SPEAKING OF JESUS

Week 1: Introduction

  • Welcome
  • Why these videos
  • What to get out of this class
  • How to use these videos
  • Outline of Sessions
  • Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-10 
  • Discussion Questions: 
    • What do we learn from this passage about how salvation comes about?
    • What does this passage teach us about what God is like? How he views sinners?
    • How does this passage encourage us in our own efforts to reach lost people?
    • Take a moment to reflect, and share with others in your group, how God rescued you. Who or what were some of the influences God used to reach you?
  • Closing Story
  • Prayer of Blessing

Session 2: The What and the Why of Evangelism

    • What is Evangelism (and what it isn't)
      • Evangelism is: "To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe." - Lausanne Covenant
    • Catching a vision for God and his eternal purposes
      • "The chief end of God is to glorify God."
      • The grand story line: Creation - Fall - Redemption - Consummation
      • "Missions [evangelism] is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is!" - John Piper
        (Luke 19:10; John 4:23; Revelation 7:9; 21:1-5)
  • Catching a vision for God's church (and me)
    • Ephesians 3:10-11
    • "Not God's plan for my life but my life for God's plan." - Ken Priddy- EPC leader
    • "Not God's vision for our church, but our church for God's vision." - Ken Priddy - EPC leader
    • While some have the gift of evangelism (Ephesians 4:11; Acts 21:8), all are commanded to go and preach: (Acts 8:1-4; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 2:9; 3:15-16)
  • Reasons we don't (sometimes) evangelize - "de-motivators"
  • Reasons we should evangelize - biblical motivators
    1. The glory of God
    2. A true understanding of the love of God for the lost (Luke 15; John 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:9)
    3. Because there is much at stake 
    4. Joyful obedience
    5. Trust in the sovereignty of God and his desire to use us to fulfill his sovereign purposes (Romans 10:14-15)
    6. Personal sense of fulfillment and joy in partnering with God
    7. Because there's nothing to lose: it's a win, win, win situation!

Session 3: Look at the Fields

  • Pray for ourselves
    • To notice the "fields" (John 4:34-38)
    • To go out as workers in the "fields" (Matthew 9:37-38)
  • Reading and discussing Acts 8:26-40
    • Discussion Questions:
      1. How do we see the Holy Spirit leading Philip? In what ways does Philip show that he is responsive to the influence of the Spirit?
      2. In what ways had God through the Holy Spirit already been work in the heart and life of the Ethiopian Eunuch prior to this encounter with Philip?
      3. How is it evident that the Holy Spirit is orchestrating this encounter?
      4. What can Philip teach us here about how to approach someone?
  • Pray for the lost
    • P - Petition God for souls
    • R - Recognize where you are
    • A - Allow God to direct you to target specific persons
    • Y - Yearn to bring them to God
  • "Spheres of Influence" exercise
    • First, look at the "Spheres of Influence" handout. These spheres represent some of the major spheres or areas in which most of us operate.
      Exercise 1: Take time during your group session to allow each participant to write down the names of any people they know within each of these spheres to whom they could potentially reach out. Be sure to think in terms of people you used to know, people you know, and people you would like to know. Also, don’t forget about the people you may see at restaurants, stores, salons, gas stations, and other places (or spheres) you frequent.
      Exercise 2: Take a few extra minutes just thinking about your neighborhood. How well do you know the people who live around you? Write down the names of neighbors you currently know, or would like to know. Brainstorm about ways you might reach out to them? Also, are there other believers or church members living in your neighborhood with whom you might partner in reaching your neighborhood in some creative ways? Could your small group perhaps work together in some way to bless your community?

Session 4: Telling God's Story

  • Introduction - telling God's story
    • "Chatting our faith"
  • Gospel basics
    • God (character/attributes)
    •  Us (sinful condition)
    • Christ (person and work)
    • You (response to Christ)
  • Exercise: Take some time to allow at least a couple of people in your group to practice communicating the good news of the gospel in only 2-3 minutes each, using the "God - Us - Christ - You" framework we discussed. 
  • Helpful illustrations
    • Roman Road: Romans 3:23 - Romans 5:8 - Romans 6:23 - Romans 10:9, 13
    • Do vs Done
    • The Good Judge
    • The Bridge
  • Gospel Translation

Session 5: Understanding Different Styles of Evangelism

  • Jesus the evangelist
  • Read John 4:1-26 (also verses 27-42 if time permits)
  • Discussion Questions:
    • Why is it remarkable that Jesus is even speaking with this woman?
    • What are some of the differences between us and other people (for example, sex, race, morality, politics, religion, etc.) that sometimes prevents us from reaching out to them with the Gospel? How do we allow God to help us overcome these barriers?
    • Identify some of the ways Jesus masterfully guides this conversation along? What methodology does he use?
  • Finding your own approach
    • Peter's confrontational approach - Acts 2:22-41
    • Paul's intellectual approach - Acts 17:16-34
    • Blind man's testimonial approach - John 9:25
    • Matthew's interpersonal approach - Luke 5:29
    • Samaritan woman's invitational approach - John 4:28-30, 39-42
    • Tabitha's service approach - Acts 9:36
  • Extroverts and Introverts 
  • Final discussion:
    • Have each person in the group identify which approach or approaches to evangelism, best describe you and why.
    • In what ways can you see your unique personality style as a strength in evangelizing others?

Session 6: Testimonies

Your testimony is about how God's story (the Gospel) has intersected with your personal story. Your testimony is the story only you can tell. 

  • Discussion question: 
    • Can you think of a testimony you have heard that influenced you at some point in your life? 
  • Biblical examples of testimonies
    • Read and discuss Acts 26 - Paul's testimony before King Agrippa (and Festus)
    • Some other biblical examples include: John 4:39-42; john 9:13-34
  • Group exercise:
    During the remainder of your time together, allow time for everyone to share at least the short version of their testimony. Hearing each other's stories will greatly encourage us to realize that the power and grace of God have been ever-present in our lives, and that this same living God is actively bringing still more unsaved people into his kingdom. After giving your testimony today, look for further opportunities to share your story, perhaps beginning with loved ones or friends. 
  • To help you prepare your testimony in a way that is clear and organized, consider the following outline:
    • Your life before Christ and early spiritual background
    • What caused you to consider Christ
    • What finally led you to receive Christ
    • Discuss, if applicable, your actual conversion moment
    • Discuss some of the changes in your life after receiving Christ
    • Talk about the ongoing difference Christ has made (in terms of attitudes, priorities, decisions, relationships, etc.) and what have been some of the personal blessing/benefits of your relationship with Christ

Session 7: Practical Ways to Share Your Faith

  • Prayer
  • "Three-Open Prayer" (Colossians 4:3-6)
    • Open the door
    • Open their heart
    • Open my mouth
  • Pray with someone
  • Other ways to pray
  • Be normal (but different)
  • Be a good listener
  • Ask good questions
  • To tract or not to tract
  • Write a note or letter of encouragement
  • Discussion questions:
    • What are some of the practical suggestions that have been most helpful to you?
    • What are some additional ways you can think of to share your faith with others?
    • What are some ways you can partner together with other believers to reach lost people? Are there evangelistic ministries your church is already doing? Are there ways you and your small group can work together to reach others, or ways you can partner with other church members in reaching your neighborhood
  • Additional resources 
    • Books: Honest Evangelism by Rico Tice; The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever; Becoming a contagious Christian by Mark Mittelberg; Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus by J. Mack Stiles
    • Evangelism course: Christianity Explored (see www.christianityexplored.org)
  • Closing remarks: 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2
    • the motivation
    • the message
    • the messenger
  • Closing Prayer