Sequential Evangelism and Witnessing:

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

For a video presentation of the Gospel click here.

Our key thought for this week’s SS lesson is, “In all evangelism and witnessing, it is important that we first present the simple truth of the gospel.”  Is this true in the last days with so many pressing issues confronting the church and world, as Bible prophecies reach their climax? Yes it is!

“More people than we think are longing to find the way to Christ. Those who preach the last message of mercy should bear in mind that Christ is to be exalted as the sinner’s refuge. Some ministers think that it is not necessary to preach repentance and faith; they take it for granted that their hearers are acquainted with the gospel, and that matters of a different nature must be presented in order to hold their attention. But many people are sadly ignorant in regard to the plan of salvation; they need more instruction upon this all-important subject than upon any other.” – Evangelism, Pages 185-186

With this in mind, I would like to share with you the same Gospel presentation that I have been sharing with people for almost 20 years now.  I encourage you, if you don’t already have a Gospel  presentation chain referenced in your Bible to chain reference this one.

If you choose to chain reference your Bible, you can write in the back of your Bible somewhere:

“Gospel Presentation   GP 1 John 5:13”  Gospel Presentation for the name of the study and “GP” for the abbreviation we will be using as we continue chain referencing the study. 1 John 5:13 is our first verse. At each verse just write nearby, “GP,  the key thought or question (can be abbreviated) for each verse followed by the next verse you will go to.”  Okay let’s go to our first verse now.

Key Question:  “If Jesus were to come today would you be saved?”

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  1 John 5:13

God wants us to know we are saved. He does not want us, wondering or hoping, but knowing that we have eternal life. We have done nothing to earn this, but then again, what did the angels do to earn their place in heaven? Nothing! They were just created there. Before and after sin and the cross, life has always been a free gift and always will be.

Key Question: “If you were to stand before God and He asked you why He should allow you into His kingdom what would you say?” Please assure your Bible student that this is a hypothetical question. God wants you in His kingdom and won’t be saying, “Why should I let you in?” He wants you in!

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

I like to share that if I was asked that question, I would just point to Jesus and say “Ask Him?” Jesus would then explain that He was treated the way I deserve to be treated so I may be treated the way He deserves to be treated.

“Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His.” Desire of Ages, page 25

Key Thought: “Why do I need grace?”

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

Key Thought: “What are the wages of sin?

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 6:23

I like to share right here, that the wages of sin is not eternal torment in hell. John 3:16 says those who believe shall not perish instead of being tormented for all eternity.

Key Thought: “What is sin.” Important to know since sin causes death.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  1 John 3:4

Good news is, it is not a sin to be human or tempted. It is a sin to willfully and knowingly break God’s law. Obviously the law is still in effect. If there was no law I could not break God’s law and sin, and therefore I would not need grace. The fact that I need grace shows there is still a law.

Now if I run a red light just one time I deserve a ticket. Likewise one sin is all it takes for me to deserve death. This leads us to Romans 5:10,19

Key Thought: “How does God deal with the fact that I don’t have a prefect life to offer?”

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  Romans 5:10

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Romans 5:19

I am not only saved by His death. I am also saved by His life! His life stands in the place of my life. Again, Jesus was treated as we deserve so we can be treated as he deserves.

Key Thought: “Jesus takes our sins and gives us His righteousness.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.  2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus took the punishment for my sins in which He had no share, so that I may have the reward of His righteousness in which I had no share. Jesus was treated the way I deserve to be treated so I may be treated the way He deserves to be treated.

Key Thought:  “Jesus gives us eternal life and then helps us to hate the sins we now love and to love the good things we now hate.”

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.  1 Peter 2:24

If you are chain referencing your Bible, you will want to write “GP End” by 1 peter 2:24 so that you know this is the last verse and you don’t need to look for a next verse.

You want to ask the person you share this with to accept Jesus as their Savior. God already accepts them, the question is, will they accept God? Ephesians 1:6

Prayer: “Dear Jesus thank you for be treated the way I deserve to be treated so I may be treated the way you deserve to be treated. Thank you for dying for my sin so I may have the reward of your righteousness. Thank you for coming into my heart and giving me eternal life, and now please help me to love the good things I once hated and to hate the sins I once loved. In Jesus’ name Amen.”

May I suggest that if you are sharing this in someone’s home that you politely excuse yourself right after the prayer? This way they are left with the study and prayer lingering in their heart and mind instead of small talk after the study.

Witnessing and Evangelism as a Lifestyle

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. 2 Kings 13:21

There was no magic in the prophet Elisha’s bones. The Israelites were in distressing times, and hope came to Israel that God was not dead and could revive them if they would heed the words of the prophet. Thus, even after his death, while resting in the tomb, Elisha was still influencing people’s lives for good. That is one of the things I love about writing. Granted I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but even when I am gone what has been written can continue to speak and hopefully bring comfort.

This reminds me of my uncle Bud. He has been gone about 20 years or so now. He had a sense of humor much like mine. He could really make me laugh. I remember he and my aunt Ellen visiting from Seattle, when I was about 15. When he left he smiled and said “I am glad you got to see me.”  I was expecting him to say, “I am glad I got to see you” instead of “I’m glad you got to see me.” The surprise made me laugh. Like me, he had a dry sense of humor that pretended to be arrogant but not really. I have been telling the same joke ever since, and for the last 31 years it brings a laugh most every time.  A couple of weeks ago I was visiting with some friends and when I left I did it again. I repeated Uncle Bud’s line, “I’m glad you got to see me.” Everyone laughed and told me how glad they were I could see them too. When I got in my car and drove off, it dawned on me. The smile on my friends face was caused by my uncle who has been sleeping for over 20 years! Then I thought of all the other people who have laughed after I passed his joke on, and realized all those smiles and laughs were caused by something my uncle told me 31 years ago.

Life is not all jokes and my uncle knew that. Life wasn’t always a joke to him either, but he loved putting a smile on people’s faces. I wish he knew that he is still putting a smile on people’s faces today every time I tell his joke. Elisha had words that could still give life even after his death. Uncle Bud can still make people smile today when I remember his words. I want a witnessing lifestyle that will continue putting smiles on faces and hope in hearts, even while I am still sleeping and waiting for Jesus’ return.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. You may download the Sabbath School lessons to your cell phone here.

Hey! That’s Not Tampa Bay!

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Hey everybody, hope your weekend has been as wonderful as mine, and that you are continuing to enjoy our current Sabbath School lessons on witnessing and evangelism. I have decided to have a little fun with my blog. You know how most all of my posts begin with a picture of the Tampa Bay area and my little caption, “I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.” Well, I have decided that sometime within the next few weeks or months, I am going to post a picture that is not within a 50 mile radius of Tampa Bay. I will still be writing from Tampa Bay most likely, but the picture will not be of the Tampa Bay area. If you notice the picture is not within a 50 mile radius of Tampa Bay (It could be as far away as Peru) and you are the first person to e-mail me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net telling me the picture is not of the Tampa Bay area, then I will donate $100.00 to your favorite Christian church or Christian organization. There is a catch. You only get one guess for the entire contest. This keeps people from randomly guessing and e-mailing me everytime I make a post. So, keep an eye on In Light Of The Cross, and be the first one to email me when you notice a picture not from the Tampa Bay area, above my caption “I am writing from the Tampa Bay area” and your favorite Christian Church or Christian organization will be awarded $100.00! And here is a hint to get you started. The picture in this current post is of Tampa Bay.

Evangelism and Witnessing; Every Member A Minister

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

A while back a lady went into the hospital for a few days. While she was there, a local elder, deacon and an elderly lady came to visit her. However she was released from the hospital before the Senior or associate pastors of the church could come see her. After her release, she was commenting to me that none of the pastors came to see her in the hospital. I corrected her, and told her that three pastors came to see her. According to 1 peter 2:9 the local elder, deacon and elderly lady are all pastors.

The New Testament church was an active church with everyone pastoring and evangelizing. In Acts 8, Philip, a deacon is evangelizing and baptizing. In Acts 7 you have Stephen who was another deacon. While Stephen was “just” a deacon he was stoned to death, and it wasn’t for taking up the offering or adjusting the Sabbath School classroom thermostat. No, he was stoned to death for preaching the gospel! Wait a minute. I thought preaching was the pastor’s job? Not in the New Testament church! In the New Testament church all the members were ministering and evangelizing.

In the dark ages a wide separation was made between the clergy and the laity but that was not the Biblical design. As we progress out of the dark ages the gap between clergy and laity must be narrowed, in order to get back to being a remnant of the New Testament model church.

Around 20 years ago I moved to Texas to be a Bible Worker. The church had thousands of Bible study lead cards that needed to be mailed out. The pastor asked a lady in our church if she could take them to the post office to be mailed. She responded, “Well if I do that then what is William going to do?” She felt since I was the paid Bible Worker that I should be doing all the work, and should mail them myself. Wrong! Fact is, if I am doing all the work then I am not doing my job. My job, along with the pastor’s job is to equip and empower the laity to do evangelism.  If I go by myself to give a Bible study then shame on me! I should always bring another church member so they can be learning how to give Bible studies and also to bond with the student and be another link to the church family. Currently I have about 8 adults in my Bible marking class where I am teaching them how to chain reference their Bibles and give studies and get decisions for Christ. I have also been teaching a Bible marking class at Tampa Adventist Academy, where young people are learning how to share Jesus. At the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church our young people and lay members have been empowered to speak at our evangelism meetings, and to lead out in seminars. We also have several growth group Bible studies and the associate pastor and I are training and mentoring lay members to take over and lead out in these groups. We have also been taking members on door to door evangelism.

If a pastor or Bible Worker thinks of themselves as the ones who are to do all of the preaching and evangelizing then they are not  Biblical but are stuck in the dark ages. Very few pastors today still want to create a huge gap between pastors and laity, while more and more pastors are like Moses, when he said, “would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!”   Numbers 11:29 With this spirit upon our paid clergy the gospel can spread like wildfire and turn the world upside down, just like it did in the book of Acts when every member was an evangelist! Please keep in mind that if the pastor or Bible Worker  are doing all of the preaching and teaching then they are not doing their job. You know the pastor and Bible worker are doing their jobs when they call you and give you work to do!

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. You may download the SS lesson guide to your cell phone here.

Evangelism And Witnessing; Defining Evangelism And Witnessing

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.  Matthew 28:18-20

 

Before Jesus gives us our job description He assures us that He masters all the powers in heaven and earth-the entire universe.  Though His church faces obstacles it will triumph!

 

“Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition.” Acts of the Apostles, Pages 11-12

 

“Christ rejoiced that He could do more for His followers than they could ask or think. He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter. 

 

     “These things I have spoken unto you,” He said, “that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged, and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived, and work as He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master Worker. Courage, energy, and perseverance they must possess. Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are called upon to surmount them. They are to despair of nothing, and to hope for everything. With the golden chain of His matchless love Christ has bound them to the throne of God. It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame.”  {Desire of Ages, page  679} 

 

When given an assignment we need to know where we have been assigned to work. A Tampa police officer has been assigned to Tampa, not New York City. However Jesus tells us to go to all the nations.

 

Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.  Isaiah 56:7

 

Jesus does not exclude anyone from His church.  

 

Jesus tells us to teach before baptism, so people will understand what baptism is all about. However that is not to imply that they must know it all before they can be disciples.  Jesus said, “and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Here we see teach, baptize, teach. The teaching continues after the baptism, so we can’t expect everyone to know it all before they are baptized. I find it interesting when people expect their kids to be perfect in order to be baptized when the parents aren’t even perfect!

 

“Ministers who labor in towns and cities to present the truth should not feel content, nor that their work is ended, until those who have accepted the theory of the truth realize indeed the effect of its sanctifying power, and are truly converted to God. God would be better pleased to have six truly converted to the truth as the result of their labors, than to have sixty make a nominal profession, and yet not be thoroughly converted. These ministers should devote less time to preaching sermons, and reserve a portion of their strength to visit and pray with those who are interested, giving them godly instruction, to the end that they may “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” 

 

     The love of God must be living in the heart of the teacher of the truth. His own heart must be imbued with that deep and fervent love which Christ possessed; then it will flow out to others. Ministers should teach that all who accept the truth should bring forth fruit to the glory of God. They should teach that self-sacrifice must be practiced every day; that many things which have been cherished must be yielded; and that many duties, disagreeable though they may appear, must be performed. Business interests social endearments, ease, honor, reputation, in short, everything, must be held in subjection to the superior and ever-paramount claims of Christ”.—{Evangelism, Pages 320-1}

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. You may download the lesson guides to your cell phone here.