There simply is no way to express the gratitude and love that wells up in us when we really get a glimpse of God’s amazing love and grace. When we are aware of the Spirit moving in us, and even when we’re not, we can see God’s fingerprints and footprints all around us. Each of us have personal ways of helping others to see those touches of God’s love and grace on our daily workaday world. It is the most exciting thing in life when we catch on to one of those ways, act on it, and see what God does in our lives and others’ lives. That’s generally even more of a blessing to the giver than to the receiver, and if giving helps the other person become a giver, too, then the results are exponential.
If you have a journal, here are some things to reflect on, or you could discuss them with your friends or with your group.
Read the stories of Jesus’ betrayal and death at the ends of the four gospels. Then spend some time in intense meditation on those events. Write about your feelings.
Have you intentionally asked the Holy Spirit to live in and through you? What do you see happening? If not, do you find yourself resisting? Are there fears you might pray about and talk to your accountability partner about?
Write about your ideas of justice, mercy, and humility. How have you seen these things active in your life? How have you seen the effect when they are absent or distorted?
After having reflected on these things, challenge yourself to find ways to make them real and visible in your daily life.
What are some specific ways I can be Jesus’ hands, feet, or mouth this week?
How can I work for justice and peace this week?
How can I show that I love mercy this week?
In what ways do I make sure that I am walking humbly with my God?
Session 23: Embracing the
Evangelistic Mission of the Church
To embrace the evangelistic mission of the church, I am:
praying for the Holy Spirit to prepare me to reach others for Christ.
choosing to be aware of the spiritual climate locally and globally.
using my spiritual gifts to help tell the world the story of Jesus.
able to give a reason for my faith when asked.
sharing the story of my personal relationship with Jesus with community members, family, friends and co-workers.
Participants should know that the natural tendency of human beings is to waver between trust in God and the persistent tendency to disobey Him. However, through constant prayer, they can witness effectively to others, and the Holy Spirit will give them power over the natural and persistent tendencies. They should feel the need to accept God’s invitation to utilize their spiritual gifts to evangelize others who have not yet committed their lives to following Jesus. And, they should respond by participating in evangelistic initiatives to influence those who are yielding to the persistent tendency to disobey God, to turn to Him instead.
Ellen White says, “The work above all work,—the business above all others which should draw and engage the energies of the soul,—is the work of saving souls for whom Christ has died. Make this the main, the important work of your life” (Messages to Young People, page 227).
Look: Matthew 28: 18-20; John 15: 16; Acts 2:38; Revelation 3:20
Memorize: “If you remain in me and my words remains in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15: 7, 8, NIV).
PRAYER INSIGHTS: Effectiveness in witnessing is emboldened through prayer.
Colossians 4:2-6—Amplified Bible
“Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving. And at the same time pray for us also, that God may open a door to us for the Word (the Gospel), to proclaim the mystery concerning Christ (the Messiah) on account of which I am in prison; that I may proclaim it fully and make it clear [speak boldly and unfold that mystery], as is my duty. Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].”
In this text, the apostle Paul suggests that as Christians we should devote ourselves to prayer. Through such strength and persistence as conveyed by the word in the Greek language that he uses (kartereite), prayer becomes the continual duty of Christians that enables active watchfulness both for us and for others, rather than engaging in lethargy (4:2).
In 4:3, Paul implies that as Christians our awareness of our need for prayer and our actual persistence in prayer are the basis of our strength to succeed in whatever we do for the Lord. Whenever as Christians we convince ourselves that we are capable of doing things on our own, we are in serious spiritual danger. That conviction leads to loss of power and minimal effectiveness.
According to the Apostle (Col. 4:5), when as Christians we are intentional and constant in prayer, opportunities come to us for witnessing. In response to our prayer, the Holy Spirit empowers us to relate to others with tact and sensitivity. We should not antagonize others for not following the principles of the Lord, and neither must we blame them for failing to accept the gospel.
Prayer enables us as Christians to elevate our conversation to a high level through the Holy Spirit that takes full control of our lives (Col. 4:6). As persistent, praying witnesses of Christ, the Holy Spirit directs us to become attractive, pleasant, and winsome in our conversations. Such attitudes open opportunities for us to get the attention of others who are not of the faith, maintain their interests, and open up opportunities for us to answer questions about the Christian faith.
Share: Discuss the dynamic impact that the relationship between prayer and the Holy Spirit can have on the personal life and witness of young people.
Prayer in evangelism may be practiced through A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication)
Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication are practices integral to effective prayer for evangelism and soul winning.
In Adoration, we tell God how much we appreciate Him, adore His holiness, express our love for Him, and praise Him for His power and majesty. In adoration of God, we recognize His transcendent greatness both in heaven and on earth. "How awesome are your deeds!" (Psalm 66:3).
In Confession, we acknowledge our weaknesses, tell Him where we have fallen short, and ask for help and strength to turn away from future temptations. We likewise acknowledge to Him the failings of other persons whom we would like to see in His kingdom when Jesus comes to claim the righteous. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
In Thanksgiving, we thank God for His love, His faithfulness, His patience, for sending Jesus, His son, to die on the cross for us. Thank Him for the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in our hearts and for His being our conscience, our counselor, and that "still small voice." We thank Him for the opportunity to be involved in witnessing and for those whom He will enable us to reach and impact through the power of the Holy Spirit. "Glorify him with thanksgiving" (Psalm 69:30).
In Supplication, we express our reliance on Him for material needs, for our repentance over failures in faithfulness and our renouncing of mercilessness as a way of life. We seek forgiveness for our own failings, and like Moses speaking on behalf of the children of Israel (Exodus 32:11-14), we supplicate on behalf of those whom we would like to see saved in His kingdom. Through supplication, we tell the Lord what we want – SOULS! Be specific! – call them by name. None of our requests is too big for God to manage. "Make your requests known to God" (Philippians 4:6).
Share: How can Seventh-day Adventist young people be more intentional and constant in prayer for soul winning?
From the Pen of Ellen G. White
“Those who will put on the whole armor of God and devote some time every day to meditation and prayer and to the study of the scriptures will be connected to heaven and will have a saving, transforming influence upon those around them” (5T 112).
“God’s workers must be men and women of prayer… that they may be light and strength to others” (RH Nov.10, 1885).
“There are souls who have lost their courage; speak to them, pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the Word of God. There is a soul sickness no balm can reach, no medicine heal. Pray for these, and bring them to Jesus Christ. And in all your work, Christ will be present to make impressions upon human hearts” (CME 22.5).
“Let the stewards of the manifold grace of God seek out these souls, visit their homes, and through the power of the Holy Spirit minister to their needs. Study the Bible with them and pray with them with that simplicity which the Holy Spirit inspires. Christ will give His servants a message that will be as the bread of heaven to the soul” (COL. 235).
“Let us also pray earnestly in behalf of those whom we expect to visit, by living faith bringing them, one by one, into the presence of God. The Lord knows the thought and purposes of man, and how easily He can melt us! How His Spirit, like a fire, can subdue the flinty heart! How He can fill the soul with love and tenderness! How He can give us the graces of His Holy Spirit, and fit us to go in and out, in laboring for souls!” (ChS 169.2).
Share: What about prayer gets your attention most from the counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy?
Spiritual GiftS: Getting it Right!
The Apostle Paul addressed the question of Spiritual Gifts in I Corinthians 12: 12–31.
A warped concept of spiritual gifts infested the church at Corinth. Some members had inflated ideas of their personal importance because they thought they possessed more public and spectacular gifts of the Holy Spirit than others. Others coveted wrongfully some of the gifts that were conspicuously exercised by others.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit that were intended for uniting the members of the church in Corinth became the foundation for division among the Christian believers. This schism over spiritual gifts among the members gave rise to the need for the apostle Paul to bring some perspectives to the question of spiritual gifts among the members of the church.
Paul emphasized that basic to an acceptable appreciation of spiritual gifts is an understanding that the church is the body of Christ and He is the Head of the Church (Ephesians 5:22). As a body, the church has many interdependent parts (1 Corinthians 12: 12-26). The way the gifts of the Holy Spirit are intended to function is synonymous to the way the body with its various parts functions.
When Christians are baptized into the body of Christ, they receive gifts from the Holy Spirit that enable them to participate in the body of Christ, the church, in a manner to build up and keep the church united. Paul says, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Cor. 12: 13). This is what is referred to as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as according to Prime, “no one can be a member of the body of Christ without the experience of the baptism by the Holy Spirit” (Prime, D. 2005. Opening up 1 Corinthians 111–114, Leominister: Day One Publications). Paul says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Rom. 8:9). When an individual receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he or she therefore is considered as being born again.
The apostle Paul emphasizes in 1 Corinthians 12: 14-20 that each member of the body must be involved in the functioning of the body, otherwise the body does not function optimally. In this interdependent relationship, every member of the body is needed and has a job to do in order to maintain unity, growth, and functionality (verses 21-26). For this task, each is given a gift of the Holy Spirit.
Each believer is expected to be able to identify his/her gift(s) as endowed by the Holy Spirit and to utilize such gift(s) within the body, realizing that everyone does not get the same gift (1 Cor. 12: 27–30). In the same manner, the spiritual gift that each member possesses must not be regarded as his or hers to be used only for his or her personal/limited church interest. The gift(s) of each believer belongs to the entire church and should be used to fulfill the God-given purpose for which it was given.
Share: How do spiritual gifts properly appreciated and used enable Seventh-day Adventist young people to act?
From the Pen of Ellen G. White
“The Holy Spirit commits to every Christian some gift or talent which is to be used to advance the kingdom.--The present is our day of trust. To every person is committed some peculiar gift or talent which is to be used to advance the Redeemer's kingdom. All God's responsible agents, from the lowliest and most obscure to those in high positions in the church, are entrusted with the Lord's goods. It is not the minister alone who can work for the salvation of souls. Those who have the smallest gifts are not excused from using the very best gifts they have, and in so doing their talents will be increased. It is not safe to trifle with moral responsibilities nor to despise the day of small things. God's providence proportions His trusts according to the varied capabilities of the people. None should mourn because they cannot glorify God with talents which they never possessed and for which they are not responsible” (4T 618).
“Every gift that the Lord has entrusted to us is to be valued and used. The smallest gift is not to be overlooked. The Lord gives to every man according to his several ability to use the gift bestowed. Each should be encouraged to use his gift. The least talented may enlarge his capabilities by doing his best. The church of Christ is made up of vessels large and small. The Lord can use the smallest gift to advance His cause, if the possessor has faith in Him” (6MR 107-108).
What is your spiritual gift(s)?
Divide yourselves into small groups of seven or eight. In your group, pray earnestly for the aid of the Holy Spirit and then explore Romans 12:1–13, 1 Peter 4:8–11, and 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31. Make a list of all the spiritual gifts mentioned in these texts and do the following exercises:
Discuss what each of these passages adds to your understanding of the proper use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Identify which of these gifts you think each member of the group possesses. There may be other gifts possessed by members of the group that are not included in the passages studied. It would be good to identify such gifts.
Each group member should indicate whether or not they acknowledge possession of the gift(s) attributed to them by the members of the group.
If any member of the group does not confirm the gift(s) attributed to them by the other members of the group, they should indicate what they think is their gift from the Holy Spirit.
A list should be made of the spiritual gift(s) that each member of the group possesses.
As a team, the group may determine how they should utilize their gifts, both individually and corporately, to tell others about the story of Jesus.
Sharing the story of my personal relationship with Jesus with community members, family, friends, and co-workers
Considering the Natural Tendency of Human Beings:
At age sixteen, King Uzziah began his reign in Judah and continued for fifty-two years. He started off well, honoring the Lord and doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. However, after he became powerful, he allowed himself to be controlled by pride and succumbed to the persistent tendency to disobey the Lord. That led to rebellion in his later life (see 2 Chronicles 26: 1-22).
Uzziah usurped the priestly roles of authority by inappropriately offering incense, which was a function of the priests only. Uzziah’s leadership also influenced and encouraged the people of Judah’s persistent tendency to disobey. The Scripture says that Uzziah failed to remove the high places and "the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there" (2 Kings 15:4). As judgment from the Lord, Uzziah was struck with leprosy for his violations of the law of the God.
As a Friend and yet as Father and Creator, God made the first move to reach out to all human beings even when they were enjoying the pleasure of their delight and giving in to the persistent tendency to disobey Him. Here is how Isaiah characterizes the debut:
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’ And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1-5).
Share: Discuss how God develops relationships with human beings as implied in this text.
The security of the people of Judah under the military genus of Uzziah, their commander and chief, lulled them into complacency. They spurned the warnings of the Lord and became overly corrupted in their prosperity. At that point, Uzziah, a good king for fifty-two years who had then become arrogant, profaned the temple, contracted leprosy, and died in shame. Now at the point of his death, a powerful army of Assyrians was advancing on the people of Judah. Instead of seeking the Lord, the nations turned against Him to idols.
Throughout history, it has been true that kings competed with God, but fell in shame; people turned from Him to worship idols, but their false Gods crumbled. Amidst all the apostasies, the Lord revealed Himself to Isaiah as the sovereign Lord—with a promise to preserve a remnant through which the Savior should come. Acceptance of the Savior would lead to the creation of a community of believers who would be His covenant people to reach the world with the saving gospel message of Jesus.
God is the one who reveals Himself to human beings. Without His revelation, no one would know Him. He revealed Himself to Isaiah in a time of national crisis and constantly reveals Himself to individuals to serve Him and to witness for Him. When Isaiah met the Lord, he could not resist the Lord’s invitation to take His message to others. He said: “Here am I Lord, send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Share: How Does God reveal Himself to young people today for them to become involved in witnessing for Him and how should they respond?
How many people will be in heaven because of you?
C. H. Spurgeon, the renowned 19th Century English preacher, told this story about King Cyrus, the man who conquered Babylon and freed the Jews from captivity: A visitor who was admiring Cyrus’ gardens said it gave him much pleasure. “Ah,” said Cyrus, “but you have not so much pleasure in this garden as I have, for I have planted every tree in it myself.” Spurgeon then commented, “One reason some saints will have a greater fullness of heaven than others will be that they did more for heaven than others. By God’s grace they were enabled to bring more souls there.”
Seventh-day Adventists do not believe that anyone will go to heaven having a greater fullness of heaven than others because they did more for heaven than others. Everyone who goes to heaven will go based on the grace of Christ—a free gift, rather than by merit. None will have a greater fullness of the Kingdom than another. When we get to heaven it will be such a joyous occasion that nothing that may cause jealousy and feelings of unhappiness and inferiority will surface. We will all rejoice in knowing that we made it.
However, each of us should engage in serious thinking about how many people will be in heaven because of our efforts under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Ellen White said, “A solemn responsibility rests upon everyone to engage in the work of saving souls. We cannot afford to fold our hands, and engage in interesting nothings, gratifying our tastes and inclinations. We are to win souls for the Master” (Signs of the Times, 1889).
If we are able to reminisce about experiences that led to our presence in the Kingdom, then probably some will say to us, “I’m so thankful for you. It was your testimony, your life, your invitation to accept Christ that accounts for my being here today.” The apostle Paul anticipated the joy in heaven of seeing people who were there as a result of his ministry. In 1 Thess. 2:19–20 (ESV) he says: “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” According to Paul, the Thessalonians will be his hope, joy, and crown of boasting at the public manifestation of Christ because they are the fruit of his ministry as an apostle of Christ.
Share: How many persons would you like to see in the Kingdom because of your evangelistic ministry? How many of those persons can you name right now?
Influenced by this study, I am committed to intercede with the Lord for a personal lifestyle of prayer so I can receive the outpouring of His Holy Spirit to be an effective witness for Him.
I am ready to participate in group interactions with others in my church that will help me to identify my spiritual gifts and strengthen my confidence for witnessing.
I am ready to share my faith in Jesus with others who do not know Him and will actively participate in outreach witnessing activities.
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