Have a talk about this: What good news do you have to share? Has something good happened to you recently that you would be prepared to share with the group?
Luke 8:1 presents Jesus as an evangelist, and it is good to remember in all discussion about evangelism that the church is simply called to carry on the work that he started. He then presents us with a model for evangelism.
Let’s look more closely at Luke chapter 8, verses 1-15.
Read and discuss
Who accompanied Jesus in evangelism?
– Why did he associate these people with him?
– How does Christ still associate people with him in his mission today?
What was the content of his message?
– How does this compare with what evangelists are preaching today?
Why did Jesus use stories (parables) in his attempts at communicating with the crowds?
– What does this say to us about the way we should communicate the gospel?
What responses did Jesus highlight among his listeners?
– Does this describe the situation today?
Jesus did not focus on the failures.
– What does this say to us about our involvement in his mission?
What do you think Jesus meant by saying, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
– How is this relevant for evangelism?
Let’s sum up this passage:
(1) Jesus Christ, through his Spirit, is still the real evangelist today, but he associates other people with him in the task. The church is that body of people, women and men, that he calls to be involved with him in bearing witness to God’s presence, power, love, law and salvation. This task is given to the church as a whole, so every member has some share in it..
(2 ) While Jesus went out of his way to bring the message to people wherever he could, he did not ram it down their throats. He used stories so that people could make the connection for themselves.
(3) He was neither carried away with success when people responded positively, nor despondent when they rejected the message. He knew that there would always be some who were impenetrable to the Gospel, some whose enthusiasm was short-lived, some who would be led astray by their preoccupation with money or pleasure and overwhelmed by their worries and anxieties. But it was for the “fruit” of faithful, godly, love-filled, Spirit-motivated people who were at peace within God’s love and grace that he continued his evangelistic task.
There are some other things we can say about Jesus as a model for evangelism:
– He both spoke the message and was the message.
– The power in his words was the same power evident in his deeds.
– He offered hope to the hopeless.
– He could be confronting when necessary.
– His aim was to see people drawn into God’s kingdom, not to recruit followers for himself.
– He was led astray neither by seeking people’s approval nor by fear of what others might do to him. Neither was he waylaid in his mission either by success or by failure.
What would it mean for the church today to really take Jesus as its model for evangelism?
On a Lighter Note
(by Rev John Stokes, printed in a Canadian Church Magazine)
During an ecumenical gathering, somebody rushed in and shouted, “The building is on fire!”
The Methodists gathered in a corner and prayed.
The Baptists cried, “Where’s the water?”
The Christian Scientists agreed that there was no fire.
The Fundamentalists shouted, “It’s the vengeance of God!”
The Lutherans posted a notice on a door declaring the fire was not justified.
The Quakers quietly praised God for the blessings that fire brings.
The Jews posted symbols on the door hoping the fire would pass over.
The Roman Catholics took up a second collection.
The Congregationalists and Southern Baptists shouted, “Every man to himself!”
The Presbyterians appointed a chairman who was to appoint a committee to look into the matter.
The Unitarians roasted marshmallows.
The Episcopalians and the Anglicans formed a procession and marched out in grand style.
The United Church was divided over the matter and formed two committees, and
The Salvation Army set up a soup kitchen for the survivors of the fire and the fire fighters.
Is variety of approach helpful or a hindrance in the church’s task of evangelism?
Pray for our congregation and its effectiveness in mission.
Pray that your own life may be modelled more clearly on that of Jesus.