If we are going to care enough to reach people, we must see the needs of people and we must fall in love with people.
Being passionate for the lost is not enough. As we learned last month, approach trumps content every time. We must carefully consider what approach to use when seeking to reach people around us in the world. There are three key approaches we will consider today that will inform us about how reaching people works best…and we will learn a very important truth about reaching people too…with the right approach, you don’t need to have a relationship with the person to share the gospel. Relationships are the best tools for sharing Jesus, but they are not the only good ones.
5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone. (Col 4:5-6, NET)
A 2015 Map of the status of reaching unreached peoples:
When our heart breaks for the people of this world, both locally and globally, we will find ourselves on mission with God—sacrificing our own lives because of the size of the need. This is where it gets hard to manage tensions in a life of service:
- Deciding where to focus our time and energy to alleviate the needs in our world. We simply cannot do it all.
- Maintaining a lifestyle that keeps God pouring into us, so that we don’t “burn out” or serve needs out of obligation, rather than out of love.
- Not judging other people who have not learned about the need or been given that burden yet.
- Maintaining a stance that serve BOTH physical and spiritual needs, not simply one or the other.
18 Open my eyes , that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law . (Ps 119:18, NAS+)
“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .”― Charles H. Spurgeon
“The Bible is the greatest of all books ever penned by men; to study it diligently is the most worthy of all possible pursuits; to clearly understand what the Lord is saying to us through its pages is truly the most noble and the highest of my goals. The application to my heart, mind, and spirit of the truths of the Word of God through the Holy Spirit’s gift of understanding and my subsequent obedience to that revelation is my supreme purpose and duty.”
(Found in an old Bible in England)
“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.”― Mahatma Gandhi
The Bible is to easy to understand in its overall message that no one should miss the message of salvation, yet it is so deep and engaging that you can spend your whole life observing and applying the layers of it, and never exhaust all of its meaning.