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May 4, 2015

ADVANCING THE KINGDOM (Step 3) -

The Great Commission - Sharing His/Your Love Story

Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)  The message of His love story is more powerful, compelling and satisfying than the temporary fascination of power, possessions, pleasure, popularity or pornography offered by the prince of this world.   

How do we lift Him up and share the life-changing love story of Jesus Christ? Jesus said people will know His love by the way we love one another (John 13:35).  Our neighbor will be impacted by the way we listen, not being judgmental, encourage, and meet tangible needs.  It is this agape love that causes our neighbors to wonder about the hope that is in us. Our love opens the door to share God’s loves and His desire to have a personal relationship with them.  When we are given the opportunity to share our own personal love story, the Holy Spirit will open the hearts of those He is calling to the truth we are sharing.

Hal David and Burt Bacharach wrote a song several years ago that contained these words:

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.  What the world needs now is love, sweet love.  No, not just for some, but for everyone.

Jesus is that love, sweet love. And He wants us to love our neighbor by:  (1) praying for them (2) doing acts of kindness to them, and (2) verbally sharing our love story with them.

It sounds so simple doesn’t it?  Am I saying we don’t need a memorized gospel presentation such as the Romans Road, The Four Spiritual Laws or Steps to Peace with God?  No.  There will be occasions when the Lord provides a limited widow of time for sharing the “Good News”. It may be at a beverage, coffee, or fruit bar; a food court or a short order restaurant; a salesperson selling a product or service; a “chance” meeting in an airport or on a short flight from one city to another; a walk in the park, or knocking on doors in a neighborhood.  

However, during either brief encounters or extended times of building relationships, we always need to share the Scriptures (Romans 1:16; 10:14; Colossians 1:5-6; 1 Corinthians 15:2).  I have found that using my cell phone to quickly bring up scripture verses for people to read is very helpful.  The Spirit will use God’s Word in drawing them to Himself. I suggest you download the free app, YouVersion, on your cell phone.   

I was introduced to Jesus during a luncheon appointment at a hotel by a man I met for the first time at a party the prior weekend.  I made the appointment for the purpose of selling him life insurance because he had a young family to protect.  He shared God’s love with me by using a pen to draw a diagram on a paper napkin that highlighted the answers I was providing to the questions he was asking.  It was a providential, life changing appointment that has made an eternal difference in my life.  I went to the hotel focused on selling a life insurance policy.  I left the hotel with life assurance in the person of Jesus Christ.        

Although I believe most people come to the Lord through sincere friendships, here is an effective way to share the “Good News” during those short, brief encounters the Lord provides.  Next month we will focus on an example given to us by the Apostle Paul in Acts 22 which I believe is better suited to share with one in whom you have developed a friendship.  

There are three basic parts when sharing your faith: the Approach, the Content and the Conclusion.

In the Approach, I suggest you ask specific questions in four areas and listen to their responses:

(1) Do you have any spiritual beliefs?

(2) If you were to die today, where do you think you would go?  If heaven, why would God let you in?

(3) To you, who is Jesus?

(4) If what you have been believing is not true, would you want to know?

If the person says “No” to question #4, do nothing as God is not calling them at this time.  He may open their heart at a later time.

If the person answers “Yes”, open your Bible or get out your cell phone and access the Bible App installed on your phone. They will do the reading, you do the asking. They will do the talking, you will do the listening. God’s Word will do the convicting, the Holy Spirit will do the convincing.

In the Content, have them read:

(1) Romans 3:23 and ask, “Does that include you?”

(2) Romans 6:23 and ask, “What does this say to you?”

(3) Acts 3:19 and ask, “What is God’s requirement for your sins to be wiped away?”

(4) John 14:6 and ask, “Do you see any other way to God, the Father?”

(5) Romans 10:9 and ask, “Have you done this?”

In the Conclusion, ask these three questions:

(1) “Would you like to have your sins forgiven and be brought back into a right relationship with God?”

(2) “Do you believe Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins and God raised Him from the dead to give you eternal life?”

(3) “Are you ready to exchange your old life for new life in Jesus Christ by inviting Him to come into heart, forgive your sins and take over the controls of your life?

You pray silently while waiting for a response. If they respond affirmatively, lead them in prayer.

Success in evangelism is praying, loving, sharing the “Good News” and trusting God for the results (1 Corinthians 3:6). We do the sharing, God does the drawing (John 6:44).

PRAYER: Father, give me a humble respect for my neighbors as I begin to develop relationships with them. Help me view them as thirsty people created in your image and on their way to being found.  Help me set aside time to practice telling our love story.  Then, as I go about my daily routine, make me sensitive to the promptings of your Spirit as you direct me to those you want me to engage.  Give me boldness to verbally share your love and the hope, peace and the victory I have found in You.

 

Dave Dagwell

Assistant to the President