INTRO: Not very long ago we had what I have heard was an excellent evangelism seminar. Brother Stephen Rogers has developed a very successful method of studying with people who are searching for the truth of Gods word. However, no matter how successful the method we use and with which we are familiar, until we take the initiative to study with people, that method will not succeed in its intended purpose. With that in mind I want us to think together about what some people call friendship evangelism. The most difficult thing for most of us is not a study method. The most difficult thing is to initiate a study with another person! This is where friendship evangelism (or relationship evangelism) helps us. So, consider it with me.
I. SOME PRELIMINARY ESSENTIALS
A. We must remember the great commission
1. Mt 28:19,20 - we have a commission from the Lord
2. Phil 2:14-16 - yes, the commission is indeed ours, too!
3. a consciousness and concern for people who are out of Christ
B. The example of a faithful Christian life
1. your life must be a model of a Christian life for others to copy
2. so, 1 Cor 11:1 (also 1 Thes 2:10 - he could point to his life without worry that it did not reflect Christ as it should)
3. if you have doubts about your conviction, your confidence, your practical life in Christ, you are defeated before you begin
C. A desire to teach others
1. Eph 1:3 - all spiritual blessings in Christ ... so, what of the condition of any out of Christ? - Eph 2:1
2. such a condition should move us to do all possible to help them
3. I have seen wonderful expressions of practical assistance for friends and family who are physically ill - why, though, should there not be even more expressions of practical assistance for friends and family who are out of Christ?
D. A knowledge of the word of God
1. I like to note 2 Tim 2:2 - who shall be able to teach others also
2. how can we teach what we do not know? We cannot
3. it is imperative that every Christian devote himself to such a study of the word of God that he is equipped to teach others!!!!
II. WHY FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM?
A. Survey results from 14000 church members who were asked, What or who was responsible for your coming to Christ and the church?
1. 75% to 80% - friends and/or relatives!!!
2. do that number not tell us the reason for friendship evangelism?
B. Question? Who are the people in whom you have greatest interest?
1. is not your family? Your friends? How natural!!
2. Jno 1:40-42 - Andrew is a wonderful example of such interest
3. Jno 1:43-46 - Philip is another example of such interest
4. here are two men, not especially well known, who desperately wanted family and friends to know the Lord! And they did what they needed to do to make that possible
C. Question? Who are the people you are most likely to influence?
1. I suggest to you that experience proves it is family and friends
2. Acts 9:26,27 - who influenced the Jerusalem church to accept as a brother in Christ Paul? It was Barnabas, whom they knew and trusted!
3. my own experiences in Australia
a. our question? How to evangelize?
b. we used newspaper, T.V., leaflets, door knocking, radio, etc.
c. what was most successful in reaching people? Contact with friends and acquaintances (barber, banker, dry cleaning delivery man, etc.)
4. my long termed experience? Always most successful reaching people with whom there is a relationship; hence, my earlier thought relationship evangelism
CLOSE: There is more to come. Remember, your personal mission field is much nearer than you think. The question each of us must answer is this, When am I going into the field? Friends and family are waiting.
Cecil A. Hutson
17 February 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)