A Fervent Follower ... Shares their Faith
A fervent follower of Jesus Christ actively shares their faith with others in obedience to the Great Commission (Mt.28:18-20). They understand that there is an urgency to the hour and that eternity is as stake. People's decision to accept or reject Jesus Christ affects their quality of life right now as well as their future destiny - heaven or hell.Our First Priority
We are not here just to love God and each other. We are here to reach out to those who don't yet know Jesus Christ. Jesus came into the world for a number of reasons, but the primary reason was to save sinners (Mt.9:13. Lk.5:27-32). As Bill Hybels says, "Lost people matter to God. Therefore, they should matter to us." God's heart is for the world. He doesn't want anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance. He wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:1-4. 2 Pet. 3:9). God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, Jesus, so that anyone who believes in Him might have eternal life (Jn. 3:16). The church exists to reach people for Christ. We are now God's representatives on earth, reaching out to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Evangelism, near and far, is central to the purpose of the church. It is not one of a number of options. It is to be our first priority while we are here on earth.
God is a missionary (the Father sent the Son to save us) and he calls us all to be missionaries too. We are here "because of" mission (God sent someone to share with us) and we are here "for" mission (we are sent to tell others). We need to deploy the whole church to be part of the ministry of evangelism. We need every Christian
involved in reaching others for Christ. This is normal Christianity.Basic Training
As fervent followers, we are to "be prepared" to share our faith at any time (1 Pet.3:15). Here are some basic concepts.
Personal Profile: ANDREW
- God wants to use you just the way you are.
There is no one ideal style or personality required to be effective in sharing your faith. Through just being yourself you can impact people for Christ. You don't have to become someone you're not. There are different styles of evangelism: confrontational (Peter), testimonial (blind man), serving (Tabitha), intellectual (Paul at Athens), relational (Matthew's party) and invitational (woman at the well).
Each one of us is unique and God has equipped us to reach certain types of people based on our personality, style and background. As we go about our daily interaction with people around about us, God will give us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
- Evangelism is a process .
We need to understand that evangelism is a process. Most people go through a long pre-conversion stage. It takes time for people to move from a position of resistance to the gospel to a place of readiness to receive. It takes wisdom to know where a person is on his or her spiritual journey and then to encourage them to take the next step. We should not rush the process or force people.
As in any harvest, one person ploughs the ground, one plants the seed, one waters it and one reaps the fruit. All rejoice together and receive reward for their work. It is God who makes things grow and gets the glory! We get to be co-workers with Him (see 1 Cor. 3:5-9). Keep sowing the seed. God will bring the increase.
God rarely uses just one person to bring someone through the entire process of coming to faith in him. More often, he orchestrates a number of people, places and events to lovingly move this person toward Christ. One plants, another waters but God gives the increase.
- Christianity is unique.
We live in a Post Modern world where"pluralism" dominates people's thinking. However, Christianity is not the same as all other religions. It's about faith not works or human effort. Jesus is our resurrected leader, and Jesus declared that he was the only way to the Father and to salvation. He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me." As C.S. Lewis says, "Either he is a liar, a lunatic or he really is Lord of all!" There is no other option.
- Andrew met Jesus personally (Jn.1:29, 34-39).
Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. He became a follower of Jesus after John declared Jesus as the"Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" and also as the "Son of God". He went and stayed with Jesus and spent time getting to know him.
- Andrew went and told his brother about Jesus (Jn.1:40-41).
The first thing Andrew did after meeting Jesus was to go and tell his brother, Simon Peter,"We have found the Messiah."
- Andrew brought his brother to meet Jesus personally (Jn.1:42).
Andrew wanted Peter to know and experience Jesus too.
Fervent followers have met Jesus personally, want to tell others about him and then make efforts to bring people into an encounter with Jesus Christ.
Through Andrew's life we can learn a few lessons about how to reach our friends for Christ.
Sample Discussion Questions
- Build relationships with those who don't know Jesus Christ.
Each follower of Jesus, like Andrew, has a network of family and friends who God wants to reach with his love.
- Give a verbal witness to your faith.
Andrew told his brother that he had met Jesus who he believed to be the Messiah, the One they were all looking for. Living a godly and a good life is important. However, this is usually not enough. The time comes when we need to say who we are and what we believe.
- Invite people to "come and see" the community of faith and to "hear" the message of the gospel.
It is wise and strategic to intentionally partner with other Christians and the church community in order to lead people to Christ.
- Ask people to briefly give details of how they became a Christian. The purpose here is to illustrate the "process" of evangelism and the factors involved in people coming to faith in Christ. Especially note the relational connections.
- Why do we sometimes struggle with confidence in sharing our faith with other people? In other words, what are some of the barriers to sharing our faith (e.g. fear, lack of confidence, etc)?
- How can we overcome these barriers (mentioned in question #2)? Get people on the 'solution side' of the challenge.
- Ask people who have invited friends or family to a church event or activity to describe how the experience went for both them (the inviter) and their friends (the invited). Be open to both positive and negative comments here.
- Discuss how the Life Group can help each other keep the fires of evangelistic fervour burning hot.
- Form a combined "Impact List" for an upcoming evangelistic event (such as Tom Papania) and pray over each person's name. It might be good to break into groups of 2-3 for this prayer time.