have paid pastors, the message has gone around the world because of their method. And so, there's something to be noted about that.

All right. Let's move along here. Somebody look up for me acts 16, verse 14 - acts 16 - we've got it right up here - mike, we'll get you - and barry's going to bring you a microphone and while we're doing that, I'm going to read 1 Timothy 3, verse 2 - Timothy 3, verse 2. "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach." Hospitable? What does that mean? It's connected to the word 'hospitality'. Why did he say that? In other words, if you don't have that gift are you qualified to be a bishop or an elder? Go ahead, read for us acts 16, verse 14, mike.

"Now a certain woman named lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of thyatira, who worshiped God. the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, 'if you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.' So she persuaded us." Here you've got the church - the early church was growing and they didn't have campuses, they didn't have churches - I wonder in what context did it grow? They stayed in homes. The houses were churches.

That means they had to have something called 'housepitality' or 'hospitality' as we say it. People opened up their homes and they developed relationships. Here you've got - it says, 'elders should be hospitable' - lydia, a woman, was hospitable, bringing people into their house - her house became a Bible study center and, you know, it sometimes is a little inconvenient when someone's in your house because they may have a little different schedule or timing or diet needs or whatever. And, you know, I just wonder if we've gotten away from the kind of relationships they had in the early church. Now when I talk about this, it's something of a confession - is that, I don't know how many of you are like me but, you know, I'm a little bit of a caveman.

And men - men are that way. And when we go home we go to our cave - we get to be a little territorial and Karen invites people in I go, 'I hear voices in the living room. Who's in my house?' You know, and 'are they going to disrupt my life?' I'm just, you know, I'm not really that bad but, in the back of your mind sometimes you go, 'an intruder.' But as Christians we should be willing to open our homes and invite people in. And, you know, I've found sometimes Karen - she'll stand in the middle of winter and the middle of summer - not so bad in the spring or the fall, but when it's real hot or real cold out she'll stand in the door and visit with people. I'll say, 'bring them in and shut the door.

' Or 'go outside and shut the door, but shut the door. You're letting the heat out and the flies in.' You know what I mean? So you bring people in. We need to bring people in and bring - something happens when you bring a person into your life and into your home. I'll tell you something else - as a pastor - it's one thing when you do an evangelistic meeting and people come and they sit in the church and they nod and they fill out their lessons and you shake hands. You might talk to them at the door and you say, 'yes, I know this person'.

You learn their name, they come to church every week, you think that's great but, but until you really get in their home and sit with them knee to knee, you don't know them. You learn so much more when you get into a person's home. You hear the way the kids talk to the parents and the parents talk to the kids and you see a picture on the wall and you say, 'who's this?' And they say, 'well, this is our family.' And you say, 'where's this one and this one and this one?' And they'll say, 'well, we don't know where this one is anymore.' You learn something about that family. Or you go into the family and you see the ashtrays on the table and you say, 'oh, somebody's got a challenge here.' And you just learn something when you go into the family, into the home. Now everyone's nervous about a pastoral visit right now, right? I don't always call when I visit either and say I'm coming.

You know, I think it was a lot easier for pastors before they invented telephones. You just showed up and then you really found out what people needed. You got to the door and you heard the pots and pans flying across the kitchen and the husband and wife, and you knew it was time for a prayer meeting. But we've lost something now, you know? We've sort of - we sequester ourselves in our homes and we say, 'e-mail me. Text me.

' There was a day where when people sang, they sang in their homes together. And now people come to town and we visit, they stay in hotels and, by the way, speaking of hotels, how many of you when I say 'tom bodett' - what do you think of when I say 'tom bodett'? Motel 6 - and what does he say? We'll leave the light on. So you all knew that. That was one of the best advertising campaigns - tom bodett, he just kind of worked for national public radio and so he had an interesting voice and motel 6 thought, 'you know, that's the kind of - he's got kind of a friendly down home voice' and 'let's have him do our commercials'. And he was recording the commercials one day and it wasn't in the script they gave him - at the end, the commercial, when he said it there was still time on the clock to fit the thirty seconds - whatever they needed - and so he saw that the clock was still going and he said, 'we'll leave the light on for you.

' He just threw that in and that became the - it was just ad-lib - and that became the best part - the best recognized - and there's something homey and it's like, 'yeah, you know, you come home after a long day and the light's on' - it just gave that feeling of home, you know. 'I know you'll be getting in late. We'll leave the light on for you. You're welcome.' You ever heard someone say that to you? And that was just such a little flash of genius to say that, that became - thirty years ago and they're still using that today. Matter of fact, motel 6 got away from it for a little while and their sales dropped and they got tom bodett back again and they went back up again with that tag line because people are looking for a sense of home and if you're going to pick a hotel you want one that's going to feel like home.

And our homes ought to be a refuge for people. Hospitality is part of being a Christian. Inviting people into your home, having home study groups. You know, when we first came to pastor this church - 18 going on years ago - Karen and I had a home Bible study every week and it started with a handful and it grew more and more. And I can name a number of people that were in that first group like gilbert and kathy navarro and others and many of them grew into church leaders in their own right and it finally got where because it got so big and I was traveling, we tried to then pass it off into the homes of the different members and we still have home Bible study groups.

We need to revive that more. But what happens in the homes is so important. When we study together and we disciple and we train each other for the purpose of, as it says in the Scripture reading, 'committed to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.' We learn in those settings also how other people can be taught. And something happens when you bring people into the home. Somebody look for me Titus 1, verses 7 and 8.

Who has that? I gave it out. Right over here. And as they focus for you, I'm going to look up acts 16:33 - acts 16:33 and 34, Paul and silas are in jail, the earthquake's happened - they prayed and there's an earthquake, the jail cells are opened, the jailer's ready to commit suicide, Paul says, 'do yourself no harm.' He says, 'what must I do to be saved?' Paul talks to him about Jesus and says, "immediately" - this is acts 16:33 - "the same hour of the night he washed their stripes" - he had whipped them - "and immediately he and his family were baptized and when he had brought them into his house" - first thing that happens after he accepts Jesus and he is baptized he invites others into his house. See what's happening? He's not prepared to teach anybody anything but he invites teachers into his home. You may not have the gift of teaching but you can invite those who do into your home.

So here that jailer invites Paul and silas into his house and he sets food before them "and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household." When Jesus set people out he told the disciples, 'when someone invites you into their home say 'peace' or 'shalom' be upon this home.' The peace of God would rest on those homes that opened up to the disciples and I think it's still true - when you open up your homes for the Gospel, a special blessing of God's presence comes into your home. Titus 1:7 and 8 - I think you've got that jolyne. "For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled." Thank you. Another example - it was so interwoven in their homes that people would come into their homes. Now, just think about the stories in the Bible - what would have happened to lot if he didn't open his home to the angels? Oh, we don't know - they might have broken down the door to save him, but good thing he did.

They said, 'we'll stay out here in the street' and he urged them to come in. Sometimes there's this urging that happens. What about rahab? What would have happened to rahab if she hadn't invited Joshua's messengers into her home? Didn't it end up saving her because she opened her home? And it saved everyone in her home. Something to be said for home Bible study. How about jethro when he invited Moses into his home? Well, his daughters and their whole clan became part of Israel as a result of that.

Did Noah have a home ministry where he was inviting everybody into the ark? Not too many responded, but everyone that did - his family were saved. Elijah - when that widow invited him into her home did a miracle happen in her home of multiplying the bread? When you invite people into your home and you share the bread of life, miracles happen. Did that also happen for Elisha when the shunamite woman invited Elisha into her home - she actually made a place. I know people that have actually built additions on their house - they call them like mother-in-law rooms - they build an apartment or something and they say, 'this is for visitors of the church.' They specifically built a part of their home - I know one family I stayed with, right next door to the church they had a home. They built an extra room on their home they said 'for guest speakers at the church so they can stay for free.

' And they'd feed them and it just was their ministry. And when the shunamite woman did that for Elisha - and she wasn't even a church member - she wasn't even an Israelite. Did God bless her? Blessed her with a child and later when the child died Elisha resurrects the child. It's a blessing on your family. Did Martha open her home and Lazarus? Who did they open their home to? Jesus.

And did Jesus resurrect her brother and do her a favor? A blessing came on their home. Cornelius invited Peter into his home - and did the Holy Spirit fall on everybody gathered there? I can go through the Bible - I'm not touching on all the examples. What did Jesus say to zaccheus? 'Come down immediately because today I must abide at your house.' He said, 'I want to come - I'm not going to meet you at the synagogue, I want to meet you at your house.' So there's something to be said by our going to homes two by two and our opening our homes and inviting people in. Hospitality is part of this ministry. Okay, we've got more here and I'm running behind.

Oh, there's another one here in Romans 12, verses 9 to 13, "distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality." All right, let's talk about planning together. Somebody look up Corinthians 14:40. It's a short verse. I think we gave it to somebody. Who got - who has that? We gave you a verse? Right here - hold your hand up so we can get you a microphone.

Corinthians 14:40. "But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner." Very simple verse. 'All things must be done properly - or decently - and in order.' You know, Paul says this right at the end of 1 Corinthians 14 where he talks a great deal about speaking in tongues and that can be done in a church where there is a great deal of chaos and confusion and bedlam. Especially in the corinthian church, they had many language groups present. I just came back from europe and I remember I was in the church in switzerland and in geneva I would say something in english and then my translator would say what I said and then we had somebody who was translating also in french and it was like we did the lesson we had four people on the stage doing the lesson - especially in switzerland, they speak french, german, italian, english and then they had a large portuguese group and they had headphones on and someone I could hear in the background up there they were speaking in portuguese so that everything I said - they had running translation - was translated in these radio headphones - it was very well done.

It was orderly. Otherwise, it becomes confusion and all you hear is this background noise. It sounds like babel all over again. And so God says our church services - God is a God of order and our church services should be done in a way where there's dignity and order. And to have everybody lined up and mad because you're trying to delegate the problems is not his plan.

Did this happen to the apostles? As the church grew - I mean, talk about church growth, you go from 120 and in one day you add ,000. A few days later you add 5,000 - talk about growing pains. And the disciples, they had distributions that were made for the poor, the disciples were getting pulled here and there trying to settle disputes about which widows were getting the right proportion. They said, 'you're showing preferential treatment to the Jewish widows and you're neglecting the weak - the Greek widows who have converted to judaism.' Finally the disciples said, 'this is not God's plan. We need to ordain seven deacons and delegate this responsibility to them because we need to give ourselves to the preaching of the word and prayer or the work is not going to grow.

' You know one of the ways the devil stops the work? He gets the leadership bogged down in the weeds so that they can't do what they're called to do. And you can get so caught up in the minutia of operations that the big vision is lost. And God wants to keep the church organized where the leaders are focusing on the big picture and the big vision and then the different gifts of the Spirit are used by the members and those things are delegated. So you see this happening in the example of us working together. That's, of course, the central theme of our lesson.

We need to work in teams. We touched on this a little bit. Matthew 10 - it tells the name of the twelve apostles there, verse 2, and you've got - by the way, you'll find slightly different lists in Matthew and in Luke but it's the same group, they just use different names. Sometimes people have nicknames, sometimes Peter was called Peter or Simon or cephas - cephas means Peter - keep in mind you're reading in Greek and aramaic and Hebrew so they sometimes would choose the different ways of saying it. And Jesus, the reason that the work spread is he invested in the twelve apostles three and a half years of quality training.

Yesterday nathan, our son, helped grandma and grandpa mow their grass, which is a good thing, and grandma commented, 'you know, when you show nathan how to do something right the first time, he does it the way he's taught.' It takes a little time to teach a person how to start the mower and how to oil it - actually my nephew gets the credit for doing that - and how to maybe sharpen the blade and make sure you've got oil in the weedeater and you take some time to show a person the first time how to do that, but if you invest that time in showing a person how to do something the right way the first time, then they get it and you don't ever have to teach them again. You save yourself a lot of work for a long time and you don't have to worry about it being taught wrong so that you have breakdowns and problems later. Taking the time to rightly disciple people in soul winning, it goes a long way. When I stood up for our afcoe class this last week and I put on my microphone, I actually took a minute and I said, 'let me tell you about microphone etiquette.' Now, they probably were never expecting they were going to learn about microphones. And I talked about how to - where to put the microphone so you don't get pops.

I said, 'if you're going to learn how to do Bible work and public speaking, you might learn about microphones. You get it too close to your mouth it starts popping all the time. If you got one of these lavalier mics and you put your head down the voice goes up. If you've got it over here on this side and you turn that way your voice goes down.' I said 'when you wrap up the microphone don't pull the cord tight, it'll break it eventually, make a loop in it.' And I showed them about a microphone. Boy, I'm going to save them a lot of money on microphones - that little bit of instruction - if they were listening.

And it's going to help people hear - what good is the Gospel if you don't hear it? And so, just little stuff like that - you teach people. Jesus, for three and half years, he went over all kinds of things with the disciples - they even had to say, 'Lord, we thought we knew how to pray but we're looking at you pray - you come back from prayer you're glowing - we don't think we know how to pray. Teach us how to pray.' So he had to start with the basics with them. And I think that that's what real discipleship is all about. If we want the church to grow - don't assume that everybody knows everything.

Don't even assume that your pastor knows everything. I think it's really hard sometimes on pastors. You know, they grow up, they may go through Christian education, they'll go through college and seminary and they'll come and they've got a church - I think you've got to be careful not to assume they've even read the whole Bible. And, you know, I'm not trying to fault them for that, I just know that I've talked to some young pastors and they've said, 'well, I haven't read that book yet in the Bible.' I talked to some young pastors and I've said, 'well how many have you led to Christ?' And they couldn't think of anyone yet. You know, it is possible to go through college and seminary and get your degree and never really have anyone ask you the question 'have you led a soul to Christ?' That's not on the exam.

And so, it's helpful if you are some of the - the first church I pastored I was so blessed, I had four retired pastors in my little congregation so that really helped me. I got some great discipleship and I didn't know how to chair a board meeting - I'd never done it before. I didn't know a lot of things. And, you know, they didn't use it against me. They were so loving and so patient.

So the key is we want to take the time to teach the most important things about Christ - to disciple each other. Jesus said, 'go ye therefore and teach all nations.' He said, 'go and make disciples.' That means we need to study with each other here at central church - now we've got a special program called discipleship university that we're having in the afternoons where the members are coming and we're learning how do we bring others to Christ. And I recommend that for every church. One more time, you have a free offer - we're running out of time. Don't forget, if you'd like to know about the personal evangelism witnessing folder then you can go to simply afbookstore.

com and you can download that or if you call the number on your screen we've got enough extra - we'll send it to you along with the free offer and that free offer is #134. Just call the number - (866) 788-3966. Yes - and we are out of time. God bless you, friends. We'll study together again next week.

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