Today’s post is from 1 Corinthians on how to be intentional in sharing your faith, written by the greatest evangelist, Paul. Much of what we know about God today comes from his willingness to share his faith. This passage is his blueprint for evangelism.
“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)
Paul tells us that we must be intentional in sharing our faith. Everything worthwhile is uphill. It takes intentionality in the following areas to share your faith well. Here are 7 intentional steps we can take from this passage of scripture.
1. Intentionally add value to lost people.
“…I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all…” 1 Corinthians 9:19 (MSG)
He says, I’m not a servant, but I’m going to voluntarily become a servant and that’s how I’m going to add value to people. You’ve got to earn people’s respect. You do that by adding value to their life. Don’t share your faith until you’ve added value to someone’s life, until you’ve served them in some way. Add value to someone who doesn’t know you or can’t give you anything in return. No strings attached. You have to earn their respect before they’ll give you a relationship.
“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NLT)
2. Intentionally include everyone.
“…in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever.” 1 Corinthians 9:20 (MSG)
For God so loved…the world. That’s everyone! He gave his one and only son that… whoever. God loves you, God loves people you don’t know and God loves people you don’t like.
If you go through the gospels the one thing you’ll see is that Jesus values people. You are most like Jesus when you love and value everyone.
Let there be a greater desire to connect with lost people than you do to correct them.
God doesn’t change us to accept us. He accepts to change us. Think of the lost people around you. The biggest deal to God is not that they missed church last week or that they’re living with a girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s not that they get drunk or that they’re in a same sex relationship. It’s not that they’re stealing or gossiping or have uncontrolled lust or anger raging in their life. God is concerned about those things in anyone’s life, but his primary concern is that they’re infected with a venomous snake bite and they’re not gonna make it. His primary concern is that they’re lost, they’re dead.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
Make allowance for faults and forgive, just as Christ forgave you. If you have a school friend, coworker, neighbor, whoever, and you struggle to like them or have anything in common with them:
Find the 1% you agree on and give it 100% of the effort.
We disagree on a lot but we can find one thing. Keep looking for it and when you find it connect on that one thing. You don’t have to be like them to reach them, but you have to like them. We’ve got to intentionally include everyone, not just those who are easy to be around or those that we think are worth our time.
3. Intentionally know who I am in Christ.
“…I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ…” 1 Corinthians 9:21 (MSG)
Paul is saying he’s solid, he knows who he is. He’s not compromising, he’s not giving that away, he’s not a silent Christian and hanging around lost people isn’t going to tank his faith. You truly find out who you are when you hang out with lost people. It’s easy to love Jesus at church.
Never forget who you are. You’re their friend AND you’re a Christ follower. You’re saved, redeemed by the blood of Jesus. You have the hope of heaven in your heart. Be so confident in who you are so you can go to where they are. Some of you work or live in dark places. It’s amazing how you share your faith and stay so solid. Some of you can’t even be around a lost person without going back into bad habits and just living as lost as they are. It’s because you’ve just stopped at knowing God.
Everything about Rock Brook Church is built on taking people on a journey so they can be solid enough in Christ to then help others. We want to help people to find freedom from the past and the junk in their heart. You can know God and believe in him but still have habits and junk in your life. That’s what small groups and Celebrate Recovery are about; getting people connected to a group of godly friends so they can be real and find freedom from the hurts and the habits and the hangups. Then you have a purpose to live for. When you live with a purpose, you can make a difference. Then you’re solid enough to go back out into the community, back out and say, I know who I am in Christ.
“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world…” Matthew 5:13, 14
Salt makes things better light makes things brighter. When you become salt and light you become a dealer in hope. Every person has a homing device in them looking for hope that wants them to know God. When you meet a lost person, that person was looking for you – they need your hope!
4. Intentionally enter their world.
“…but I entered their world…” 1 Corinthians 9:22 (MSG)
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Matthew 9:35-36 (KJV)
When you enter their world you will be filled with compassion. The closer you are with them, the more you love them. Jesus came to us. He said, “I’ll enter their world. I’ll put on the robe of humanity. I’ll live where they live. I’ll feel what they feel and experience what they experience.” Don’t lose your passion and compassion for lost people. Someone entered your world. Someone told you. Someone accepted you. Someone loved you.
5. Intentionally experience things from their point of view.
“…and tried to experience things from their point of view…”
If you can get them to love you you have a chance to get them to love God. If they don’t love you, it’s going to be harder for them to love God. How can you share your faith without first being a friend? How can you be a friend with someone and never share the most important and powerful thing in your life?
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30 (NKJV)
6. Intentionally be creative to move people toward God.
“…I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life…” 1 Corinthians 9:22 (MSG)
Be creative. Do anything to help people know God. Everyone wants to know God. Be creative to move them toward God.
Plant seeds of curiosity.
Don’t make lost people mad, make them hungry. You’re the salt and the light. You’re the one that makes the earth palatable, you’re the one that lights up the darkness, you’re the one with the hope. When people are talking about the problems of the world and the darkness, and how scary it is, and how dysfunctional it is, don’t join in, say, “I wish you had my peace right now.” or “I wish you had my perspective right now.”
There is a business guy who goes around teaching and he starts his talk by saying, “There are four essential ways to value people, I’m going to give you three of them.” He just gives them three, and inevitably people stop him at the elevator or standing in line afterward to hear the fourth thing…which is about God. Make people curious. Make people hungry. Get creative.
“Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.” Colossians 4:5 (MSG)
7. Intentionally experience God at work.
“…I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” 1 Corinthians 9:23 (MSG)
The moment you get your heart on what God’s heart is on. The moment you have a heart that is broken for lost people. There is an anointing for you, a covering for you and a power that will radically change your life.
In a conversation with a lost person, there are three people. There’s you, there’s them, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is doing something in you that you cannot see and the Holy Spirit is doing something in them that you cannot see. He is doing something in their life that we cannot do, He is drawing them to Jesus.
“The harvest is abundant [for there are many who need to hear the good news about salvation], but the workers [those available to proclaim the message of salvation] are few.” Luke 10:2 (AMP)
The harvest is abundant. There are thousands in our community who would take their next step toward Jesus today, if someone just told them. Don’t just talk about it get in on it.
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his great name; make known among the nations what He has done.” Psalm 105:1 (NIV)
Share the good news, not only the gospel of God but your own life. You were in darkness and hopeless when you cried out to God and He saved you. You were headed for hell. God doesn’t send people to hell, he saves people from hell. God is so amazing that he sent his Son Jesus to die on a cross. God does everything he can to save people from hell and gives everything he can to save people. You have to step over Jesus to go to hell, That’s our God. That’s what he has done. That’s the God I serve. That’s why we Go & Tell.
Check back and review what we talked about last week. Anything from Pastor Kelly’s message on why we share our faith staying with you? Anything new reflections about the fishing illustration?
Hear the Word
Read: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)
- Intentionally add value to lost people.
- Intentionally include everyone.
- Intentionally know who I am in Christ.
- Intentionally enter their world.
- Intentionally experience things from their point of view.
- Intentionally be creative to move people toward God.
- Intentionally experience God at work.
- Did you take any extra notes or have something you’ve been thinking about since you heard the message?
- Of the seven steps to intentional evangelism, which one do you need to work on the most?
- Share some ideas on how to creatively share the gospel.
Tell Someone Else
Who in your life do you need to be more loving towards? Who are you excluding? Ask the group to pray for you and help you as you forgive them and reach them.