Scripture: Luke 15; 1 Tim. 2:3-4
Leading Question: The call to public witness seems to be a plan crafted for extroverts. What is God’s plan for introverts?
In this new series of lessons, the focus is on joyful witness and winning friends for God.
Question: What examples of introvert witnesses does Scripture offer us?
Can we list some obvious introverts and some obvious extroverts? Does Scripture indicate that God may be as well pleased with the introverts as he is with the extroverts?
Andrew: Bringing people to Jesus
John 1:40-42 Brings Peter
John 6:8-9 Brings boy with the loaves and fish
John 12:20-22 Brings the Greeks who would see Jesus
Widow and her two mites: Luke 21:1-4
Woman anointing Jesus: Luke 7:36-50
Mary, Martha’s sister: Luke 10:40-41
Healed demoniac: Mark 5:1-20
Samaritan Woman: John 4:7-42
Peter’s Holy Boldness: Acts 4:1-22
Paul before rulers: Acts 26:24-29
Question: If people will saved anyway, why share? Why witness?
Cf. DA 638: Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness; before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God. (Desire of Ages, 638)
Answer: We share because it is such good news! The response of Israel’s neighbors to this helpful nature of God’s law is a pointer in that direction:
Deut. 4:5-8 (NRSV): “See, just as the Lord my God has charged me, I now teach you statutes and ordinances for you to observe in the land that you are about to enter and occupy. 6 You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!’ 7 For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? 8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?”
Comment: One section in this week’s lesson had this intriguing title: “Making Jesus Glad.” The the reference was to the three stories of the lost in Luke 15: The lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost boy. In each case there is great joy. The shepherd rejoices because he has found the lost sheep; the woman rejoices because she has found the coin; and the father rejoices because his son has returned. Note the three different kinds of “lostness” represented here: The sheep knew it was lost, but needed help finding its way home; the coin didn’t even know it was lost; and the boy knew the way home, but simply needed to make a decision to go. The point in each case is the same: Joy in heaven.
Question: What about witnessing in the OT?
I have been racking my brain and reviewing OT stories in my mind and haven’t come up with the kind of exciting witnessing that one finds in the New Testament. I don’t think one can beat this two-fold response of the people to the Samaritan woman and then their response to Jesus:
John 4:39-42 (NRSV): “Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
The enduring power of the story of Jesus echoes and re-echoes in these powerful words of Romans 8:
Romans 8:31-39 (NRSV): What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NRSV)