I keep going back to John 4 and that well of information on how Jesus shared himself effectively with the Samaritan woman who came to the well for water. Look with me at our Lord at work and pick out the main principles on which He built this single interview. Especially consider how we may apply these principles in an extended relationship with a non-Christian.
- 1.CONTACT OTHERS SOCIALLY. If we do not know any non-Christians, how can we introduce them to Jesus? John 4:1-4
- 2.ESTABLISH A COMMON INTEREST. In John 4:7 Jesus asked the woman to “give me a drink”. They were both thirsty and at the well for water and Jesus used this as a bridge to communication.
- 3.AROUSE INTEREST. What would be your response if someone offered you “living water” and “whoever drinks this water will never thirst?” Would that get your attention? Would you respond like the Samaritan woman, “Sir, give me this water.”
- 4.DON’T GO TO FAR TO FAST. Despite her obvious interest Jesus didn’t give the whole story at once . . . He didn’t try to demand obedience without her understanding what she was signing up for. Listen sensitively to the person and discern how much to share and how soon to share it.
- 5.DON’T CONDEMN. The woman was a blatant sinner, but Jesus did not accuse her. . . He let her confess her own sin. Jesus was always accepting of people where they were. He said to another sinful woman in John 8, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
- 6.STICK WITH THE MAIN ISSUE. In John 4:19-25 the woman changed the subject from Jesus Himself to how to worship. The question was legitimate, but off target of what Jesus wanted her to see. Many times, Satan will try to “sidetrack” the real issue of salvation for some other “religious question.” So many of us are sidetracked early on by age old questions, “You’re the ones that don’t use . . .” or “But aren’t you the ones that believe if you are not a member of the church of Christ, you’re . . .”
- 7.CONFRONT THE PERSON DIRECTLY, WITH LOVE. In John 4:26 Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.” You have to build bridges of communication . . . you have to gently and over time break down walls . . . then you get to the bottom line and ask for a response. Read through John 4:24 for the rest of the story. The woman, her village and the whole of Samaria was never the same again. You can do this in your circle of influence.
Don Philips via Robins Reporter 1/6/ 1990
ONE PERSON AT A TIME
Recently I read where the “pioneers” cleared the forests from Jamestown to the Mississippi with less tools that are stored in the typical modern garage. (Dwayne Laws).
This got me to thinking about the work of the church. The first century Christians were successful in their discipleship of themselves and others without: radios, telephones, postal services, expensive church buildings, located preachers, printing presses and airplanes. STOP AND THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A FEW MINUTES.
NOW, what is our problem today? With all of these aids, why aren’t we teaching the gospel to the world? Could it be that souls are not important any longer? Could it be that we don’t think the church is important today? Could it be that we think the gospel does not have the power to save as it once did? Could it be that we have substituted other things for Christ in our lives? Could it be that we feel like we cannot teach others the gospel – that we don’t know enough – and that is what we pay the preacher for? Could it be that we have an attitude problem, or all of the above?
With our chain saws, logging equipment. . . if someone were to say to us to clear off the land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, most of us would reply, “It can’t be done.” “ I don’t have time. “ “I can’t do it by myself “. . .etc. It’s all a matter of attitude. The old axiom that “we can move a mountain by one shovelful of dirt at a time,” seems to apply well here. The pioneers cleared the land one tree at a time, one shrub at a time. Let us teach the gospel to the world, ONE PERSON AT A TIME, and let God’s word do the rest.
Author Unknown, Via Church of Christ, Tampa FL
TELL THEM WHAT YOU KNOW
A manager of a company received a letter from a salesman he had hired a few days before:
I seed this outfit which ain’t never got a penny’s word of nuthin’ from us before. I sole them hunnert thousand dollars of guds. I am now going to Oklahomee.”
Three days later, a second letter reached the home office.
I come here to Tulsee and I sell these prospectors half a milyon.”
The sales manager posted both letters on the bulletin board with a note added by the company president:
“We’ve been spendin to much time tryin to spel, instead of tryin to sel. Let’s take a few tips from Gooch who is on the road doing a grate job for us. You go out and do like he done.
Too many Christian try to excuse themselves because of a lack of education, a lack of Bible knowledge, or a lack of training. Tell people what you know. Introduce them to someone else when you both need to learn more. There is always another who is willing to help you teach them.
IF YOU BELIEVE IT – TELL IT!
Via SAKS CHURCH OF CHRIST 2 22 1987
FOUR REASONS WHY WE ARE NOT INVOLVED IN MORE SOUL-TEACHING
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE. There are many Christians who seldom study the Scriptures. When they do it is without purpose or plan. Therefore, they are unqualified to teach others the gospel because they do not know the gospel themselves. Every Christian should be desirous of learning the necessary facts so he/she can properly teach another person. Many times it takes more to teach a person than just inviting him/her to worship. This is why we must prepare ourselves to teach others. We should “search the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11).
WE ARE AFRAID. Fear of being put on the spot or being asked a question that we cannot answer keeps many Christians from engaging in teaching lost souls. Some are also afraid that they will hurt someone’s feelings. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13).
WE ARE TOO BUSY. Many of us run at such a fast pace that we never think about the souls of others. We must train our minds to see lost souls around us regardless of the demands our responsibilities may put upon us. Daily we come into contact with those that are lost. We must lift up our eyes, see their need, and then try to do something about it. All of us can – if we will.
WE DO NOT SINCERELY LOVE OTHER PEOPLE. There is a difference between saying, “I wish that person was saved,” and loving him/her enough to do something to cause him/her to have the opportunity to make the choice to be saved. Teaching souls is not an easy task. It takes time, patience and love. Many times, we are too busy, and we make excuses. We are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (James 2:8). I want to be saved, don’t you? Then let us really want our neighbors to at least have a chance to hear the gospel and make the choice for themselves. Not just in our thoughts, but in our actions.
I sincerely hope that these thoughts will help us all be more involved in looking for lost souls, and teaching them the gospel. May we always remember the eternal destiny of those who are lost, and do our part to try to keep them from that place (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Adapted. Ken Tyler Via the Exhorter, 2 15 1987