17 Jan 2021
Evangelism. It's a big word. But what does it mean exactly? The essence is to bring good news. In other words, evangelism is not about salesmanship, coercion, winning a debate, or even converting others. It is simply telling people the good news of Jesus Christ. And this is the responsibility and privilege of every Christian. We can and should do it whether we are in a COVID-19 pandemic or not. But how? This sermon will give you simple and practical guidance on how you can get started, and how you can get to the Bible to do so.
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Now, for these four weeks in this new year, we are looking at a series called, “The Missional Church”. And this is a break from what we usually do. We usually do expository teaching through the Bible, but we're taking four weeks just to remind us, that we can be living lives of purpose even through COVID, alright.
So I hope you remember, “We can't do church like we used to,” we said that before. We can't have our meals together. We can't sit all in a big bunch. We can't have full house, and we all have to wear masks. We can't do church like we used to, but we can still be the church God wants us to. What do you mean by that?
Well, we have to distinguish between form and function, the form has to change. We look very different, the way we sit is very different, but the function of the church remains the same. You see, we understand that God uses His Gospel. The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ, dying and rising to save us from our sins, in order to reconcile a sinful man to the Holy God.
God uses His Gospel, this message to call out His church, to call out the people who believe in Him, to call out the people who belong to Him. And at the same time, God uses His church to then live out and give out the Gospel. So God's desire is that the church exists to demonstrate the Gospel and to declare the Gospel. So that more and more people might be led into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
So this is our goal, this is why church exists. This is why we are not up there in Heaven with Him today. We are left here because we have a mission - to be leading generations into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. We do that by living out the Gospel, demonstrating how the Gospel changes our lives, and giving out the Gospel, declaring the Gospel to … to one at all. So whether it's the pandemic, or not the pandemic, we are to fulfill the Great Commission. We are to be witnesses, wherever God calls us.
You know one of the joys I have in prayer meetings, we had one, we always have them on Sundays and Wednesdays, and we had one on Wednesday. One of the joys, regular joys I have, is hearing the heartbeat, the thanksgiving, the prayer requests of God's people. You know, if you join us in our prayer meeting, you hear of people saying, “Please pray for my this and pray for my colleagues and pray for my relatives here. I'm doing this and doing that.”
And it's so encouraging, because I'm hearing that God's people are being missional. They're not saying, “Oh, it's pandemic! We can't gather in church like we used to, so let's pause spiritually. Let's not do anything spiritually. Let's just focus on our hobbies, focus on our jobs.” But no! God's people are praying for the lost, they are praying for opportunities, they are praying for doors to be swung wide open. So that we might bring to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that we may be fulfilling our mission.
So this morning, I like us in this third sermon, about “The Missional Church”, to realize that the mission field is actually all around us. I think that's the essence of the video clip you saw. Really! The mission field is not out there in Timbuktu. You don't have to travel thousands … Now, you don't dare to travel anyway. Even if you dare to go there, you are scared you can't come back. But hey! Even though we can travel far away, we can still be missional.
Why? The mission field is all around us. Your colleagues, your schoolmates, your friends, your neighbors. Yes, we can't gather in big crowds, but maybe that's better, so that in small communities, we can share with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So today, I just like to focus on one word, alright. I know, I showed you Acts 1 verse 8, it is just a reminder, we are to be witnesses, but really, it's a topical sermon. And I just want to focus on this one word - evangelism. It's a word that Christians use and if you're not a Christian, you may say, “What in the world is this? I've never read this in my English textbooks.”
Well, evangelism is a very simple word. It simply means - to bring Good News. I just want to focus on evangelism because a missional church will be about evangelism. Now, a missional church does more than evangelism but it cannot exist without evangelism. Evangelism is simply bringing Good News, telling people the Good News.
What's the Good News? What's the Good News? We have Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. No, the Good News is way better than a vaccine! The Good News is salvation, healing from a deadly spiritual disease called sin. And it is the Good News of Jesus Christ dying, and rising to save us from our sins, in order to reconcile a sinful man to the Holy God.
Evangelism is telling people this very Good News. Like I said, “I made my two boys memorize two things when they were young. Number one, my phone number. And number two, the definition of the Gospel - what is the Good News?” Because the phone number is for them when they are [sic: spirits or] physically lost. And the definition of the Gospel is for them when they are spiritually lost.
I want them to know that the whole Bible, God's Word promises us, declares to us the Good News, the Gospel. Jesus Christ has died and risen, to save us from our sins, so that sinners like us, can now be reconciled with Him. That's what I want the world to know. That's what I want my kids to know. That's what I hope you will bring to those around you.
 Avoid Salesmanship
Now, evangelism is bringing Good News, is telling Good News, is as simple as that. However, there are some confusions and errors people can go into even with this simple definition. For example, I want to … you to know that evangelism is telling Good News, it's not about salesmanship. You know what salesmanship? Now, there are many people who work as salesmen, I'm not saying, “Salesmen are bad.”
But I think salesmanship has a bad smell to it. Because salesmanship, or at least bad salesmanship, is about giving false promises. “Ay, you buy this ah! This will do a lot for you ah!”, when actually you know it doesn't. So bad salesmanship is when you give false promises.
You know, recently, even in our prayer meeting, we hear of people from our church, who are well … attending or visiting, or going online to other churches. Now I … I have no problems with that, by the way. But the church that is mentioned is known to be giving false teachings. So they give false promises. They say, “Well, come to Jesus, and that is the path to health and wealth and success and a bed of roses.”
And it's sad when we hear that. It's sad when we know of that. Because the Bible doesn't promise. It does not guarantee immunity from diseases, immunity from poverty, immunity from troubles. In fact, the Bible tells us that, “We should expect troubles.” But you see, there are people today who peddle false teachings, so that you may just come to church, so that you may follow them, so that you may call yourself a Christian.
Oh, no, no, no, no! A church that is loyal to God is focused on evangelism. We want to bring Good News, but we do not want to give false promises. We will not change the message of the Bible just to get more people in. That does not honor God and at the end of the day, we will have to stand before God in judgment.
Salesmanship, I think is also avoiding the difficult things that you want to sell. You know, you … you don't tell them the fine print. You … you hide the cost. You want to minimize the difficult thing, so that they will just buy. And isn't it true in the church that people do that? “Oh, just come to Jesus! That's all! Just believe Him! That's all! Just say, “Yes!”, that's all”’ But they don't tell them about why they need Jesus. That, “They are sinful and that they are hopeless, and that they are impotent to save themselves at all.”
We don't like to tell people about the offense of the cross, that we are so desperately wicked, that we cannot save ourselves at all. People don't like to hear those things. People don't like to hear about the need to repent, to turn from sin. And so there are people today who do not do proper evangelism because proper evangelism, telling Good News requires people also hearing about the bad news. That you are sinful and you can't save yourself and that you need to repent.
Well, if we are to do this job well, we are to avoid bad salesmanship. Alright, I think that's simple.
 Avoid Coercing
Number two, I think, not only must we avoid bad salesmanship, we must avoid thinking that we are to force people to believe. One of the reasons why we don't do evangelism is so hard, “I can't get him to believe.” Well, you're not responsible to force anyone to believe. It's their choice! And we are certainly not called to the business of threatening people; forcing people; emotionally manipulating people. We don't have to do that and we should not do that. We don't have to hard sell.
Now, we must persuade; we must reason. We do our best to help people overcome difficulties in understanding. We must do that! But we are not to force people and to twist their arm into believing. We just bring Good News.
 Avoid Winning A Debate
And that means also we do not always need to win debates. Sometimes, and I think we all have been guilty of this before. We have this intellectual pride, “Oh! I know the Gospel, you don't know, let me show you how stupid you are.” So we engage in debates about evolution, creation, about the existence of God, Trinity. And we want to wow them, and we want to dismantle their arguments and make them look stupid, so that I look smart. But that's not what we are called to do.
Now, by the way again, we must do our best to help them understand the lies that this world believes in. We must help them understand that God's Word is entirely rational and true. But hey! We must not in order to win debates, forget that it is the Gospel, that is the power of God unto salvation. Convince; persuade, but don't try to beat down people. Instead, focus on giving them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 Not Converting Someone
And maybe lastly, I would say this, “Evangelism means bringing Good News. It's not about salesmanship, it's not about coercing, it's not about winning a debate. Neither is it about converting someone.”
Wah, that to me is so, “Hah, much a relief!” Because I feel like a failure, if I share the Gospel, and you don't believe. “Because I'm so lousy, I can't get you to believe.” Hey, wait a minute! God did not call us to convert souls. Salvation is of the Lord. What's our responsibility? To tell. Whether they believe or not, is their ‘pasar’ [responsibility in Malay]
You know in the old days, you send ambassadors, you … you send envoys, kings send envoys. They bring a message to a warring state and the envoy reads the message. He doesn't add anything to it. He dares not add anything. He dares not subtract anything from that message. And whether that warring state will repent, or will they fight on is their business. The envoy simply delivers the message, and the king will deal with the warring state, as to its response.
It's the same for us! I'm not responsible to how you respond to God's message, but I am responsible to deliver it faithfully, that's all! Hey, don't be fearful of evangelism! Because the burden of saving is not on you, but do it faithfully.
Mark Dever, he says, “We don't fail in our evangelism if we faithfully present the Gospel and yet the person is not converted. We fail only if we don't faithfully present the Gospel at all.” It's as simple as that. It's as clear as that. He goes on to say, “When you understand that evangelism isn't converting people, but that it is telling them the wonderful truth about God, the great news about Jesus Christ, then obedience to the call to evangelize can become certain and joyful.”
Why is it certain and joyful even when you do not know, whether people will believe? Because you have told, you have presented. You have that joy that you obeyed your King, your Lord, your God.
“Evangelize …” John Stott says, “… does not mean to win converts, but simply to announce the Good News, irrespective of the results.” And, again, “People who witness can't fail, the very act of bearing witness is success.” [Deron Cobb]
Alright, so I want you to know, evangelism, that's what a missional church will do. We want to tell people about salvation in Jesus Christ. We want to bring Good News about how our Savior died and rose again to save us from our sins. So that now if they repent and believe they can be reconciled with God. We want to do that.
We don't want to be engaged in shady practices, like hiding difficult things and promising false things. We don't want to be engaged in salesmanship or coercion. We don't want to be winning debates and not give the Gospel. And neither do we want to be overwhelmed with the responsibility to convert a soul.
Who Should Evangelize?
Now, then the question remains, who should do it? “Pastor, you do it! Every Sunday you're doing it! I just need to share Facebook link; YouTube link and they hear the Gospel and they can be saved.” Well, I'm sure during this pandemic days, you have visited many parts of Singapore, right? I think this is the good thing about these difficult days. We can't travel overseas, so we travel to … to the railway track lah, to the Pulau Ubin lah, St. John's Island. I don't think there's ever been a time where more people have gone to these ‘ulu’ [deserted in Malay] places than now.
I'm sure you have. I have … I've been to places I've never visited. And but, well my kids they love always nature and they don't really like to see plants. They like to see creatures. They like to see animals. I think I've shared with you many times before. I'll share a familiar story. We go to all kinds of places to look for insects and … and creatures.
And one of the best places must be Sungei Buloh, right? Because there, we've seen amazing things - monitor lizards, mudskippers, wild dogs, lots of spiders and we have seen snakes. And there was once we saw this creature. You've seen it before, I'll show it again. I know all the kids who have been sleeping now wake up. “Wah! What's this ah?”, you say. Eh, this ah, I did not take from National Geographic. This one ‘kaki one’ [belong to one self in Hokkien dialect] - own, own, own produced. It's copy righted, alright.
I mean, this is really one of the highlights in our entire wildlife hunting career for my family. I mean, this … this guy is so near. It's like from me to even less than the front row. It's nearer than … maybe halfway. It's as near, I mean, I'm just separated by this wooden rickety fence. And you ask me why is your videography skills so terrible? Because I'm trembling. It's so near this, I'm not sure whether this crocodile will be irritated enough to pounce at us. But I must take this video, It's so nice must show you ma.
I mean, we saw this crocodile, it's a famous crocodile. It's … it's well known. It's called Tailless. You will see that the tail was bitten off, actually it was injured, when it was battling with another crocodile. And so this is a famous female crocodile called Tailless. After I was filming this, I looked around for my kids and I can't see Shawn. Where's Shawn? Is he taken by the other crocodile? Where is he?
And after a while, I saw him running back with a whole batch of people. He has been going around the area to tell people, “Hey, Come and see! We found a crocodile.” I did not tell him to do that. He automatically wanted to do that, because he was so excited about discovering, this amazing crocodile. He was so excited and passionate about it.
Why do I say that? I'm sure you know the reason why. If you're really passionate about God, and about Jesus and what He has done for you, you won't wait for someone else to say, “Go tell.” You would want to tell. Isn't it true for many of us who first came to faith in Jesus Christ? When the lights first came on, and you say, “Wow! You mean Jesus died to save us from all my sins, even when I don't do anything, even when I don't deserve it.” “Yes.” And when that light dawned upon you, you can't help yourself, but begin to share with your friends. Isn't it? Because that's what it is supposed to be.
When we realize the love of God, we want to share with people one and all the Good News. We want to tell them about Jesus, because we love God, and we love them. You know, so often people think, “This is a ministry for pastors.” We think Christianity is a spectator sport. Every Sunday, you come in and you are watching a show. I am the show. I tell you the stories, preach. … And you say, “Wah, Good! Good! Good! Service is very good!” And you go home, and next week, you come back for the same show.
Hey, I'm not a clown! I'm not an actor! You know what the Bible says, “We all are to be in the ministry. It's not the pastor” The pastor, the shepherd, is to be an equipper. He teaches. He helps you understand God's Word, so that you being grounded and rooted in God's Word, might then be a blessing where God has sent you. We are to be the salt. We are to be scattered in this world. And you are the ones, God is looking to … to bring Good News to the people all around. I can't go to your house. I can't be with your neighbors. I can't work in your office,. I can't study in your class, but you are. And God placed us there, so that you may shine the Gospel Light.
There are two people who have been arguing, two church people arguing, ay, somewhat. One of them says, “I think we should all share the Gospel.” The other one says, “No, only the pastors, the apostle should do it.” And they argued and argued. They say, “Well, let's turn to the Bible.” So one of them said, “We see in Acts 8, chapter 4, “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the Word.” “You see! The Bible tells us that the leaders, the apostles, they are persecuted, and they went about preaching the Word. It's the apostles who are preaching the Word.”
The other man then say, “Eh, you read the Bible carefully leh! Because early on, it says, “And they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” It's not the apostles who were going out there preaching the Word, is the people of God - everyone else. That's what happened in the early church. The early church took it upon themselves, individually to be preaching the Word everywhere.
I tell you, one of the great dangers in your mindset today is, “Pastor, you do it! We just pay. We just give offerings. This is what God calls me to do. Earn money, give money.” No! God calls you to be a witness, to be an ambassador for Christ.
How To Evangelism?
Now, I've told you about the ‘what’ of evangelism, right? It's bringing Good News. I've told you about the ‘who’ of evangelism, not just spiritual leaders, but all of us. Finally, I want to tackle the question that, that is I think probably most important, and that is ‘how’.
We all know that because every sermon, every church, they tell you, “You should evangelize.” And then you walk away feeling guilty. “I don't know how to leh! Very difficult leh!” And, you know, we go on a guilt trip. I've been there. I still go through that. And so I just want to encourage you with ‘how’.
Now, I've only what? 15 minutes. Just listen in, I hope that will be helpful to you, alright. So how do we do it? Just two important steps. But I cheat lah, each step also got some subdivisions ah. So ‘pun chan’ [excuse someone in Hokkien dialect] me, okay?
[A] Get Started
So how do you do it? Number one - get started. How do you get started? I mean, I want to share the Gospel, but I need to get going. How to get going? Because I realize, getting started is probably one of the hardest things to do.
Imagine you meet your friend. You know what's going on in my mind? “I want to share with him the Gospel, but don't know how to leh! Maybe I'll squeeze in Jesus a bit here lah! Maybe I'll squeeze in a bit of, “I go to church, you want to come or not?”’ And you know, you're always in that battle that I should tell him but I do not know when to say it. And you're always thinking of some convenient moment to inject into that conversation and to tell them everything about Jesus. “I'm going to give you a 10-minute sermon about Jesus Christ.”
And so it becomes a very stressful encounter with friends. It becomes, it becomes very disappointing when after you meet him, you don't have the courage to squeeze in the Gospel message. And you will feel guilty for the rest of the day.
Now, how do I get started? I've had this problem many times. I remember, I've … I've trapped people. You know how to trap people? You sit with the person and you don't let him go until you finish preaching, you know. He just sit there and listen to you, you just keep going and going and going and going, going about Jesus and sin. And wah, he bopian [no choice/cannot be helped in Hokkien dialect]. He's having lunch but he paiseh [feeling embarrassed in Hokkien dialect] to leave.
I've trapped my father himself. I brought him to a church event, years ago. He was seated there, everyone else is a Christian. I sat him down. I preached to him. He cannot go, he cannot leave. Wah, but after that was over, I did it with sincere intentions, I really wanted my father to come to know the Lord. But you know, I felt that I disrespected him. I felt that I … that whole event left a bad taste in my mouth because I was just trapping him. Not fair. Not exactly that right.
I remember, you know the Adam Road prawn noodle. Wah, you know when I say that, everybody like hah! Adam Road prawn noodle guy, years ago, we worship in our building at 360 Dunearn Road, which is beside that Adam Road food Prawn Noodle. And you know, I … I chatted with him, we became somewhat friends. And I said, “Can I share with you about Jesus?” He said, “No lah, ‘jin juay lang ah, le kua’ [see, there is a crowd in Hokkien dialect].
Then I said, “I wait for you lah! When less people …” And I waited for him until 4, 5pm. 4pm lah, maybe not many people, and he said, and since he said, “Jin juay lang.” [a lot of people in Hokkien dialect] Now, he has no excuse what. So we sat there, I preached to him. I can see he's so awkward but, ‘bopian’ [no ??? in Hokkien dialect]. I trapped him.
So we all go through this kind of … You know, we want to honor the Lord, we want to help people come to know Christ, we feel guilty and so how to get started?
Can I just give you one simple thing you can do? I've learned that at the end of the day, I satisfy myself with this - If I want to share the Gospel with anyone except my kids, if I want to share the Gospel of anyone, I simply need to ask. Ask permission.
Don't try to be cunning, find some way to insert the Gospel in any conversation. You know, you can do that, right? You can talk about COVID and then you say,”Eh, you scared of dying or not.]? Do you know where you go after you die? Let me tell you about Jesus …..” This guy is terrible! Now, you don't do that. You can talk about Jesus and you can say, “Are you scared about dying?” And then don't give the whole Gospel but just asked, “Hey, John! Would you find out, would you want to find out more about what the Bible has to say?”
Pause. Respect the person enough to let him say, “Yes or no.” Just ask permission. And if he says, “Yes.” You say, “Fantastic! Can I ask you to … can I pass you something and you read it, and we meet up again the next time and so that we are better prepared for … for looking into this subject?” That's wonderful.! You got started.
But if the person says, “No.” You say, “It's okay. Anytime you want to talk about it, I'm available.” You know what? You won't have to leave, you won't have to walk out of that conversation or that encounter with your friend feeling guilty the rest of your life. Because you did your part. you asked him, you … you told him that you are a follower of Jesus, you want to share with him, but he's not ready for it and you, you respect that.
So a very simple thing for me nowadays, no need to ‘paiseh’, no need to be stressed. At a good opportunity, just ask, “Hey, would you want to find out more? Can I pass you something to read? Would you want to check out this message?” That's all I do. Can be to a Grab driver, to someone you meet on the streets, an acquaintance. Just be friendly to that person, say, “Hi.” Chat up a bit and ask.
That's all! Can? You all say, “Can.” You go and do lah, alright. Go and do it, alright? Just ask permission - anyone.
Now, besides asking, I think this asking is maybe more towards a stranger and acquaintance, someone you may not know but I want to add on two other things about getting started. Number one, it's asking. Number two, it's about doing something to bless the other person.
So be someone with good deeds, full of good deeds. I'm applying this to maybe office situation. You're in the office, don't be someone who is … who is self-centered. Try to be friendly to new colleagues. Try to buy food for your colleagues. If you know someone who is going through a hard time, say, “Can I pray for you about something in your life.” Just be someone who will be a blessing. Be … be known as someone who is doing good deeds to around … to people around you, alright.
So A, B, C. Alright, conduct yourself. Well, now what do you mean by that? Let me … let me … let me just share a story I read. I think, yesterday in Straits Times, about this man in Malaysia, in this village, who could not sleep well, because there were many vehicles who drove by his road, the road that is beside his house. So he was so disturbed that he fell into all kinds of sickness and he decided to take things into his own hands.
He decided to use the money that was given to him by the government for some fund or whatever, maybe COVID related. He used the money to … to put road bumps. 11 road bumps along that road. And after a while, nobody wanted to go that road anymore. Because if you watch … I saw a video of someone who wrote this, “Wah, you get seasick you know, if you go there!” But he did that so that no one will go on that road anymore.
Now, we laugh at this man in Malaysia. But isn't it possible for us too that God actually intends for our lives to be like a passage that will allow people to come to Him, but we put roadblocks. We put road humps when we lie and when we cheat, and when we fly into a rage of fury, and when we are gossiping and when we are complaining.
You know, every time we do something like that, it's like a road bump. “Hah, he also like that ah! Hah, she also like that ah!” And instead of being a straight, thorough way that people can come to Christ, we lay obstacles in the way. So I want to remind you, that if we want to share the Gospel, it's about your testimony, it's about your life. And all of us understand that, right?
Maybe this is one reason why we don't share the Gospel because our life ‘jialat’ [in trouble in Hokkien dialect]. We don't dare to tell people, we are followers of Jesus. Hey, nobody's perfect! We all fail, but let's be mindful about this, let's pray that God will help us and that's why we began this series on the missional church.
The first sermon is - it begins with me. If you want to live a missional life, it begins with me, walking in a right relationship with God. It begins with S P A C E - Scripture, prayer, adversity, community, elders or examples. That we may grow and we can be more like Jesus. So we pray that we will drink in the Gospel, that we may live out the Gospel, so that we may give out the Gospel.
So how do you get started? A B C, can or not? I try my best to make it simple, ‘ABC, kiam chye char loh ti’ [a rhyme in Hokkien dialect]. Can't be easier than this. So ‘Ask’, ‘Be a Blessing’ and ‘Conduct Yourself Wisely’. Live out the Gospel, not fake it, but be in an abiding relationship with Jesus, so that your life would, of Christ may shine through. That's all - step one. I say, “I cheat ah!” So that's … that's all part one, right? Part Two, that's all
[B] Getting to the Bible
Part two is after the person says, “Yes, John, I'll meet up with you.” They say, “Jialat, what do I do next?” Part two is about that. What do you do next, f a person agrees to explore the Gospel, the Bible, Christianity together with you? What do you do?
Well, I'll say this, “If the person is willing, then get to the Bible.” There are many, many tools of evangelism. You can draw diagram, you can draw this, draw that, I think they are useful and if it's something that you're familiar with, you can do it. I'm not saying, “They're bad or wrong.” But I'm saying that if it is possible, if someone wants to explore the faith - get to the Bible.
Why? Because I remember Jesus saying, “My sheep will hear my voice.” They don't hear your voice, okay? They hear God's voice. They hear the voice of Jesus, His Word. And isn't it true in Romans 10 it says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” So what we want to do, if we want to help someone come to know God, let them hear God's Word, let them hear the Word of God.
So my suggestion to you is be ready to take the people in studying the Bible. I've tried different kinds of evangelism. Early days, I would try those commando tactics. What do you mean commando tactics? We’ll go door to door, knock on one room flats. I'll give a track. I'll squeeze in a two, three-minute Gospel, whether you like it or not.
He may be cooking, well, I don't care. “Auntie, le ai zai ya sor [do you want to know Jesus in Hokkien dialect] ... I forgot already. ”耶稣爱你“ [yē sū ài nǐ , Jesus loves you in Chinese]. Jesus loves you, He died for you.“ I squeezed the two-minutes before they close the door. And I think to myself, ”I have done my job.’
Besides that, we go to Ion Orchard, you know Ion? In those days, no Ion, it's just one knoll, one small hill, where lots of Filipinos, Filipinas would gather on Sunday afternoons. It's packed full！ Wah, COVID, I don't know what happened! But it's packed full with Filipinas. And we would go there and we would … we would interfere the party. They have a party and then we sit down. And we give out the tracks and say, “We are from the church. Can we share with you about Gospel?”
And Filipinos, Filipinos being such nice gracious people, they say …. Actually they don't want, but they ‘bopian’ [no choice in Hokkien dialect], we just sit there and we share half an hour. And you know what, I … I just feel that whilst some could be used. I think on hindsight, maybe there are better ways to do evangelism, which are respectful。 Maybe more respectful in my opinion.
And I think one of the best ways is to just take people through the Bible. Ask the person for permission and if he's really, she's really interested, catch up after. Don't … don't interrupt necessarily. And in order for you to take the people through the Bible, there are three things you need to be mindful of.
[i] Be Prepared
Number one, you've got to be prepared. So this is the hard part. It's easy to do evangelism based on a set piece. You know, Romans Road, four spiritual laws, evangelism explosion, net caster's, whatever you've learned before. It's easy to memorize a script and to regurgitate. Singaporeans are very good at that. We memorize compositions even. For … For , correct or not ah? Chinese compo you memorized one, right?
We are superb at memory work, but you know, I don't think one size fits all really is suitable for everyone. So I think we need to be prepared to take the people through the Bible, “My sheep will hear My voice.” “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” So be prepared in teaching the Gospel through Bible studies.
Now, if you ask me, when I start this journey with unsaved people, where do I start? I like to deal with passages like Genesis 3, John, chapter 3, Romans, chapter 3. Very easy to remember, right? All three one!
Genesis 3 - why? Wah, sin - what happened in the beginning, and the promise of the Messiah, it's all there. Just take the people through the verses everything. A lot of it is there.
John, chapter 3 - help them to understand about spiritual birth. You must be born from above. It is not something you do. It's what God must do. And that helped them to see, at the same time, whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. So much to talk about!
Romans, chapter 3 - justification by faith, not earning salvation by works.
Now, I'm just summarizing, but there is so much you can talk about, as you go through the pages of the Bible. There are many other passages you can choose. You can choose to go through the whole book of Matthew. Let's start with Matthew, chapter 1 all the way to Matthew 28. We have done that as a sermon series, you have plenty of notes to … to equip yourself with. You can go through the book of Romans for … for … for that matter too.
But my point to you is be prepared to take the people through the Bible. There is no shortcut. What I'm saying to you, “Even though I'm trying to make it simple, there is no shortcut.” A good evangelist is not someone who memorize his script well. A good evangelist is someone who is prepared to answer the questions and to help people understand spiritual truths in the Bible.
Now, again, wah, these three weeks I've been able to do advertisement for the CEP on - how to give a good Bible study. Join us, just four sessions, maybe that will be helpful. In the messages, in the sermons that we have, listen to how maybe the Gospel is presented, or how the Bible is being taught. So that you're not just here, wanting to be entertained, or just listening for the message, but you're also learning how do you deal, how do you handle the Bible yourself.
Be prepared. God may give you an opportunity to reach someone, anytime. And the more prepared you are, the better it will be.
[ii] Be Patient
Number two, I want to say, “Not only be prepared, but be patient.” One achilles’ heel of modern-day evangelism techniques is that we want a quick kill. You know, what's a quick kill? Share in 30 minutes, get the person to say, “Amen.” Get a person to say, “The sinners prayer.” Job done!
I mean, I'm not saying that, “God cannot save a person at the very moment he hears the message.” But I think it's presumptuous to assume that God will do that every time this way. It takes time! Now, for yourself, did you come to Christ the first time you hear the Gospel? I daresay very few. Most of us need to develop and grow in the understanding of the various teachings of the Bible. So we have to be patient.
Now, I've done Bible studies with different people for different durations. Some of them I meet for the first time, get saved. I say, “I didn't say anything yet.” “But I saved already, pastor.” I listened to this, I listened to the, I got … I say, “Okay, alright.” Some of them, two weeks. Some of them, few months. Some of them, one year. Some of them, two years. I just take them through the Bible, as long as it takes. As long as the person is willing and hungry and committed to learning the Bible, I'll do it!
We are like Sherpas. You know what’s a Sherpa? Sherpas are those guides in the Himalayan Mountains. You want to climb to the top of Mount Everest, not easy ah. You “kaki kir” [go to a place on your own in Hokkien dialect], you die. So you need guides, they are called the Sherpas. Sherpas bring you from base camp to camp 1 to camp 2 to camp 3. And that's what we do as evangelists, we are Sherpas.
We don't helicopter them immediately, we can't! But we bring them step by step by step by step, patiently. Sharing the Gospel need not be rushed. It has no reflection or whether you are a good Bible study teacher or not. People need time. Let's follow their pace. Be patient.
[iii] Be Prayerful
And then finally I'll say, “Be prayerful.” I think this is so humbling. You may be the best Bible teacher in the world, but that doesn't make them saved. You can try your level best, but that doesn't guarantee salvation. Salvation is of the Lord and we need to pray.
And, you know this is what I learned in my own family. I have my kids, every day when we read the Bible, same old thing. Patiently helping them, praying for them. Because I know it's not about how smart my words will be, but I'm hoping that as I teach them the Word of God, one day the Spirit of God would bring about spiritual birth. God's got to do it.
So what I'm sharing with you today is not rocket science. Actually, many of you are already doing it at home. Right? You are trying to learn the Bible yourself, and you're patiently teaching your kids and you're praying for your kids. I'm just saying, “This is the same approach that is needed also for your colleagues, and for your friends, and for all around you.”
Alright, so that is our missional church series. I want to remind you - it begins with you. It begins with a right walk with Jesus Christ. I'm not teaching you a technique that is divorced from the way you live your life. I’m not teaching you a set of skills that can be divorced from the way we are walking with Jesus. No, your life speaks volume! The missional church drinks in and lives out and gives out the Gospel.
And then, I say, “Missionality begins at home.” So, bring it home. Start with your family, start with your kids. Pray for them and then don't limit yourself.
We may not cross the seas, we may not fly overseas today, but the mission field is all around us. Be an evangelist. Be a witness. Simply bring Good News. Everyone who has tasted of the love of God, we can, and we should do it, because we love Jesus, because we love people. And I want to encourage you get started well, and get to the Bible each time you do so.
I hope this simple approach will be practical and helpful. I've said this many times, but I hope that we will not just be hearers, but be practitioners and doers of God's Word. Alright, thank you for listening. Let's bow for word of prayer together.
Father, we want to thank You again for this morning that we can study Your Word and how You have told us that we should be about the Great Commission, how we are to be witnesses. And I pray Gospel Light will not just be a church that focuses on our Sunday services. A church that says, “Let the pastors do it or a church that is so distracted by the things of this world.” But that we will be a people who are living on point, living missional lives. That we will be actively praying and living godly lives so that we have opportunities to bring the Good News to many more.
Father, we pray that You use us to rescue the perishing, to save them from sin, that they may know You and that they may glorify You. Please help our church, I know the words that are spoken today are weak, they are powerless, but Spirit of God make them alive. Make them a burning flame in all our hearts. Thank you for all who are here today. And especially those who do not know Jesus as yet, I pray they will also this day, soon repent and believe in Your Son that they might be saved. Thank You, We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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