6 Steps in the Process of Reaching the Community for Christ

6 Steps in the Process of Reaching the Community for Christ March 12, 2018

6 Steps in the Process of Reaching the Community for Christ

1. Pray (Luke 10:1-2)

After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others, and he sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:1–2, CSB)

The reality is that there will always be more lost people than Christians who want to share the Gospel. Anyone who says that we have reached everyone is wrong. Every successive generation needs to reach their generation. Because of this reality, we need to pray. Jesus said to pray for workers. Because He knows that we don’t want to work in sharing the Gospel. He knows that we are lazy. If we can get away with the most impersonal form of evangelism, we will do it. So we need to pray for workers.

The prayer is not just for workers. The prayer is for workers to be motivated to go. Jesus doesn’t tell us to just pray for more workers. He wants us to pray for people who are willing to go.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking: Who should I send? Who will go for us? I said: Here I am. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8, CSB)

The problem is not that we pray for the lost. Many of us have compassion for the lost. We are willing to pray for the lost. Our problem is that we don’t want to go tell them about Jesus. We want the pastor to do that work. But we don’t want to do it ourselves. We have depended upon other methods to reach people.

The emphasis here is on building relationships. This is the reason why Jesus says for them to go out in pairs. Some of those pairs would be married couples. So instead of focusing only on my personal family, Jesus is forcing a family to reach out to another family. That is the pattern. We are called to reach out to other people, other families.

2. Go (Luke 10:3)

Now go; I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:3, HCSB)

The way is dangerous and so are the people whom we will meet. Not everyone is open to the Gospel. Many are hostile to it. The prayer is to send out workers. The prayer is answered when we actually go. Fear should not be a reason to not go and share the Gospel. Distraction should not prevent us from going.

The problem that needs to be addressed is us. We need to stop talking about the community and start going. We need to stop just working with people who come to church. We need to each make an effort to go.

3. Trust (Luke 10:4)

Don’t carry a money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals; don’t greet anyone along the road.” (Luke 10:4, HCSB)

God wants us to trust Him. We don’t just trust people – they may detract us. We don’t just trust products – they may prevent us. We trust in God. He will provide the way to share the Gospel. There are mechanisms, models, and methods which work. Some work better in different environments than others.

4. Remain (Luke 10:5-8)

Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they offer, for the worker is worthy of his wages. Don’t be moving from house to house. When you enter any town, and they welcome you, eat the things set before you.” (Luke 10:5–8, HCSB)

The process here from Jesus is to find someone who is receptive to Gospel – a family of peace. Someone who is not hostile to the Gospel. From this home, you go out to other people and share the Gospel. The disciples would stay at this home of the man of peace. They would trust him to provide and pay for what the disciples needed. It is a strategic decision.

When it comes to personal evangelism, you don’t trust everyone. You find people who are receptive to the Gospel. People who will let you in. People who have accepted God’s message of salvation. You trust a family or people who will let you share the Gospel. They will give you hospitality and a hearing of the Gospel.

Jesus never said that everyone would accept you. As a matter of fact, later He will warn that there will be whole towns which will not be receptive. That is true in every context.

When you enter any town, and they don’t welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We are wiping off as a witness against you even the dust of your town that clings to our feet. Know this for certain: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.” (Luke 10:10–12, HCSB)

5. Share (Luke 10:9)

Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’” (Luke 10:9, CSB)

You share two things: you share (1) God’s power and (2) your testimony.

God will use you. You earn the right to share the Gospel. Maybe you prayed for healing for someone, or you provided a meal to someone. In our case as a church, we provide a need for their children.

In today’s context, we can provide material needs. But many people misuse that. We can provide a need to learn and practice skills. In that case, for example, Upwards Sports is a way to provide skills for kids. They will use them in school and maybe use them elsewhere. The key is to provide what they want to need.

We know that they need the Gospel. But lost people don’t think they need the Gospel. Lost people know that they need bills paid. But they won’t use the bridge of paying bills to listen to the church about the Gospel.

Lost people want their children to have a wonderful experience learning a skill. That’s a need. It’s a perceived need in the mind of a lost person. That is why there are so many sports leagues in this county.

Once you have provided a need, people will be open to hearing about spiritual things. You get the chance to share the Gospel.

Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’” (Luke 10:9, HCSB)

There will be people who won’t accept the Gospel. You watch for people who will not accept the Gospel. You still share the Gospel with them, even if they won’t accept it. But you don’t worry about it. Just warn them.

6. Warn (Luke 10:10-12)

When you enter any town, and they don’t welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We are wiping off as a witness against you even the dust of your town that clings to our feet. Know this for certain: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.” (Luke 10:10–12, HCSB)

Now you are not responsible about what the people do with the Gospel. You are responsible for sharing the Gospel. If they don’t accept the Gospel, then you warn them. It doesn’t mean you rain down fire and brimstone on their homes. You warn the people that they have a right to hear the good news of Jesus. You warn them that Jesus is coming back and that time is short. Jesus said that Sodom will receive a more positive review from God than this community that won’t listen. It is a great privilege to have the chance to hear the gospel shared with you.

I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.” (Luke 10:12, HCSB)

The warning is for the people who don’t accept the Gospel that comes from personal evangelism.

Same Message with the Different People

Notice that the SAME message is shared with different people.

Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’” (Luke 10:9, CSB)

When you enter any town, and they don’t welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We are wiping off even the dust of your town that clings to our feet as a witness against you. Know this for certain: The kingdom of God has come near.’” (Luke 10:10–11, CSB)

The message doesn’t change. Only the reaction of the audience changes. Some people will accept the message of salvation and eternal life, turn from their wicked ways and follow Jesus. Some people won’t accept the message.

While some communities will accept the message and change, other communities won’t. So that means that there will be groups of people who will accept the message and some who won’t.

Notice that the mission goes out to the community, not just to a family. The Gospel reaches out to the entire community. It starts with receptive families. But from there, we continue. We only remain as long as people are receptive to the Gospel. When families (and communities) decide to be hostile to the Gospel message and the messenger, it’s time to move on.

If a family rejects the message, you don’t keep bringing the message to them.

If a group of people rejects the message, you don’t keep bringing the message to them.

When an entire community of people (whether that is a people group, a tribe, a clan, or an interest group) reject the message, you move on.

Fishing in the Community

Part of our problem has been technique. We have been “fishing” in the same community with the same message. We have fished with different lures and we have been fishing in different streams. We’ve caught a fish here or there. We have caught a lot of little fish. But we have to keep fishing in the same environments with different fishing tools. We think we can keep trying to reach the same fish families that we have reached out to before. The fish that’s come before will swim around and then they will go back and tell their fish families and buddies that it’s a great place to get food. But the fact is that will never happen. Those fish have swum to different waters. They are not coming back.

You see, we really didn’t catch these fish. They just swam around the shallow water where they could hear us. They enjoyed the atmosphere. But then, they didn’t get caught. They didn’t really get cleaned up. They didn’t get served to Jesus for breakfast. Instead, they swam away.

Perhaps as fishers of people, we need to move downstream. We have to move to another watering hole. We have to move to another fishing pier. Forget about the fish that weren’t caught. Forget about the fish that were caught but decided to jump back in the river. Don’t worry about the fish that you want to catch because they look pretty, and can fetch lots of money for your family. Don’t focus on the fish that you think tastes better. You go to places and areas and you fish for whatever fish God brings along your way that will bite the hook you provide.

If the fish aren’t biting, then get another lure. Try another bait. Put out a different kind of hook. Why am I using this fish analogy? Because after you have warned the people and they resist the message, then you have done your fishing for the day. It’s time to focus on people who are receptive and who are listening. We have to reach out to our community, even if that community is made up of different people, families, clans, and tribes. We have to continue to reach out to the community, even if we have to fish in different places. Remember that the same message evoked two different responses. Some accepted. Some rejected. If the fish aren’t biting in one place than we have to go fishing somewhere else. God willing, we will see the fish to start biting again soon.

Photo by Brian Erickson on Unsplash

Other Links:

This post is an expansion of this sermon: Luke 10:1-12 Steps to Effective Personal Evangelism

5 Reasons Why People May Oppose the Gospel

5 Church Evangelism Principles

 

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