Practical Evangelism 5 – Good news to ALL

The aim of this devotional study is to remind yourself that ALL are in need of Christ’s atoning grace, regardless of gender, class, culture or race.

Scriptures

Today we will do a comparative study, comparing Nicodemus (John 3) with the woman at the well (John 4) and see what we learn from Christ’s interaction with them.

Nicodemus Samaritan_Woman

John 3:1-18

1  Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2  This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”

3  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9  Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10  Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11  Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13  No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Observations and reflection

Note: In the gospel of John the author deliberately places two accounts of individual encounters with Jesus next to each other – in stark contrast – to highlight one truth about the universal need of all people.

  1. Compare Nicodemus to the Samaritan woman at the well with one another by studying the text above.
Comparison Nicodemus (John 3:1-18) The Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42)
Gender Woman
Ethnicity Samaritan
Morality Immoral
Education No notable education
Political Status No political status
Religious Status No religious status
Time of encounter At noon
Venue of encounter In public
Who initiated? Jesus initiated the conversation
  1. What do you learn by comparing the two people who encountered Jesus above?
  2. Although Nicodemus was an educated Jewish man of religious and political status he sensed life with Jesus that he did not know. Summarize Jesus’ answer about the key to that life.

Personal reflection and Application

By placing these two accounts next to each other John deliberately shows that Jesus is indeed “God so loved the World that He gave His Son so that WHOEVER believes in Him shall be saved…” (3:16) and “this man is indeed the Savior of the world!” (John 4:42)

  1. We mostly find it easier to witness and “share the Gospel” to the poor and uneducated – to the “Samaritan women” we encounter. But we tend to withhold our witness to the rich, educated and powerful – the “Nicodemus”-like people we live and work with.
    1. Why do you/we find it harder to witness to rich people?
    2. Why do you/we find it harder to witness to educated people?
    3. Why do you/we find it harder to witness to influential people?
    4. What intimidates you? Why?
    5. What are the big things all people have in common?
    6. Why does every person need to hear the gospel and respond?
  2. List a few “Nicodemus”-like people who work or live around you. Who will tell them of the life-giving power of Christ?

Prayer

Again, thank God for the person who introduced you to Christ, and His generous gift of salvation and pray that God will bless that person.  Ask the Lord for grace to see the heart and minds of ALL PEOPLE through the eyes of God – especially those who live with more money and power in this world.  Then pray for those Nicodemus-like people in your life by name, that God will make them receptive for the Gospel and that you will be bold to speak when the time comes.

A meeting at night, a meeting at noon

One was rich and one was poor

One a Samaritan, the other a Jew

But both needed Christ

As I do you.

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Practical Evangelism 4 – Lift up your eyes

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in awareness of the hunger and need for Christ of the people with come in contact with every day.

Scriptures

jesus_at_well

John 4:3-9, 25-35

3  [Jesus] left Judea and departed again for Galilee.  4  And he had to pass through Samaria. 5  So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6  Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7  A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8  (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9  The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) …

25  The [Samaritan] woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27  Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”  28  So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29  “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30  They went out of the town and were coming to him…

35  Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

Observations and reflection

Context: Jesus and his disciples were on their way to preach and minister in Galilee.  Weary and hungry they stopped at a well outside the Samarian town of Sychar where the disciples went to buy some food.  Jesus noticed a Samaritan woman who came at an odd time to draw water and engaged her in conversation which lead to him speaking into the area of her greatest need and shame.  As a result she became the first Samaritan believer and evangelist.

  1. From their immediate need, cultural as well as social context, why did the disciples not minister to the Samaritan woman (whom they had to pass)?
  2. What did Jesus do to initiate the conversation with her?
  3. What was the result of this one conversation
  4. Note the progressive revelation (or witness) of these new followers to Jesus. How is Jesus described in this Text? [verses 36, 40, 45, 49, 51]

Personal reflection and Application

Notice the deliberate irony in this portion of Scripture: the disciples – on a mission trip! – never considered to minister to this woman whom they had to pass, nor the town they entered to buy food.  Although Jesus was too tired to enter the town his one conversation with an outcast of that town lead to the conversion of the whole town.  The disciples who were full-time students and ministry partners with Jesus did not minister in the town at all, but one immoral woman’s testimony of one conversation with Jesus lead to the conversion of the whole town!  And lastly, the woman who was pushed out of society due to her immorality was the one who brought salvation to the whole town.

John 4:35 “lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

  1. Think of your daily or weekly routine in light of this text.
    1. Who do you interact with frequently but you do not engage in meaningful conversation because you are merely “buying food” (or working or filling up fuel or dropping the kids)?
    2. Who do you interact with frequently but you do not engage in meaningful conversation because they are socially or culturally different that you?
  2. List the names of your neighbors. [if you don’t know, make this priority no1]
    1. What are their biggest need?
    2. How do they relate to Christ?

Prayer

Thank God for the person who introduced you to Christ, and His generous gift of salvation; pray a prayer of blessing on that person.  Now pray to God to help you “lift up your eyes” and notice the individuals that you pass daily who are in need of Christ and his intervention in their lives.  Also pray for your neighbors, colleagues and especially family members who do not know Jesus as savriour.

Practical Evangelism 3 – Come and see

The aim of this devotional study is to learn from the first followers’ of Jesus first witnessing accounts.

Scriptures

John 1:35-51

35  The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36  and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

38  Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39  He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

40  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42  He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

43  The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

47  Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48  Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49  Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50  Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51  And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Observation and reflection

  1. What was the direct result of John the Baptists’ witness of Jesus? (verse 37)
  2. Briefly outline in your own words what Andrew did that lead to the conversion of Simon Peter. What do you learn from that?
  3. Note to whom Andrew and Phillip first witnessed. What does this suggest about the priority of our witness of Jesus? [hint: which relationships…?]
  4. Nathanael had theological questions about the Messiah. In your own words, what was Phillip’s response?
    1. “Come and see” is a repeated phrase in the conversion of these first disciples – what do you think the author is conveying about conversion and discipleship in these simple words?
  5. Note the progressive revelation (or witness) of these new followers to Jesus. How is Jesus described in this Text? [verses 36, 40, 45, 49, 51]

Personal reflection and Application and Prayer

Believers are frequently intimidated to witness of Jesus, fearing that they do not have all the answers a sceptic might ask him.  But the pattern displayed in the conversion of these first disciples sets the tone of witnessing as sceptics are simply “come and see”

  1. Record the most important things you have personally learned or seen about Jesus (that which is not learned academically).
  2. If you would invite someone to “come and see Jesus” – where would you take him/her? What are the most logical places to invite an unbeliever to “come and see” Jesus?
  3. Pray and thinks about whom you can invite to “come and see”.
    1. What will you witness of Jesus to that person?
    2. Where will you invite them to?
    3. When will you invite them?
    4. Pray for this person’s salvation – that the Lord will prepare his/her heart and that the Lord will give you words and boldness.
    5. Who will you ask to keep you accountable? [See this article on Accountability in Friendship to see the value in it!]

Practical Evangelism 2 – Who Jesus is

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on and apply John the Baptist witness of Jesus Christ.

Scriptures

John 1:29-34

29  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  30  This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’  31  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32  And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  33  I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  34  And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Observation and reflection

Context: This event took place in the week leading up to Passover, the feast by which the Jews celebrate God’s great deliverance of the ancestors from Egyptian slavery.  During this festival every family ought to slaughter a lamb and eat unleavened bread while retelling the history of this great deliverance.

  1. List everything that John the Baptist reveals about
    1. The identity of Jesus.
    2. The ministry of Jesus.
  2. From where does John get his confidence about the identity and ministry of Jesus? [verses 32-34]
  3. Considering the context and timing of this witness of Jesus, why John’s declaring of Jesus being “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world” draw so much attention? And what would that mean for the Jews who came out to be baptized by John?

Personal reflection and Application

From this portion we can learn that John’s witness has three important elements: (1) a witness to who Jesus is; (2) a witness to what Jesus has done; (3) a witness to how someone can personally know Him.

  1. Prepare to witness like John:
    1. John announced Jesus as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world”, “one on Whom the Spirit rests” (or “the Christ/ Anointed One of God”), and “the Son of God”. Who do you KNOW Jesus to be?
    2. John witnessed that Jesus would die for the sins of the world. What do you KNOW has Jesus done for you personally?
    3. John knew Jesus by the voice of God and the Spirit of God – he had a special revelation of who Jesus was and what He would do. How do you KNOW Jesus?  And how can someone KNOW Him the way you do?
  2. Contact a Christian friend – make an appointment to share this with him/ her. Ask him/her for feedback.
  3. Find a non-believer and ask them if you can share something personal with them – then witness to them about who you know Jesus is, what He has done and how he/she can know Him.

Prayer

Thank God for what Jesus has done for you.  Ask for boldness and accuracy to witness in sincerity.

tell_a_friend

Practical Evangelism 1 – How to witness

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on John the Baptist witness of Jesus Christ.

Scriptures

image

John 1:6-9

There was a man who was sent from God; his name was John [the Baptist].  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

Observation and reflection

Context: This portion of the prologue to John`s gospel announces the purpose of John the Baptist`s role in the life in ministry of Jesus.

1.       Carefully list everything that the gospel writer records about John.

2.       John the Baptist came to witness.

a.       Where does one usually find a witness?

b.      What is the task of a witness?

3.       John was not ‘the Light’ then?

4.       The gospel writer records ‘so that through him ALL might believe’.   Who does “ALL” refer to?

a.       Can you recall the specific incident of witnessing this refers to? [See John 1:29-34].

b.      What was the result of John’s witnessing then?

c.       Why is this witness significant –even to you and me today?

Personal reflection and Application

John the Baptist`s witness had three important elements: (1) he was not the Light, but (2) was sent to bear witness of that Light (3) so that all men might believe.  We are all commissioned to bear witness of our life-altering encounters with Christ, and this summary of John’s witness is helpful to our witnessing.

1.       Reflect personally on John’s  witness.

a.       John ‘was not The Light’; how would it change your witnessing if you were not The Light?

b.      John was to bear witness of ‘that Light’.  How do you bear witness of ‘that Light’ effectively?

c.       John was to bear witness ‘so that through him all might believe’.  How does this emphasis change the way you bear of witness of Jesus Christ?

2.       Recall one personal life-altering encounter you had with Jesus Christ.  Briefly write that out to witness of The Light as John bore witness of that Light.

Prayer

Thank God for his work of grace in your life, and pray as disciples prayed in Acts 4:29 for boldness to witness of what Jesus has done for and in you.