Rise Up...And Teach Others
You may be noticing an emphasis on personal evangelism around here this month. It is important that we look for opportunities to bring others to Christ. We serve the risen Savior who said in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost". As Paul stated in 1 Tim 1: 15, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the chief". Following the example of Jesus as the master teacher is something we constantly wish to do as His disciples, but often we struggle with internal obstacles and questions that impede our success. What you might be seeing and hearing at Southside this October is not just a program of the month, but what should be a way of life for all Christians. During this month we will be emphasizing the importance of personal evangelism efforts to accomplish growth – both for us and the church - and will be providing some tips and encouragement to help us get better. It is only human nature to ask questions or have some doubts about our abilities to get this done. Let’s look at a few of those:
It's tough to get the conversation started – Instead of working so hard to come up with a novel or creative approach, just meet people where they are – that is what Jesus and His apostles did. Take another look at how Jesus and His apostles approached people in the gospel accounts and the book of Acts. They found people as they were and used the situation as a way to start teaching. Think of the different situations Jesus found himself in and how he was able to focus the conversation on what the person needed – salvation. He had discussions that ranged from a learned Pharisee, Nicodemus, to a Samaritan woman at a well – and many others in between those. Look for opportunities to get a word in about the Bible and a better way of living (Heb 8:6). Don’t prejudge the possibilities, don’t be intimidated about having to convert them on the spot – just say and do the little things that might cause people to think about another option. It is so easy for us to worry about the end of the matter, when all we need to do is start. "I preached, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase" (1 Cor. 3:6).
I don’t know that much about the Bible – Andrew did not know much about Jesus and His teaching when he initially encountered the Savior, but he knew that his brother, Peter, needed to meet the Christ and hear His words (John 1: 40 – 42). Think about all the good work for the kingdom that transpired because of that simple action. We know what we did to be saved, when we became a Christian - that is all we need to know to teach others. It might be that we have not developed spiritually as we should – there are Bible class opportunities for us to attend and develop – and we should also be reading and meditating on God’s word daily so that we can live according to God’s ways (Psalm 119:9-16). A great place to start to learn more about how to bring others to Christ would be to study the examples of conversion in the book of Acts.
I am not a skilled teacher/ communicator – Moses was initially fearful of his speaking and leadership abilities - "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh?" (Ex. 3;11), but through his trust in God he helped the Israelites escape from the bondage of the great Egyptian empire and also delivered God’s law to the people. Paul mentioned to the Corinthians. "My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power". We also cannot let our age deter us - "Ah, Lord God. I cannot speak, for I am a youth" (Jer. 2:6). Jeremiah would learn that if God was with him, there was none who could stop him.
I am concerned about what some people might think – Maybe the toughest obstacle of all – one that I struggle with at times. We have to let our love of souls overcome any inhibitions we have in regard to speaking the truth in love. At some point in our lives we realized our need for God’s salvation. Someone was responsible for helping us get to that point. Aren’t we thankful that we were able to make that change in our life? Don’t we want others to have that same opportunity? "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). We are not being asked by God to make such an ultimate sacrifice, but to only speak to others about what His Son has done for us – in order to save their souls. Let us rise up . . . and teach others!