ð Last week I said that most believers struggle with 2 main areas of their Christianity. The first is their prayer life. If you missed last weeks message I want to encourage you to either get the tape (yes I know tapes are ancient, hopefully we’ll be on podcast by 2011!) or review the content on my blog linked off the church website. My heart for our church is not just to be a church that prays but a church of prayer; as that it’s a major part of our identity. The second area that Christian’s struggle in is in sharing their faith, commonly known as evangelism.
ð The word evangelism brings different ideas to various people. Crusades, tent revivals, door-to-door, tracts are all starting ideas springing to mind. And, these in turn spark varying emotions from breaking out into a cold sweat to anxiety or even anger to avoid evangelism.
ð However, evangelism is not meant to repel but attract individuals.
- So why all the fear?
- Seems fake & complex: EE, CWT, FAITH, GPS, Roman Road, 4 Spiritual Laws, NET
- Seems for professionals only – Billy Graham, pastors, etc.
- Confuse the role of evangelist with the command of evangelism for all Christians.
ð Matthew 28:18-20 “Jesus said, ‘All authority has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And, behold, I am with you always even to the end of the age.”
ð Church’s mission is evangelism.
ð Mark’s gospel shows we are to continue the authority of Jesus to make disciples, “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” … yet, we are too content to be keepers of the fish bowl!
ð Today’s message is meant to encourage and equip you for evangelism.
- “We have a vision for a church that sees conversions of rich and poor, highly educated and less educated, men and women, old and young, married and single, and all races. We hope to draw highly secular and postmodern people, as well as reaching religious and traditional people.”
SPBC seeks fulfill the GC through 2 methods:
- Come & See: As Jesus called disciples to come and follow, we do the same at SPBC. We invite people to check out what we do and get to know us in relationships. We want people to attend and become a part of 2 “programs” – our worship service and our small groups (SS). We believe that if you enter and engage in these 2 programs that these will aid in your journey with Jesus. Our goal is to keep these 2 programs real (authentic with God) and relational (authentic with others, sense of community).
- Go & Tell: As Jesus trained disciples He sent them out to do as He instructed. Disciples are to follow Jesus by going and telling others about the gospel. At SPBC, we attempt this relationally. Our challenge is for each person to have a “High 5” – 5 people who you are investing in relationally, inviting to church & Christianity and incarnating the gospel with your lifestyle. This is our main form of “evangelism” because this is the way the early Christians spread the gospel. As you read the book of Acts and other NT letters you do not see flashy programs or evangelistic events. That being said, as a church we do utilize some attractional events to help your efforts in bringing unsaved friends to faith.
There were some places that he could not do many miracles because the people lacked faith in him and did not want his lordship in their life (Matt 13:58). However, Capernaum was different. Jesus did most of his miracles in Capernaum. People crowded around just to see him and hear his teaching. Some desired healing and miracles. All of Jesus’ actions were not meant to draw or amaze crowds but to challenge and evoke personal faith.
Four men brought their friend to Jesus. Because of the crowded house they climbed up on the roof, dug a hole in the roof and lowered their friend before Jesus. Many Palestinian houses had an outside staircase leading to a roof made of branches and sod. These men jumped up on the roof and then started digging! Talk about boldness, courage and risk – this is faith!
Jesus told the paralyzed man his sins were forgiven. He came for physical healing and Jesus gave both physical and spiritual. The religious leaders were taken back because they understood that Jesus was claiming to be God, if he could forgive sin. As at creation, Jesus would give the word and a new creation would be accomplished. Jesus’ miracle caused quite a stir.
Later, Jesus went to Matthew’s house. Matthew was a tax collector. No one particularly liked these government workers because they typically charged people more money than needed. They were labeled “sinners” and scoundrels. And that is exactly who Jesus spent time with. Table fellowship (eating a meal together) was considered one of the most intimate social actions of the day. The religious leaders (Pharisees) did not understand and considered his actions scandalous. Yet, Jesus responded his mission was to come for those who needed a Savior, not the self-righteous.
As you hear these stories about the life of Jesus you should likely come away with 2 views about Jesus.
- Jesus is unique. Everywhere he goes he draws a crowd. People trust his teaching, trust him with their friends, he heals people both physically and spiritually.
- Jesus is unusual. He was so unique that people were challenged by his words and deeds. You cannot encounter Jesus and come away unchallenged. He calls you towards response – worship or rejection.
APPLY/THINK These stories also have life application for the believer. By examining the life of Jesus we can better understand what it means to have faith in Him and to share our faith with others.
Evangelism is telling good news (2:2).
The time for Jesus’ mission was at hand as he called people to repent and believe in the gospel (1:15). He came to preach and tell the good news (1:38, 2:2). At the heart of evangelism is proclaiming Christ born of a virgin, Christ lived sinless life, Christ died for sins and was raised to the glory of God. His substitutionary death paid for the sins of the world and for all those who believe in him.
Evangelism goes beyond living a good life for others to observe. It includes a gospel communication.
Romans 10:9-15, 17 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’… So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
ð Ask your neighbor, “Do you have beautiful feet?” If your telling the gospel you do!
ð HW: Write out your testimony: Life before Christ, Why you repented & believed in Christ, What is Christ doing in your life presently?
Evangelism is caring for friends (2:3-4).
There were four men carrying a paralytic man. You do not carry someone unless you have some sort of affinity towards them. But if you care, you will strain, struggle and support your friend. These four friends were bold and courageous in bringing their friend to Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 20a “For Christ’s love compels us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised… we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”
As you consider the action and care of these four friends, there are 2 applications for us today:
- If you believe there is no hope for others but Jesus, you will do whatever it takes to get them to him. This is what it means to love someone. Ex. If you knew the cure for cancer and withheld it from those who had cancer, how cruel would that be? Likewise, Christians have the cure for sin yet they withhold the gospel.
- These four friends did not wait to bring their friend to Jesus until he was at the synagogue. Instead, they brought their friend to Jesus when they had opportunity. Evangelism was done outside the church building! O, how we need Christians today who will have the courage and creativity to bring others to Christ outside the church building!
ð Write the names of 5 friends on your “Friendship Evangelism Card”
ð Pray for divine opportunities to declare and display the gospel to them.
Evangelism is trusting Jesus with the results (2:5).
It not only takes courage and creativity but it takes faith to do what these four friends did. They had heard about Jesus’ reputation to heal and they had trusted he would do the same for them. Their faith was both personal and corporate. The text says that Jesus heals when he say “their faith”. 
ð Sometimes it takes the faith and work of multiple persons to bring someone to Jesus.
ð Your role is faith and faithfulness, trusting Jesus with the results.
- Successful Evangelism is sharing the gospel and leaving results to God
- 1 Corinthians 3:6 “Some planted, Some watered, but God gives the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth”
Evangelism is linked with discipleship (2:14-15).
Jesus made disciples through his teaching and through his example. In healing persons and in spending time with sinners, Jesus showed the disciples how he wanted his mission to be accomplished. A disciple was one committed to learning and imitating their master. Likewise, when he called Matthew to repentance and faith it was a call to follow Jesus as a disciple.
ð SPBC cannot be satisfied with conversions only. We must help people understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
People come to SPBC not for a friendly church but for friends. They seek an authentic encounter with God and with those who have already encountered Him. They want to meet other people who share the same struggles and challenges they do and have found how God meets them at their point of need.
Evangelism challenges comfort zones (2:16-17).
Remember that Jesus is unique and unusual. If Jesus doesn’t challenge your comfort zone then you’ve got the wrong Jesus. Those in his day were so challenged by him that eventually they murdered him to get rid of him.
ð Are we attracting the same kinds of people that Jesus attracted? If not, are we preaching the same message?
ð Are their people in your life that you avoid because they are outcasts? They may be the ones who Jesus most wants to reach.
µ For Christian: When Matthew met Jesus he threw a party for all his friends and told them about Jesus. How are you going to share Jesus with your friends?
µ For Others: Jesus is not for the elite moral, he is for those who are broken and vulnerable. Call on him for salvation.
 From Evangelism Effectiveness – http://thegospelcoalition.org/about/foundation-documents/vision/
 This would be one of many actions to pave the way for the charge of blasphemy (Mark 14:60-64).
 The reference to “faith” is significant. Several other times Mark associated it with miracles (5:34; 9:23; 10:52), and its importance in the Gospel generally has already been affirmed in the commentary on 1:15. Probably the reference is to the faith of the four who went to such lengths to get the paralytic before Jesus, although the faith of the paralytic himself should not be excluded. Brooks, J. A. (2001, c1991). Vol. 23: Mark (electronic e.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (58). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.