Who's Your One - Part 4
Series: Who's Your One
October 27, 2019
Who's Your One Week 4
We are now in week 4 of our special emphasis, Who’s Your One, where we’ve asked you to prayerfully identify a person or people in your circle of influence and invite them to our big Bring-A-Friend Day on November 10.
If you’ve been doing church a while you probably have figured out this emphasis is evangelistic; it’s about doing evangelism. You know, the “E” word.
I don’t use that word often because it doesn’t mean what it used to. Lots of words today don’t mean what they used to.
Like the word…
Then: “a freshwater or marine fish with whiskerlike barbels around the mouth, typically bottom-dwelling.”
Now: “a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.”
Then: “a visible mass of particles of condensed vapor (as water or ice) suspended in the atmosphere of a planet (as the earth) or moon.”
Now: “any of several parts of the Internet that allow online processing and storage of documents and data as well as electronic access to software and other resources.”
Then: “one attached to another by affection or esteem.”
Now: “to add a person to one’s list of contacts on a social-networking website.”
Then: “to go or come after or behind someone or something; to pursue in an effort to overtake.” (source)
Now: to subscribe to someone’s updates on social media.
Then: “a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian folklore inhabiting caves or hills.”
Now: “a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people.”
Some of us are trolls but don’t know it!
Then: “a chirping note.”
Now: “a very short message posted on the Twitter website.”
Then: “of, relating to, or caused by a virus.” (source)
Now: “becoming very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the Internet.”
It’s amazing how technology has changed our vocabulary. BTW, please don’t be like my wife and say you’re going to buy something offline!
Back to the “E” word…
Then: telling someone about Jesus.
Now: Memorizing a presentation and finding a willing or even unwilling participant to recite it to. Standing on a street corner calling out people’s sins. Or even standing in front of a television camera promising people a tenfold blessing if they give to your ministry (tele-evangelist).
If you go back to the Bible you discover the word evangelism comes from the Greek word euangelizo (you - ahn - geh - lee - zo) which simply means “proclaiming good news.” It’s found all over the NT.
The first time we across it is Matthew 11. John the Baptist was in prison, and he sent his disciples to Jesus to see if he really was the Messiah…
Matthew 11:4–5 (ESV) — 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
What is the good news? I’ll let the angels sent to shepherds that first Christmas explain…
Luke 2:8–11 (ESV) — 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
The good news is that God sent his son, Jesus, to save us from our sins, to live the life we should have lived and die the death we should have died so we can be a part of God’s forever family.
Evangelism is a christian simply sharing that truth — that good news — with others. It’s a shame it’s come to mean so much more than that, or less I should say.
Jesus said he’d come to preach the good news and that’s exactly what he did. On one particular occasion he shared the good news with an unlikely person…
John 4:1–6, 31-42 (ESV) — 1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water…
We find out this woman was a social outcast, living immorally. Jesus seeks her out to share with her the truth about possessing living water as opposed to the plain old water she was about to draw from the well. She took a drink of that living water and became a Christ-follower.
Jesus here was evangelizing, telling a person the most unlikely to receive it the good news. And she did!
It’s the part after the touching story we tend to miss. Jesus talks about what it means to evangelize, to share the good news his disciples. That’s what I want us to look at today…
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus referred to sharing the good news of God’s kingdom as harvesting, and harvesting is part of farming, agriculture.
That’s no accident. Harvesting, farming…
Is something everyone understands and identifies with.
That was true back then and even true 2,000 years later. We all may not put our hand to the plow, but we all put our fork to the mouth.
Evangelism, sharing the good news of Jesus, like farming…
Involves a process, a series of events over time that come together.
Phase 1: Preparation of the soil. Unless the ground is cleared and plowed, the soil will not be ready to receive the seed.
Phase 2: Sowing of the seed. This can only take place after the soil has been harrowed and furrowed.
Phase 3: Cultivation. This is the lengthiest part of the agricultural process since it involves irrigation, fertilization, and weed control.
Phase 4: Reaping. This final part in the process can only occur when the crop is mature.
Evangelism works exactly the same, it’s more a process occurring over time than a transaction happening in a moment. You don’t plant a watermelon seed then, boom, you got a watermelon.
When someone is saved, there is a spiritual transaction taking place in a moment, yes, but what it took to get them there happened over time and included lots of things.
Just like farming, sharing the good news of Jesus…
Can’t happen without an unseen element.
We can nail all the phases of farming but still fall short of a harvest without the indispensable help of nature. Sun has to shine. Rain has to fall. We can’t provide that! The best farmer in the world will fail if nature doesn’t do her part.
When it comes to telling people the good news about Jesus, it doesn’t depend on us, on our knowledge or skill or persuasive powers. There is an element to evangelism called God’s Spirit.
God’s Spirit is the unseen, indispensable factor in evangelism Christians tend to forget about. He’s the sunshine, He’s the rain, working in the lives of others, helping prepare their hearts for the good news.
We rely way too much on ourselves and not nearly enough on God when it comes to sharing our faith.
Just like farming, sharing the good news of Jesus…
Requires a team effort.
Do you know what the difference between a gardener and a farmer is? About 200 acres!
A gardener can manage their little plot on their own. A farmer, a fellow who’s looking to the harvest, couldn’t do that alone if he wanted to, even with all the wonders of agricultural technology.
It takes many hands to bring in the harvest. Each one, from the one who prepares the soil, the one who plants, the one who waters, all the way down to the one who plucks the fruit, they all played equal roles in the harvest. In the end, everyone involved in any way rejoices.
Somewhere we got the idea that evangelism was a one-on-one thing. That it was all about the person closing the deal. But evangelism, sharing the good news is about the influence of everyone used by God to see a person saved.
The local church demonstrates this well:
- Starts before anyone sets foot on the premises: web site, personal invites, etc.
- Premises - kept grounds
- Parking lot greeters
- Entrance greeters
- Coffee makers
- Kids Ministry
- Friendliness of members
When someone gets saved, we all played a part!
Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth…
1 Corinthians 3:6–9 (ESV) — 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
Just by inviting and investing in someone for Who’s Your One you’re farming, folks, you’re evangelizing.
Conclusion: Go back and look at what Jesus said to the disciples…
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
Imagine having a great harvest coming in. In the excitement, in the anticipation of bringing it in, the last thing on your mind is lunch. The joy of harvesting brings a sense of fullness, of satisfaction, all its own.
So it is with telling others the good news of Jesus.
Look at what happened…
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 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 indeed the Savior of the world.”
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