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4. Cycle of Evangelism Overview- Part 1

Kameron DeVasher

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Kameron DeVasher

Director of Sabbath School & Personal Ministries, Michigan Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

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  • June 12, 2016
    12:00 PM
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So I've been given the high sign that we're ready to go what I'm going to I'm going to tell you briefly what we're going to do there we're going toward a prayer and going to do the thing we said we're going to do OK this afternoon we're going to be spending a little bit of time together and by the way my name is Cameron on the pastor of the Kalamazoo seventy seven his church and we have one count of the white in here and so I don't want to say that's the best student in the room but I'm going to be expecting the most from her sister Williams when we get home but I assume that the rest of you are representing other churches and you can be doing whatever you learn here are going to be putting it to use in your local area right. Yes They timidly said so. With that expectation we don't want to just pie in the sky we want to be practical We want to dig in and put some stuff to you so with all of that said I'm going to prepare what we call the cycle of evangelism that's going to be the first chunk of our time together it would take a little break and we're going to dig deeper into the first couple of phases of those soil preparation and seed sowing that's what we're going to cover this whole afternoon but before we dive in any study let's start with a word of prayer shall we deli Father thank you so much for this beautiful afternoon thank you that you give us the opportunity not only to learn of you but to work with you and for you in this world. Please Lord I would ask you guide and direct our study now please not only give us information but Lord let us have some transformation become more like Jesus to work for Jesus and to hasten Jesus already soon coming for pray it in Jesus' name amen this is a fun presentation entitled wide Jesus was always talking about plants I don't know if you notice if you read through the gospel record when Jesus gives parables and sure he talked about other things right sheep catching fish talked about saving money but most of the time far away most of his stories were based on the agricultural cycle so which leads to the question why was he always talking about plants and you could say that yes there was an agricultural society and that's something that people could relate to but there's something deeper in Jesus' understanding of plants and why was I meant to do this now I've got it on the screen but it's also in your Bibles if you're follow along people which I appreciate or if you're no takers that's a good thing too but we're going is the Old Testament book of Isaiah Isaiah Chapter sixty one and verse one. The spirit of the Lord God is upon me writes the prophet because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor he has sit me out to heal the broken hearted to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound I'm guessing that every one of this room is familiar with those words I'm also guessing that we didn't know them from Isaiah sixty one most the time we quote that passage we're not going to the old test we're actually using it from the New Testament does anybody recall where we would find that I'm not looking for chapter and verse but what. Thank you that's right Luke Chapter four is what you're looking for looking for a book in chapter Jesus went to his hometown of Nazareth so he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up and as his custom was I don't know if any of you over the morning worship this morning or negotiable but you notice that Jesus had a custom a habit he just went to church because it Sabbath that's what you do and as his custom was he went to the sitting on the Sabbath day and stood up to read and he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah and when he had opened them. He found the place where it was written so clearly Jesus looking for something particular he's going through the scroll and he finds what we now refer to as Isaiah sixty one the spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor you see me to heal the broken hearted to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind the liberty of those who are oppressed to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord now we're all familiar with that but what we're often not familiar with is the rest of it because what Jesus does there is kind of give a summary statement a little synopsis and a truncated version of Isaiah sixty one now is is sixty one isn't that long Let's look at up on our Bibles let's make sure that it's still in there if you have a Bible that does not have an Isaiah sixty one. You have problems. This is the mission statement of Jesus' ministry his public work on our behalf and again is not a very long chapter it's only eleven verses long but we often just stop with verses one a little bit into two and say all that's good I know as a sixty one No but what I want to point out is this is the mission statement of Jesus' ministry by the way Jesus admitted this is self in the passage he said and he began to say to them today this scripture is what fulfilled He said I am vet. The guy the prophet was writing about in first person I am that person today the Scriptures fulfilled in your hearing now what I want to focus on is this whole thing outlines his ministry but let's go down to verse eleven. I say Touch sixty one verse eleven notice what we have have here for as the earth brings forth its bud. As the garden causes the things that are sewn in it to spring forth so now let's pause right there notice these use an analogy as the garden or as the earth brings forth its butter causes things to grow so when he says So what does that mean. Therefore or similarly or in a like manner or in the same way so the Lord God will cause righteousness and prays to spring forth before all the nations OK so here in the mission statement of Jesus' ministry is public work. Is revealed how the world will learn of the righteousness of God it will be like a garden that grows and Jesus understood this Thus I believe he's always talking about plants seeds soil crops and harvest so much because it was part of his prophetic mission statement that we're not going to take too much time on this right now but you realize that Jesus public ministry was only three and a half years long. It wasn't that long at all there was no way and he didn't have the intention of doing all the work of sharing the gospel with the whole world by himself during his own public life time in fact it wasn't the gospel until he had completed his life and mission right and then when it was all done he says all of forty has been given to me therefore go and who is he talking to the disciples He didn't say therefore I'm to go and tell my own story he says Now you and that construction to you is implied to you go so Christ understood he was laying the groundwork for a movement that would grow after he left that makes it OK So as Jesus was talking about this growth cycle because that's how the world would learn about the Gospel OK a spiritual process a kin to the agricultural cycle is how God intends the knowledge of His righteousness to spread throughout the earth as the earth causes that which is grown to bring forth the but is a garden cause of things that are true to grow so just as the agricultural cycle includes soil preparation there's five distinct steps by the way if you're again bullet point no takers number writers whatever number one. Soil preparation. Number two seed planting. And number three cultivation. Before harvest and number five preservation of the crop. So in the agricultural cycle any time a farmer goes out or a gardener goes out there is always the steps that must be involved get to prepare the soil so the seed cultivate the crop harvest the crop and then do something with it preserve the crop. In the same way the cycle of evangelism involves the sick with steps that are essential for true success in reaching people now you can reach people without doing all of these steps but it's not going to be done as well it's not going to be done is far reaching is deeply seated It's not going to be done as efficiently or effectively if you neglect any of these steps OK five steps of the cycle of evangelism So let's just go through it one by one that's what this entire first presentation is is a general overview of the five steps in the agricultural or evangelistic cycle the first step in the cycle evangelism is to prepare the soil of the heart. This is done by building friendship in trust thus opening the doors for the reception of truth. We do this by drawing close to people through being kind and other seems like a radical thing the very first thing you want to do is be nice it's a really good first step being kind intentionally social. Right you don't want to just haphazardly bump in like you've got a strategy in mind ending for something you have an objective intentionally social and minister ing to practical needs a this is preparation of the soil let's go to Luke Chapter eight. Luke Chapter eight now I have these on the Power Point because I go to places that not everybody brings their Bible but this is the studious A plus crowd you those Bible toting can't meeting going people and I appreciate it let's just make sure it's in there Luke Chapter eight. Starting with verse eleven now the parable is this oh as we start back up verse four that's just the application start with verse four and when a great multitude had gathered and they had come to him from every city he spoke by a parable first five of her went out to well a piece of so what's he going to do so his seed. As he sowed some fell by the wayside it was trampled down. And the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on a rock and as soon as it sprang up it wither away because it lacked oyster some fell among Fornes and the thorn spring up with it and choked it verse eight but others fell on what kind of ground good ground sprang up and yielded a crop a hundred fold. And when he had said these things he cried he who has ears to hear he has ears to hear let him hear now if you skip down to verse eleven Jesus decode the whole thing we could go around and guess and have opinions but Jesus tells us exactly what he means. Now the parable is this. Now the parable is this. The see is the what the Word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear then the devil comes and takes away the word out of the Hearts lest they should believe and be saved so the first group to know some people that might have heard it being said but it doesn't even land in the heart at all the devil comes and snatches away they don't believe they have no if they experience and they're just out. Now next verse thirteen but the ones on the rocks are those who when they hear receive the word with joy so they do take it in right and these have no what routes. Those they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away so they receive they not only hear it but they also receive it and it's good for a minute but temptation comes along and they're out next group. Verse fourteen now the ones that fell among foreigners are those who when they've heard go out and are choked with cares riches and pleasures of life and bring no fruit to maturity so notice these this group apparently did grow. Might have even stayed in the church. But they get caught up in everyday life riches and pleasures or whatever the stresses of the day maybe and what happens to their crop might still be physically there the plant but what's missing fruit so they're not fruitful You notice there's a progression there one has no belief at all one has a belief for a minute and is swept away others believe in kind of stay but they don't bring fruit to maturity but Finally there's that one group. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who having heard the word with a noble and good heart keep it and bear fruit with patience and that's what you're looking for now notice this the seed is the Word of God what's important to note is that of of the many lessons we can learn from this parable as number one that the seed was the same for. Every group of people it's not like some people or one with the Word of God Other people were one with something else the seed is the same all the way through it's all the Word of God. Another thing to notice there's no difference the Bible is no difference in the technique of the sower. It's not like he like you know when Rose this way and then he scattered it a crazily this way or threw it up and let the wind carried or threw it over his back no no he sows the same seed the same way for every group but there's a different outcome. So if we know the seed is the same and the technique is the same what's the only thing that makes a difference in the outcome. The ground itself and the ground in this parable represents different types of people. Specifically not age or nationality or socio economic This is not what they're talking about it's the spiritual condition of the people the condition of their heart right notice the Bible specifically says that right the good ground the ones that fell on good ground are those who having heard the word with a noble and good heart keep it and bear fruit ribbons The only difference is the condition of the heart. Now this should be if nothing else helpful force if you ever been frustrated then I'd share glow tracks I gave my personal testimony I don't care so you might be tempted you know what I need to try a different approach or use different material no they might not just be ready to hear word them out of your head hear the truth yet that's just not where their head is not with their heart is prepared right so before we even go in there's a work to do preparing the soil so we have the best chance so we can get into the whole this and there's I promise you as you go through this week one of the things we're going to be dealing with how to spot the difference between someone who's ready and someone who's not that was one of John John Bradshaw. One of his main points right don't necessary just go. And pluck all the green fruit it's not ready yet we should be able to learn how to spot good fruit look for something how do we know their spiritual interests and those lessons are coming but what I want to plant in your mind is there is a difference and it's not the problem of the word is not the problem of the messenger it might be the recipient What's the condition of their heart so let's keep going Christ object lessons page fifty seven is what rights the sowers of the seed which we all want to be Sowers of the seed have a work to do in preparing hearts to receive the gospel. In the Ministry of the word or this hurts to read there is too much what's that word sermonizing. And I hate to bring this up but we did on lock revelation night after night after night we did five nights a week six nights six meetings a week at the end of the thing we did and we did our after face to meetings preaching and preaching and preaching but she says there's too much sermonizing. And too little of real what kind of work heart to heart work. There is need of personal labor for the souls of the lost in Christ like sympathy we should come close to him in individually and seek to awaken their interest in the great things of eternal life their hearts may be as hard as beaten highway and apparently it may be a useless effort to present the Savior to them. But while logic they fail to move. An argument be powerless to convince. The love of Christ revealed in personal ministry. May soften the stony heart so the seed of truth can take root. We have to do a work of tilling the soil I have never met a farmer or gardener who by seed just goes out to a bare patch of ground and just starts you know sprinkling it to spread the seed with any expectation that they're going to have a good crop they know intuitively you've got to prepare the ground to receive the seed one. The problems we have sometimes it will run up to people and share spiritual seed we don't realize we're just throwing it out a rock. We've got to spot the difference and when there is tough ground we should do things to help soften that soil so that when the seed comes it's ready to be received OK. Let's go to the second step the second step in the evangelism cycle is to actually so the seed of truth. That's kind of a given right we spent the whole time on soil prep with the expectation to see but. Get into this in just a minute we have a lot of churches that do all whole lot of soil prep and they never actually saw the seed after building friendship and trust we should test the soil by planting seeds of truth. This is the time to share religious literature media and or our personal testimony. At some point we have to transition from a Help me to let me take care of your needs and we do a kindness and gesture and like I said we're going to get into some of these things in more detail in a few minutes but for now the basic concepts need to be rooted for the purpose of preparing the soil is to sow the seed that's it. So. Ecclesiastics the Bible has a lot say about this Ecclesiastes Chapter eleven six. He who observes the wind will not so now what does it mean to observe the wind I thought we couldn't see the wind what does it mean to observe the wind. Right you just got you looking for the effects of the winter testing you might throw things up and you're you're kind of checking the meter a logical conditions like oh maybe this isn't a good time it's a little too windy it's a little it's not just right yet right but who observes the wind will not so and he who regards the clouds will not reap severe always like in like it's a little too cloudy it's a little too windy to look through this or maybe there's not enough cloud mean there's not a if you're white waiting for just the right conditions you know it's going to happen you're never going to so. You observe the wind went up so he regards the clouds will not reach So what's the solution in the morning so your seed. And in the evening do not withhold your hand for here's a reason you do not know which will prosper. I don't know if you've ever had that experience. But sometimes you preach the word and you've got some people you think oh man they're on the line they're ready to go and they don't but then out of nowhere comes this one person you thought wasn't interested wasn't what and all of them they're receptive right. Or you might go door to door and you might look at this house or you might are to make a pre-determination like this is a waste of time at this house. But you knock on that door and lo and behold they are more receptive and more interest in the person and you don't want to tell them like who I was I was about to move past your house because I looked at it you know want to say that. But you pretty you kind of look at think well these people may not be in a place but you just try just so the sea work on them OK for you do not know which will prosper either this or that or love this last line or whether both alike will be good it might work for everybody but you're never going to know unless you so that's what the point is here please yes now it's good Isaiah Chapter thirty two Verse twenty blessid are you who so beside what all waters send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey when in doubt share when in doubt so the seed may not be perfect it may not be everything expected maybe they're not exactly what but give it a shot. This is why put it this way testimonies volume seven page thirty five. You are to sow the seeds of truth in every place. Where ever you can gain access hold forth the Word of God So beside all waters. You may not at once see the result of your labors but be not discouraged speak the words that Christ gives you. Work in his lines go forth everywhere he did during his ministry on the earth love this last line the world's Redeemer had many hearers but few followers you realize that Jesus talked to more people than who followed him afterwards I mean the quintessential example of this is in John chapter six right he feeds the five thousand the very next day he's like all right no more physical food let's make the transition you notice that that's exactly what it is he started preparing the soil the heart gives them what they need they come back the next day they're looking for seconds. In Christ as knows no physical food a day to day you get the real thing today I'm going to give you the real bread of life which is me and in that memorable text John six verse sixty six. And from that day many followed him no longer It got so bad that he had to turn around to his Tor twelve and said Are you all leaving to the world Redeemer had many hearers but few followers far more people heard Jesus than follow Jesus but praise God he didn't quit you just keep going to many people make the mistake of not sowing the seed of truth because they're afraid they'll do it poorly and I think that's a legitimate thing you don't want to misrepresent God you don't want to in any way taint the truth and get offend them or do anything else but. Even if you have legitimate concerns though should be overcome because it would be much better to fail trying than guarantee failure by not trying at all. If you don't share what you have to share they may not have something shared effort. While we never want to approach someone with Bible truth in a careless manner and certainly not a noxious or heavy handed or anything like that we far too often go to the opposite extreme of being so cautious that we never actually so the seat it's better to risk failure because of a poor approach. Than to guarantee failure by making approach I'll. Just give it a shot so beside all waters and you don't know which or both alike. That's just it. The third step and again we're especially those first two steps we're going to come back to and highlight a bit more. The third step in the evangelism cycle is to cultivate the interest through bible study we're going to spend a little bit of time on this. When someone responds positively to spiritual seed that interest needs to be called debated by the Word of God This is best accomplished through weekly personal bible studies OK so let's go through the steps we have so far you start by cultivating the not cultivate about preparing the soil right and getting them ready through personal works and interpersonal relationships and meeting their needs those kind of activities OK so you do that for a while and what generally happens is if churches do that they do a lot of that and what ends up happening is they just till the soil till the soil and when they're done instead of sowing The They're like all right let's go back in and they till the soil some more and so we have very well prepped hearts some good relationships made but no seed is actually sown but then let's say that you actually do prepare the soil then you sow the seed you hand out the glow track you give out the D.V.D. you share your personal testimony whatever it is and they have an interest in spiritual things let's say that you go knocking on doors let's and fact that might be hypothetical now but I'm pretty sure it's about become reality later in the week praise the Lord let's say that you do that and in working with different church groups and going on outreach projects I have a little theory in my mind I could be wrong but I don't like the thought of that. That people are more afraid of someone saying yes than they are afraid of them saying no now you hear what I want to go out door to door on the freight and with a friend of all someone's going to be rude they're going to show the door in my space they're going to be mean they're going I don't think that's the problem. I think that people are kind of expecting a rejection they go to the door and what if something happens and if a fills that self-fulfilling prophecy right right I'm not going to door Oh get out of here I've been wounded for the cause. They kind of relieved like done my duty I got my scar. And it demonstrates that I'm not gifted in this area it's not my gift I think you've already covered that witnessing is not a spiritual gift now we can improve our abilities at it but what would happen I think more church members are prepared for that than they are if someone when you knock the door I would you like to yes I would I'm so excited I've been praying for someone to come and open the Word of God to me can you start right now. Right when you're standing with your face all hanging out like I was not expecting that I had no expectation that you would ever say Yes I thought it was just doing my you know penance or something I was going through and just enduring the inevitable rejection and also and you actually want to study we don't know what to do. We don't have our little Google Calendar ready to make an appointment we don't have a Bible study guide we're usually just kind of randomly hoping we're bump into something that may be a good and somebody else will follow it right but what happens if you meet someone who actually wants to study the Bible with you. What you don't want to do is say Hang on let me go get my pastor there are people out there you will run into them if you offer to study the Bible with someone someone's going to say yes. And then as a radical idea. Somebody is going to say yes and then what do you do. A lot of churches spend time in those first two phases of the evangelists like for instance let's say you want to do a. Meeting people's needs and you want to do a cooking class or a Health Expo Those are big right now like the pathways to health praise the lord you've been following along with those fantastic I mean thousands of people been reached in a day and it takes some preparation going into it but the execution of it the meet and greet the actual pressing the flesh with people only takes a day or two it's actually a pretty quick event you check their blood pressures you know you find out if they have cavities or whatever the thing is you fix them up with a haircut and cinema on their way you give him a glow to actually good so you prepare the soil or you could do if you're Richard's ever done a global phone or you have some sort of literature distribution something or other and everybody is passing these are you can go out and do five hundred of them in an afternoon it's easy to say OK we did that the day we did and just like the agricultural cycle. Unless you had some huge industrial You know farming Balmer it probably the tilling of the soil even for the at. Average farmer only takes a day or two. You just kind of become a tractor even do it by hand in your backyard garden in the preparation the soil isn't that hard. It might be a laborious but it's not long lasting. And then the sowing of the seed How long does that take. Not much time at all. But the real time is involved is the cultivation process right watering the stuff we the stuff tending to the stuff keeping the bugs away to ongoing care as it slowly and this is where I get frustrated I'll be honest in real life gardening this is where my Killie's heel is I think it's great to set up the garden I like to imagine it size I like to kill so I think it's great but then you put the seed and it just sits there. And you ever do one of the experience we have a little cup or a planter a little soil thing you know your kids bring it home for B.B.'s or whatever it's got a seed in there and you water a day goes by nothing another day goes by nothing another day goes nothing and finally after four answers so the thing out is just this is mind numbing so slow I mean there's literally a phrase like watching grass grow it takes time. And if you really want to care for you got it all is going to here's what's going to happen. If you have someone who says yes to a Bible study almost guarantee the very first Bible study. They're going to have forgot their soccer practice. They go I'm sorry got to cancel this next week is oh we've got a cold I sorry it's not good time to come over and then they'll go to lesson one it took you three weeks to get there you go back and they forgot all Lesson one the next we get to do it again. Right now you're on the fourth or fifth week and they had another cancellation slow as molasses frustrating and here's what's really frustrating the less than seven and then they just kind of get this interest or something and it starts waning and you're like I poured two months into you. And it's not happy you know it's just. It's so much easier to do the soil prep stuff. It's so much easier to hand out five hundred million glow tracks which I'm not against at all but the actual one on one heart to heart face to face people to people work. And you're going to go into houses that smell. Dogs that bite. Kids that are all running around misbehaved I mean you're going to people who don't have Jesus in their life. They've got a lot of bad habits a lot of stuff going on and it's going to be a pain. But that's where the real work lies I think Elder Howard was talking about that earlier this is what he called the bottleneck right this is where it is right here when someone responds positively to spiritual seed that interest must be cultivated by the Word of God. This is a best accomplished through weekly personal bible studies and I'm pretty sure he mentioned to step out but in that bottleneck that he referred to. That everyone who becomes a part of God's written church the seven devils movement is going to go through some course of Bible studies you have to. Write it in the baptismal vows do you understand and believe this do you accept this do you promise to do such and such you had to know it first so you're either going to go through a big. Campaign and have a small little follow up you know or you going to have a long series of person by both sides but everyone's going to have to go through this process a Bible study. This is the need in our in our churches right now the spirit pursed Peter chapter two and verse two says as newborn baby those new in the faith those just open to the Word of God just tasting for the first time as newborn babies desire the pure milk of the what word that you may grow thereby. You're only going to grow in Christ as you feed on his word you can have all the personal relationship you want and have great music a church and all those things but at some point you have to come to know your savior through the word period it has to happen if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. We saw this in Acts Chapter eight Philip was told to go to the Ethiopian runs him Philip brand him and heard him reading from the prophet Isaiah and said Do you understand what you're reading now again we go let's go and find this one here let's get a little context Isaiah I'm sorry. Acts Chapter eight he's reading from Isaiah and Acts Chapter eight. Again we cover this a bit in the morning devotional but this man was he a believer or nonbeliever. He was a believer already OK how do we know that. It was already in the book of Isaiah but give me some more and at what else do we know about him he was on his way back from Jerusalem having done what. Worship there right so he was going to Jerusalem for worship he was a student of the Word of God. So you might think well what else does he need Bible study for you already has a relationship with God through His Word. No you don't know Jesus yet you need to the present through the application in the life this is about Jesus Christ right so in Acts Chapter eight verse twenty six now an angel the Lord spoke to Philip saying Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza this is desert so he rose and went and behold a man of Ethiopia a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Hopi and who had charge of all the treasury and had come to Jerusalem to worship. Was returning and sitting in his chariot he was reading Isaiah the prophet was right there our message needs to go not only to non Christians but also to Christians as well I don't know if you catch that I have a little bit of a beef with the terms churched and unchurched the implication is oh oh they're part of the measuring church already well they're done. None and. See the difference is this man knew the doctrines he just didn't know Jesus in our society today most evangelicals know Jesus but they don't know the doctrine they don't know the truth about the second coming they don't know the truth about the state of the dead they don't know too truth about Bible prophecy they don't know the truth about the heavenly sanctuary they don't know the truth about health reform they don't know the truth about these distinctive features of our faith they're like a great many. Christians who are cultural Christians might know the name of Jesus in a part of the Christmas story but they don't even know about the Old Testament prophecies about his coming they don't understand the richness of the Bible provides this man was already aware of the feasts and the Sabbath truth and the same where we all of that he just didn't know is fulfillment was in Jesus Christ right he had all the spokes he just didn't have the axle. But a lot of people would know it now today have heard the name of Jesus the center wheel but they don't know the wheel the supports right they don't know the spokes they don't know the doctrine so we live in an age that the actually the inverse of Acts Chapter eight but the need of personal Bible study is still there the need is still there anyway let's keep green here. Again verse twenty eight and sitting in his chair it was reading Isaiah the prophet then the Spirit said to Philip go near and overtake this chariot and I'll say this again clarify this even more one of the most mis understood passages in the Bible is John chapter three and verse sixteen now we all know that by heart for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not what but have so what are are two choices perish or everlasting what die or live most Christians would say that's right you have two choices live forever with Jesus or live forever in hell they say it say it says it right there in the Bible was a no that's not what the Bible actually says parasites and it says live what's. There so hope they have got a cultural Christianity picture in their head. That for them the sky is red no matter what you say right so they'll look at John three sixteen is that watch out you can spend forever in Hell it's not what the text says you'll either spend forever with Jesus or your parish they don't understand the state of the dead even though it's sitting right there saying. This man was looking at the prophecies and he had watched the lamps he had seen but he didn't know the fulfillment and Jesus. There are people out there who have the Word of God in their hands and don't know what they're looking at. And they're saying the same thing that this man Philip ran to him and said hearing him read the Prophet Isaiah said Do you understand what you're reading man I see I see even Jellicoe churches try to dive into the books of Daniel and Revelation. Just make a hash of the whole thing a mess right they don't have that interpretive key of the heavenly sanctuary to unfold all these truths so they're just guessing and they're all over the place right they can look at Bible the Bible scriptures and passages in Bible and not know what they're looking at this man was having the same experience and he said how can I unless someone does what guides me explained to me. And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him the place the scripture is read was this and he read from Isaiah fifty three what we know now is Isaiah fifty three and of course you know beyond there just says that Philip opened his mouth and beginning at this scripture preached Jesus to notice he did not say Oh let me just tell you what it is. How did he demonstrate that Jesus was the Messiah. Through Scripture starting with the question point he had is I fifty three start with where they are and then branch out more than what they expected and make a case for Christ based on the Word of God Philip open it mouth and preach Jesus to him evangelism page three thirty eight says this. It is not preaching alone that must be done. Far less preaching is needed. Now I want to be clear I think we should do our public evangelism campaigns I'm fine with there being a sermon every Sabbath and every seven having a church even though Mrs White says we shouldn't expect one every Sabbath it's OK you're pampered. But the real need is not more preaching or less preaching is needed more time should be devoted to patiently educating others giving the hearers opportunity to express themselves let's talk about the state of the dead like that John three sixteen. If someone were to accept the Bible truth that the dead are not consciously enduring hell or enjoying heaven. The dead are simply dead. You know it seems that you think you and I don't appreciate what a radical concept it is to know that dead people are dead. Most people think dead people are alive. And it seems so weird to us right but most and think about that presenting to someone who's thought that for thirty forty fifty years. And they've been comforted by the fact that their grandma has been watching them. And you have to break it to them I'm not saying you want to see grandma again I'm just saying she's not seeing you now. Do you think they might have some question. Or some objections or maybe even some feelings and emotion tied to that misunderstanding sure. It's going to be better if they had the opportunity to talk about it to share with you why that's so important. It goes back to one of the things in the first morning devotional most most of the issues with the Bible truth that people have is not the challenge of understanding it it's the challenge of applying. What does it mean for my life that means grandma's not here right whatever the thing. So they need an opportunity. I mean you could do everything from I mean to talk about health reform I love this when you know you run into people and they find out that the the Bible ideal as a whole foods plant based diet. Like so you're vegetarian Yeah I've had this question asked more times what do you eat. Like I thought it was in the name of vegetation right. But in their minds you only eat like four things chicken beef fish. Maybe some seafood pork All right five things right and I was like I keep going what else. Do you mean well I have chicken again you know they just go through the side of their life is like this and everything else is just the stuff on the side of the chicken. So I think about the practical implications like I don't know how to cook. I don't know how to shop anymore you just changed everything ties and offerings. You mean I got to live on ninety percent well you know it's going to be less than that because we're going to have offerings too. I can barely make it out one hundred percent yet this is going to take they're going to have some questions and it's not because they don't get it it's just it doesn't harm and I would the life that they're currently living. Right so this makes us more time should be devoted to patiently educating others I cannot emphasize patiently enough giving the hearers opportunity to express. It is instruction that many line upon line precept upon precept here a little there a little you build a wall one block at a time. And it's not going to be in one week you can come back next week you have to build a little bit more they're growing but it's slow work of cultivation it's so desperately needed this nurturing work is by far the most time consuming most labor intensive and potentially disappointing. Friends of the frustration that comes after ten weeks with somebody and they're like I'm good I'm done you think you've done I bought into you. But you gotta let it go right but other times it's going to pay off right. You don't know you just got to put your hand at the plow go to work. Where soil preparation and seed sowing may take a day or two cultivation requires continued effort over weeks or months this is the greatest need in soul winning today we need individuals who go talk to other individuals and patiently walk them through the Word of God are we making sense of our own the fourth step. In the evangelism cycle is harvesting the crop by decisions for baptism you don't want to praise just present the truth and have them acknowledge that it makes sense what you're looking for is a commitment to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and dedicate their lives to him a fourth step is this harvesting. By making decisions for baptism after cultivating the interest with Bible studies it is time to lead those embracing the truth to make decisions for baptism and I'll be I'm trying to get out of my vocabulary saying I'll be honest with you right now which implies that I've been dishonest with you up until this point. But I'll be vulnerable with you at this point. I've been a pastor for over fifteen years and I think still don't like making calls. I don't want to be the guy. Who has a few hundred people out there and no one comes down so it's so tempting to round up the edges and say Do you love Jesus stand your feet everybody's going to stand up right but to say Are you ready to make a commitment make a change right here right now you're ready to go into that watery grave and come down front because the assumption is if they're ready I did my job well if they're not ready ho. But what you're doing is not an evidence of your work it's formalizing and finalizing Christ work that's been going on in them but you're giving them the opportunity to express themselves right decisions for Christ are most often made in personal bible studies or public evangelist meetings followed by a baptismal preparation class kind of go through this someone twenty six person five and six those who so in tears shout and I love that the affirmative is there shall not might not could shout all reap in what Enjoy it is going to work out now maybe not one hundred percent the time but you're going to get something successful he who continually goes forth weeping bearing seed for sowing shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheep with him there is assurance of success in soul winning work if you're a diligent. Continual faithful sower of the seed worker for Christ review and herald April twenty four eighteen eighty three. The salvation of sinners requires earnest personal labor. We are to bear to them the Word of life not to wait for them to come to us. I cannot emphasize that enough our job as the church is not to decorate the church so beautifully come up with a logo so inspiring or a church sign with those little moveable letters so in for all of the builders come marching in. Most people are not going to voluntarily just step into your church you're going to have to walk over and meet them and talk to them and go find them. Personal Labor will bear with that to them the Word of God not to wait for them to come to us with personal Pyatt see in a consistent course of life our earnest heart felt appeals will be through God as sharp arrows of the Almighty to pierce the sin hardened heart as sharp Sickles to reap a precious harvest for the heavenly Garner. God wants to use you as an individual to be a mouthpiece for him and appeal to sinners while the Bible calls it the ministry of reconciliation. And it's some point you can't just present the Word of God though you've been doing that faithfully you want to contact him and say Not only do you understand what we read but do you since God's calling you to this commitment. Are you ready. To do give your life to Jesus Christ and surrender to him in baptism. Now that has a risk to it but the reward is worth it. I love this thought. Crops never harvest themselves I might get behind G.M.O. that they can come up the crop it'll come off the tree all it's own to walk over to the truck you know but that hasn't been invented yet agriculturally or spiritually it just doesn't exist people might sit there and understand what you're saying yup. But if you don't make that appeal if you don't ask the question if you don't challenge them and call them to that decision they'll stand there being convinced being convicted. And leave unconverted. They need an invitation. It's an embarrassing thing but I have to tell you this truth. This happened to me as well Pastor Mark Howard not only do they get the end eyes and the fire thing wrong only once though come on. But I got something even at least in my life. And more importantly wrong. My wife is the single most beautiful woman in the world I'm very happy to be married to her and I'll tell you very briefly the story of how we got engaged. I'll be honest I did everything awesome. It was great I had I went to had a very expensive restaurant picked out never going to do that again. But I went ahead a time got the seating arranged made sure they knew my name so they could pronounce it right in one of this. Stuff No Mr Devey sure tables ready yes it is coming. Took in there had a nice nice meal had a good conversation it was Valentine's Day you know she had to see it come in right and she thought I was going to ask you at dinner but NO NO NO NO. I'm not going to be all cliche we're going to go for a walk. And took a we were in Washington D.C. We went down on the Mall where all the monuments war and stuff went to have this one place picked out we just happen to be strolling by the right time it was a beautiful evening I had a little gift I wanted to give her in. The right place at the right time the lighting was just oh it was good. I knelt down on my knee took her hand and I gave my prepared speech it was a good one. Had it written down which is nice and at the end of it I said pretty sure that's exactly what I said. I would be honored if you would be my wife and I thought that was a really beautiful powerful line. And she sat there and she was like and I started waiting like. Come on no I said I would be honored if you would be my wife. What was she waiting for. I never asked the question right I sat there with that on my knee I'd be honored she was like just pleasant and stuff just she had nothing to respond to right I was just making statements of declaration this is what I would like as well but at no point did I say Would you be willing would you like are you. And finally she kind of it was awkward we stumbled through that moment as I was I landed on that line about it's great I don't know what she was thinking about and then she finally was like. Yes OK Thank you it was and I was like Why was it so clumsy so we got back in the car and everything and we're driving home she's like do you realize you never actually asked me like I put all that time and effort into it and you're getting hung up on the fact that it actually ask you she's like well you didn't so it was actually technically we got engaged in the car on the way home. When I was like fun will you marry me she's like yes OK good that was it. But we had gone through all of these steps all the way and we got to the end point I was like. Yeah so all right. And I was going to head home and she thought she was left there just saying you know right I think there are plenty of people who see the word of God or convinced of it or even convicted and they're just waiting for an invitation. And we just kind of leave them hanging because we're too timid what they say you know well they might say no but they'll probably say yes. Crops never harvest themselves you've got to ask the question. So step number five the fifth step we're going to we're racing the clock a little bit we're doing on the fifth step in the evangelism cycle is preserving new members through a practical discipleship course preserving new members practical discipleship course after Babs is a. New member should be led through a systematic discipleship plan. What I can't emphasize this enough we spend all kinds of time energy and money getting ready to prepare the soil so the seed have the big of a can't Vangelis a campaign present the truth. And they will even praise the Lord and sing out loud when people get baptized as we should but then what happens if we take the banners down we go from five nights a week. The like prayer meeting where six people show up and it just kind of. The whole thing implodes and the new people they're coming in are ready to go and they say. What happened. Everybody go. All packed up and went home and I'm all just standing here most certificate and what. And think about it I think I mentioned this in the morning to you too but if you go through a series of meetings I mean it's a pretty fast pace right you hear about one night you know stay the dead grandma is not in heaven next while you're grieving there's a saying in heaven and the secret rapture evolve is not true next right you've got to change your diet next and you just hit Rapid Fire where they might have heard one message on the twenty three hundred days but could they explain it again to someone else probably not so they don't disagree with it they're just not enough they grounded in it it's not there's yet they've made a mental checklist they've understood it but it hasn't been woven into their Christian experience right so we wonder why we baptized ten people in six months later only four or five of their right full year later we got two or three left. What happened we have an imbalanced approach I believe to evangelism Sometimes we need to do just as much follow up as work as we do preparation work right there should be a process in place and I want to change our level of expectation. Disabuse your mind of the of the mere hope of retaining the new members. Just keeping them in the church is not good enough we need to put them to work for Jesus Christ as soul winners I would I mean I would love to see everybody stay but I want more than staying we need more than members we need missionaries and this is what our job is to make disciples who are in turn disciple makers right we got to get there so it is here that the disciple is trained to make other disciples thus adding to the growth of the church. Isaiah fifty five verses ten eleven for as the rain comes down in the snow from heaven and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater Rice when we harvest this you know it's bad enough to let a tomato go bad on the vine right to rot on the vine but if you take it in the house and you just said if there was going to do rot there too so even after the harvest there's a work to do to make that crop profitable right you've got to put it through a process it's got to be preserved in some way either so it can go to seed for the next crop or food for us right that's what the that's what the Bible is saying that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater. So show me the word that shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth that shall not return to Me void but she accomplished what I please and it shall prosper in the thing which I sent right so we need to have. A higher expectation of new members than just hope and they stay. We need to have a higher expectation that they are going to be active participants in the life of the church and soul winners in their own right this is what Jesus said in John chapter four the woman at the well. He was transitioning from the spiritual water I mean to the food from the physical water to the spiritual water right and we talked about it he said whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst so they will be satisfied personally but. When you plug in well let's just do it real quick let's just get through you know it's real quick see what happens OK maybe we don't want to lead but anyway they're not just supposed to receive it for themselves as their plugs and we're here man you know that you know. Whatever. This. Whoever drinks the water I will give you a show never thirst but the water that I shall give him so become in him a what fountain of water springing up in everlasting life and what's the very first thing the woman at the well does. She goes and does what tells other people you guys got to come see have you ever met a new seven to have in fact in this room have you ever been a new seven Devin just. How do you recall your first love experience when you came to the truth you heard about whatever the Sabbath truth is of the mark of the beast or what you go to the water fountain you go to your proverbial you know water cooler and you're talking with your friends family relatives neighbors whatever and they want to talk about the game and you want to talk about prophecy right they'll say hey did you catch that game the other night you like forget about the game what about the market based right and new members are often times very. Intense in their faith right. Now that's great now could they be taught to share more effectively her but I would much rather have to harness that energy. But you watch when people come in six weeks into the message on fire six months. There's a fire. But it might be on a low simmer right. Six years if they're there at all. They're going to be sitting in a pew doing our best and most churches in fact I've never seen a church that puts on a how to be a bad lifeless useless member of course but somehow we're all trained to be useless and lifeless it's not something that to do intentionally it just becomes what happens right we need to consciously purposely resist that tendency does that make sense right so we need to build people up love this when it is an eternal law of Jehovah that he you accept the truth is to make it his first work to proclaim the truth it's a law of God and I don't know if that means like Therefore you must do it or you're in trouble I think it's a lot like gravity is a law he who falls off a tree must fall right if you receive the truth it's automatic it's going to start coming out of you. But who is it that makes the burden of perishing sinners his own among God's people today there is a fearful lack of the sympathy that should be felt for souls and say we talk of Christian missions the sound of our voice is heard but do we feel Christ tender heart longing for those outside the fold this one was already shared it is evident that all the sermons that a preach have not developed a large class of self workers this subject is be considered as involving the most serious results the churches are withering up because they have failed to use their talents in diffusing light you may think you have a bad pastor and you might who knows but odds are your church is probably is not a bad pastor it's because there isn't the mind set that we are here to spread the truth and win souls in all the membership. Careful instruction I'm sorry. Sure review and herald December three thousand nine hundred eight no problem careful instruction should be given which will be as lessons from the master that all may put their light to practical use it is little by the way this is just my thoughts now you see there's no Bible in the picture and there's no spirit of prophecy. This is just me but it is little wonder that retention rates are so of newly baptized members are so poor. If the excitement of a public campaign fades and the truth has only been accepted in theory but not in practice what should we expect. Thus this bring it to a close this late we need to embrace the full cycle of evangelism by the way this cycle evangelism these five steps this is the template for your personal soul winning endeavor as an individual member also the template for your corporate work as a local church when he was starting the corporate stuff but that's really where my bread and butter is that's what I really like to talk about is like the the functional structure of the church the kind of stuff that Pastor Jim Howard was alluding to earlier the what's the board therefore why do we have these different departments What are these positions there to do well is to do the work of winning so when we should have a calendar every year and it should lead from this to this to this we have a plan we have some sort of but there's too much buckshot and not enough bullet you know I mean we see that in sermons oftentimes this isn't a preaching practice but a lot of sermons don't have a point they might have a lot of good points. Oftentimes unrelated spewing out in every which direction and you might take from that something but you didn't hear that one point in the sermon. OK our churches oftentimes have a Pathfinder program here in a women's ministry thing over here and evangelist outreach and prayer meeting this and they're all going different but not coordinated to have an objective of winning so. We need more bullets and less buckshot we need to embrace the full cycle of enjoy the books individual and corporately to grow believers in the word making them genuine disciples of Jesus Christ let me ask you a question Has everything we presented made sense praise the Lord. I'm not ready to make an appeal yet. But we're going to come back we're going take a quick break then we're going to come back and look at least the first two two items there the soil preparation and the seed sowing and maybe we'll get some even better ideas turning for how to take this theory and apply it in your local church a min. 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