Engaging With Non Believers (Topic 6)
REDISCOVERING AND DEVELOPING A CULTURE OF EVANGELISM
Statistics shows that before the 1900’s, around 80% of converts remained in the church. Post 1900’s it has dwindled down to 5%.
Every day as Christians, we should appreciate that we are going to heaven but when we are in heaven we are not going to be able to lead anyone to Christ. That is why we are still here.
ILL- For most of the church it is like the dancing on the Titanic the night before, oblivious to what was coming.
ILL- In Kimberley amongst the dust, something very valuable was found and the word spread rapidly. Could it be the reason that only 5% of believers ever witness, is because what they found was not valuable?
I Tim 2v3 says: This is good and pleasing to God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of truth, for there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the Man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as ransom for all men.
The Barner Group investigated a survey group and asked the question to people what they believed their number one reason was for them being saved. 80% came back to say : “For my own wellbeing”.
What has changed? Well 200 years ago, believers understood the serious state of the lost, which then became replaced with humanism.
ILL- This is like trying to catch fish without a hook and only bait. Where people are brought to Christ with wrong incentives. As a believer, I should expect and want to walk in peace and joy and success, happiness…but those are the benefits of the New Covenant, they are not the incentives for the lost.
The other misunderstanding in modern day is that people are basically good they have a spark of the divine or a God shaped vacuum but this is contradicted by scriptures Rom 3:10-11; Acts 26:11-18 Col1:12-14 and where we don’t correctly diagnose the lost condition of the lost.
ILL- It is like taking Disprin for brain cancer.
Titus 2:11 says The Grace of God that brings salvation, has appeared to all men and it continues down to Verse 14: While we wait for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, to redeem us from wickedness and to purify for Him a people who are his very own.
Gods Mercy and Justice are not in conflict.
When people ask “How can a just God send people to hell”. It is not so much a question, but an accusation.. God’s Justice and Mercy are not in conflict.
When a person stays dead in their transgressions and sins. God’s justice and mercy are just as real as when a person receives the Gospel, is Born Again and forgiven of all their sins, because the sacrifice is greater than the judgement. God’s Mercy and Justice are not compartmentalised. They are who He is…To the Lost He is just and merciful, to the righteous – He is Just and merciful. Jesus is the only man who could cry out “it is unfair”…He was the only one who was unjustly punished. When we receive this gift of Grace it is Justice and Mercy springing into action. When we reject His gift of Grace, both Justice and Mercy spring into action.
In the first teaching of the Gospel in Acts Chap 2, it says they were “cut to their heart”
ILL- if we are not cut to our heart, it is like sitting on an aeroplane, oblivious of the water below you but should the aeroplane suddenly land on the water, as a passenger you would suddenly give your full attention to the steward’s instructions of how to apply the safety jacket.
ILL- If someone knocked at your door and offered you R30000 for legal fees you might laugh at them until they show you the paperwork of the accusation against you.
ILL- A judge would not fulfil the requirements of the law if he excused someone on their promise that they would try to be a better person.
Jesus’ outline was given to Paul in Acts 26v11 that commands people to repent.
Peter in his sermon in Acts 2 commanded people to repent.
Gal 3 explains to us what the hook in the bait is all about. It says that the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.
This could be the reason for the decline over the last 200 years: confusing the hook and the bait and confusing a humanistic gospel of its all about you and your wellbeing and not that we are lost and dead in our sins, spiritually condemned? That is what the law was called to do.
The bait is things like good works, apologetics, signs and wonders. The expectation of sins forgiven, life after death.
The hook is : Answer the question: “Can a person be born again without repenting and can a person repent if there is no conviction and can conviction come if we do not feel the transgression of the law and the full extent thereof”?
There are only two worlds and two kinds of people in the world: Dead people and people who have been made alive and the territory we are in when we die becomes our eternal address.
It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance but we should understand the context of that verse. The goodness of God is that He is keeping us on this planet without wiping out this planet, waiting for mankind to repent.
Could this be the reason for the decline in the urgency of Christian witnessing is because we have created a narcissistic, self-indulgent, fraudulent, counterfeit Christianity by only producing the bait without the work of the hook?
In Acts 2 after Peter calls them to repent in verse 36 we find by the time we get to verse 42 there was no follow up necessary, there was no ongoing visitation because discipleship was happening in the context of a family of those who were wholly devoted to Him.
Rom 3v19 makes it very clear that the Law investigates us with the exactitudes of the law and are found guilty and condemned before the courts of the universe. The law was put in charge to lead us to Christ. But the church has made the mistake of putting the law on the church and grace on the world.
It is true that the sacrifice was greater than justice but the work of the cross is finished but the Holy Spirit has not finished applying the work of the Cross.
Gal 3 v 23-25 makes it very clear. The law was put in charge so that people can be lead to Christ.
In the parable of the sower 75% are backslid and the other 25% says they understand the critical word. Because if a person doesn’t understand it is less likely, but if a person comes to Christ through understanding it means that the soil was prepared before the seed was planted. Understanding the full extent of the law before the bait is presented needs to be understood.
DIFFERENT WAYS PEOPLE COME TO KNOW CHRIST
- Knock on door 1%
- Social/ community projects 2%
- Bereavement 3%
- Children church 3%
- Advertise crusade/ conference 6%
- Pastoral: Babies, weddings, funerals, etc 8%
- Someone brought them… 77%
THE SIX QUESTIONS TO GET A CONVERSATION WITH AN UNBELIEVER
- Do you think there is a God?
- You could refer to the design of the universe and the necessity of a designer.
- Don’t get side-tracked into a debate. You are asking this to simply discern where they are. Avoid smokescreens by starting the next question with, “Suppose there was a God…”
- Do you think God cares about what is right and wrong?
- Where do we get our moral compass from?
- We know cannibalism is wrong, because we know how we feel when someone wants to eat us. We know murder is wrong, because we know how we would feel if our child got murdered. Etc…
- Are God’s standards the same as ours?
- If they say, “Yes”, it shows lack of understanding the full extent of God’s laws. Don’t respond to their answer, but keep it in mind as you move forward in the next question.
- Will God hold people accountable people for wrongdoing?
- Remember the scenario from question #2 above.
- Can there be law without consequence?
- Would that work in a judicial system?
- Would that work for parenting?
- Is there a Hell?
- Don’t get side-tracked into a debate. You are asking this to simply discern where they are. Avoid smokescreens by starting the next question with, “Suppose there was a Hell…”
- Can you avoid Hell by living a good life?
Congratulations, according to the Bible you answered X right out of 6.
Now, would you like to hear what Jesus taught about this:
- Do you love God with all your heart, soul sand mind and your neighbour as yourself?
- Have you ever coveted someone of the opposite sex?
- Have you ever been so angry with someone you wouldn’t have minded if they died?
- Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you?
According to Jesus, this makes you an adulterating, murdering theif.
Jesus is the only person who kept God’s law perfect. Jesus is the only person who can say he was treated unjustly.
Do you know why he was crucified and murdered at the cross and resurrected on the third day? (Simple explanation…)
Let me ask you:
- Would you like to accept the gift of forgiveness and right standing with God Almighty that Jesus Christ offers you?
- May I lead you through a prayer to confess that you have broken God’s law, and receive the gift of forgiveness Jesus purchased for you?
JESUS HIMSELF SPOKE ABOUT Heaven and HELL
There was a sense of urgency
Matthew 13v40; Math 25v41-46; Rev 19v10-20; 2Thes 15v10 ; Eph 5v5
Important note: Believers don’t have to fear this. We have passed from death to life, we have passed from judgement to eternal life but unbelievers are referred to as Sons of disobedience and that is why we as Christians should live self-controlled, upright lives in this world. Because if we live like them we are not helping them because they are already objects of wrath and we have to help them and become infectious with what God can do in their lives. As Christians we shouldn’t become complacent and just keep falling in the Grace net, they should see us on the wire performing trapeze in the midst of a fallen world.