Conversation Starters for Evangelism

Conversation Starters for Evangelism

Recently, on Facebook, I have shared some thoughts about evangelism and linked folks to the articles on my website.  In this brief post, I would like to summarize the three suggestions I have made for an opportunity to begin a conversation with someone about the Gospel.

John Stott was a giant in the land of Christianity as he wrote books, Bible commentaries, and delivered powerful sermons in London and abroad for years.  His influence was great during his life and continues to this day.  In a small book titled The Preacher’s Portrait (a book about the New Testament’s view of the preacher and his task), Stott acknowledges in the preface that he was not writing the book to speak to the issues of preaching techniques, the craft of the sermon, or communication in general. He goes on to say, “I do not doubt that there are methods of preaching which need to be learned in our day, when the gulf between the church and the secular world is already so disastrously wide that few bridges are left by which the two remain in contact.”  The part I have used as a launching pad is what I have italicized in the quote.

Bridge #1: People Agree, There is Something Wrong in this World
The Bible calls this brokenness “sin.”  The Bible explains the problem, starting with Adam and going all the way through Old Testament history, and the Bible then gives the solution to the sin-problem, namely, Jesus Christ.  Christianity offers the one-of-a-kind Gospel of atonement through Christ.

Bridge #2: People Agree, They are Not Who They Want to Be
If we have not lived up to our own standards, then we certainly have not lived up to the standards of the holy and righteous God.  The Bible teaches that we need the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and change us from the inside-out in order to become all that we were meant to be. Only in Christ, can we really live up to our full potential.

Bridge #3: People Agree, They Hope there is Life After Death
Every religion promises some kind of afterlife, and even the irreligious have a deep sense of hope in something beyond this age.  Christianity is no different in that sense.  However, the Bible describes the new heaven and new earth in a unique way and offers a free (grace) way of getting there.  Ecclesiastes says that the Lord has put eternity into our hearts. We are created with a deep yearning for eternal life.  The Gospel guarantees eternal life to all who trust in Christ.

These are all “bridges” between the church and the secular world.  These are all offered as conversation starters.  I am confident that any and all of these “bridges” can begin a meaningful and, even, ongoing conversation about important things—eternal things.  Now, go talk with someone!

Activity Replacement (Ephesians 4:28)

Activity Replacement

Ephesians 4:28 is a wonderful verse that has several applications for Christians today.  This section in the epistle is about the Christian lifestyle, it is also about Christian transformation.  The specific point of verse 28 serves to illustrate what it will look like for a Christian to forsake his or her past behavior and pursue holy living.  The practical example is that of a thief who becomes a hard worker to make his own living.  Not only should he forsake his thievery, but he should replace that activity with the activity of working hard with his own hands.  Not only should he work hard to earn a paycheck for himself, but he should work hard to earn a paycheck so that he can be a charitable giver to those in need around him.  What a rich theology of the Christian’s transformation!  What a practical application for every believer!

The thing that I would like to stress at this point is the applicability of this principle to many areas of our lives.  I think it is completely appropriate for Christians to have practical ways of substituting godly habits for bad habits of which they want to rid themselves.  It may be something fairly extreme such as a thief who gives up thievery for a life of hard work with his own hands (Eph 4:28), or it may be a drunkard who no longer fills himself with alcohol but is filled in the spirit through speaking in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in his heart to the Lord and giving thanks always (Eph 5:18-20).  Maybe one of the most practical examples of this idea is the tobacco smoker who stops his bad habit and replaces it with chewing gum or peppermint.  From extreme examples to very simple ones, there is a theology here of activity replacement.

What activity is it in your life that you need to give up in order to replace it with holy, godly living?  God does not expect us to give up our bad habits cold-turkey.  He knows that our sanctification, that is, our holiness, is progressive; thus there is the idea of slowly but surely becoming more and more holy.  There is the idea of quitting one sinful activity and replacing it with a holy one.  The Holy Spirit will also help us to put to death the deeds of the flesh, meaning, the things of our “old person” (Rom 8:13).  So, pursue holiness by replacing sinful habits with holy ones and by trusting that God will help you all along the way by the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Biblical Womanhood

Biblical Womanhood

This upcoming Sunday, we will celebrate the holiday known as Mother’s Day.  This day can be difficult for many because so many of us have already lost our mothers, mothers have lost children, families are estranged, and several women could never have a son or daughter.  We want to acknowledge these pains and struggles, but we also want to continue to celebrate womanhood as God has designed it.

In a culture that is doing its best to distort our gender identities and even merge the genders into a unisex, Christian people should rally all the more to celebrate the way that God has created mankind—both men and women made in His image.  The Bible, from Old Testament to New, gives clear teaching on gender roles and the glories of the differences between the two.  There is teaching on this subject in relation to society, the home, and the church.

Let’s be clear: Both men and women are created in God’s image and likeness and are equal in all things concerning capabilities, intellect, faith, and salvation.  There is no difference between men and women when it comes to the grace of God in Christ Jesus.  However, when it comes to gender roles, God has created us in differing and special ways. Women are nurturers, mothers, helpers, and caregivers.  While men try to do these things, on the whole, we are not as fit for these roles as women, just to name a few examples.  God has ordered creation this way.

While much can and should be said on this subject, let’s leave the discussion for now by acknowledging that Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to not only celebrate our biological mothers but all of the women in our lives who have been and still are motherly.  At the Rural Hall Christian Church, we want to celebrate womanhood as part of God’s beautiful and glorious design.