Tag Archives: evangelism

Can Jesus Get A Witness?

Jesus encountered a man who was demon-possessed. The man was so dangerous that people quit trying to help him. They avoided him. But Jesus set the man free.

The man is so grateful to Jesus and so impressed with his power that he wants to go with Jesus. But at this point Jesus does something a bit surprising.

Jesus does not allow the man to come with him like his other disciples are doing. Instead, Jesus instructs the man to go home and tell how much God has done for him.

The man does what Jesus asks. He goes and tells all over town how much Jesus has done for him (Luke 8:39).

This account shows that our Lord does not always send his followers to faraway places in order to tell others about him. Jesus wants us to reach out to people across the street as well as around the world. We cannot all travel to far-away places but we can all speak to our friends and neighbors.

This episode illustrates another very important point. Jesus sends the formerly demon-possessed man out with no training. He does not teach him a gospel presentation or provide him with pamphlets. How will the man know what to say?

Jesus gives the man a very simple instruction. He directs the man to tell others how much God has done for him. In other words, just give a personal testimony.

A personal testimony about how God has worked in someone’s life is compelling. The Apostle Paul was a great teacher and preacher of the gospel, yet he often used his personal testimony as a tool for reaching out to others.

Any believer can construct a short, simple and effective personal testimony. Think about something that God has changed in your life. Practice telling others about the “before” and “after” of what God has done.

Your testimony may use this form: “I used to. . . . But now I. . . .” Perhaps you used to have no desire for church, but now you love the fellowship with other believers and the joy of worshiping and serving the Lord.

Maybe you used to be confused by the Bible but now God’s Spirit is enabling you to understand and apply Scripture in life-changing ways.

The formerly demon-possessed man sure had something remarkable to tell! Our story may not be as dramatic as his, but it is just as important. Jesus has liberated every believer from sin’s eternal punishment.

After telling about the change in your life, make a clear statement giving God the credit. All of this may take just a minute or two.

Finally, after sharing a personal testimony, extend some sort of invitation. Invite your listener to church. Or, ask if you can pray for him. Maybe you are attending a Bible study and you can invite him to join you.

In some cases, you may even sense that he is ready to be saved. If you are comfortable doing so, lead him in a sinner’s prayer. If not, urge him to meet with your pastor or Sunday school teacher or other leader in the church.

Go tell how much God has done in your life. Amazing things will happen!

Brother Richard Foster

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Tell Your Story!

You have story to tell! As a follower of the Lord Jesus, you have become a permanent part of Jesus’ story. And Jesus’ story will always be a vital part of your life story.

Your story includes the great change that Jesus has made in your life when you were saved. More than that, your story includes the changes that God’s Spirit is making in your life now as he grows you toward spiritual maturity.

In a sense, your story and mine each begins when Jesus willingly gave his life as a sacrifice so that we can be forgiven. Jesus’ sacrifice almost 2,000 years ago opened a door to God’s blessing that we walked through when we confessed Christ as Lord.

Jesus’ story did not end with his death. God raised him up from the grave, alive again and alive forever. More than that, Jesus ascended to heaven and poured out his Spirit on his followers, on us.

God’s Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, dwells in the hearts of all believers, empowering us to worship and serve the Maker of heaven and earth. God’s Spirit is changing us from glory to glory into the image of Christ.

So, Jesus died for your sin, rose up to be your Savior and Lord, and he is working in your life now to do wonderful things that will continue into eternity.

All believers have much in common. We have the same Savior and we were all saved by our faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. But we are still unique.

The circumstances of each person’s salvation experience vary and so each of us has a unique experience. In addition, the details of what God is doing on a daily basis in each believer’s life are unique.

So your story affirms the great truths of Christianity, truth about Jesus Christ and his work of salvation. But your story also reveals a very personal account of how Christ’s salvation is unfolding in history.

Somebody needs to hear your story. They need to hear the ancient and unchanging truth about Jesus and his offer of salvation. They also need to see and hear a living example of how Jesus saves now.

When we open our spiritual eyes, we begin to see the opportunities that God places in our path to testify about his goodness. Someone nearby is reaching a point in life where he is ready to listen.

We need to be ready to speak, to testify about Jesus and his work in our lives. Sharing Christ with others is a sign that God’s Spirit is active in our lives. It is one way that we grow stronger in our faith.

Telling others about Jesus is an important part of discipleship. Remember, discipleship is not merely learning God’s word. True discipleship is doing what God’s word says.

Jesus said, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). We bear witness to the world of what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. As we do this, others are saved. What a great honor!

May the Spirit of God inspire us to proclaim his goodness among the nations,

Brother Richard Foster

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The Sheep from Another Pen

Jesus painted wonderful and memorable word pictures that describe God’s marvelous love for his people.  In John chapter 10 he pictured God’s people as a flock of sheep.  The Good Shepherd, Jesus, calls his sheep by name and they recognize his voice.  He goes ahead of them and leads his flock out to pasture.

The flock is endangered by a wolf and made vulnerable by a hired hand.  The wolf slips in to steal and destroy the flock.  The hired hand flees, leaving the sheep to be attacked and scattered.  Although the hired hand protects himself at the expense of the flock, the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Jesus’ metaphor is a striking way to think about God’s people (the flock of sheep), Jesus (the Good Shepherd), Satan (the wolf), and false teachers (the hired hand).  The great affection of the Good Shepherd for his sheep is expressed by his willingness to die for his flock, an obvious reference to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary.

In his lovely portrait of God’s sacrificial affection, Jesus introduced the idea that he also has sheep that are from another pen.  In other words, the people of God include more than citizens of Jerusalem or Israel.  In fact, God sent Jesus to be Savior for people from every tribe, language, race, and nation.

Jesus emphasized his global mission to tell all people everywhere about God’s plan of salvation after his resurrection, just before he ascended back to heaven.  We should not, however, mistakenly get the impression that the Great Commission was a sort of afterthought or last-minute addition to Jesus’ mission.  The worldwide scope of Jesus’ mission is in the DNA of his words and works.

Missionary work is not an afterthought in Christianity; it is the very heart of God.  The Good Shepherd has a love that leaves the ninety-nine in order to find the one lost lamb.  And he rejoices when that endangered sheep is found.   And the Good Shepherd calls his followers to share in the toil and the triumph of God’s global mission.

May the love of Christ compel us to go and tell the Good News,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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How Do We Make Disciples?

Our common love for the Lord Jesus unites us in our work, and our common desire to obey the Lord Jesus binds us together with a single goal: to glorify Almighty God.  Our Lord’s commands will keep us focused as we face many challenges and opportunities along the way.

Our Savior summarized his instruction for all of his followers in all places at all times in this age when he spoke to his disciples after his resurrection.  As they stood on a certain mountain in Galilee Jesus came to them and gave them, and us, a mandate for action.

Jesus prefaced his instruction with a statement about his right to command the people of God.  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him, he said.  When we obey the Lord Jesus, we are in step with the highest authority in all the cosmos.

So what has Jesus commanded his followers to do?  The short version is this: Go make disciples.  In other words, go make more followers of Jesus.  Before explaining how, Jesus addressed the question of whom; to whom should we go?  He simply said, everyone, make disciples of all nations, all peoples.  Jesus placed no limit on the type of person who can become his disciple.

How do we make disciples?  First, we baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Baptism means conversion.  We announce and explain the Good News about salvation through faith in Jesus.  Then we invite people to trust the Lord and become followers of Jesus.

Saving souls is the beginning of a new life that requires instruction.  So Jesus has commanded us to teach disciples after we make them.  And he has given us the curriculum; we are to teach all that he taught his disciples, which is recorded in the Bible.  Our textbook for discipleship is God’s Word.

We have a mandate from the Lord of heaven and earth.  Our shared labor of love is to help people find saving faith and then to help them grow in their faith.  As we obey our Lord’s command we, too, grow spiritually.  Jesus himself is our model.  Our goal is to become more and more like him.

Not only is Jesus our model in discipleship and our authority for making new disciples, he also has the power to enable us in our work.  He finished his instruction by promising his very Presence will always be with us no matter how long the job lasts.  “And look!” he said, “I am with you all the days, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

May we always bring glory to God through our obedient service to Jesus,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Can You Do Greater Things than Jesus Did?

Just before his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus said things to his disciples that were nothing less than astounding.  He told them that he would soon be leaving and returning to the Father.  As a result of his going to the Father, Jesus revealed to his followers that they would do greater things than he had done (John 14:12).  Do greater things than Jesus did?

Jesus turned water to wine at a wedding.  He satisfied over 5,000 hungry people with only five small barley loaves and two small fish.  He walked on water.  He gave sight to a blind man.  He went to a funeral and told the dead man to come out of his tomb, and the man did.  How could Jesus be serious in saying that his followers would do greater things than these?

Jesus made this promise to his disciples before he died on the cross, before giving his life as a ransom for lost sinners.  His death and resurrection was greater than anything he had done before because his sacrifice made eternal salvation available.  After all, what good is it to make a heart merry with wine, a stomach satisfied with food, a pair of eyes able to enjoy light, or even a dead man to get up and walk, if they still face an eternity in hell?

After Jesus died to provide God’s forgiveness and rose again to offer new life, the greater work could be done.  Jesus entrusted the proclamation of his saving work to his followers.  Jesus’ followers still have the responsibility and the honor of telling the world about the greatest work ever done.  What could be greater than seeing lost souls transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light, to see a person’s eternity changed from everlasting death to everlasting life?  Eternal salvation is a greater work than food, sight, or even earthly life.

True, Jesus attended to people’s immediate needs, and so should his followers.  But Jesus did not get distracted from the greater work of eternal salvation and neither should his followers.  Our Lord has not only saved us to live a new life, but he has called us to proclaim this new life to others who are still lost.  To enjoy God’s blessings is a good thing.  To live holy lives is pleasing to God.  To help those in need is work worthy of our labor.  But to share in God’s work of salvation is truly the greatest thing we can do.

Please pray about your participation in the core mission of your church, proclaiming the Good News about God’s salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  Attend a personal evangelism class.  Tell others about the faith.  Invite people to church.  Go or help send someone else on a mission trip.  Find your place in God’s Kingdom mission and enjoy the excitement of doing greater things.

May Jesus Christ always be our greatest passion,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Abundant Life

Jesus told his disciples, “Just as the Father sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21).  In the same way that God the Father sent his Son Jesus into the world, Jesus has sent his followers.  In other words, Jesus’ followers are carrying on the mission that Jesus started.  In order to understand what Jesus has sent us to do, we must look at what God sent Jesus to do.

Jesus said, “I have come in the Name of my Father” (John 5:43).  Jesus had the authority of God’s Name standing behind his work.  We too, as followers of Jesus, have the Lord’s authority to do what he sent us to do.  With God’s authority we can act confidently, knowing that our mandate comes from on high.

Jesus said, “I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of the One having sent me” (John 6:38).  Jesus was an ambassador for God using God’s authority to carry out God’s will.  All followers of Jesus are expected to be ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making his appeal to the world through us (2 Corinthians 5:20). 

“For judgment I did not come into this world, but so that those not seeing may see,”Jesus said (John 9:39).  The Day of Judgment has not arrived.  Today is the day of salvation.  Today is the day to bring sight to the blind, which is a picture of lost people finding salvation.  We need not condemn the world.  It stands condemned already.  Like Jesus, we bring light into a dark place.

“The thief does not come except to kill and to steal and to destroy,” said Jesus, “I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  Like Jesus, we address a world that is endangered by an Enemy who causes only destruction and death.  As ambassadors for Christ we help people escape eternal destruction and enjoy abundant life.

Jesus also said, “I am Light come into the world so that everyone trusting in me will not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).  When people put their trust in Jesus Christ they cross over from death to life, from darkness to light.  Trusting Jesus is the doorway to abundant life.  We serve the Lord by encouraging people to put their trust in Jesus in order to find eternal salvation. 

When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, accused as a criminal even though he was innocent, threatened with death even though he gave new life to so many, he told the Roman governor his life mission.  “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, that I may testify to the Truth” (John 18:37).  What Jesus did, we do.  Our focus is to testify to the Truth, God’s unchanging Truth revealed in the Bible. 

As a part of your local church, you can participate in our God-authorized and God-empowered missions in a variety of ways. You can learn more about sharing the faith through personal evangelism training.  You can serve where people’s physical needs are met in hopes of sharing God’s Truth with them.  You can join your state or foreign missions and reach out to other communities and other countries with the Truth. 

Through your participation, your support, and your prayers, you enable us to do what Jesus did.  We testify to the unchangingTruth of God to a world that desperately needs a sure foundation for life and for eternity.  Jesus was right.  The thief is busy killing, stealing, and destroying, but we come to tell people about abundant life. 

May the love of Christ compel us to go and tell the Good News,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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Jesus Came, We Go

Jesus’ disciples feared for their lives, hiding from the leaders who had crucified their beloved Master.  Suddenly the Lord Jesus himself was standing in their midst, speaking with them.  They were thrilled to see that he was truly alive.

Jesus showed his disciples the marks left on his body from the nails that had held him on the old rugged cross and the sword that had pierced his side after he gave up his spirit.  The fear caused by his death was shattered by joy at his presence.

“Peace to you all!” Jesus said to them.  The peace he was speaking about, however, was not one of inactivity.  His next words were these: “As the Father has sent me, I also am sending you.”

Jesus promised peace to his followers in the midst of a mission.  They were being sent out by Jesus in the same way that Jesus had been sent out by God the Father.  In what way did God send Jesus?

Jesus came in the Name of the Father (John 5:43).  Now, his followers are sent in the Name of Jesus.  Jesus came not to do his will, but the will of the One who sent him (John 6:38).  The followers of Jesus carry out the will of God instead of living for themselves, building God’s Kingdom instead of their own and seeking God’s honor and praise instead of accolades for themselves.

God the Father sent Jesus into the world not for judgment (John 9:39), but so that people may have abundant life (John 10:10).  As followers of Jesus, we too, are sent not to condemn the world but to announce the true source of abundant life.  And what is that source?

Jesus said, “I am Light come into the world so that everyone trusting in me will not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). The source of abundant life is Jesus, the Light of the world.  By trusting in him millions have found Life and Light.  Billions more still need to hear the message and have the opportunity to choose life.

We go because Jesus came.  Jesus came from heaven to earth but he also reached out to his neighbors.  We go around the world and across the street because we are sent like Jesus was sent.

May we enjoy the peace of Christ as we fulfill the calling of Christ,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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