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Tips On Sharing Your Faith

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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  • July 19, 2014
    11:00 AM
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02:00 Heavenly Father, thank you so much, as we’ve mentioned several times it is a beautiful day outside; but I praise God that we are able to be in your house on the inside, today. As we turn now our attention to your Word we ask that the Holy Spirit’s power be here. Lord, speak through me. Let the words that have been prepared be your words. Be with the hearts of the hearers and let us all become better sharers of your truth, your message for this time. For we pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

02:33 The uniqueness of Seventh-day Adventism is its present truth message. That’s what makes us unique. Includes Jesus’ current work —I don’t know if you’ve been attending our meetings, show of hands. Praise God, the majority of you. And we’ve noted, all in all, the book of Revelation opens and closes with the great promise of His 2nd coming. History through prophecy is revealed, goes right down and marches to our time. We believe we’re living in that time; just before Jesus comes during the ongoing cleansing of the Sanctuary or the Investigative Judgment: that pre-advent work prepatory to Jesus’ return.

03:16 We believe in Jesus’ current work of judgment and to follow: His soon return. Of course, closely related are other vital truths, i.e. the state of the dead, the seventh day Sabbath… This body of truth is summed up in what we call the three angels’ messages: this present truth message that’s to be given to every tribe, tongue, and people. The three angels’ messages have been entrusted to the remnant body of Christ to share with the world. Now in sharing this body of truth to the world it can be easy to fall into one of two traps.

03:57 One of two traps: 1) Giving the message so abruptly that it seems shocking, startling, crazy, alien— whatever you want to call it—cult like. It’s so radically different from all the previous experiences, so quickly on the nose, so pointed that instead of being appealing it’s actually repelling. That’s one danger.

04:29 The danger on the other side is the complete opposite of that; out of fear of that possibility that we just described— not saying anything. We round off the corners; water it down to such an extreme because we don’t want to seem crazy that we end up not really saying anything at all. The message never actually gets presented.

04:56 I don’t know if Satan would be pleased with one more than the other. But both end up with the message being rejected; either it’s repulsed or it’s not even heard to begin with and the people leave unchanged. So, we have these two traps when we have such an extensive body of truths: such a pointed message, such a pertinent, relative message for our day. How do we present it in such a way that it’s heard?

05:20 More than us saying the message God wants us the other people to hear the message. Yes, we have a responsibility to say it but we have a responsibility to say it in such a way that they actually hear it. Yes, last Sabbath we wanted to inspire: you should be messengers but now how do we express the message effectively? One of the most difficult passages in Scripture is actually a parable of Jesus. Jesus tells the parable of the unjust steward in Luke 16:1-9.

06:18 “He also said to his disciples, There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.” —what is his one job? to care for his goods. He’s the steward, the caretaker but apparently in his responsibility he hasn’t been keeping his responsibilities and the owner finds out. Verse 2— “So he called him, and said to him, What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship; for you can no longer be steward.” —so this meeting that he has with him he wants to convey 1) I’ve heard what’s going on 2) I need to see it for myself bring the books, the records and that will be your last act on the job 3) You’re fired. —So there will be a follow up meeting but he already knows how it’s going to end. He’s going to lose his job; but he has to bring to that meeting all the books, all the records, the things he’s been responsible for keeping to the rich man. Look what he does. 

07:50 Luke 16:3 “Then the steward said” —where?— “within himself,” —so he’s getting a message on the outside and he’s formulating a plan, hmm, puts me in a tough spot going to lose my job, I’m going to show him the books and it’s going to be obvious that I haven’t been doing my job. So he— “said within himself What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me:” —he’s examining the field right now you. Alright, here’s my situation: I’m going to lose my job what should I do in response to this. He’s cogitating, he’s thinking about this, mulling it over. He starts listing his options— “ I cannot dig” —apparently he’s been an office man, a pencil pusher, a paper passer whatever you want to call him, sitting in an office and he says I can’t dig that will break me, I’m done. I don’t have the calluses for it. What’s the next option? Begging but— “to beg I am ashamed.” —my outsides aren’t built for digging and my insides can’t take begging. So what should he do?

09:16 Luke 16:4 “I have resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.” —I’m going to be kicked out of my house and I don’t have enough money. I’m not going to have money. I’m not going to have a job. I’m not going to dig.  I’m not going to beg. Then how will I live? How will I eat? How will I go forward? I’ll move in with them. Who are they? The story goes on.

09:45 Luke 16:5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him,” —he’s going to have a follow-up meeting with his master; but he still has his job for right now. While I have this position, while I have the office for the rest of the day, we’re going to have a fire sale, better yet, an I’m fired sale.

10:10 “And said to the first, How much do you owe my master? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. So he said to him, Take your bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.” —half off for you today. I know I’m just a real nice guy. Write it down quick, he’s coming, 50.— “Then said he to another, How much do you owe? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat: And he said to him, Take your bill, and write eighty.” —you get 20% off. Everybody gets a deal. He sends out a mass text message, email, whatever he does, sends word around: come have a quick meeting today only! Sale on your debt! You owe 100: you owe 50. You owe 80: now it’s 60. He’s starting to wheel and deal as never before. He’s probably worked harder this day than he’s worked all the other days when he had his job. 

11:09 Luke 16:8, this is where it gets odd. “So the master” —does it say reproved? No, what does he do to him? He commends him— “commended the unjust steward, because he had dealt” —how? — “frugally” —then look at the application that is made— “for the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.” —Looks like the master took a look and said well, by the way you’re still fired but you thought about your situation, you made a plan, you executed it flawlessly, I wish you’d have had the same creativity and shrewdness when actually working for me; but when you were put into a hard place you got real creative, real ingenious, you started putting things together. You got personal, hey come on over here let’s talk 50% off, I’ll be your buddy. I’ll be your friend. — why was he trying to build up friendships? He needed a house to move into. When his back is against the wall, he really puts it into high gear. Unethically? What do you expect? He’s already an unjust steward; he’s a bad guy. He’s just doing “bad” really well. The owner of the home doesn’t give him his job back but at least commends him, boy that was shrewd. You really saved yourself there from digging or begging. You made friends. Honestly, I got more collected from you in one day. And then Christ’s principle: “the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”

13:06 Is it possible that to accomplish wicked ends or self-serving, self-aggrandizing, self-focused ends, people will become more creative, more hard working, more ingenious, in how they approach the project working for a bad end than righteous people do in doing good? Let’s put it in a closer application. Is it possible that Satan is more shrewd, cunning, and crafty about how to get people lost than we are about how to get them saved? Is it possible that Satan is working harder for souls than we are? 

13:48 Testimonies for the Church Volume 3, p. 456 (3T 36:456.2) “Satan understands the weakness of men. He has the knowledge which he has accumulated for ages and is an experienced hand at his work. His cunning and devices are well matured, and are too often successful because God’s people are not as wise as serpents.”

14:23 Writing to an individual who is headed off to southern Africa in a little book entitled Testimonies to Southern Africa p. 16 (TSA 2:16.1). She was addressing how do you deal with these new people that you are going to approach. Her counsel is this “God would have you be as lambs among wolves, as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.” —we’ll come back to that reference— “…You should plan carefully what to say and what to leave unsaid.” —apparently, there is a time to say something and a time not to say something— “This is not practicing deception; it is working as Paul worked. He says, ‘Being crafty, I caught you with guile.’ ” —we’ll come back to Paul in just a moment. Both of those references quote Jesus Christ that we should be wise as serpents yet harmless as doves. Think about that: wise as serpents. What in Scripture does the serpent always represent? Satan, sin, wickedness, yes? When Satan was cast out in Rev. 12 it calls him that devil, Satan, the serpent of old who leads the whole world astray. He shows up in the Garden of Eden— the serpent. Even when Christ was embodied as the serpent on the pole it was because he had become sin! And here he says I want you to be—he doesn’t say as evil as serpents. We should take a cue and be as wise as serpents but at the same time harmless as doves. Our character should be pure. Our motives, our intentions, our aims should be noble and Christ-like; but we should be shrewd, we should be thoughtful. We should think before we do.

16:18 She mentions “working as Paul worked.”—How did Paul work?  1 Cor. 9:19-23 here is his principle. Here’s how he works. “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all,” —for what purpose? — “that I might win the more. And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those without law, as without law,” —does that mean that when I’m around Gentiles I break the law as they do? No. And he has to clarify that— “(not being without law toward God, but under the law toward Christ,) that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak: I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” —his goal as he approaches people 1) he has to recognize which group he’s looking at. Are these Jewish, are they Greek, are they long in the faith, are they new in the faith, what’s their back ground? He has to be a bit of a psychologist. Before I present I have to understand the audience so that what I say is actually heard. You see this in his different approaches. You see it in Athens, he would go and speak to the people and he would quote their literature, quote their poets; he doesn’t open the Old Testament Scripture at all. But he’s still preaching the same message but in a way that they will come along and hear it. When he goes into the synagogue he opens up page after page of the law, and the Torah in trying to show how Christ was the fulfillment. Both end in Christ but it takes different avenues to get there. Why does he say he does this? His goal is to win them more. He’s trying to build up the kingdom of God. 

18:30 Paul’s very practical, very pragmatic. 1 Cor. 10:23-24 “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.” — Yes, the truth is that Jesus is coming again, that the Investigative Judgment started in 1844; but you have to get them there first. You have to build to that. All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful; doesn’t actually get the job done.— “all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each seek the other’s well being.” —You have a body of truth, you have a message to give and I want to give it all; but more than me wanting to give it, my goal should be to have them hear it, to have them accept it. So put yourself in their position. What if I have never heard any of these things before? If you’re jumping to x, y, or z and we haven’t established a, b, c yet, what good is it going to do? 

19:41 Again, we see in the conclusion of that chapter 1 Cor. 10:31 “Therefore whatever you eat, or whatever you drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: just as I also please all men in all things,” —by the way, being a “people pleaser” doesn’t sound like a good term does it? But he says, I try to please all men in all things as far as possible. I want to meet them where they are. Why? — “not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 

20:20 Evangelism p. 141 (Ev 39:141.1) “Our ministers”—I’m guessing it applies to our members, as well, but I’ll take this one on the chin for all of us— “Our ministers need more of the wisdom than Paul had. When he went to labor for the Jews, he did not first make prominent the birth, betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, notwithstanding these were the special truths for that time.”—He didn’t walk into a Jewish synagogue and the very first words your Messiah has come and you killed him! No! Is that true? Yes. But you have to convict them first that that’s the Messiah. Again— “he did not first make prominent the birth, betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, notwithstanding these were the special truths for that time. He first brought them down step by step over the promises that had been made of a Saviour, and over the prophecies that pointed Him out.”—That’s mutual ground. They’ve already agreed on the law of Scripture, the Torah, the writings of Moses. These are authoritative! So there’s no offence there. Start where they are. Meet them where they are.— “After dwelling upon these until the specifications were distinct in the minds of all, and they knew that they were to have a Saviour, he then presented the fact that his Saviour had already come. Christ Jesus fulfilled every specification. This was the ‘guile’ with which Paul caught souls. He presented the truth in such a manner that their former prejudice did not arise to blind their eyes and pervert their judgment.”—he didn’t go out of his way to make things so rash and so stark that they would have an almost guttural reaction to it and block off the new that was coming. He walked them there step by step. Thus Paul as it says in 2 Corinthian— “I caught you with guile.”—he’s not saying he lied; but there was strategy, creativity, ingenuity. He said, that’s how I got you. Now go get others that way.

22:37 Friends, we must be deliberate and thoughtful to always be sharing present truth; but in a way that is most effective. Again, Testimonies to Southern Africa p. 17 (TSA 2:17.4) makes it intensely practical. Written to a missionary who is going to go to people that do not know the particulars of our faith. She writes “A great and solemn work is before us to reach the people where they are. Do not feel it your bounden duty the first thing to tell the people, ‘We are Seventh-day Adventists; we believe the seventh day is the Sabbath; we believe in the non-immortality of the soul,’ and thus erect the most formidable barriers between you and those you wish to reach.” — the very first thing you say when you walk into someone’s life whether it is in the grocery store or they come to the meetings or they knock on the door, where ever it is, if the very first thing that comes out of your mouth is by the way, the grandmother that you think has been watching over you for the past 30 years is actually in the ground, dead, she’s not in heaven, that’s what we believe. Slow down. We have to get there first. It’s a big truth. And I believe it’s a peaceful, beautiful, godly, Biblical truth; and all things are lawful but it’s not helpful in that moment. That’s not to say, that if the opportunity arises you can’t walk them through well, what does the Bible say about life? What does the Bible say about death? What comfort can we draw? Our hope is not in the grave it’s in the 2nd coming. And you start to preach the truth as it is in Jesus. Walk them there. So the same message approached in a different way can be more effective. This was her counsel. — “But speak to them as you may have opportunity, upon points of doctrine wherein you can agree, and dwell on practical godliness.” —start where they are and build— “Give them evidence that you are a Christian, desiring peace, and that you love their souls.” —give them evidence that you are an actual Christian, therefore the message that you bear is Christian as well— “Let them see that you are conscientious. Thus you will gain their confidence, and then there will be time enough for the doctrines. Let the hard iron heart be subdued, the soil prepared, and then lead them along cautiously, presenting in love the truth as it is in Jesus.” —gaining their confidence. 

25:22 Listening to a powerful message just the other day about influence. I don’t know what it’s like in all work places but I know having been a teacher, the truth of the matter is that if you are in a school, if you have influence with those students you can’t do anything wrong in their eyes; but if you lose that influence you can’t do anything right. You might be as right as rain but that personal influence builds a bridge to what you’re trying to do. We need to win souls; not because we want to check off I won this soul and I won this soul and I, I, I. No, no, no. It’s because I actually love souls. And we want to see them in the Kingdom. In order to come and learn you have to like them. You have to spend time with them.

26:18 Sometimes we paint this picture that evangelism is formulaic. You put up the thing and three months later they come in. Then you’re going to do a, b and c. At the end of the line I’d like to sign my name. It’s a very personal work. It takes putting your arm around people. Listening to them and some of the stuff they’re going to say I promise you is crazy! I’ve heard some crazy this week! And it’s such a temptation to say hey, that’s crazy! But you look for what can I affirm about that? Without selling out the principles, without selling out the doctrines, without rounding off the edges. What is it that you believe, that yes, it corresponds with Scripture; but let’s sift out that error through the Word of God, and correct that. You look for those areas.

27:18 You have someone who can’t wait for the 2nd coming of Jesus but they say when we get raptured and the saints are taken to heaven. Well, I don’t believe it’s going to be a secret. I don’t believe airplanes are going to fall from the sky because the pilot was taken away and the passenger on row 5 was not. But, I do believe the saints will be gathered together with Christ. Amen? They will be lifted up from the earth, yes! So we focus on yes, I have the hope of the soon coming of Jesus, as well. Now, the manner of His coming we will be addressing this week in our meeting may not be what they are expecting but tie into that I have the same faith and the same Jesus. And the same Jesus is coming back and I can’t wait to be with Him. And on that great and glorious resurrection morning we’re going to see our friends and loved ones. Beautiful things! Affirm what you can and correct where necessary; but you start where they are. Start where they are.

28:11 Building influence apparently Christian character is something that should be visible and manifest in the life. I would imagine that the exact same truth would be more readily accepted if there’s already been a ground work of genuine Christian interest and friendship developed already. I would imagine that most of the people, in fact, many in this very room, who have come into the present truth of the three angels’ messages have not done that walk all by themselves. Now, some have just the truth itself. But many had a personal relationship with someone where they expounded this truth and they could study together and they could spend time in their houses and they could grow in the faith and they could mature as they go. It’s wrapped up in personal work.  It’s a very personal ministry. 

29:16 Thus we read one of the more famous passages from Ministry of Healing, p. 143 (MH 9:143.3), “Christ’s method alone will bring true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then he bade them, ‘Follow Me.’ ” —once he had that influence established all he had to do was just pluck it, come, come, come— “There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort.” —again, I’ll take this one on the chin for all of us— “If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, 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 fruit.”

30:43 That doesn’t mean that every single person you ever come in contact with will be converted; but the message that we have if connected with Christ’s method will be the only way to bring true success. True success is the truth as it is in Jesus. Friends, we are Jesus’ representatives. We are supposed to be His hands and feet. Somebody is going to see your face and to them that’s the face of Jesus. So, yes, the message that comes out must be the message for this time; but it must be embodied in the person, in the character of Jesus Christ as we walk alike.

31:25 Now hopefully, we’ll take last week’s: Burden for Giving This Message; with this week’s: Christ’ Method Alone Will Bring True Success; and each of us will be those missionaries. Maybe not to southern Africa, but to southern Michigan, maybe to North Muskegon, maybe to the Heights, maybe to Wolf Lake, maybe to our area. Lord, how can I be more like you and be a better more efficient, shrewd, ingenious, creative, practical missionary for you? That’s our 

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