Dear fellow disciple-maker,
Having grown up going to church, I can recall many sermons that challenged me to share my faith with others. Truthfully, the motivation delivered in those messages was often loaded with guilt, but none-the-less, I knew that God somehow expected me to spread the good news of what Jesus had done for me. As an adult, it seems that the emphasis has mellowed a little, but occasionally, I hear a strong "evangelistic sermon" that makes me continue to question how devoted I am to sharing my faith. Perhaps you can relate.
Look for Receptive Hearts
Recently, I have found it encouraging to notice that Jesus did not motivate his followers out of guilt. Rather, he explained to them a very encouraging and practical strategy for sharing their faith. Luke 10:1-16 outlines this simple strategy. In this passage, Jesus sends out seventy-two disciples into his harvest field to announce that the Kingdom of God was very near. He instructed them to identify someone whom he called, a "person of peace" and stay at his house. The disciples were being trained to look for people who would welcome and listen to them. These people represented those who were open and receptive to God. The disciples were taught that finding a Person of Peace meant discovering where God is already at work.
This is the same strategy that Jesus practiced. In John 5 Jesus revealed that he never did anything by his own initiative. Instead, he only worked where he saw his Father working. Furthermore, Jesus knew where to work because his Father showed him what He was doing. Jesus merely looked to see where his Father was working and joined Him.
Joining God Today
Today, God has placed "People of Peace" all around us. In my own life, one reason I'm starting to notice them is that I'm actually looking for them. Based on Luke 10, I believe that the first step in sharing our faith is to ask God to show us someone who is open and receptive. This is someone in whom God has already been working. He has been preparing their hearts for the good news of Jesus. The next step is to invest time in them because, in doing so, you are joining what God is doing in their lives, cooperating with the Holy Spirit.
Imagine what would happen if the people of God began to regularly pray that God would open their eyes to see the receptive people God is preparing. Can you think of someone who is a "Person of Peace" in your life right now? Know for certain that God has prepared you for that person and that person for you. This is the confidence that Jesus wants us to have. Cultivate the relationship in Jesus' name. Pray for them. Serve them. Let them know that they are very near to finding the kingdom of God. And by the way, the people of peace in our lives will very quickly open up their whole network of relationships. You'll be shocked at who they know and how easy it will be to meet them. When God is at work, receptive people open their hearts to you and the good news about Jesus. God is working every day. Start looking.
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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