For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Personal Witnessing - Contact Others Socially (Part 2)

Where You Find Lost Sheep - Location
If you are looking for the perfect model for personal witnessing - you have it in John 4. Jesus had an eternally significant encounter with a woman at Sychar's well in Samaria. For a Jew to stop at a well in Samaria was out of the ordinary. Many Jews would not even travel through the country of Samaria even though it was a shorter route. Because of religious conflict and mutual disdain, they avoided each other as much as possible. So what was Jesus doing sitting on their well?

Seasoned real estate agents will tell you there are three very important factors in ensuring the sale of your property: 1. Location. 2. Location. 3. Location.

Social Contact - A Must!
If you are going to find lost sheep you will have to go to the right location. Jesus went to the community water well because He knew it was a place where He would find people and in particular, a place where He could find one thirsty soul. If you are going to find them and win them for Christ you must have social contact with them.

Our Lord sat down at the well in the town of Sychar in Samaria, a place where He would have face-to-face contact with non-Christians. He was not enclosed in a bubble, surrounded by bodyguards. He was in the middle of the traffic, so to speak.
With the woman at the well and with other people, we see Jesus taking clear-cut initiative to get close to someone. He 'noticed' a tax gatherer sitting at his desk, headed straight for him and said, "Follow me" (Luke 5:27-28). When some of the self righteous Pharisees saw this they were really incensed. Jesus actually went out of his way to associate with sinful people. In effect they said, "Just look at the kind of people he's talking to - even eating with them! Why he's a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" But He answered them (catch the irony in His voice!), "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:31-32)
Dr. Raymond Bakke (urbanologist) and his wife moved from the suburbs where they had been studying to the Chicago inner city to live and raise their family there. For twenty years they have worked and loved the people they live close to. I have no doubt that this is the only way the message of faith and hope in Jesus could penetrate Chicago's dense inner city.
 To contact others socially we may need to go out of our usual path, altering our own plans as Jesus did with the Samaritans. What's more, it may take this to break down the barriers. But what better way to express the love of Jesus Christ and demonstrate how much we value others?
Excerpts for this series taken from the classic book linked here:
Not only did Jesus meet with the woman at the well, He spent two days in their town talking to many of the men who knew the woman. Where do you think he slept that night? In one of their homes? or did He go to a hotel? He broke through the barriers of culture, class and religion. 

Inviting people IN to your Gospel service is a basic responsibility but if we merely do a mail-drop announcing our Gospel meeting times the results will be minimal. It has to be done but if that's all we do - it's not enough. The Lord intended us to be rubbing shoulders with people in the market places and in the community. We're not to live in communes or colonies. We are to be lights - witnesses right in the midst of the community. In the coffee shop. In the grocery store. At the school. On the bus. At the bank. In the waiting room. In our backyard over the fence or hedge.

We are to be sociable not isolationists. But in your desire to seek lost sheep, never jeopardize your Christian character or testimony or lower your standards or do anything that would weaken your resistance to temptation.

Next posting - Finding Common Ground.