Posts in the "Gospel Conversations" Category

Three Gospel Conversations

Sunday Sermon Series Gospel Conversations

Acts 16:13-34

Background: By 325 A.D. Christianity had spread to over half of the Roman Empire. It began with twelve guys on a hillside with no power, no money, no endorsements, and no celebrity recognition. All they had was an absolute conviction that Jesus had risen from the dead and a power poured into them called: the gift of the Holy Spirit. The key to this exponential growth was that every person, not just a handful of specialized apostles, carried the message of the Gospel. The whole church saw it as their responsibility to have Gospel Conversations.

The question we want to ask this morning:
What does evangelism by the ordinary people look like?

We are going to observe three Gospel Conversations with three persons of interest:

Conversation #1: Lydia the Merchant (Acts 16:13-15). … Lydia was a merchant who was on her way to a prayer meeting. She believed God existed but was not yet a Christian. God opened her heart to hear the message in such a way that she craved to hear more.

Conversation #2: The Slave Girl (Acts 16:16-18). … Paul and friends went back to the same place they met Lydia. Why? When you make return trips to a place, you can get to know the people there and build relationships with them. Those relationships can lead to Gospel Conversations. … This time Paul and his friends meet a slave girl. (Human trafficking is still something that is a problem today just as it was then.) This slave girl has a demon inside here that allows her to predict the future. The demon also who the apostles were and who they serve. So, she followed them around for a few days announcing who they were. Eventually Paul got annoyed and cast the demon out. As a result, she lost her ability to predict the future and earn money for her owners. This causes problems and leads to the next Gospel Conversation.

Conversation #3: The Roman Jailer (Acts 16:19-34). … This Roman jailer would have likely been a well-decorated, retired veteran of the Roman military. They put Paul and Silas in the inner prison, which was likely down below the other cells and also where any refuse from the upper cells would go. To make it even worse, Paul and Silas were likely hanging by their feet. … Somehow they had the idea to sing praises to God. Then the prison shook and the doors opened and the chains came loose. The jailer knew if anyone escaped, his life was forfeit, so he prepared to kill himself until Paul called out to him. No one had left. The jailer was so moved that he asked what he needed to do to be saved. So Paul and Silas preach the Gospel to him and he and his family become saved.

Why are these stories included?

  1. To show the transformative power of the Gospel.

  2. To give a glimpse of different people in our community and show us how to reach them.

    1. The Spiritually Interested
      How to reach them: Engage them. Invite them to read the Bible with you. Ask them to come to a service. Invite them to join your connection group.

    2. The Physical and Spiritual Captive
      How to reach them: Get involved in their life. Get to know them. Do life with them. Have cookouts with them. Build relationships with them.

    3. The Skeptic
      How to reach them:

      1. Be joyful at all times. People are always watching and God can use even the worst situations to further His kingdom.

      2. Show them God’s grace.

This Is a Day of Good News and We Are Keeping to Ourselves

Sunday Sermon Series Gospel Conversations

Our church theme for 2018 is Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations. A story from 2 Kings 6-7 illustrates our rationale and motivation for this theme. … After Solomon dies, the nation was divided into a northern and southern kingdom. Enemies of Israel came and besieged the northern kingdom’s capital, Samaria. The situation becomes awful as the attackers just waited for them to starve. The king blames the prophet Elisha and sends someone to kill him. Elisha told the officials he was with that the finest flour would be sold at a cheap price the next day and one of them doubted him. Elisha told the doubter he would see it come true but not eat of the flour. … The lepers outside the city decide they are going to die anyways so they go to surrender to their attackers. They come to the camp and find it abandoned. God had made them hear hoofsteps, so many that they thought the Israelites had allied with Egypt and the Hittites to defeat them. So they dropped everything and ran off. The lepers find all this food and start eating everything until they realize they should tell the city. So they do and when the king’s scouts decide the camp is indeed empty, a stampede ensues and the official who doubted Elisha was trampled. He lived long enough to see the flour sold cheaply but never got to eat of it, just as Elisha had said.

We are like the lepers (Isaiah 64:6). … Spiritually, we are all outcasts. We are unfit to enter Heaven because we are unclean.

We have found great treasure (Ephesians 1:7-8, 18, 3:18). … As Christians we have stumbled upon great riches

We cannot keep it to ourselves (2 Kings 7:9). … We would be morally wrong to keep it to ourselves. We are obliged to tell others about these riches we have found.

Not everyone will believe the Good News immediately. We must be patient with them (2 Kings 7:12). … Some won’t believe right away and will need to send out scouts and examine evidence. The best thing we can do is to be patient with them.

Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations: Advice

Series Gospel Conversations

Last week we were challenged to share the Gospel with 12 people in 2018 and saw one way of doing so, the 3 circles guide. This challenge is going to be a theme all of 2018. There will be other sermons and series, but this idea of turning everyday conversations into Gospel conversations will continue to come up. This week we get some advice on how to do this.

  1. Pray for people to be saved (Acts 7:57-60). … This is the story of Steven. Even while he was being stoned for his ministry, Steven prayed for his murders’ salvation. Saul, the man they laid their clothes by, went on to become Paul, one of the greatest champions of the Gospel.

  2. watch and listen to see what God is doing (Acts 8:29-31). … Be alert to what God is doing. Phillip heard the Spirit and listened. He ran next to a chariot for a while and then was asked to explain scripture to an Ethiopian man. That man was baptized soon after

  3. Don’t prejudge anyone (Acts 9:13-15; 10:28). … Saul was one of the great persecutors of Christians. God sent him to Ananias and Ananias was told by God to help Saul. Ananias questioned God and prejudged Saul. Ananias eventually concedes to God and is proven wrong to prejudge as Saul became Paul, a great Christian theologian. The Peter prejudged Cornelius, a Roman centurion. But God told him to speak with Cornelius and he and his family were saved.

  4. Open your mouth and talk about the Gospel (Acts 16:30-33). … It might not be politically correct to do this, but we can’t allow politics to get in the way of the Gospel. Even when the apostles were imprisoned for their ministry, they were faithful. God performed a miracle and still someone had to speak for the guard to know how to be saved.
    Transition the conversation by asking questions:

    1. What will happen to you when you die? … This direct question is for people you know well. Most people will say they will go to Heaven or they don’t know.

    2. Indirect: Ask: May I share with you what has given me hope/purpose?

  5. Analyze the response you receive (Acts 17:32, 34).

    1. Red light: Some will sneer. .. Stop. We can’t bully people into believing. Stopping might leave the door open in the future.

    2. Yellow light: Some will need to think on their own for a while. … Give them their space.

    3. Green light: Some will believe right away. … This is when you can have further conversations and help them grow in their faith.

Turnig Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations: 3 Circles

Sunday Sermon Series Gospel Conversations

The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. Gospel; conversations are conversations that are centered on the Gospel, where you have a chance to evangelize.

Challenge: In 2018, have 12 Gospel conversations. That’s one per month. For some, this might be easy. For others, this might be extremely difficult.

Acts 1:8 - This is one of the last things Jesus said before He ascended. He tells us that He has given us power and authority. This should give us the boldness we need to spread the Gospel; every chance we get.

Acts 8:1 - This verse tells us that all believers are challenged to tell people of the Gospel, not just pastors or missionaries.

Today we look at a simple way to turn any conversation into a Gospel conversation.

Below is a diagram we can use to show people why the Gospel is important. This method is called the 3 Circles.

Note: when drawing this out for someone, you may want to leave out anything in parentheses. The references are there to help you along.

Start by drawing the first circle and write “God’s design” in it. Explain that God created the world perfect and that something happened to cause it to be imperfect.

Draw an arrow to the right and label it “sin.” Explain that sin is the reason the world fell from perfection and how it happened.

Draw the circle on the right and label it “Brokenness.” The sin in the world produced a broken world with broken people.

Draw the arrows going to the right. These are our attempts to fix ourselves. They go nowhere.

Draw the third circle and label it “Gospel.” Tell them what the Gospel is.

Draw the arrow from brokenness to Gospel and explain how we must repent and believe to accept Christ.

Now draw the arrow from Gospel to God’s design. This is where you explain that the Gospel leads to the recovery and pursuit of God’s original design.

At this point, you can lead them in a prayer of salvation if they are ready.