Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 22: Evangelism

Brief 2-to-3 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 22 of the Discipleship Making process.

I left you last time with this question, “How are we to share our faith?”

Read: Matthew 10:1-15, Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6, 10:1-16

The Scripture states that Jesus sent out ambassadors twice to care for the people before giving the “Great Commission”. The first time He sent out the twelve apostles for about a six-month period of time only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Several months later He sent seventy other disciples for about a two-month period of time to all the cities to which He was about to come. The instructions He gave both groups were essentially the same and very, very specific.

Prayer preceded both ventures. Everyone petitioned God to send workers into the harvest. Then Jesus commissioned those who would go. He sent them out in pairs, so that every word of God would be confirmed in the mouth of two or more witnesses. He told them to preach that men should repent (change your mind – have a change of heart) and to proclaim that the kingdom of God was at hand (God’s rule, power, and authority is here and now, as it is contained within the person making the statement.).

To give credibility to His ambassadors, Jesus gave them power to cast out demons and to heal every kind of sickness and disease, so that their testimony would not rest merely in words alone but with the power of God from on high. After someone was healed they were to declare to them, “The kingdom of God is at hand”. With the power to heal came an additional responsibility. Jesus’ ambassadors were not permitted to take any money or compensation for the healing, for freely they received the gift from God therefore, they should give it away freely (ex. 2 Kings 5).

The instructions Jesus gave concerning the journey to their destinations seemed to be wrapped in a sense of urgency. His disciples were not to make any formal preparations for the journey. They were not to acquire anything for their journey or for their support such as money, clothing, luggage or food. And they were not to schmoose, chitchat or have idle conversation with anyone along the way (ex. 1 Kings 13).

Upon entering a city Jesus’ ambassadors were to find aman of peace(a term that denotes a person who is humble, hospitable and has a great respect for God (a God-fearer). He would not necessarily have to be Jewish or Christian to qualify.). They were to stay in his home and eat his food during the duration of their stay in that city. Upon entering his house they were to greet the people with peace be upon you. The word “shalom/peace” conveys not only the idea of peace but also safety, well-being, health, contentment, success, comfort, integrity and wholeness. When this greeting is given, then God extends His peace and favor to the people of that home.

If a home or city refused to receive or heed their words, Jesus’ ambassadors were to go out into the streets and shake the dust off their feet. As they did this they were to say, “Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near you” (ex. Acts 13:51, 18:6).

The point of the lesson is according to Jesus, this is how you should evangelize.

With that, allow me to leave you with this question to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:

Why do you think Christians feel inadequate and fearful about evangelism?

. . . and the homework assignment . . .

Pray every day for the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His harvest.

Preach the gospel to at least one individual this next week trying to stay as close to how Jesus said to do it.

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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