Let the Church Know

Scripture: Mark 6:30
Date: 06/16/2012 
Lesson: 11
"As a report of the early church's missionary endeavors, the book of Acts is filled with lessons for us today."
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We welcome you - whether you are listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org or on the various television networks - however you are joining us, welcome. Behind me this program we have the Sacramento central seventh day adventist church choir. And it's always exciting when we have the choir join us - it's nice to have extra voices and so they are joining us for our songs. Those of you at home pull out your hymnals.

Those of you who are here, let's start - 'higher ground' - #625. This is a request from veronica, angel and jasmine in the bahamas, sherle in California, constance in Canada, sandra and Samuel in england, bob and Paula in Idaho, gitanjuli and arup in india, donnolee, carl, and Karen in jamaica, alicia in montserrat, joie in new zealand, jeneffer in Pennsylvania, wilmie and cheros in the Philippines, Philipina in saint lucia, and jenny in South Dakota. We are going to sing all three stanzas of - first, second and fourth - 'higher ground'. Do you want your feet planted on higher ground? I do. And I'm glad you do too.

That is the only way that we're going to make it is if every day we're striving for higher ground. If you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it's so simple. Go to our website at 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link and any song in the hymnal you can request and we will do our best to sing that for you sooner than later. Our next is #522 - 'my hope is built on nothing less'. This is from claudette, louis, rondre, and britney in belize, calvin, andrew, and ruben in California, eli in Canada, norman and hope in the cayman islands, glenda in dominica, nardia in england, priscilla in ghana, wilfered, Karen, and the grenville adventist church in grenada, bob and Paula in Idaho, dave in Indiana, coulibaly in the ivory coast, toni-ann, kerry-ann, kemote, and thelma in jamaica, nikki in Massachusetts, howard and dian in Mississippi, robbi in New York, sandie, vern, jenny, and jamie in north carolina, ermichelle in Philippines, kurt, gerald and Daniel in south africa, elaine in thailand, allan, janice, and anita in the united arab emirates, jan and John in Utah, John in Virginia, mungalu and twaambo in zambia, and brian in zimbabwe.

Okay, this is a favorite. We want to hear you at home singing this extra loud - #522 - and we're going to sing the first, second and fourth stanzas. Father in Heaven, all other ground is sinking sand - other than the ground - the higher ground, the solid ground that we have in you. Father, thank you so much for giving us the Bible that we can always compare with Your Word what is blowing around in this world. And we know that that is solid ground and we know that what is in there will, if we follow it and we believe it, will take us straight to the gates of heaven to see you.

Help us to be faithful to what you have said no matter what is blowing around us. Thank you so much for this opportunity that we have to now open up Your Word and study together. Be with our speaker, pastor doug, in Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is our senior pastor here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church.

Good morning. How is everybody? I want to thank our choir for providing the surround sound. And I want to welcome everybody that is visiting today. I know we have a few extra guests today because today we're having the graduation for our afcoe class of spring 2012. And, by the way, if you are in the area and you want to see something inspiring this afternoon, the testimonies, the music and just seeing the participation of the students - we'll be opening the word together - 4:00 here at central church.

Matter of fact, for our friends who are watching online we'll be streaming this as well. And I want to welcome those of you who are part of the regular class that watches from week to week. Some of you are actually members of Sacramento central who are scattered around the country and even other parts of the world and you don't have a local church that you can attend for some reason and we are glad that you have adopted us. For those of you who watch that may be in that category, there is actually a process where you can be a member of the seventh day adventist church and we can talk to you about that. Go to our website, it's 'saccentral.

org' - it should be up there on the screen as I'm talking - 'saccentral.org' - we'll talk to you about what does it mean and what's involved in being an online member. We try and stay connected, provide information and keep you connected to a church body. In a moment we'll get to today's lesson, before we do we always have a free offer and our offer today is something we've been offering the last few weeks. It's a fantastic book that really helps understand what does it mean when God became a man? What is the essence of the Gospel? Why did Jesus come? What does it mean when he came in our flesh? 'Face to face with the real Gospel' - we'll send you a free copy by dennis priebe - face to face with the real Gospel'. Call the number on the screen: -study-more - if you like the acronym 'study more' - and the Numbers would be 866-788-3966.

Ask for offer #789 - happy to send it to you. When you do call or write for that, we've prepared something special. Because Amazing Facts is a ministry that if you sum it up in one word it's evangelism - we wanted to prepare just a little evangelism flier that talks about 'what can churches do in doing evangelism in their area?' And we just sort of put together some ideas and resources that goes along with our lesson called 'evangelism and witnessing' - we'll stick that in as well and that's good any time - even if at the end of the quarter's study you still ask for that, we'll send it to you. And just thinking if I'm forgetting anything - but you wouldn't be able to tell me if I am, would you? Okay, we're going to go to our lesson for today. Evangelism and witnessing and today we're on lesson #11 - and this has been a very practical study.

Let the church know - when there's evangelism, mission work, witnessing going on, we need to report back to each other - let the church know what's happening - communicate. We learn that way. We have a memory verse - the Scriptures we're studying are sort of all over the new testament. The memory verse is from Mark 6, verse 30 - new king James version - Mark 6, verse 30. I always like if you could say it with me.

Are you ready? Racers, are you ready? Here we go. "Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught." You know, something exciting happens when you give a report on your evangelism endeavors. You can inspire those and instruct those who are listening and you can inspire yourself. Even as you're sharing with others something that the Lord has done for you, you can get encouraged by it - you know, sometimes I'm telling a person a story of some miracle that God performed while I was involved in soul-winning or sharing and in the act of telling them, not only am I hoping they're encouraged and inspired, it reminds me about the reality of God and his miracles that we often forget and I find my faith is lifted. So reporting on what we're doing in evangelism is crucial.

It's not just important that we're out there doing the work, we need to let other people know what it is we're doing. You know, I like history, and in connection with this lesson it reminded me of when David livingstone decided to go be a missionary in africa. You know, originally, he wanted to go to china but because of some of the circumstances that were happening with the opium wars and things going on in china, it wasn't open at that time and he thought, 'well, I guess I'll go to africa.' Now David livingstone was - he wasn't the greatest missionary as far as reporting back great baptism Numbers. Matter of fact, some have said, 'as a missionary getting converts - or in evangelism - he was a dismal failure.' But he was an outstanding success in that he inspired so many others and what he really did was he was like the trail breaker for all the other missionaries that came. He was like the lewis and clark or like the Jeremiah Johnson or kit carson or some of the other heroes that broke the trail for others that came later.

He was more of an explorer and a geographer but word about what he did once or twice during his many years he spent in africa - he'd come back to england and he'd inspire everybody with the stories he told of what was happening in africa and how they were killing each other and the slave trade and he really lit the fire under thousands of other missionaries that came. And when he did it was not so much while he was there, it was when he came back to give the report. Well, near the tail end of his years in africa, he kind of fell off the map, literally. Have you ever heard the expression 'marching off the map? In ancient times the maps were hand drawn and they had limited information and sometimes when they got to where the information stopped at the end of the map, they'd put monsters and dragons and different things just because they thought, 'well, this is dragon country, we don't know what it is.' Sometimes the roman centurions would send back to rome - they'd be Marching off into africa and they'd send back notice and they'd say, 'we've Marched off the map, send further orders.' And alexander the great in his conquests, he said, 'I've Marched off the map.' Well, livingstone went off the map as far as europe - they didn't even know what the source of the Nile river was, you realize, during that time. And so there was a lot of confusion.

Well, he disappeared from history and the New York daily newspaper said, 'we've got to find out where he is.' There was a reporter and his name was charles stanley - or henry stanley rather - and he said, 'I'll go.' He actually was born in scotland, he immigrated to America, fought for a little while in the civil war and in they appointed him to go in to find him and the New York paper gave stanley this reply, they said, 'draw a thousand pounds from the account. When you've gone through that, draw another thousand pounds. Do you know how much money that was back then? When that is spent, draw another thousand pounds and when you have finished that draw another thousand and so on, but find livingstone. And he did. He actually got this whole parade of carriers and porters and equipment and books and supplies and gear and they left zanzibar and he just went off trekking through the vast expanse of africa asking everybody 'when was he last seen? What is the rumors? Where did they think he might be?' And he had to zig and he had to zag following different rumors but - a lot of his team died from disease, they deserted.

One interesting story is henry stanley said he started with 300 books but by the end of the trip he only had one book left - it was the Bible. And he started pretty much an agnostic, but after finding livingstone and watching the man, he became a Christian. And that's when the New York times, not the New York daily but the New York times, later reported that he said - you know, here he finds him out in the middle of africa, he's in tanzania on the shores of the great lake there and, of course, he's the only white man surrounded by thousands of black men, and he says, 'dr. Livingstone, I presume?' And you've probably heard that. But everybody wanted to hear a report of what was going on so when he brought back that report it, again, it just set the missionary societies on fire and missionaries went everywhere, not just africa at that time because they needed a report.

Now, today, you know if I want to know what's going on in the world and you, I presume, you click with your little mouse and you'll look up cnn or bbc or fox and that way you can get your biased news at the speed of light. It's all biased somehow by the writers, but at least it gives you a picture. And, you know, if I want to really find out what's going on, I check several news sources and I try to melt down all the various bias of the news reporters and try and say, 'somewhere in there is a kernel of truth.' And - but you get it very quickly if you want a report, right? If you want to know what's going on just click. How did you get news back then? In Bible times how did you get news? You send off missionaries, you lay hands on them, you pray over them, and you send them out and, you know, you might get someone passing through and say, 'have you heard anything?' Sometimes it took years to get a report on where someone was - if they were even alive. You didn't know if they were in prison.

It could take a long time to get word back. I mean, thomas went off to india. How much report do you think they got about thomas back in Jerusalem? They may have gotten something, but it wasn't much. Most of what we found out about thomas came from india years later. And so reporting was very important because the church wanted to know 'what have you learned? What is working? What is not working? And we want to replicate the success for we want to inspire others.

We want to know how to pray.' And so, that's why our lesson is dedicated to this subject today of reporting. Somebody look up for me - where are the microphones, I just want to check. We got a microphone with mike and barry has one here. Okay. Who has acts 14:27 and 28? We've given that - right here - manjeet, we'll give that to you in just a moment.

While we're looking that up I want to go to acts 12. Acts 12 - how many of you know the story in acts chapter 12? Peter is put in prison, James has been killed by king herod, Peter's in prison on death row - he's going to be killed - the church is praying without ceasing for Peter. God sends an angel and opens the prison doors - leads Peter out of prison - and after Peter is saved from prison, what does he do? He goes immediately to the church to report. Acts 12:16, "he went to the door and he continued knocking." Finally - they didn't think it was Peter, they thought it was too good to be true, even though they're praying for Peter, he shows up at the door and they don't believe it. "They opened the door and they saw him and they were astonished.

But he, motioning to them with the hand to keep silent" - the streets are soon going to be filled with roman soldiers looking for him - he goes into the house - "he declares to them how the Lord brought him out of prison." Every Christian should have a report. If you have been brought out of prison - if you're a Christian, you've been brought out of prison, right? the Lord Jesus came to set the captives free. Every Christian ought to be a reporter. You all ought to have at least one report to give of how the Lord brought you out of prison - it's called your testimony. You ought to think about your testimony.

It doesn't matter if you were born in a Christian home and you went to only Christian schools and you were baptized at the right age and you never left the church - you're thinking 'I don't have a very exciting testimony - that's an exciting testimony. Somewhere along the way you ought to tell them 'there was a day when I really understood what it meant to give my heart to Jesus.' Now if you don't have that, maybe you don't have a testimony yet, maybe you haven't been set free from prison. But everybody ought to have a testimony, right? And it says after he came out of prison he said, "go tell these things to James and the brethren." Go give them a report. And he departed to another place - and what do you think he did at the other place? He told, again, how he got out of prison. And so it's real important that we give testimony of our salvation and how we've been delivered because that's the very foundation of all evangelism is, first, how God saved you.

That's the first sermon everybody ought to preach. The most important thing about witnessing is what is your testimony? How will you witness? We've all got a story to share. All right, acts 14:27 - manjeet, I think you're going to read that? "Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that he had opened the door of faith to the gentiles. So they stayed there a long time with the disciples." All right, thank you. Now, that's clear enough.

The disciples came together and they gave a report of what had been happening. This is talking about when they came back from a missionary adventure to the north and they probably sat on the edge of their seat. So it's really important that we give a report of these missionary adventures that happen - that come back to the church - because it inspires everybody else. Now, I've been to parts of the world - you know, you go to western countries where things are happening fast and we get lots of media and our lives are so busy and people are always texting and we're - and I've noticed people are a little more impatient in church. And, you know, as I'm preaching they're kind of, you know, they're looking around at the clock and they're - you know here at central they know exactly how long I'm going to teach because it's counting down.

And you don't think I see you glance over your shoulder from time to time and you're just trying to look like you're stretching a little bit and you're looking at that little red countdown clock. I know, because when I'm sitting there I look at it too. But I've noticed when I go to some of these other countries where they don't have all the distractions of modern conveniences, they come to church and they just sit there and they're on the edge of their seat and they want to find out what's happening in other parts of the world and they enjoy it and when I say 'amen' - I remember, I was preaching in micronesia one time and I said 'amen' - had the closing prayer, benediction - and they all just kind of sat there and I said to the pastor, 'now what?' And he said, 'well, it's Sabbath all day. We stay and we visit and we'll eat, we'll sing, we'll visit some more, we'll eat some more.' And he said, you know - I said, 'oh yeah.' It's just a whole different mind set. I think back in the Bible time it was a little more like that, where they just - they were on the edge of their seats listening to what's going on with the work of God - it was very exciting for them.

And so they would give a report. Now, it didn't always happen on Sabbath. They'd come together in the middle of the week if missionaries suddenly showed up, they'd circulate the word through the church 'quick, come to so and so's house. Somebody's just showed up from their missionary journey.' They'd sit up half the night and listen. You remember when Paul was ready to leave? They stayed up and listened to him preach until midnight.

One of them fell out the window, which is a good lesson not to preach too long. All right, acts chapter 4, verse 23. Now somebody look up for me Luke 10:17. Who has that? Luke - we've got a hand over here. We'll go to you in just a moment - Luke 10:17.

And I'm going to read acts 4:23 - matter of fact, acts 4:23-31 - I'm going to read this out of my Bible because in this passage it really gives us some background of what was going on in the early church then - some of the persecution. All right. "And being let go, they went on their own and their companions reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voices to God with one accord and said, 'Lord, you are God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them" - by the way, that's a quote from the Sabbath commandment - "who by the mouth of your servant David said, 'why did the nations rage and the people plot vain things? the Kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ. For truly against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both herod and pontius pilate, with the gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together to do whatever your hand and your purpose determined before to be done.

Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant to your servants" - notice what they're praying for - "that all boldness - with all boldness they may speak your word, by stretching out your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders might be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.' And when they prayed" - so they came back, they're reporting together - what's the result of this report - the persecution and the threats they received - "when they prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit." Now, this is what happened at pentecost. This was one of those gatherings where they just got together to report on what had happened when they had been tried in Jerusalem. The place is shaken like pentecost, they're filled with the Holy Spirit like pentecost, they're praying and what's the result? Do they speak in tongues? No, but they do speak the word. By the way, that's why the holy spirit was given at pentecost, not to speak in tongues but to speak the word. If they need other tongues he'll give you other tongues, but the goal is not to speak in tongues, it's to speak the word, right? "They spoke the Word of God with boldness.

" What had they just prayed for? They said, 'Lord, give your servants boldness.' In other words, they're trying to intimidate us, they're telling us to stop preaching in Jesus' Name and Lord, we pray that you'll give us boldness. Help us not to be frightened. Help us not to be intimidated. Help us preach the word. That was at a session when they came together to report and that's exactly what happened.

Okay, I gave out another verse and I think you're going to read for us Luke 10:17. Are you ready? I'm ready. All right, get your mic up close. "Then the seventy returned with joy saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name." All right, you remember when Jesus sent out seventy of them on a missionary endeavor - after a few months, maybe even been over a year, of training - he had not just the twelve apostles, there were seventy disciples, right? And he sent them out. They came back and they went off by themselves and they said, 'let's talk about what happened.

' And they were so excited. They were so encouraged to hear the reports of what happened. You know, for me, one of the most exciting things used to be the evangelism council. I remember in northern California, when I joined this conference, we had four or five full-time evangelists. I think now in northern there's one evangelist - a former Amazing Facts evangelist - jack pefley.

It's just evangelism dollars have dried up and some churches aren't doing it the same way. Amazing Facts - once a year we get our evangelists together. Boy, I tell you, that's exciting - to hear the war stories - it's memorial weekend, right? All the evangelists get together and they talk about the experiences and the close calls and how it looked like the meeting was going to be a failure and then some miracle happened and all these people came and pastor brings his whole church and someone finds a handbill in a garbage can and they decide to come and their whole family is baptized and you just hear all these miracles. Or someone stands up in the middle of one of the meetings and wants to start a debate and how God gave them the right verses or they get together and they talk about, you know, someone asked me a question and I couldn't answer it and the other evangelists say, 'here's how I'd answer that' and they - all this internal energy and electricity - it's just like iron sharpens iron and all of a sudden you can just see that it's like a - it's like a nuclear internal fusion all by itself - how the sun somehow has an internal explosion - and you just see this energy builds - this enthusiasm builds for evangelism. And it's happening when they all get together - they're not out doing a meeting - they're talking about the work that they did.

They're reporting back and they're inspired. You could call it a pep rally or something, but it's really the Holy Spirit is inspiring them - they're learning from each other and sometimes they'll talk about 'well, I had a bad experience.' And they'll process that and they can learn from that. So getting together and talking about the work is very important. You know, I learn a lot listening to the evangelists. I learn a lot - we have some afcoe students here and part of my presentation each Thursday is usually we take questions and I'm attempting to answer the questions, but the fact is that sometimes I'm learning as much as anyone when they're asking the questions.

And so, it's just really helpful when we get together like that and talk about the work of God. Not just out doing it, but processing it and reporting back together. Mark 9 - talking about the failures, this fits in. In Mark chapter 9 verses 28 and - some of you remember the story - let me give you the background. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John - they go up to the mount of transfiguration and Moses and Elijah appear and they're so excited but they come down the mountain from that glorious experience where God speaks to them and there's this boy who is demon-possessed who the disciples come to try to cast out the devil.

Now, they had cast out devils before because Jesus had sent them out - we just read that. 'They rejoiced and they said 'even the devils were subject to us in your name.'' But sometimes it didn't work and they tried to cast out this devil and the boy just went into another demonic convulsion and nothing happened and the parents said, 'why can't you help? What are you doing wrong?' And the scribes and the pharisees said, 'you're charlatans, you're not real. You have no power.' And right up when all that's going on Jesus shows up. And Jesus listens to the problem - The Father said, 'the devil often takes my son, ever since he was a child, and sometimes he throws him in the fire and sometimes he throws him in the water and I asked your disciples to deliver him and they could not.' They failed. Well, Jesus cast out the devil and at first it looked like the boy was dead.

He took him up and delivered him to his father. And later - he didn't do this in front of everyone - but when they were by themselves they said, 'Lord' - he was just waiting for them to ask - 'how come you could do it and we couldn't do it? What did we do wrong?' And Jesus said, 'well, some cases are more difficult than others and some require fasting and prayer.' Sometimes you've really got to dig a little deeper in your prayer and your fasting and don't be discouraged. But when Elijah prayed for rain after three and a half years of no rain - first time he prayed, rain, right? No. Second time? Third time? Was Elijah a bad prayer? No, he was actually a good prayer - why? Because he prayed long prayers or he prayed persistently? He kept praying until the rain came. And so Jesus was saying, 'sometimes you need to just prevail in prayer.

You need to persist in prayer. Maybe even fast and pray in some of the more difficult cases. By the way, taking a little sidetrack here, but some of us have loved ones - like that father's boy - they're out there in the world and the devil's throwing them into extremes of fire and water - whatever it might be. The devil doesn't care whether you fall off the right side of the road or you fall off the left side. He doesn't care whether you drown or burn as long as he destroys you.

And you wonder 'Lord, what can I do?' Well, sometimes you might fast and pray for your children and - if just the praying is not enough. So, sometimes things work. Sometimes things don't work. You know, let me do this. We're talking about reporting here, right? Now, I'm going to go out on a limb.

I'm trusting you, don't let me down. I'm going to ask you to raise your hands and in a sentence - now that is not a spirit of prophecy sentence that really is three paragraphs - in a sentence I want to ask you what do you see today as some of the obstacles to evangelism. Now, you're going to raise your hand, you're going to say it loud enough for me to hear it and then I'll repeat it. That way we don't have to carry microphones - we'll get more of you who can share. What do you see today, here in North America, what are some of the obstacles? Let's do a little reporting to evangelism.

Anyone venture to raise a hand? We've got a hand right here. The entertainment industry. It's because just the distractions it creates and all the competition. People become - that's very perceptive - people become very entertainment oriented and it's almost like the pastors have to compete with that to get people to come to church. Is that what you're thinking, sort of, some of that? Question? All right.

People get hard hearted. Yeah, just the - you know, sometimes prosperity in the world can make people indifferent and hard hearted. The rich - Jesus said it's hard for a rich man to get into the kingdom because they don't feel their need. Okay, I see one on this side. Sometimes the inconsistency in our lives - there's hypocrisy among Christians - they look at Christians - they say, 'if that's what a Christian is I'm not even interested.

' I see a hand in the back, can I hear you? Self-centered zealot. Well, yeah, they run into - same thing, it's the hypocrisy sometimes you're going to run into where people become self-centered and it turns them off - or even sometimes there's like cultish Christians that are out there and they say, 'oh, if that's a Christian.' Good point. There's so many different denominations - people say, 'well, Christians are so divided they're not even sure what they believe and so how can anyone know what the truth is? There's just so many different denominations.' We've got a lot to overcome, don't we? I saw another hand over here. Manjeet? Thank you. Busyness.

People are just so busy. You know the devil can get us so - things are so fast-paced - it's like Martha - go go go all the time that we never have time to sit at Jesus' feet. Jonathan - do I see your hand? Money. Yeah, the affluence - I like your concise answers. Just get to the point.

That's right, distracted with the love of money. Over here. Oh, evolution. Who needs God? We've all evolved from lower forms of life, right? I feel like I'm neglecting this side, but I see most of the hands over here. Sonia? Lack of personal witness.

In other words, people are not personally going out and witnessing. Yeah. We actually have to make an effort to sometimes talk to our neighbors, right. Hand right here. Pride.

Yeah, boy that's at the heart of just about every problem. I think I saw another hand in the back here. A lot of baby boomers didn't raise their children to believe in God and they just - that's true. The parents have not really raised them by their example to believe in God. Now I don't want to leave you just talking about obstacles or you'll have no hope when we're done.

I see one hand here. Poor - that's right, people are tired, they're fatigued so they don't - you know, so busy making money to pay their bills for the expensive things that we don't always need that we have no energy left to serve the Lord. I saw right next to you there's one more hand. Yeah, they don't feel the need for a genuine relationship with God. All right, one more, last one.

Culture. Yeah. There's so many different religions, not just divisions among Christian denominations, there's a lot of different religions and there's so many different cultures people say, 'well, I don't understand these cultures so I'm not going to try and share my faith.' All right. Now we've talked about some of the obstacles to soul winning, to evangelism and witnessing. Now what are some of the things that do work? Of course the opposite of what we just talked about.

Give me some - one sentence or less - I like the one-word answers. What are some of the things that do work? Say it and I'll repeat you. Friendship evangelism - make friends with people that maybe don't know the Lord and develop a relationship so they'll listen to what you have to share. I saw another hand I think, yes. Prayer.

Prayer works doesn't it? Have any of you seen people's hearts change because of prayer? I can tell you some stories right now of neighbors we prayed for and I never thought I'd get their attention. All of a sudden, something happened and they came to us. Yes, dora. The choir. Well, music is one of the ways to reach people.

Yeah, music's a powerful way. Right behind you, yes. Taking care of their physical needs. If people - and that would not only mean health, of course, caring about their health, but even their practical needs. You know, if you've got a neighbor and you're caring for them and you're trying to help them with what the practical needs might be, it might mean anything from cleaning out the gutters on their roof to just helping them push their car down the street.

I've helped people jump their cars before when their battery's dead and you can make a friend and share a tract. I see a hand. Love - the most powerful thing we have for evangelism is really to have the love of God in our hearts, right? To show them - boy, you folks have come alive now. Consistency. Yeah.

Show the love be consistent. They say, 'you know that person' - that was the witness of Daniel that said that 'your God who you serve continually he will deliver you.' Darius noticed that he served continually. I missed a hand I saw back here - yes. Yeah, enthusiasm - people will tell - they can tell if you're excited about your faith and it's making you happy - I'll add that - people want to be happy, people want to see 'what are you passionate about? What are you enthusiastic about?' In our sermon today we're going to be talking about that. I see several hands - all right, in the back over here.

Yeah, if you're going to be a missionary you need a personal relationship with God. And just behind you. This works - he said door-to-door evangelism through literature or Bible studies - you know, sometimes we think that you can't go door-to-door anymore. How many of you have heard of our church's initiatives that we're trying to reach the big cities? I grew up in New York city and sometimes it's harder to go door-to-door in places like new york city because all the entrances to the apartments are guarded. It's a little easier in the suburbs but even people in the suburbs - I had someone come to my door yesterday to try and sell me siding or something - but people still do door-to-door things so why don't we do some door-to-door stuff for Jesus, right? All right, one or two more.

Yeah, explain the truth to people so they can understand it. And it's very important for us to make it relative and, yes. Yeah, in other words, answered prayer. I'll tell you a quick story on that point - we'll stop there. I've got a friend and he was disappointed because some land that he was hunting on - he's a hunter - the cows had gone over it and eaten all the grass and he said, 'there'll be no deer.

' And I said, 'well, maybe it'll rain.' And he said, 'doug that's your business.' He said, 'you need to pray for the rain.' I said, 'okay.' Well, you know, it rained up there this weekend so I e-mailed him and reminded him. So people see that you're praying for them and they see answers to prayer and there's a lot of things you can do in witnessing that works. But I think we'll all agree - there are some unusual challenges to witnessing and evangelism that we face today in the 21st century they didn't necessarily face back in Paul's day. But I was surprised I didn't hear anybody talk about media. You know, we're doing it right here.

What a powerful way to do evangelism. Whether - when I say media, I'm not just talking t.v. I'm talking radio, publishing, internet, television - when you now - I mean those things are problems in that the world's distracted by those mediums of communication, well if the devil is using those platforms to communicate then let's use those platforms to get the Gospel out. I mean, you preach one sermon to one church - if it's a halfway decent sermon - but you can multiply it ten thousand times and send it out over the internet and send it out over the airwaves - that really is proving to be an effective means of media. And how many of you have ever heard a good sermon on the radio or on a cd and it's touched your heart? That preacher wasn't in your car or in your room.

And so it's very powerful - books - yeah the devil can use books. God can use it too, it's called the Bible. And so these are mediums of communication and so mass media, while it can be misused, it can also be used by the Lord and I think that's a very powerful thing. All right, we need to get back to our lesson. We have a few minutes left.

Corinthians - oh let's see, what did I read last here? Yeah, I think I read - no, I haven't read that yet. 'What hath God done?' Acts 21:19, after Paul had been on a missionary tour it tells us that he came back down to Jerusalem and when he greeted the brethren - this is acts :19 - "he told them in detail those things that God had done among the gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified God." So reports should be given in a way that will bring glory to God and that's what happened here. How many of you remember - you know, we don't do it as much anymore - we have them on cd, we still show them here, but I remember that - was it once a month - we had mission spotlight? You all remember mission spotlight? Now I remember when our church would always get a carousel - a kodak projector carousel - does anyone remember those days? With a cassette tape and you had to show it to your church on a certain day because those things were so expensive and all those slides were in the carousel - you needed to show it that day and then you needed to pop it back in the mailer and mail it off to the next church. And so, those things would all go from church to church to church.

And then they'd somehow make it back home and get recycled, but I remember many many very exciting mornings listening to the stories of what God was doing with the church around the world. Sometimes we become disconnected with what the seventh day adventists are doing around the world and that's why it's important to share. All right, 1 Corinthians 9:19. Now, one of the keys to successful evangelism is being sensitive to relating to who your listeners are. "For though I am free from all men" - this is 1 Corinthians :19 - "for though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the jews I became as a jew, that I might win the jews; and to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; and to those who are without law, as without law (not being)" - he's not saying that 'I was sinful or not living a Christian life but I related to people that did not have the law of God.

' He's careful to clarify that here saying, "(not being without the law towards God, but under law towards Christ), that I might win those who are without the law;" how does a Christian relate to people who are worldly? You've got to sometimes find some common ground so you can talk to them. Now you've probably heard me say before, once or twice a week - it was three times this week - I take some time off to go play racquetball at a health club. I play frequently with other pastors and Christian people, but sometimes they're not. It's interesting, once they find out I'm a pastor sometimes the language changes. But in between games when we're sitting and resting and someone else is playing, I engage and visit with these folks and you know what I do is I try to find - 'so what do you do? Where are you from?' And then I listen and I'm looking for common background so I can relate to them from their perspective of life in a way that is relative.

And I've got to be able to communicate the truth and what God's done to me in a language they understand. I'm not even talking about a language of the world, I'm talking about in a lifestyle language they understand. And that, I think, is what Paul is talking about. "To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Now this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I might be a partaker of it with you." And so Paul was reporting back that as he traveled through the roman empire and he met with people from every nation in the world - because the Romans had slaves from all over the place and Paul found some of his greatest success not among the rich, but also among the poor - he said, I had to sort of become all things to all people to relate. Christians, without delving into the world religions, we ought to be somewhat versed in what the different religions teach so you can relate to people from different backgrounds. Before I made my recent trip to jakarta and to dubai, I brushed up on the islamic faith so I could be sensitive to the things they'd be open to and relate. And whenever you're getting ready to go to another culture - going to india, I'd read a little more about hinduism, which was one of the prominent religions in the area we went to. It's good for us to be able to know 'how do you relate to people where they are?' All right, acts chapter 5 - someone look up acts 8:12 - who has that? Over here? Got a hand? Acts 8, verse 12 in just a moment and I'll be reading acts 5:14.

'The importance of reporting.' It says, "and believers were increasingly added to the Lord multitudes of both men and women." You know, you might have an unbeliever come into a meeting where reports are being given of mission work and the unbeliever listening to the reports can be touched and inspired by the reports so they're converted just by hearing the in-house reports. Acts 8:4, "therefore those who were scattered everywhere - I'm sorry - those - therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word." There was a persecution that took place after the stoning of stephen and they went everywhere preaching the word. They then would come back to Jerusalem and report. Now you've got acts 8:12 and I think we're ready for that. "But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

" Philip started out as a deacon, he somehow transitioned into Philip the evangelist, and he was preaching in samaria, he was preaching down in the desert, he went over to caesarea and he would report back about his adventures. How come we have that story in the Bible about Philip who finds the - the Lord sends him down to the deserts around gaph and he finds this Ethiopian treasurer who's reading Isaiah 60 - what is it? He's reading Isaiah 53 - in his chariot and he ends up baptizing him and then he disappears. Who was a witness to that story? Well, the Ethiopian - he kept going back to Ethiopia. So how do we know that story? Because Philip came and reported it to everybody. There was only one witness, right? Philip went alone.

And so what if he didn't give a report? We wouldn't know about that incredible story and so they had to report back. Acts 11:21, "and the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and they turned to the Lord." You'll notice that as they're traveling now, and as they're preaching, God is blessing them and a lot of people are turning to the Lord and there's great great rejoicing. Now, what difference can it make to give a positive report or a negative report? How many of you remember Numbers when the twelve spies are sent by Moses to investigate the promised land? Ten of them bring back a positive - no no no - negative report - and then there's the minority report, which is a positive report. What happened to the whole nation based on the report? So in giving your report, you can focus on the problems and you can focus on the miracles and success. It was interesting.

Were there problems in canaan land that the spies saw? Did they have tall walls? Were they fortified cities? Did they have big armies and tall soldiers? The amalekites - the children of anak, rather, were very tall - it says they were giants. So were there obstacles? Was it also a land flowing with milk and honey? Were there a lot of good things they could report on? So some people are prone to bad news and some people are prone to good news. What does the media typically report? I remember Paul harvey giving an address to - it was an 'it is written' partnership meeting that Karen and I went to years ago and he was talking about how in the media industry they've learned that bad news sells better than good news. Winston churchill gave a speech one time where 10,000 people showed up and he gave the speech. And someone asked him afterward, they said, 'mr.

Prime minister, it must be very inspiring to see that ,000 people came to hear you give the speech.' And he gruffly answered, '100,000 would come to watch me hang.' He wasn't impressed with it. People seem to gravitate towards bad news. I think Paul harvey said that the news will make two bicycles running into each other try to sound like a train wreck. And they just find that it seems like if you've got some juicy gossip of some scandal, people will enjoy that more than a piece of good news. And so, when they first came back they said, 'the land you sent us to was a land flowing with milk and honey.

But, hey, you want to hear the inside scoop? Wow, it's going to be tough. You should have seen how tall they were.' And what did they end up doing? They thoroughly discouraged the children of Israel by their bad report. They were discouraged so they did not succeed in crossing over and entering the promised land. Caleb and Joshua said, 'let's go. We can make it.

We can take it. Let's go. Rise up right now. We are able.' The other spies said, 'no, no it's going to be hard.' So I think it's real important that you keep in mind when you come home from church and you rehearse with your spouse what happened at church and your kids are listening, are you giving a good report of Christianity and the church experience? Or do you debrief on what's wrong with the church and what's wrong with the pastor? Will it be any wonder when your kids grow up if they have a negative idea of church if you're giving a bad report? You need to be as positive and optimistic as you can be because it's contagious. Good news and bad news are contagious.

The Gospel is good news and so as you report, you're going to have some bad things you can focus on. You're going to have some good things you can focus on. Give an honest report, but when you've got discretion, be positive. Be as positive as you can be, that way you inspire others and you're also teaching them to be positive in the process. When they didn't think they could make it, they didn't make it.

Give a good report. Somebody look up for me acts :18 - acts 11:18 - who has that? Right over here we've got a hand. And I'll be reading acts 11:1-4. Oh, we're almost out of time. "Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the gentiles had also received the Word of God and when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him saying, 'you went in to uncircumcised men and you ate with them!'" But Peter explained to them in order from the beginning, what had happened with cornelius and his family.

Why was he going to the gentiles? They're not supposed to do that. But when he explained it - when he reported, what was the response? Now you give us the response - acts 11, verse 18. "When they heard these things they became silent and they glorified God saying, 'then God has also granted to the gentiles repentance to life." They glorified God when they heard the report - first they didn't understand. Sometimes people hear half a matter and they get a rumor - that's what had happened here. Peter gave a firsthand report of what God had done and how he'd poured out the Spirit and they glorified God and they understood.

So this is just a few samples of why it's so important for us to keep each other informed and report and inspired on the work of witnessing and evangelism. Thank you friends for studying with us again today. Don't forget the free offer - 'face to face with the real Gospel' - we'll send it to you for asking, just call the number on your screen, ask for offer #789 and God bless you. I look forward to studying again together next week.

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