SEQUENTIALEVANGELISM AND WITNESSING Lesson 5 for May 5, 2012
The ideal process of evangelism consists of the next stages: Satisfying the needs of that person. Teaching the basic rudiments of Salvation. Studying more complex Biblical truths. During this process, it is important to assess that person in every stage to understand his/her acceptance and understanding. Although this is the ideal process that must be our reference when evangelizing, the Holy Spirit may touch the heart of a person in a particular way that could be different than this one.
STAGE 1:SATISFYING THE NEEDS OF THAT PERSON “I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. The one who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing” (Job, 29: 12-13 NIV) What is written in the Scriptures according to taking care of the people in need? “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs… You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’” (Deuteronomy, 15: 7-11)
STAGE 1:SATISFYING THE NEEDS OF THAT PERSON “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah, 58: 6-7) “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James, 2: 15-16)
STAGE 1:SATISFYING THE NEEDS OF THAT PERSON “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’” (Matthew, 25: 34-36) Knowing the needs of the people and trying to satisfy that needs is the first step to bringing them to the feet of our Savior. A loving heart that shows a sincere interest for the problems of others will introduce witnessing. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James, 1: 27 NIV)
STAGE 2:TEACHING THE BASIC RUDIMENTS OF SALVATION “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able” 1 Corinthians, 3: 2) When we read “spiritual milk” (1 Peter, 2: 2) in the Bible, that means the basic principles of the faith. Everyone is ready to understand some basic concepts, but not everyone is ready to understand more complex ones until he/she has understood the basic ones. Those more complex concepts are described as “meat” or “solid food” in the Bible (Hebrews, 5: 12) Paul listed some “elementary principles of Christ” (Hebrews, 6: 1-2), like repentance, faith, resurrection… Which Biblical teachings would you consider “milk” and which ones “solid food”?
STAGE 3:STUDYING MORE COMPLEX BIBLICAL TRUTHS “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews, 5: 13-14) As we go on in knowing the Truth, that Truth demands changes that transform our lifestyle and the way we think. For example, once we have understood the love of God, we must go one step ahead: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John, 14: 15) To keep the Sabbath or to give up worshiping idols involve important changes in our lives. Which other truths are closely related to your lifestyle and the way you think?
ASSESSINGTHE SPIRITUAL GROWTH How can we better determine when to take another step and teach a new truth to the person we are instructing in the Truth? One important way in which we can measure people’s spiritual growth is by asking questions so they can assess themselves. Asking questions is a good way to gauge a person’s spiritual understanding and growth. It is best to ask open-ended questions. These are questions that encourage an informative answer and that cannot be answered simply by yes or no. Some typical questions might be: • What do you think these verses are saying to us today? • How would you share this Bible truth with a friend? • How do you feel about God’s promise to you? • What changes do you think you need to make in your life, in your attitude toward others, and in how you live in general, because of what you have been studying? • How do these truths help you to love Jesus more? • Of all the things you have been learning, what impresses you the most? • What gives you the most hope? Themostfear?
ASSESSINGTHE SPIRITUAL GROWTH Let’s see how the Bible uses the asking-questions method to make the people think about their spiritual needs.
Our challenge as a church, and as individuals, is to sow the gospel seed and then sequentially nurture to maturity all those who begin the journey.
“So the sowers have something to do that the seed may not be choked with thorns or perish because of shallowness of soil. At the very outset of the Christian life every believer should be taught its foundation principles. He should be taught that he is not merely to be saved by Christ’s sacrifice, but that he is to make the life of Christ his life and the character of Christ his character. Let all be taught that they are to bear burdens and to deny natural inclination. Let them learn the blessedness of working for Christ, following Him in self-denial, and enduring hardness as good soldiers. Let them learn to trust His love and to cast on Him their cares. Let them taste the joy of winning souls for Him. In their love and interest for the lost, they will lose sight of self. The pleasures of the world will lose their power to attract and its burdens to dishearten. The plowshare of truth will do its work. It will break up the fallow ground. It will not merely cut off the tops of the thorns, but will take them out by the roots” E.G.W. (Christ’s object lessons, cp. 2, “Preparation of the soil”, pg. 37-38)