Guests: John Brunt and Bruce Johanson
A confident Christian has something to say about faith and is not afraid to say it. Although gifts vary and levels of intensity (from nature and nurture!) differ among people, those who have experienced something of the goodness of God have something to share. Life experiences bring people along different pathways and generate different responses to the gospel, but something good cannot be concealed forever.
The basic approach in the Old Testament varies from that of the New Testament. Whereas the picture of evangelism in action from Pentecost onward is exciting, expansive and explosive, with an exponential enlargement taking over the Roman Empire, the plan was different previously. God placed Israel at the crossroads of the ancient eastern world where everyone going most any direction would pass through. God had planned to bless Israel so that passersby would notice how much better everything was in Israel and ask about it. Israelites would point to their God as the source of these blessings and the visitors would pass the word along. How might modern Christians put this model to work today? What difference would it make if Christians lived their faith all the time and were available when called on?
Most are familiar with the explosive model of New Testament witnessing. The Pentecost experience in Acts 1-3 provides the beginning point and epicenter and the world is the field.
Relevant Biblical Passages:
|Psalm 51||Forgiveness and cleansing as prerequisite for praise and witness. One need only check the steps laid out in this penitentiary psalm to observe the progression from the removal of oppressing guilt through recreation and restoration to joy and proclamation.|
|Zechariah 8:20-23||Evangelism implosion. People from all over the place will come to Israel because they have heard God is with them.|
|Matthew 28:18-20||The great commission to proclaim the kingdom|
|Acts 1-3||Evangelism explosion|
|1 Corinthians 12-13||Gifts of the Spirit and love as the greatest witness|
|Ephesians 4:11-16||Gifts of the Spirit for expanding the influence of the kingdom|
Contributions to Study of Assurance:
Given the wide range of world religions today, how do Christians, with assurance, witness to their own faith without tearing down other people or what is good in other systems of belief? What motivates witness what Christians are for or what they are against? Some of both?
Lessons for Life:
What are some examples of successful witness which are built on affirmation? How should we assess the saying of St. Francis of Assissi that Christians ought to preach a sermon everyday … and use words if necessary?