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5. Cycle of Evangelism Overview- Part 2

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
    1:00 PM
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Heavenly Father thank you so much for this beautiful day thank you we now have a continued opportunity to study these important themes and prepare our lives to be of useful service for you and your cause please help us to know how to do your work your way help us to be Christ like not only our message but our method as well so we can be like Jesus and share Jesus with the world we pray it in Jesus name Amen. I'm going to start with let's go down to Christ objects like now this one is not on the screen so you're going to have to use your. Mind and your pens and papers if you want to take notes here but Christ object lessons page one forty three you might be aware this is a very famous quote. Christ's method what's the next word alone will bring what kind of success which implies that there is such a thing as false success. But true success right. In reaching the people the Savior and this is what she means by that the Savior mangled with men as one who desired their good he showed sympathy for them ministered to their needs and won their confidence then he bade them follow me. Again this is exactly what being talked about soil preparation and then follow me the personal testimony The leading to the spiritual things right. Now most of the time when we hear that quote we stop right there. She goes on to say if you were to continue reading which by the way most Bible apparent Bible contradictions or difficulties with the Word of God or the spirit prophecy can be for all but that simple little premise just keep reading a lot of our issues will take something out of context and make that the thing instead of looking at the broader context but as we look at the context of this statement she goes on to explain that there is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time. Were given to sermonizing and more time were spent in personal ministry greater results would be seen. Then she goes on to say what is that personal work supposed to look like the poor are to be really the sick cared for the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted the ignorant instructed the inexperienced counseled we are to weep with those that we pay and rejoice with those that rejoice accompanied by the power of persuasion the power of prayer the power of the love of God This work will not cannot be without fail without fruit right so we're to weep with those who. Were to come close to have a friendship actual bond with people. Demonstrate I like to say that from it but. This is that work of preparing the soil the heart they need to know you that you're a trustworthy responsible spiritual person that in time of need that's where they can turn OK. Now how do we do that well we do it through practical ministry. It demonstrates our connection to Christ it softens the heart to receive the truth in Acts chapter ten in verse thirty eight The apostle Peter summed up the ministry of Jesus in one sentence Take a look at the Bible Check this out in Acts chapter ten you know the apostle Peter was kicking and screaming to go share the word with the Gentile Cornelius but it least obeyed when the Lord told him to three or four times. But in Acts chapter ten he meets with Cornelius and he explains to Cornelius who Jesus was now Peter has been with Jesus for three and a half years he's seen all of the miracles he's heard all of the teaching he's witnessed the crucifixion the resurrection since everything so he's going to try to boil all of that down the whole ministry of Jesus Christ into one sentence accept it in verse thirty eight God is annoying to Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power who went about doing what good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with him. He said Jesus was a guy who went around doing good healing people because God was with him that's how Peter summed up the life of Jesus that's pretty interesting and I believe. Well this is how I put this this is why give us a little insight into his. Childhood and. Young Adult phase of life before his public ministry began there's not much said in the Bible about that time of his life and Mrs White gives us a little added insight but I found this particular fast and you can find this in the desire of ages page ninety two so this is not some obscure source of something probably everyone has on their shelves but listen this. And this is describing the time of his life before his public ministry begin. She said this. Jesus was the healer of the body as well as of the soul. Now I'm not saying that Jesus was out there raising the dead and you know curing the lame in this kind of stuff but he says he was the hugh a body as well as of the soul he was interested in every phase of suffering that came under his notice and to every sufferer he brought really his kind words having a soothing balm. None could say that he had worked a miracle right so his own out there just by giving the blind side that kind of thing but virtue the healing power of love went out from him to the sick and distressed. Thus Now listen very carefully the last two sentences thus in an unobtrusive way he worked for the people from his very childhood. Have you imagine what was Jesus doing up until age thirty. Sure he was working as fathers carpenter shop and being obedient dutiful son to his mother when his father passed away and all those things but he was also practicing and laying the groundwork he was preparing the soil for when he would be the Word of God preached out loud right. And he was doing it how by practical loving caring personal ministry What's this now I didn't make this up it's right there. I mean really the last years of Voss in an unobtrusive way he worked for the people from his very childhood here's the point and this was why after his public ministry begin so many heard him gladly like I just thought he came out of the blue like John the Baptist started preaching and had he had laid the groundwork for a year through personal contact making a network of friends and then when he comes they know they can trust him and they're ready to receive the word Christ was a master soil prepare or we need to do the same thing. And of course we'll get into that for now. But over and over I'm going to repeat this and some of the meanings we have coming up in fact the next morning I think tomorrow morning will be I'll just tell you Don't worry about today come tomorrow morning. But Jesus good works are repeatedly given as the evidence that he is who he says he is. We just think about it very quickly. When the enemies of Jesus the Jews came up and. Wanted to accuse him of blasphemy he says hey what for what good work do you sell me this is for no good work but for what has to me he said. But you find that in John Chapter ten he says if I do not do the works of my father do not believe me. But if I do though you do not believe me believe the works that you may know and believe that the father is in me and I in him is that the good works that I do are the evidence of my connection with the divine and this happened when his own disciples asked Lord show us the Father and he said what. Have I been with you this time you can say that then he adds this believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves and when John the Baptist this would had to hurt the most of all. John the Baptist. When he was in prison sit a couple of people to ask Are you the one or do we look for another. New answer Jesus gave. He didn't say a word. From that hour he healed many of the diseases and he basically showed them these good beneficence works and he says now go tell John what you've seen and heard today and basically his works of the outline of Isaiah sixty one right he was demonstrating the good works of the evidence of divinity in the same way that Jesus good works of the evidence of his relation to the to God our good works are the evidence of our relationship to Jesus our good works demonstrate our connection with Jesus now listen to this let's go to we of course we can go to I can give you scriptures like Matthew chapter five in verse sixteen let your light so shine before men that they may see your what good works and glorify your Father in heaven they need to see something in you so that when you say something it has credibility. Right and I did make this point good works give our message credibility and our message gives good works its OK I'm working on how to say that more clearly so more people can agree when they hear it right. I'm going to try. I'm working on this I'm OK but good works give credibility to our message and our message give significance to our good works so when we come in with a message it's underscored by the fact that we've got a foundation late already. It's an important preparatory tool to go forward and to have those relationships evangelism five seventeen puts it this way. Many have lost the sense of eternal realities lost the similitude have got and they hardly know whether they have souls to be saved or not. They don't even know if they're people anymore they have neither faith in God nor confidence in man I don't know if you've ever met people like this I don't know if there is a God My prayers are answered my people there's a lot of discouraged despair real people out there. That need the faith in God or confidence in man as they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation come into their wretched homes. When you go to meet these people you know doing because you're getting paid. You know doing it because you're going to get your name on the side of a billboard or something you're just doing it because you have the love of God and you want to help as they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation coming to their wretched homes ministering to the sick feeding the hungry clothing the naked in tenderly pointing all to him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger as they see this their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up faith is kindled they see that God cares for them and they are prepared to listen as his word is open to powerful thought. They actually want to see who you are before they hear what you have to say. And that gives the message credibility. You see what I'm saying that the good works there's a reason it's called the interim way it. Used to be called we call it medical missionary work. But it's not just like Loma Linda heart bypasses No it's going to stuff it's like giving bread your neighbor helping them out in time of trouble you know shoveling the lot and shovel lawn why would show a lot of shoveling the drive mohel on whatever it is you do with lawns and drive whatever they need help with right there was a time they administrate with they had a right here and in Michigan. There was such a thing John Harvey Kellog start up Christian what was it missionary What was the word help bands Christian help bands or something like that basically they would have roaming do gooders running around the neighborhood you need any help can I stacks of wood can I take out the track and it was awesome and they had Bible study interest come from that young people got involved they were just out there helping people you're the people that do good stuff yeah who is the guy Jesus that reminds me of right it's great. Christian service page one thirty two first meet the temporal necessities of the needy and relieve their physical wants and sufferings and you will then find an open avenue to the heart where you may plant the good seeds of virtue and religion All right pop quiz I'm pretty sure this is correct so all say it with authority what is the passage of Scripture the chapter of the Bible that Mrs White quote most often in her writing. Who's the winner in the room back there was that Isaiah. Isaiah fifty eight is the right answer Isaiah fifty eight anybody know what's in Isaiah fifty eight. And it's not just the turn your foot away from the Sabbath right. That's the end of Isaiah fifty eight. That whole juicy middle part there is what's most often reference OK Let me give you some statements on this. See here. We could break this down. But just I would urge you to read Isaiah fifty eight the whole thing is not that long but that's where it talks about giving your. Your soul to the hungry giving your bread opening your homes for the homeless all this kind of stuff right the practical good Mrs White repeatedly counsels and by the way I'm going through the Spirit property tax not because I'm trying to put down the Bible but when I say as if everybody got your Bible but you don't know these statements right I'm trying to share with you what you don't have already. Page thirty two a little book Welfare Ministry believe it or not there's a compilation called Welfare Ministry Oftentimes we think we're seven down to start job is to preach a message that's for the Salvation Army to do. Friends don't try to separate the gospel work from the medical missionary work needs to be integrated you need to go together the practical preparation gives the significance of the message it's a credibility. The work specified in these words speaking by say fifty eight on page thirty two of the book Welfare Ministry W. him three to. The work specified in these words Isaiah fifty eight is the work God requires his people to do it is the work of God's own appointment and listen with the work of advocating the commandments of God and repairing the breach that has been made in the law of God we are to mingle compassion for suffering humanity as a people we must take hold of this work love Here's where I got this idea Love revealed for suffering humanity give significance and power to the truth it's still true even without it but in their minds it makes it significant. It's powerful thought Christian service page one thirty nine and one forty. I cannot too strongly urge all our church members all who are true missionaries all who believe the third angels message all who turn away their feet from the Sabbath to consider the message of the fifty eighth chapter of Isaiah the work of beneficence enjoined in this chapter is the work that God requires his people to do at this time. Here's another one evangelism page five one six five one seven. The fifty eighth chapter of Isaiah contains present truth for the people of God here we see how medical missionary work and the gospel ministry are to be bound together as the messages given to the world upon those who keep the Sabbath of the Lord is laid the responsibility of doing the work of mercy and benevolence medical missionary work is to be bound up with the message and sealed with the seal of God now. There are not many in existence today examples of where this practical medical missionary type of benevolent work is gone on full throttle at the same time as a very active personal ministry and public evangelism right that the gospel ministry in the medical missionary often are not seen woven together. We're doing well if we have one or two little pieces of either one of those elements in most of our churches there was a day in age however where we're at least one local church tried to follow this council. It happened way way back in one thousand nine hundred ish one thousand zero one nine hundred ninety one one thousand and five somewhere in there and it happened in the town of anybody no. Yes Who said it thank you around Oakland and San Francisco California right in the Bay Area there Oakland San Francisco churches OK. Listen to this Mrs White describe the innovative outreach initiatives the believers in San Francisco are actively doing this is writing from her this in review and Herald and then we're going to see from the Australia Union conference record. But I want you to count how many different practical ministry things were going on in these this location Sabbath morning Nov tenth one thousand eight hundred we entered the San Francisco church and found it crowded to its utmost capacity. During the past few years the hive as she calls it in San Francisco has been indeed a busy one you have heard a beehive church is. Well there is a model churches are supposed to be busy as a bee hive watches. Here's what she describes going on in that local church. From elder J.-O. coreless who is pastor of the San Francisco church we learn that there are many lines of Christian effort being carried forward by a brother and sisters in San Francisco These include and I think I've got counted out fourteen and you see if you can get a. Visiting the sick and destitute finding homes for orphans. And work for the unemployed. Nursing the sick. Teaching the love of Christ from house to house. The distribution of literature and the conducting of classes for healthful living and the care of the sick. A school for the children is conducted in the basement of the meeting house in another part of the city a working man's home anybody know to working man's home equivalent would be today. It's a homeless shelter. A working man's home and medical mission is maintained. On Market Street near the city hall there is a bath establishment does that mean it's kind of but it is a very special kinds of Bath hydrotherapy right water cold water all the things that make you better when you have the flu. We had some natural natural remedy folks trying to cure me of the months ago and they know what I'm talking about here OK that about the stablished that they're operated as a branch of the Senate holiness and it's very I'm in the same locality is a depot of the health food company where health foods are not only sold but instruction is given as reforms in diet mirror the center of the city all our people conduct a vegetarian cafe which is open six days in the week and is entirely closed on the Sabbath here about five hundred meals are served daily. They were serving five hundred meals a day at a vegetarian cafe in like nineteen hundred one thousand know one whatever this was. We think who is going to come up with something new and shiny would open a vegetarian cafe has been done. It just hadn't done well in one hundred years. And I'm preaching Let's go back. And is entirely closed on the Sabbath. Here about you know I mean we've got five and no flesh meats are used Dr and Mrs Dr Lamb are doing much medical work for the poor in connection with their regular practice and Dr Buchanan is doing much free work at the working man's home so individual volunteers they might be professionals in their in their careers medical work or whatever giving up their time in doing free labor on the side as that's their ministry people can cook they teach cooking classes they have a vegetarian cafe they can teach they teach good they go door to door they have the working man's home orphanage the How To the hope for the unemployed. All these social things and I'm not all going to get political here but somehow we've given over the care of those less fortunate to the government when it should. Be done by the Christ like churches. Now this is what I find fascinating besides the fourteen things we list off here. Aside from going to trips to these incredible and Angelus to enterprises what is perhaps most astonishing is the lesson Ellen White drew from it all when shown the prolific work of practical ministry being carried on Mrs White concluded in these words We earnestly hope that the steps taken in the future in the work in San Francisco will be steps of progress. You catch it seems like I hope they get better. The work that has been done there is but a beginning if we heard any church report all that stuff gone we say airmen you guys have reached the top Mr White said that's a good first step what would it look like if our churches took hold and prepared the soil this thoroughly and with that had an equal commitment to presenting the truth to every one of those individuals. What impact could the seventh Avenue Church have. This is referenced you can find this in the Australian Union conference record of March one thousand and one of the review in Herald July five one thousand nine hundred six but it's all about the work in San Francisco if you type in if you look at. Just type in beehive they'll help you review Harold ninety one thousand nine hundred six that's July five nineteen let's see here oh mercy haven't even gotten the next up yet. There's a whole thing about how to make your church into a beehive and what. But we got to go. I don't now I'm torn I don't know what to do with you folks. Yeah this is just an example of all the outreach things that we're doing to make a first impression on the people meet their needs and then to bring it with the Word of God right individual work so what I'm saying is we have very socially conscious churches do outreach activities and stuff but a lot of times that's just where they live that's it till the so a come back until is when they just do that over and over and over with no greater aim in mind this is White had a picture which not one or the other it's doing all those aspects combine it creates a beehive of activity everybody has a place everybody has a thing and they're all contributing to a larger framework and that's what she had in mind I tell you what we'll do we'll try to make a way that these notes could be distributed somehow you the electronic layer something like that so everybody can read through on your own pace make sense all right let's do that let's move on to the next one that was all just soil prep Now let's go to sowing the seed of truth. If I were to sum this up in one for instance it would be stolen from Nike Just Do It. When it comes to sowing the seed. Do it that's the bottom line OK And we've got all the techs in here that we went through on the slides. See here. From. OK. All right how do I go from nice to religion that's the question we ask all right let's do that with all right let's focus on that a bit all right. Exactly like you and I know you think I'm nice now but I'm a talk by Jesus so in order to effectively so the seed of truth in the soul of the heart we need to converse with people with the intention of moving the dialogue from the realm of daily life to matters of eternal importance we can talk about the weather but how do we get to Jesus right that's the leap we're talking about making when it comes to speaking to people in any context. An important key to realize is that most people are most comfortable and most interested in talking about what themselves people love them some of them right they love them and that's good we have the same thing but now we have a common place to start start with them that's a good place to start if you simply ask people about themselves you'll quickly find that as a rule they're more than happy to talk. Once you learn how to steer that self interest. You can carry on a conversation almost indefinitely and Mark and I talked about this in a training video some time you can just say just add one more question of the mix and they'll go on with that a while to be thinking of your next question is one question it's kind of like once a merry go round gets going it's going to. Pretty simple you can have a carry carry on a conversation all the time in talking all about them that's fine they're sharing a fact. And there's an experiment you can do to see how long you keep the conversation going by up asking open ended questions that they answer about themselves but once you've gotten the hang of holding everyday conversations which for some people that's a big deal in these conversation we like to talk about how there's two big leaps number one from being quiet to having a conversation at all some people don't know how to start even a secular conversation they're just not people people OK but then once you are right I've got a friend and now we've got a coach whatever that is we've got some sort of connection we can talk now how do we move that to the spiritual OK so. Once you've got the hang of holding everyday conversations the next step is transition those conversations toward spiritual matters this is where the acronym Forte F O R T will be very helpful to keep in mind you've probably heard that somewhere before it stands for do we have a scholar in the room we'd like to share what forced it. There you go right so in that personal question Tom when you're asking about him you're talking about things that aren't necessarily vulnerable things but things that are. A little boy revealing about their family about their occupation right and you keep the level that way but you're trending towards religion no. It's easy to change. Let's just jump straight to soil samples OK we get the idea for what you want to do is basically progress and this is not all done by the way the four acronym family occupation religion and testimony is not necessarily or even often times ever done in a single conversation you know I could be like Oh that's your family now tell me about your job. Neat So you work as a contractor What religion are you. You don't do it in a mechanical kind of awkward like cult like way thank you for sharing this now let me give you my testimony what you want to do is try to take that is a basic framework for a conversation or conversations over time right but that's the trend it is going from family all the way to the testimony now. Once you've established a report with someone and built a relationship where you're comfortable discussing everyday things how can you know when it's time to start interjecting and sowing little seeds of truth. How do you transition from the secular to spiritual now on a rare occasions people may make that decision easy because they'll just come out and ask you a spiritual or religious question. That's awesome if they do it's taken all the burden off of you hey you go to church on a weird day I'm so glad you asked because I didn't know how to bring it up but you did you know they might or you notice you never whatever you know they might just know and they might ask Well I'm so glad you asked let me share this is why and if they're close enough to ask then they're close enough to hear your answer that's not a problem they're going to be offended so given the really answer they're looking for no problem. You know but most of the time people aren't going to outright ask you to talk about spiritual religious things they may be thinking about them or questions in the back of the mind but personal religious beliefs or concerns aren't typically things people talk about uninvited in such a situations is a good idea to sample the soil of the heart by throwing out a few tests seeds into the conversation and just watch for their reaction there's a myriad of ways to do this but here's just one quick example. If someone mentions something about how weird weather seems lately. Or how intense natural disasters have been in recent years or how fearful they are about the economy or the wars or the upcoming elections and I've never seen things like this in the world like we're seeing now. That seems to be some evidence that there might be some uncertainty about the future some interest in bigger than everyday conversation type things right. So this may be a good time to drop in an old fashion you know. I've been studying. Or at my church they've been holding a course on Bible prophecy in the very things you're talking about these natural disasters and the fairly economies in the wars that always go that's actually in the Bible I'd love to show you some time would you like to see. The coolest thing it was just last week I'd like to share it with you and if they're already interested they might be interested to know what the Bible says right now they might shut you down to say Nonono but odds are they say oh OK that's cool what is it now you've got an opening start there. Let's see here. You so much as a a test seeds don't even have to be that obvious Try mentioning how something you are talking about reminds you of something I read in my Bible this morning. Just kind of throw that out there or something I learned in my daily devotions. They don't have daily devotions they don't even know if that means they say what you say I'm glad you asked just throw a little thing up there so you know this or that reminds me I was listening in church this week or even better last sabot. You don't have to go into a whole study about it but just drop the word and see if they respond like. Oh. Yeah glad you asked I'm a Seventh Day Adventist and and you share with them just very quickly you know we take the Bible as the Word of God And nowhere in there do we say that say that Sundays but the seven days Yep So we just who you're not trying to browbeat and bin them into it but you're trying to expose them to Bible truth in a very organic kind of natural way OK. Let's just give some examples here. If they just move on you moan move on to but they at if they ask be ready to give a good answer here's some of the chest seeds just making stuff up here you could make a biblical reference at the appropriate time to work. If something miraculous or some astonishing things happens man that was like Moses crossing the Red Sea They might ask there's a chance. Here if someone brings up something they heard in church be sure not to mention something interesting from our Be sure to mention something interesting from our Sabbath school class that you learned at our church last Sabbath. Don't just talk about something that happened at your church last weekend because they think you mean Sunday and you miss a golden opportunity get them thinking if nothing else just interject praise the Lord when something goes well. They know you're a Christian they know you're believer and if they don't like it they're not going respond but they do they're going to say oh oh. When sowing test seeds to sample the soil of the heart Don't be discouraged if they don't immediately spawn with genuine interest or straightforward questions you meant to go from Praise the Lord to like Oh what is your church believe but you've laid a foundation and you're trying to walk them closer and closer. It will most likely take some time before they feel comfortable taking the bait and going down the path toward more spiritual conversation however in the meantime you just keep laying that consistent foundation of Christ life in Christ Christian life and conversation that will inevitably leave an impression and by God's grace lead to deeper dialogue about the most important issues of life. Well and that's why I'm saying he may. Close minded Christians are not that you know rare and the other thing is I'm sure going to get into this when you get into you know categorizing the interests right but one of the challenges I've seen in my own life and I've seen in my own ministry is that you'll say we're going to win a soul of people I came in and you pull out an interest who are you going to and when they say when a soul they're thinking of my mom or dad or my coworker this person so they've got their mind set I'm going to win this one. Without any thinking of are they even at a place to be one are they there right are they not and so what we do is often pick the target without even looking or preparing the soil and that leads to frustration is a what doesn't work that kind of thing they got you studying together as is this a great resource there if you do a different religion. Right and again with that goes back to the idea that there's Baptists A Pentecostals and as Rina Catholic or whatever we're not trying to get the church to try to make a part of the room the people of God And so we have a mission to them as well and that's a great resource for saying what are their strengths what are their openness is and that kind of things I recommend Yes or OK. I think that sounds great if it works I mean because what we're looking for is any way to move the conversation towards the spiritual realities of life and an openness to God's word so if there's a way that you've observed them being open or something of a need in their life and there's an approach you can have and especially if you have a I'm guessing you and your friend if he's close to make it close enough to make fun of your diet calling it rabbit food you should be able to be close enough to. Say like you know whatever the counter to that would be like you could have a report where you could actually interject those in a in a friendship kind of way so I would. All right I tell you what let's close down with a word of prayer then it's time to dismiss for the very deadly Father thank you so much that you've been trusted to us in your infinite wisdom. The plan of salvation and the message of your three angels your last warning to the world. Lord equip us train us prepare us to be your messengers of this good news. Or do we want to see the Gospel given to the world in this generation we don't want to wait for another generation hope that someday in the future Lord make us your servants even now. So bless us as we leave this place keep us safe physically. And make us use raid in Jesus' name. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about how do you first point if you would like to listen to more sermon leave a Visit W W W. First or.

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