A Perpetual Ministry

Scripture: Luke 13:18-19
Date: 06/30/2012 
Lesson: 13
"Evangelism and witnessing are the means by which the mustard seed (the church of God) becomes a huge tree that fills the whole world."
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Welcome to Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We're so glad that you are tuning in. Don't want to forget those of you who are listening on the radio, watching live at our website at 'saccentral.org', or on the various television networks. Wherever you're joining us, however you're joining us, welcome. I hope that you are ready to sing.

We get requests from so many of you and today we're going to learn a couple of new songs so pull out your hymnals, join us at home, and everybody here we're going to be singing #652 - 'love at home'. This is from deirdre in australia, kyana in the british virgin islands, manoa in india, sandie, vern, jenny and jamie in North Carolina, patricia in papua new guinea, John in the Philippines, and amon and siba in Texas. #652 - And we will sing all three stanzas - 'love at home'. It's true, isn't it, when there is love at home it just seems like the sky is bluer and The Son is shining brighter. I hope that each of our homes can always be a little taste of heaven on earth and that there will always be love at home.

If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, go to our website at 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link and send those in and we will do our best to sing those for you as soon as possible. Our next one is a - definitely a new one - and I am ready to start learning a whole bunch of new ones so we have a whole bunch that have come in and we're going to start learning those. #639 - 'A diligent and grateful heart' - #639. This is from antonio in barbados, ameidi, valencia, and abelino in belize, alex in hungary, aida in italy, shayle in Montana, chioma in nigeria, darlyn in the Philippines, and jonathan, also known as 'big John' in Texas. We're going to do all four stanzas so that we can definitely learn this song.

#639 - It's a lovely one. Wasn't that beautiful? It's not very often we sing about stewardship but I saw that one and I was like, 'oh yes, that's a lovely song. Let's learn that.' And you know what? You pay attention to the words - God has blessed us and sometimes you may think, oh, but I just don't have enough. I can't pay the bills. But there's always someone worse off than you are - maybe not right around you, but all across the world and so anything that you can give - pay your tithe, pay your offerings, and God will bless.

At this time let us bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for what you have blessed us with. It may not be houses and lands and jewels and castles, but you have blessed us with friends and family and our basic needs. Thank you so much for loving us. You show your love in so many different ways and I pray that we will always be grateful for the things that we have and will always share with those who are less fortunate.

Come and live in our hearts today. Be with us as we open up your word and we study together - that we will sense your presence and that we will receive the blessings that you have for us. Be with Pastor Doug as he brings the lesson study to us. In Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, our senior pastor here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church.

Thank you musicians. Good morning friends. Good to see each of you here and it's a pleasure. I want to welcome any visitors that may be studying with us here today at Sacramento central. We know we always have a few new people who are studying via the internet or television and we want to welcome you.

Also want to welcome those who are part of the extended central church family. We have some people who are members of central from around the world. We've sort of adopted - we've become a home church for a lot of internet members who are scattered hither and thither that cannot attend a local church for some reason and we're glad to welcome that class as well. By the way, if you're in that category - if you're somewhere on the globe and you would like to be part of a church family and you believe the teachings of the seventh day adventist church but there's none nearby or you can't attend for some reason, go to 'saccentral.org' and we will be happy to communicate with you and talk to you - how you can go through a process and we can welcome you as part of our family. In a moment we're going to continue our study.

It's actually the last lesson that we have on evangelism and witnessing. But, you know, before I get to that - can you hand me, mike, one of those new quarterlies? Thank you very much. I want to tell everybody about our new quarterly coming up for the next thirteen weeks or so. I'm really excited about this. It's going to be first and second Thessalonians.

If you're an evangelist then you quote from these books a lot. There are - a lot of good information here about the end of the world and the resurrection and the second coming and so we're going to be looking forward to that. So be prepared for our class here - we'll be distributing these immediately following the lesson today and if you're part of our regular class we want you to prepare for first and second Thessalonians. Our lesson today - we're going to be talking about lifestyle evangelism. And in the last part of that lesson it talks about closing the back door.

You know, there's a couple of ways you can do evangelism. Of course, you try to bring unchurched non-believers to Christ and to church, but another way you do evangelism is not just by bringing new people in to Christ, it's by keeping what you've got. That can mean the young people growing up in the families - there needs to be ongoing evangelism to keep those people and just every day members. You know, there's a very frightening percentage of people who are in church or join a church that, after a few years, do not stay for a variety of reasons and we need to look at ways that we can keep people with Christ and how to close that back door as they say. And so, Amazing Facts - we met and we talked this week - we're going out on a limb.

We're giving away a brand new book - this actually retails for like $8.00 - we're giving it away - $9.00 - we're giving it away - by our friend richard o'ffill. He spent months doing this study, after years of pastoring, on how people can reclaim their faith. Either, if they have drifted from the Lord, how to come back or to keep from drifting and what churches can do to nurture people who might be on the edges and so we're going to give this away to people who ask for it. It's called 'faith reclaimed'. If you call the number on your screen - 866-study-more is the acronym - 866-788-3966 and this is offer #788.

We'll send it to you just for asking and - but you have to promise to read it. We'd like every church to have one of these. That's the vow you're making if you ask for it. All right, to our lesson - evangelism and witnessing - lesson #13. And one more thing - just a lot of preliminaries because we're at the end of a quarter.

There will be a thirteenth Sabbath offering at the time this broadcasts. We take a special offering at the end of every quarter that goes to some mission projects. You will find those mission projects on the back of your quarterly and they're dealing with some special projects in eastern indonesia, western indonesia, myanmar, and a children's project. You'll find that there. I just like to mention that because you've seen it on the back of your quarterly during this time.

'Evangelism a perpetual ministry' is our lesson and we're going to be looking at a whole bouquet of different verses on that subject. Memory verse - I'll look to you to say this with me out loud for our class here. You can say it out loud at home too. It's Luke 13:18 and 19 - Luke chapter 13:18 and 19. Are you ready? I see some people still looking it up and it's in your lesson - it comes from the new king James version.

You ready? "What is the Kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed which a man took and put in his garden and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches." Now the key thought of today's lesson is that evangelism and witnessing are means by which the mustard seed, or the church of God, becomes a huge tree that fills the whole world. Now, that's something that happens through a regular growth process. You know, I think the key to ongoing evangelism - oh well, let me say this differently - there's a problem that we have in a lot of churches - not just the seventh day adventist church, but before I was an adventist I worshiped in baptist churches, methodist churches, pentecostal churches, nazarene churches, four-square churches - I could go right down the line name - I went to catholic church - Jewish synagogue - all kinds of churches. But we do evangelistic programs or revival programs or tent meetings. In other words, there's an event where, 'okay, this year we're going to do an event to try to reach people and bring them to Jesus.

And that's good. We do that here. But there's a danger with that - is the members can come to look at evangelism as an event that's on the calendar instead of an ongoing lifestyle - it's an ongoing way of life. Amazing Facts started a program several years ago called 'the empowered church program' where pastor jëan ross, who is in germany right now doing some afcoe meetings, he or some of our other evangelists would go to a church and they talk about how to get the church involved in a cycle of ongoing evangelism so that you're always involved. Evangelism should be flowing through a church all the time - it's not an event that happens one time.

It's ongoing ministry that's in our lives and in our midst. Now, there's programs that you go to enhance that, but for every believer, we are all called with this great commission. And that might be a good time to find out where our microphones are and have some of you read a couple of verses. All right, there's one microphone. We got one over there.

All right, someone look up Mark 16:15. We gave that out to somebody who is the designated reader for that. All right, in just a moment we'll have you read that - Mark 16:15. Now, how many of you know somebody that is either struggling with or has passed away because of cancer? Is that almost everybody? It looks like almost everybody. It's a devastating disease.

If I told you today that there's been a breakthrough, and after years of research the scientists have discovered a pill that people can take for cancer and they've decided to distribute it only at churches - use your imagination. First of all, would that be good news? Would you want to tell people? Would that information go viral quickly? How long would it take? Hours for the whole world to know? I bet you within 24 hours, anybody that had any mechanism to hear, whether it's texting or television or radio or tell a neighbor - everybody would know that - or the majority of the population would know that in 24 hours. Why? Because it would be very good news, right? Now suppose I told you we've discovered a cure for something more deadly than cancer. It's sin. Now a cure for cancer might help you live long enough to die from something else, right? A cure from cancer would heal you so you could die from something else in a few years.

But suppose I told you that there's a cure for death. Wouldn't that be even better news? What is the Gospel? It's a cure for the worst disease in the world. And not only - it's not only a cure for death, it really is giving people everlasting life in a better world. So it's not just you live longer in this world, you live longer in a perfect world. That's really good news.

So what does it mean if Christians don't share it? Okay, let's read our verse. Where's is that? I think we're ready. Mark 16:15 - "and he said to them, 'go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.'" Thank you. What are we supposed to preach? What does the word 'Gospel' mean? Good news. It's not just good news, it's gooood news.

I mean, it's better than like cure for cancer kind of news, right? It's something you're going to want to tell everybody and he tells us how far to go. He tells us to go into where? 'All the world and preach it to every creature.' You know what a creature is? Anything God created. That almost has evangelists talking to birds and bees and pollywogs, I mean, any creature - 'have you heard the Gospel?' You know, you go to the turtle crossing the road, 'have you heard the Gospel?' So, I mean, Jesus really uses that word 'creature' and it's almost like an overstatement that you ought to tell every creature the good news - even the dogs and cats ought to know you've been converted, right? If you've been converted your pet ought to notice a difference - you're just nicer. And so Jesus is over-emphasizing this message that you're to go everywhere and tell every creature the very, very, very good news of the Gospel. Now, if we all really appreciate how good that news is, will we be able to prevent from telling others? How did it go viral - that word's overused but you all can relate to it when things spread like that on the internet - it's exponential growth - from twelve guys with mediocre faith - I mean, one of them said, 'ah, you've got to show me the nail prints.

' And he said, 'I don't believe it. Too good to be true.' How did it go from them to the entire roman empire and beyond in twenty years? Except they were so sold out to believing it that it wasn't a lot of evangelistic meetings, it was just all the time everywhere. I read an article last night by spurgeon - it's actually a sermon that spurgeon preached to - you know, they had a big problem back in spurgeon's day with outdoor preachers because some church leaders were saying, 'if they're not preaching in the church they're heretics. That's uncouth. That's undignified.

It's not controlled.' And they had all these outdoor preachers like wesley and whitfield and others and spurgeon went through a very good biblical discourse talking about 'where did Noah preach? What church did he preach in? He probably preached in the shipyard, didn't he? And Abraham, where did he preach? And Ezra and Nehemiah, when they opened the word? And he went through the Bible - pentecost - he just went through all these people who were preaching not in a church but everywhere else, including out under the stars or under the clouds. And it just, you know, reading that it helped me realize that so much of the Gospel really has happened not from preaching in the church, it's the preaching that happens outside the church. And so, we need to just really be looking for every opportunity to share the Gospel with people who are searching. You know, the last command of Christ should be the first priority of Christians. When he ascended into heaven and he said the Gospel is to go into all the world and the last thing Jesus said is 'go' - I've told you the whole Gospel is summarized in two big commissions or invitations the Lord gives.

Matthew 11, Jesus says, 'come to me.' First you come to Christ. Then when you've discovered the good news - you don't have to wait until you've had four years of seminary, after you come to Jesus, then you go for Jesus. Now that doesn't mean there's not some training involved - he says in the great commission that we are to teach - teaching them to obey - there's teaching involved. We need to study. But that should be the priority.

Statistics from a 1998 - this is an old survey conducted by the church growth, incorporated of monrovia, California. It suggested some of the most effective methods of evangelism. Now, this is old and some of it may have changed as the digital age has become more prominent, but the research from this - well, wait a second, I'm not going to tell you what the statistics are, I'm going to ask. Just to see if we're all on board, how many here are Christians? Let me just see your hands. Did some of you not raise your hands, oh yeah, so, all right.

So my next question is how many of you became a Christian because of a public evangelistic crusade or meeting? Let me see your hands. Okay, good, hold your hands - so you see several of you - that's quite - I thought that would be different in the seventh day adventist church. That's very good. All right, how many of you because somebody invited you to church? Well that's - of course, that could be - fall under the same category. That's a good group.

That looked like ten percent there. How many became a Christian because you went through a crisis in your life? Sometimes it might have been there was a death in the family, there was an illness, there was a divorce, there was a - sometimes they call it a move - a move can be a crisis, or a loss of job. Okay, I saw a handful of hands. How many of you just walked in off the street into a church one day? Not too many, it actually had three percent in this study. How many was it because of a Sabbath school or Sunday school program you became a Christian - someone invited you to a Sabbath school or a Sunday school? Okay, I thought that might be different too.

How many because you heard a pastor teaching or preaching? Okay, I see three or four hands, okay. Now, here's - how many were invited to either church or Christ through a friend or relative? Let me see your hands. Okay, that might be the majority. Now, according to this study, % came to Christ because a friend or relative either modeled it or invited them - it was the influence of a friend or relative. That usually has the biggest - so I knew that with the adventist church - because we do a lot of public evangelism - that was going to be a higher ratio.

Now, one thing I didn't ask, how many of you came to Christ because of - this was not in their study but I thought I should add it - because of a book or a study - something you read. Let me see your hands. Yeah, we're kind of a cerebral group. I see several people. Some of you - how many was it a combination of the things I just mentioned? Okay, good.

I figured that too. So, of the things we looked at, did you notice that among the highest was a friend or relative - there was a personal invitation that was given to come to Christ. So it was an invitation from somebody outside the church. So the most effective evangelist is not the evangelist and the pastor, it's the members. And of all the things that bring people - we've done the research before, you know, Amazing Facts does evangelistic meetings all year long, we've got a team of evangelists - we've - we understand evangelism.

When you go into town and you do an evangelistic meeting, you can advertise - you want people to come and hear the word because the power's in the word. How will they hear except there's a preacher? You want them to hear the spoken word. How do you get them to come? I've xeroxed advertisements and stuck them up in the laundromat, the stores, everywhere you can. You can do posters, you can do direct mail handbills, you can advertise on the radio, television, Facebook, internet - those are relatively new but they're becoming more and more effective. But you know what still is the most popular, successful method of getting people to come to a meeting? Personal invitation.

They have a friend that invites them. Second, in case you're taking notes for your meetings, in America Amazing Facts found second most successful is what we call direct mail. You have a flier, a handbill or something that comes in the mail and they read it and having very carefully chosen advertising for that community, a picture that will get their attention so they can read and find out more. And sometimes you need a combination of things. They get something in the mail and then they hear it on tv and they see a billboard or a poster.

Those things are very effective combinations of meetings. How many of you here in Sacramento - and this may be not relevant to those that are watching, but you've heard of the evangelist luis palau? How many of you have seen the fliers around Sacramento that luis palau is coming to town. Hold your hands up if you've seen it. That is excEllent advertising. And you're just thinking, there are posters - most of it - how many - is it a billboard for most of you? They're using almost exclusively posters and billboards, bus signs, bus stops.

He's a - an evangelical evangelist that's coming to town in June, but they've done a great job advertising because I've seen them everywhere and I could see - but you know what they've done is they've gotten a lot of churches together to cooperate in sharing the advertising. It's a lot of coordination that does that. But there's a great effort that's being made there and that's very important when people all work together that way. Well, while I'm talking about statistics - and I've got some more verses for you to read and some more of our lesson to cover, but I'm just talking about the science of evangelism a little bit because it's our last chance. In a recent study by george barna research - it's a Christian survey research group - they've shown that one of the most important strategies to employ in influencing the unchurched is to have trusted friends invite them to church.

It's not a new idea. For at least half a century proponents of church growth have described the significance of what they call 'friendship evangelism' or personal relationships in Marketing by word of mouth. If we look at the aggregate body of unchurched adults, four percent were invited to attend church with a friend and they did so. % Were invited to attend but they declined. % Of people were not invited.

So when they evaluate the unchurched community, four percent were invited to attend church and they did, 23% were invited but they declined, but the leftovers - after that four percent and 23% - 73% of the people out there who were unchurched did not come to church because no one's ever asked them. Did you get that? What does it hurt? Yeah, you might ask and 23% will say, 'no' and four percent will say 'yes' - that's not too bad. You know, if you were a gold miner and 23 pans came up with empty dirt but four percent came up with gold, would you be panning for gold? So if we've got 73% that aren't coming simply because no one invited them. That means you may not be able to give a Bible study. You probably can, you don't know it - but you may not think you can.

Or you might be afraid to talk to people about Jesus - you might get terrified when you think about witnessing. Just inviting a person to come visit your church with you - yeah, they might say no but if four percent said yes and you could have a four percent success rate, you could save four percent of the people you invite and they find everlasting life, is that worth it? That's pretty valuable. We ought to just - if nothing else - I mean, there's a lot of things we can do. Let's at least invite them to church. All right.

Never-ending witnessing evangelism - now that all was introduction - I'm getting to the first category in our lesson now. John 1:37-39 - and somebody look up for me - who has John 1, verse 46? Who has John 1:46? Over here? Okay, let's get the microphone to you. Hold your hand up. Now you'll notice in John 1:37 - I'll read this - two disciples heard John the baptist talking about Jesus and that he identified Jesus as the lamb of God and they started following Jesus and Jesus turned to see them following and said, 'what do you seek?' They said, 'rabbi', which is to be translated 'teacher' - 'where are you staying?' And he said, 'come and see.' And they came and they saw. By the way, that's real simple evangelism right there.

Come and see. They came and they saw. By the way, you come to Jesus you will see. If you want your eyes open, come to Jesus and you will see. And they came and they saw where he was staying and they reMained with him that day.

All right, now, read for us - I think we're ready - read for us John 1:46. John 1:46 - "and nathaniel said unto him, 'can there any good thing come out of nazareth?' Philip said unto him, 'come and see.'" Isn't it interesting that they hear Jesus say - one of the best Bible studies you can give a person is to come and see. An in - a simple invitation, 'come and find out where I'm going.' That's what Jesus said. They said, 'where are you going? Where do you stay?' 'Why don't you come with me? Come and find out.' So there, right at the beginning of the Gospel of John, some of the first words Jesus speaks is 'come and see.' And everybody can do that. And then you find out that the disciples - what does Philip then say to nathaniel right after he finds out about Jesus? He says - he models Christ's pattern for evangelism and when he wants to argue and debate about 'oh, those Christians are all hypocrites.

Can anything good come out of nazareth?' You ever heard people say that when you invite them to church? And you say, 'well, why don't you come and check it out for yourself? Come and find out. You know, I've lived next door to you for thirty years - just come once. Find out what I believe.' People can - sometimes it takes a while and then they say yes. We had a man yesterday who has come by our house to pick somebody up for twenty years. And I went out to his car and I said, 'you've been driving up here to pick up your wife for twenty years,' I said, 'why don't you come in our house? And he did.

And then we couldn't get rid of him. No, he really had a great time. He was visiting and - but I thought to myself, 'you've just stopped in your car and you've come to pick up your wife for twenty years and I said, 'why don't you just come in?' And he said, 'okay.' And he came on in. It just took an invitation - twenty years. So don't be - you might think, oh, well, can't ask them because I've known them so long and what will they think?' Well, maybe they're just waiting for an invitation.

I was kind of convicted by that yesterday. Anyway, so, in John you'll notice - oh, I was going to read - part of our lesson is talking about the woman at the well. This is a great scenario of kind of a friendship evangelism - one on one evangelism here. So you look in John 4 and here's where you find that story. We'll start with verse 7.

"A woman of samaria came to draw water" - you know, Jesus, in the middle of the day, he stops there at sichar, it's hot and he's tired. Hopefully there's a shade tree. The disciples don't want him to be contaminated by interacting with the samaritans and they need to buy some lunch, so they say, 'Jesus, you stay here and rest. We'll all go buy the vittles. We'll be back.

Don't go anywhere.' And so Jesus is sitting there obediently in the shade. He's looking at the well. He's probably thirsty but he has nothing to draw the water with. You've got to kind of bring your own pitcher from your house and while he's sitting there, this samaritan woman comes by. That's where our story takes up.

And he says to her, 'please give me a drink. Now, he wasn't demanding - that was the kind of language you would ask, politely, could you please give me a drink? Also, understand that in the middle eastern culture there was - water was considered the essence of life and you were told to even give water to your enemy and that if you gave water to people there was a blessing that you would receive. I mean, even Jesus said, 'any one of you that gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones will not lose his reward.' And so it was just deeply ingrained in their culture that you did not say 'no' if someone asked for water. But under other circumstances - first of all, a man alone would not talk to a woman alone and secondarily, a jew would not talk to a samaritan. And so, believe it or not, the way most Jewish men would have handled the situation if here you're all by yourself - you ever walk down a street where you're the only one on the street - there's not too many cars - and then someone starts walking towards you and they're the only one on the street and you're going to walk right by each other - don't you nod or say 'hi' or 'good day' or something? Yeah, how many of feel that's good manners - you do that? Now, if you're in New York city and you're going down 34th street at 5:00 in the afternoon.

Do you try to greet everybody you pass? Or is that kind of - are you looked at as being odd if you say, 'how you do? How you do? How you do? Good day. Good day. Good day.' You go crazy doing that, right? But when you're alone, it's awkward not to say something. But in the Jewish culture a man normally would have totally ignored her and a Jewish man wouldn't have said anything to her and that would have been expected. You ever gotten on an elevator with a bunch of people and everybody's just real quiet and it's kind of like, 'oh, here we are together now but we're not going to speak.

We're going to mind our own business and just stare at the door and wait for it to open again.' There's like elevator etiquette. And I remember reading one time - tony campollo used to say that when the elevator door closed he would turn around and face the people and he'd start preaching to them. Or he'd say something funny - he just couldn't be quiet in a crowd. But you do have a captive audience, usually, for a couple of floors if you want to make the most of that. That's a good idea for evangelism.

You ought to get on some, like - you know, go to rockefeller center and just take a bunch of tracts and get on the elevator and go up and down. Some people do that on the subway, they just start at one end of the train and they go to the other end of the train and they get off and they take another train and they go back the other way and they do evangelism. So, he's at the well with this woman and he asked her for a drink and she now is going to respond. It turns out that she had her own social issues where she was a little lonely and - for his disciples had gone away - and the woman said to him, 'how is it that you, being a jew, ask a drink of me, a samaritan woman? For jews have no dealings with samaritans.' And Jesus answered and said to her, 'if you knew' - he creates curiosity - 'the gift of God and who it is' - what I have to offer and who I am - 'and who it is that says to you 'give me a drink', you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.' In other words, well, you think it's a surprise that I'm asking you for a drink, if you really want a surprise you ought to know who it is that's asking you for a drink, I have something I could give you. I could give you eternal water.

Now she's - her curiosity's really peaked and she's wanting to Google his name and find out who is this. And the woman said, 'sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where are you going to get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself as well as his sons and livestock? - It was an ancient well. And Jesus said to her, 'whoever drinks of this water will thirst again.' As important as that well was, and it's true that Jacob did dig that well - it had great history there - they said, 'it's just water, just water.' You can go to the Jordan river right now and scoop water out of the Jordan river and bring it back and pour it in your baptistery and get baptized in water from the Jordan river and you're still going to just get wet. It's just water - muddy water.

Jesus said, 'I'm offering you something that's much more important than that. "The water that I will give" - verse 14 - "will become in him a fountain of water springing up" - it's artesian - "into everlasting life. And the woman said, 'sir, give me this water, that I don't thirst or have to come here to draw anymore." She was tired of hiking on the hot days and carrying that - you know, water's heavy - it's about eight pounds a gallon. And carrying that water when you've got one of these heavy clay pitchers including the water, four of five gallons it's quite a load. They sometimes carried it on their heads.

Have any of you ever seen these women in india and africa carrying the large vessels on their heads. They've got strong necks. She said, 'oh' - all she's still thinking about is physical water. He's trying to tell her, 'no, I'm offering you something better. And then he says, "go call your husband.

" - He says, 'I've got to turn this to a spiritual issue. And the woman, now shifting her feet, looking a little awkward says, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said, 'ah, you well said 'I have no husband' for actually you've had five husbands and the one you're living with now he's not your husband; in this you spoke truly.' Now good time to snap a picture - get your cell phone out - of her expression. What do you think was on her face when she said that - or when he said that? 'Uh, he's just laid out my whole life before me and I've never met this man before.' And after he says that she says, 'sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.' And then she's changing the subject she says, 'well, since you've got inside prophetic information, let's settle the issue about what mountain we're supposed to worship on. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain,' - mount gerizim she's pointing to - 'and the jews say it's supposed to be in Jerusalem.' And he says, 'woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will we worship The Father. You worship you don't know what.

We know what we worship for salvation is of the jews.' Boy, that's not very politically correct to tell the samaritans 'you don't know what you're worshipping. Salvation is of the jews.' He just laid it out - in other words, the truth had been committed to the Jewish people. 'But the hour is coming and now is when the true worshipers will worship The Father in spirit and in truth; for The Father is seeking such to worship him. God is the Spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.' Now, as he's speaking these profound truths, her heart is stirred and she says, 'I know that Messiah is coming' - she's wondering, 'is this him?' 'Who is called Christ, and when he comes he will tell us all things.' And then Jesus said something to her that he doesn't say to anybody else. He said, I who speak to you am he.

' Notice - 'I am.' He's declaring that he is the one. Count and circle how many times in John Jesus says, 'I am.' It's like God said to Moses, 'I am that I am.' And the jews understood when Jesus said, 'before Abraham was, I am.' They took up stones to stone him. Well, he's now revealed who he is. He did it in - how long did it take us to read that without my comments? You could probably read all of that in less than one minute. And in that time he so piqued her curiosity and so dazzled her with truth that she immediately runs to tell others and she leaves her water pot.

She doesn't even remember to fill the water pot because she is now looking for living water. She immediately needs to go. She runs into the town and she goes and she says, 'come see a man who told me all things ever I did.' And notice what did she say? - 'Come and' what did Jesus say, 'come and see.' What did Philip say? 'Come and see.' Now what does the samaritan woman say? 'Come and see.' Can every member invite people to come to an evangelistic meeting, come to a Bible study, come to a cooking program, come to a smoking program, a weight loss program? There's all kinds of programs that you can do. Every church can do something in evangelism and, you know, the Lord will bless. I think, when we make any honest effort to do something - some will maybe have more people than others, but I believe God will bless with results.

If we pray and we plan and then we invite God and his angels and his providence to work with us. If we say, 'Lord we're willing to do something.' I think God will bless and you'll see fruit from it. And that tree will grow and you'll see exponential growth. If everybody will invite people - somewhere - it might be inviting them to your home for a Bible study. Invite them into your home for a meal and then talk about what's near to your heart.

Everybody can do something, do you believe that? So the samaritan woman - and notice in your lesson here it kind of gives the formula for evangelism that Jesus used and it's got five points. He arrested her attention - he said, 'give me a drink.' He secured her attention - her interest, he created desire - he said, 'I've got something to offer you.' - And, by the way, these are good sales tactics too. He brought conviction - she saw that she needed what he had to offer, and then actions followed as a result of that process. Those principles are still true today. What Jesus did to reach that person in one on one evangelism, we can still do today and it still works.

Evangelism should also be a nurturing environment. Someone look up acts 2:42 - who has that verse? We've got a hand right here - acts 2:42 and while you're finding that I'm going to read John 1:7 - 1 John 1:7, "but if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Christ his son cleanses us from all sin." You know, one thing you can say about someone who's walking in light, they usually shine. A person walking in light usually reflects the light they're walking in, don't they? And so our lives ought to be glowing for God, so to speak. Everybody that walks in the light shines a little bit. And so, if we walk in the truth that we've received, people are going to see something different about us because of our practice in our lives.

And so, it's a walk - what does a walk mean in the Bible? The Bible says that he's given us an example that we should walk even as he walked. Does it mean you just walk in circles? When it says Enoch walked with God - what does walk mean, biblically? Noah walked with God. What does it mean to walk in the Bible? It's talking about your life, your direction, that there's a pattern in your life, that you live out certain things. It's your walk - you know, there's a difference between the walk and the talk, right? All right, acts 2:42, you're going to read for us. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking bread, and in prayers.

" So there's an ongoing study - there's a steadfast fellowship that's happening here, right? 'And in the breaking of bread and in prayers' - were they only meeting in churches? You notice it says 'they continued'? It wasn't one event. It's a walk - it's a continuing lifestyle that's happening here, of evangelism. Also in our lesson it invites us to go to acts chapter 11, verse - acts 11:25 and 26. Just before I read that, somebody's got 2 Timothy 2, verses 1 and 2 - who has those verses? Over here? We'll go to you next. Timothy 2:1 and 2 and I'll be reading acts 11, verses 25 and 26.

"Then barnabas departed for tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians at antioch." Now, if you wonder where you get the name Christian, this is the verse where you first find it mentioned. They were called 'Christ-ians' or 'Christian'.

It's almost like, you know, you can be a person who is from America - you're an American, and if you're from russia - you're a russian, and if you're from Christ - you're a Christ-ian. It's like you're from another country. They became denominated - identified as a peculiar people of that way. The Bible says, 'if they were of that way' - back then you could see they were groping for 'what do you call them?' And, finally, they sort of got their first denominational name - was Christian - and as different splits happened to the Christian church, they had to become more specific in what denomination - how they were going to be identified. But they did evangelistic meetings, back then, that lasted a year.

It says 'Paul - or Saul - and barnabas they continued there in antioch and they were there for a whole year. They were studying the word, they were assembling together, and, you know, being a Christian is a whole lifestyle. How long was Jesus' evangelistic meeting with the apostles? For about three and half years they walked with him and talked with him and watched him and studied with him and he gave them hands on personal, industrial-strength teaching. They watched him teach others so he modeled and patterned his things and as they went from town to town he showed them what to do and how to do it and - so when the Holy Spirit was finally poured out, they were well-trained. And you know what the testimony of their enemies was? When they saw their boldness and they heard them teaching, they took knowledge they had been with Jesus.

They could say - you know, I've seen some young evangelists and when I see them up front teaching or preaching I can say, they worked with so and so. They have been watching the tapes of this person or that person. Their mannerisms, their style - you can kind of tell what other great teachers or evangelists they were working with because they sort of - you start to model it and - my mother was really, you know, she was an actress but my brother and I could always tell who she was on the phone with without her ever saying their name because she would assume the accent and the mannerisms of that person. It was just something she did - I think it was subconscious. But whoever she was talking to she started to talk like them - if they were from england, she took on an english accent, just right away.

If they were a hard-core new yorker she started talking with a hard-core New York accent, or she'd use yiddish slang, but she just did it all the time so we always knew - she just absorbed it. Well, you know, if you spend time with Jesus you start to absorb it and you should want to model him for other people. Anyway, all right, we're going to read 2 Timothy 2, verses 1 and 2 - I think - are we ready for that? Yes, I think we are. 2 Timothy 2:1, 2, "you, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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.

" Oh, this is such a very important verse. Paul is saying, 'Timothy, I've done my best to try to model for you' - Paul worked with Timothy as a son - he said, 'I've done my best to model with you what it means to be a Christian and to be a pastor and evangelist.' He said, 'now I want you to pick out people that you can mentor this with. You need to then disciple others.' Paul said, 'you know, I'm getting older and I'm going to be in jail.' Matter of fact, when he wrote this in 2 Timothy he was in jail and Paul was thinking about the future of the church and he was basically saying, 'you need to be passing this on - don't keep it to yourself.' But the best thing a good leader can do is prepare his replacement. One of the most important things a good leader can do is as soon as you take your position of leadership, start looking around saying, 'who, now, can I train to step in for me if something happens?' And that's just a good model to follow. And he says, 'pass this on to others who will be able to teach others also.

' Every Christian should be learning. We ought to - why did Jesus send them out two by two? It was often an older person - or more experienced or mature or seasoned - with a younger one and one would try to disciple and train and model the Christian behavior for the younger one. The one with the experience would be helping teach the younger one. That just is a proven method. Every day - what is lifestyle evangelism about? Ask for wisdom each day - I'm going to give you a list in case any of you want to write this down.

We can post my notes at the sac central website later. Some things you can do in personal evangelism: ask for wisdom each day to use your time effectively for evangelism. Pray every day and say, 'Lord, bring me in contact with somebody today - help me recognize those opportunities that I can be a witness to.' It's about time. Sometimes years go by and we think, 'you know, I never really have invited anybody' - and we've got to be proactive about it. .

Study every day to know how to answer people regarding your belief. The Bible says that we should study to show ourselves approved. Peter says, 'be ready always' - and this is in 1 Peter 3:15 - "be ready always to give an answer to anyone who asks the reasons for your faith with meekness and fear." In other words, be studying so that you can explain your faith and what you believe and why you believe it. And that doesn't just mean study only the Bible. Of course, we should be studying the Bible but it's important to read other good Christian inspired material that we can know how to share Christ.

While Christianity does not change with the culture, there are things we can learn to reach the varying cultures. And so, we want to be sensitive to those things. When the internet came along and television and radio came along, Christians started using those things for witnessing and so study and look for opportunities. . Find a fishing hole.

Now what I mean by that - we're talking about fishing for men, right? Do you have a fishing hole? Is there a place you go and you realize that you're going to have an opportunity to talk to unbelievers in that scenario? Don't wait for the lost to always be approaching you. Don't always wait for them to wander into church and say, 'I shook hands with a visitor today, I was witnessing.' That's important. We want you to be friendly with visitors. We have them every week at church. But when you get out of church - I was in a church last week voting - you know we had an election so I went to vote and it was a baptist church that was the voting place, and I've seen this on several churches - it's very nice - as you drove out of the parking lot there was a sign that says, 'you are now entering your mission field.

' And I thought, we need to do that here - that's - just to keep that before people. For me, one of my fishing holes - I've got a few - is racquetball. A couple of times a week where I play racquetball they have something called - on Tuesday nights and Thursday nights - it's called 'challenge court'. That means all the old duffers that like to play racquetball, we don't know who we're playing with, we all get together and we rotate in and out depending on who wins the game. And while we're sitting out there waiting, we get to visit with each other.

It's a great opportunity for me to visit with every type and stripe of people and I've just met some really neat guys with neat stories. They all know I'm a pastor and so their language improves when I play with them in the game - I think. . Find someone who is doing it and partner with them. Do you have a friend who's a good soul winner? Say, 'can I go with you when you do a Bible study?' And just watch.

Pair up with someone who is successful. . One of the best ways to share your faith is demonstrate what you believe by being positive - especially even when you go through a trial and then find ways - 7 - bless others, do good to people and show them that you care about their practical needs, whether it's healing or providing - and people know that you believe what you believe because you care. So those are some things you can do in lifestyle evangelism - I've enjoyed this lesson. I wish we could start over and do it one more time.

And next week we're going to be talking about first and second Thessalonians. God bless you friends, thank you for studying with us today and we'll look forward to studying together again in the near future. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at 'amazingfacts.org'. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including Amazing Facts presents. One location.

So many possibilities. 'Amazingfacts.org'.

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