evangelism

We All Are Teachers

We All Are Teachers

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When you come to think about it, we all are teachers whether we know it or not.  Our words and actions teach others how to live, whether Biblical or non-Biblical. But we tend to associate teaching with a formal situation: school teacher, seminar leaders, Bible study teachers, or pastors. However, Jesus was a master teacher, but most of His teaching was in an informal setting. Interestingly, Jesus had only 4 major teaching discourses where He taught through lectures: 
1.    The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7): This discourse was on the type of righteousness necessary for the Kingdom saints. He used the formula, “You have heard it said…but I say to you.”
2.    The Parables Discourse (Matt 13): This message was delivered after Israel’s rejected Jesus’ offer of the Messianic Kingdom (chapter 12). Jesus describes the nature of the mystery kingdom (church) by using the formula, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…”
3.    The Olivet Discourse (Matt 24-25): This discourse was delivered halfway between Palm Sunday and the crucifixion. It amplifies the 70th week of Daniel (Dan 9), and urges the Jewish people to look for His promised return to set up His Messianic Kingdom.
4.    The Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17): This was Jesus’ final discourse to His disciples about His departure and the arrival of the Holy Spirit as a “Helper or Comforter.”

Throughout the Gospel, on the other hand, we can see how Jesus used a variety of methods to reveal truth:
-    He taught through stories and parables- each with a specific truth that He wanted to get across (Mark 4:2).  
-    He taught through asking questions (Mark 2:9,10).
-    He taught by discussing specific subjects: discipleship (Matt 10), forgiveness (Matt 18), divorce (Matt 19), Hypocrisy (Matt 23).
-    He taught through using special occasions- healing of the paralytic (Mark 2); resurrection of Lazarus from the death (John 11).
-    He taught through demonstrations- washing of the disciples’ feet (John 13:5-20)
-    He taught through riddles (Matt 13:9)
-    He taught through object lessons (Matt. 18:1-2) 
-    He taught through assignments (Luke 10:1-2)

The majority of Jesus’ teaching was not in lectures or formal teaching, but by integrating spiritual principles into everyday life situations. Jesus understood how people learned and followed an Old Testament principle: "‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.’ (6)And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; (7) and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut 6:5-7). Deut 6 tells us that real teaching comes through a personal approach, with a variety of teaching styles and methods, and in a variety of real life settings. Teaching occurs in both formal and informal environments. A teacher is one who instructs, guides, motivates, models, and cares- a person who helps others understand truth so that they can change their thinking, attitudes, & behavior. 

Now I know what you might be thinking- I’m not a teacher!  That is not true. We all are teachers. The real question is, “what are you teaching through your life, words, and attitudes?” We must understand that people are watching how we deal with life situations: are we friendly with our neighbor; are we generous to the waitress; are we kind to the clerk; are we patient with our children; are we compassionate with the elderly; are we encouraging the student; are we helpful to the needy; are we loving the unlovable, etc… You see, you might not teach a lecture, but everyday your life is a lecture to others. Someone noted, “Your life might be the only Bible some people will read.” Therefore, work on being a good Bible teacher to the world you are in.                                         

-Pastor Mike

May 2016

ARE WE REACHING NON-BELIEVERS?

There were 217 denominations listed in the 2006 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, and over 321,000 Protestant churches in the U.S. However, research reveals the actual number of people worshipping each week is 17.7% of population or 52 million people. If only 18% of Americans are attending church, then there must be a large percent of our community, neighbors, co-workers, and friends who are unchurched or non-believers. Barna Research Group noted that a typical churched believer will die without leading a single person to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and the majority of believers do not have a specific person in mind for whom they are praying in the hope that the person will be saved. Why are we not more concerned for non-believers coming to Christ? What has happened to evangelism?

Why Christians are failing in reaching the non-believers?

1.  We have lost the sense of urgency, because we do not really believe in a literal Hell. Churches today have moved to universalism, where all will be saved without any kind of punishment or Bible thumping preacher using Hell to make people feel guilty. If you take the concept of Hell out of your thinking, then evangelism seems like a nice activity, but not a necessity. Put Hell, a literal place of torment, back into the equation and evangelism becomes a needed necessity, and suddenly souls are at stake and time is short.

2.  We have outsourced evangelism by delegating our outreach efforts to pastors, church leaders and those who have the gift of evangelism. The typical Christian believes that since they are not gifted in evangelism, it is not their responsibility to share their faith.

3.  We are men pleasers. We live in an inclusive society, and to proclaim that Jesus is the only way to heaven leads to mockery and we don’t want that.

4.  We don’t know the Gospel message. It is hard to share a message you can’t explain.

5.  We have forgotten to pray for the unsaved. One of our greatest assets in evangelism is praying for individuals and opportunities, but far too many times we fall short of praying for friends, family, etc…who are unsaved.

There are all kinds of reasons why we don’t reach out to non-believers, but let’s focus on how we can be a witness.

How might we reach the non-believers and unchurched?

1.  Be Relevant: The unchurched are relatively comfortable with their style, yet many are still searching for a greater sense of meaning and significance. The answers they seek come through conversations with believers, not church or Sunday school. It is through these insightful conservations that the unchurched person begins to see the value of the Christian faith. Hearing the talk and witnessing the walk makes a spiritual impact.

2.  Be Godly: When the unchurched are in a place where God’s people are truly experiencing the living, genuine presence of the Lord, even those who are just watching are affected.

3.  Be Sensitive: Many people and churches make the unchurched into a project- a group who must be changed, and any technique that works is worth trying. The admonition to believers is to relate to the unchurched as people, not projects, and to do so with humility, love, and grace.

4.  Be Caring: The unchurched are looking for evidence that members of a church truly love each other and love other people. They know the Golden Rule; they simply want to see if believers practice it. One of the key attractions to the unchurched is a body of believers that actively and regularly serves people; inside and outside the fold. 

5.  Be Knowledgeable: The unchurched need to know the Gospel, so a believer needs to understand the Gospel message. If you have only one verse, go to Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death (that’s the unbelievers present condition), but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (that’s their future position by trusting Christ).”

 

It is our responsibility to reach out to the non-believers with the Gospel message, and be relevant, godly, sensitive, caring and knowledgeable to those around us.                               

                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla