STEPS ALONG THE PATHWAY TO THE SOUL
FIRST THINGS: THE GOSPEL
FIRST THINGS: THE GOSPEL All people were created in God’s image, to reflect His glory and enjoy Him in intimate relationship. All people have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, are thus separated from God, and have earned physical, spiritual and eternal death as a just punishment. Man is unable to save himself, meaning there is nothing he can do to avoid the penalty of death or to earn salvation by any amount of good works or religion. Instead, Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on a cross in our place, satisfying the penalty of death that we could not avoid, and rose from the dead three days later winning for us the life we could never earn. Man is saved from sin’s penalty, given Christ’s righteousness and eternal life, and reconciled to God as a gift of God’s grace alone, accomplished by Christ’s death and resurrection, to be received by personal repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
FOR NON-EVANGELISTS Not everyone has the supernatural gift of faith, giving, mercy, service, or hospitality. But God expects us to learn from and even imitate those who do. Many of us may not have the supernatural gift of evangelism, but we are all here to be inspired and equipped for the task together. In fact, while we likely have many different spiritual gifts, it is what we have in common that brings us together. We have a common testimony of salvation and we have the same Holy Spirit empowering our witness. And so, each of us is compelled to the same work.
A HOLY AMBITION
A HOLY AMBITION Everyone desires to do great things. Daniel 12:3 says that those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars! Jesus, when His disciples were arguing over who would be the greatest in the kingdom, did not rebuke them for their ambition. Instead, he directed it (Luke 22:24-30). We are taking this class because we desire to do great things for God! And nothing is greater than sharing with others the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
MORE READY THAN WE KNOW
MORE READY THAN WE KNOW The joyful work of evangelism is not beyond us. Our desire to share Christ’s Gospel comes from God. The same God who placed in our hearts the desire to share His good news will prepare hearts to receive that good news. God prepares us to share the Gospel with those He prepares to hear it. Both are more ready than we know!
INTERCEDE – INVITE – INSTRUCT
INTERCEDE - INVITE - INSTRUCT The work before us will follow three key movements. In the first movement, through lessons 1-3, we will explore our role as intercessors. In the second movement, through lessons 3-6, we will add to this role an understanding of dialogue evangelism that results in an invitation to receive the gift of Jesus Christ. In the final movement, through lessons 7-9, we will add to these a commitment to go and make disciples (rather than simply converts) by instructing them in the ways and commands of Jesus.
PREPARING TO GO!
PREPARING TO GO! We are not here because we simply want to learn about evangelism. We are taking this course so that we can do evangelism. We want to persuade lost people to put saving faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. This means we must commit to go when the time comes. And we must be willing to speak when the opportunity is presented. And while our aim is to persuade, we understand that God has called us to be obedient, not successful.
Below is an outline of the 9 lessons that participants will be guided through during the Steps Along the Pathway to the Soul course.
STEP 1 – WE ARE INTERCESSORS
If people who don’t know Jesus as their Savior think of you as their evangelist (if they think you are going to preach at them) they will often avoid you. If they think of you as their intercessor (if they think you are going to pray for them) they will often seek you out. We will explore this identity in Step 1.
STEP 2 – PRAY WITH BURDENS FOR PEOPLE AND PASSIONS FOR GOD
If we are to approach evangelism correctly we must do so as intercessors. This is our reason for relationships with unbelievers and why we are called to personal evangelism. We are to see ourselves as their intercessors. Our evangelism needs to begin with prayer. This is not just any kind of prayer, but deep, intentional prayer produced in us by the Holy Spirit. It is this high place that we must commit ourselves to journeying to.
STEP 3 – LISTEN TO WHAT GOD IS SAYING TO LOST PEOPLE
Having committed to a specific time of intercession for members of your unbelieving oikos, it is important for you to know that the Holy Spirit is already at work in their lives. He is conducting a conversation with them into which we should learn to listen. What are the things we should expect that the Holy Spirit will be saying to them? What points of conversation should we be listening for?
STEP 4 – KNOW YOUR STORY OF SALVATION
If you have indeed been rescued by God’s grace through Jesus Christ, then you possess a testimony that is powerfully equipped to draw lost people into a realization of their own sin and need for a Savior. There may be nothing more natural to a conversation with lost people than to share your own discovery of the Savior and to invite them to “Come and see.” John 1:46
STEP 5 – DISCOVER WHAT PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT GOD AND ABOUT THEIR SIN
After a period of dedicated intercession for the lost people in our oikos, there is a need to move intentionally into gracious dialogue with each person. This will be a conversation where we listen for the evidence of God’s preparing grace and we share the message of God’s saving grace. Now that we are armed with the gospel and the story of our own salvation, we are compelled by Christ to actively pursue opportunities to speak of these things with lost people.
STEP 6 – BRING PEOPLE BEFORE THE CROSS AND TO THE DOOR OF THEIR HEARTS
We are anticipating a conversation with those who have been the subject of our ongoing intercession. By the leading of the Holy Spirit the first part of our conversation will put them before God and their own sins. Now let us consider how to lead them to the cross where Christ died for them and before a door where Christ is knocking.
STEP 7 – DISCIPLE THE NEW CHRISTIAN
God calls us to make disciples, not lead people to make decisions. Our work is not done when people pray to receive Jesus as their savior. Now we must intentionally join our evangelism with the ongoing work of personal discipleship. The conversation that the Holy Spirit is having with each person continues after they believe in Christ as their Savior and surrender to Him as Lord. So, our role and our opportunity to join that conversation continues as well.
STEP 8 – BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
The truth is that much of what we have learned could be practiced by a Christian as an exercise of their own effort. That Christian’s evangelism may look and feel like real and genuine evangelism, but it is wholly inadequate so long as is it is not compelled and propelled by the Spirit of God in them. The Holy Spirit is ready to fill us and we should not take another step in the way of evangelism without the filling of the Holy Spirit who goes with us and goes before us.
STEP 9 – GO DIALOGUE WITH THEM THE GOOD NEWS
Today we begin a two-week period of intense personal evangelism and discipleship. Our time of intercession for those in our oikos and our training together has brought us to this time of action. Our intercession is about to reach its climax as we present to our lost friends and family members the ultimate intercessor, our Lord Jesus Christ.