Life Pandemic Part 3

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If, by some chance, you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you might not know that we've been doing a series on evangelism for the past two weeks. If that's you, welcome back to daylight! Here are links to the previous parts in this series:

And since you've been living under a rock, you might not have heard about the recent flu-named-after-an-animal phenomenon we've been experiencing. Here is a summary of the two most famous types:

Avian flu – more deadly than regular flu, but less contagious
Swine flu – less deadly than Avian flu, but more contagious
(This will be relevant in just a moment)

We have a lot to get to in this recap, so let's get started right away in Matthew 5:13-16:

You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on.
You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

If you are a Christian and aren't spreading to others what Christ did for us, you are ineffective. You're like a flu strain that doesn't spread.

We need to share Christ out of contagion, not as a sales pitch! It should just naturally spread from you (like the flu, only in a good way... a very good way)!

So far in this series we've already covered why there's a need for evangelism and the servant evangelism approach. This week?

Friendship Evangelism

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' But wisdom is proved right by her actions."

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Friendship evangelism was Jesus' example! It's how He did it, so maybe it should be how we do it too, don't you think?

When we were God's enemies (not by God's choice, but by ours), Jesus came and died for us!

Jesus left where He was comfortable to be our friend.

He left His friends, left His lunch table and joined us. And He didn't give up on us quickly. Even when the response of humanity to His sacrifice was to try to kill Him, He didn't give up on us, He stuck with us.

Friendship evangelism is what Jesus did for us – it's the next step up from servant evangelism.

Servant evangelism is based on short term interactions, but friendship is long term.

Friendship evangelism is not about you and it's not a sales pitch.

Here are some things you can do to reach out to someone who needs a friend.

1. Pray

Pray for your friends, your enemies, your pastors, your teachers. Pray for that bully at school.

Prayer makes a difference in their life and your life too. Pray before going to school or work. It makes a huge difference!

2. Keep a strong foundation

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The point of friendship evangelism is not so that you can become like everyone else, but for you to influence others.

Not to be an influencee, but to have an impact on someone's life!

You need to have a strong group of Christian friends who can pray with you and support you. Befriend in twos if possible. You remember, the buddy system. First of all, it's less awkward having two people. Secondly, having another Christian there will give you a root system, a foundation.

Have a root system – be firmly planted with Godly friendships and the word of God. Don't be easily pushed over like a tree with no roots.

3. Look outside your world

Jesus didn't befriend people in heaven, He found people who were totally outside His world: tax collectors, sinners, even prostitutes. He reached out to them.

Look outside of your comfort zone – look to the outcasts, the lonely, the ones who don't have someone to talk to or to help them.

Have a listening ear, be involved in their lives. Be friends with people who are hard to be friends with – people who are annoying. Take an interest in them. It's not about you!

Look outside your world and be a light in the darkness!

4. Live the message

Be a real friend. Don't just preach all the time, be an actual friend! Be a real person, not a "Christian" person (only talking about God all.the.time).

Also, don't be an enabler. You know, the one who supports the other person no matter what and never challenges them on their destuctive behavior. "You have a problem with binge drinking? Oh, that's OK with me!"

The real friend is not someone who sees you doing destructive things and ignores it.

A real friend is someone who steps in and takes a stand when the person is doing something damaging. A real friend puts the person in front of the friendship.

Maybe they won't like you anymore aftewards, but you still need to take that stand. That doesn't mean you have to turn your back on them – tell them that you're there for them, but you don't support what they are doing.

Doing drugs, dating a jerk, hanging with the wrong crowd, drinking... there are plenty of destructive things people do. Don't support them in it.

The world is sick of people who say one thing and act another way. A real friend is always faithful – they are there with truth and there with love no matter what.

This is a long passage (click the link to read the whole thing), but definitely worth it:

Romans 12:9-21
Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Many Christians get one of the two essential parts of friendship evangelism wrong:

Some shine, but don't go to dark places.

Others are go to dark places, but don't shine.

The dark is where light is needed most.

Shine your light in dark places! Bring light, bring hope and bring life to those who are living in the dark!

You can do it by being a friend

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