This series of blogs is designed to complement two sermon series: The More You’ve Never Seen Before and The Bucket Project. The purpose of these “discipleship” blogs is to give you the information you need about being discipled and being a discipler. Since these blogs are intended to be a resource, they’re a modified version of my teaching notes on this subject throughout the years.
What is one thing that God commands all of us to do?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
What is a disciple?
A disciple is a learner and follower of Christ.
When is a disciple made?
Discipleship is a process, not an event.
- Salvation is God reclaiming “ownership.”
- Sanctification is God reclaiming “ruler-ship.”
- Salvation is God making me a child of God.
- Sanctification is God enabling me to live like a child of God.
- Salvation is a belief in Christ that produces a life like Christ.
Today, we are going to talk about the first step of making disciples: relational evangelism.
The first requirement of making disciples is engaging the unbelieving world.
What is a good definition of relational evangelism?
Evangelism is zealously promoting something you believe in.
- We promote great movies, music, and restaurants.
- We promote great products and brands.
- We promote what we believe in!
Relational evangelism is zealously promoting something we believe in to people we care about.
- The one thing that our lives should promote more than anything else is the incredible value of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Relational evangelism is becoming a trusted friend for the sake of eternity.
Why are churches failing in the mission of evangelism?
Churches are failing in evangelism because we’ve forgotten what it was like to be the seeker.
- It is very easy for the church to become prioritized by the wishes of the insiders instead of the needs of the outsiders.
- The church has forgotten who the customer
- The moment you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you went from consumer to contributor.
What is our strategy for relational evangelism?
Invest and Invite.
- Invest: Be a trusted friend for the sake of eternity.
- Invite: Leverage specific opportunities to invite your friends to church.
What happens to you during a worship service when someone who you’ve invited is attending?
You look at the church through the eyes of your invitee.
You evaluate the church on the basis of what your friend thinks.
What two principles are keys to your success in relational evangelism?
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
Paul was willing to understand them in order to be understood.
Understanding builds trust.
You have to build trust so that you can enter into the dialogue.
- To give people answers we have to understand what the issues are.
- To point people to Christ, we’ve got to understand what they’re going through.
You need to change your priorities before you can change your passions.
When their priorities changed, their passions changed.
When you spend time with people and you invest in them, they become important to you.
Why must you embrace a lifestyle of relational evangelism?
Because pretty much every one of us can point to someone who was there with us when we made that critical decision to follow Christ.
- Because somebody was there for us to show us the way; now we have the imperative to be there for somebody else.
What makes it easier for people to confidently share Christ?
The secret to confidence is Life Change.
- Life Change is undeniable.
- Life Change stuns and silences your critics.
But Peter and John answered and said to them, “whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge: for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
We don’t have an evangelism problem; we have an experience problem.
Why is this important?
We think sharing Christ is about convincing, convicting, and converting.
Not the case, sharing Christ is about an historical person, event, and opportunity.
What did Peter and John see and hear that caused them to risk their lives?
On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?
Good works without words aren’t dangerous.
Good works with words are dangerous.
How did Peter answer their question?
Then Peter, filled with the holy spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – by this name this man stands here before you in good health.”
We can’t shut up because:
We experienced His love and life.
We experienced His forgiveness and freedom.
What does Peter do next?
Acts 4:11-12 (See also John 14:6)
“He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. “and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
How do you partner with God’s church?
It’s a partnership of Invest and Invite.
It’s a partnership of Go and Tell and Come and See.
It’s a partnership of Life Change and Relevant Environments.
God always uses a person to make Christ personal.
What’s your responsibility regarding evangelism?
Evangelism by myself feels like mission impossible.
Evangelism with God’s people is mission possible.
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.