We love Jesus most and love others best by sharing His love with those around us.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR SHEPHERD GROUPS
- What was one thing you found particularly interesting, insightful, helpful, or difficult to understand from this Sunday?
- What comes to mind when you hear the word “evangelism”? Do you feel primarily fear, apathy or excitement when you think about evangelism?
- Read and discuss Luke 7:36-50. Who are the main characters here, and what do you note about each of them? What lessons, encouragements, admonishments or warnings are here for us? How does this provide foundation or context for sharing our faith? Where do you see yourself in this story?
- What does it mean that “we love others best by loving Jesus most”? What are the practical implications of this? What does it look like in your life?
- Why is sharing our faith and Christ meant to be both “the duty and the delight” of all Christ-followers?
- How does understanding the depth of our forgiveness push us toward loving others? In what ways do you struggle to see what you have been forgiven from?
- Is is difficult for you to share your faith with others? Why or why not?
- What “labels” does the world, our flesh or our enemy have for us? How are these opposed to “labels” we are given in Scripture?
- How does Jesus’ forgiveness enable us to love others boldly? What is one way you can boldly reach out to someone with Jesus’ love by sharing your faith this week?
- Spend some time in prayer for the things you have discussed. Ask the Lord to help you understand with greater clarity how much you’ve been forgiven so that, as a result, you can “love others best by loving Jesus most.”
“NO GREATER LOVE” FOCUS: LOVING CHRIST BY LOVING OTHERS
If we understand just how much we have been forgiven, we will love God with all that we are. If we love God this way, we will then love people. The best way to love others is to share Jesus with them. This should be a natural outgrowth of our love for God. Here are some things to consider for our Shepherd Group in the coming weeks as it relates to this discussion.
- Discuss what makes it difficult to engage others in conversation about Jesus. Some examples might be, but not limited to:
- I don’t know enough
- I am not living it the way I should
- I am fearful of rejection
- What are your own particular difficulties with sharing Jesus with others?
- Most people – especially those who do not believe they have the gift of evangelism – see sharing their faith primarily from a confrontational perspective. There are actual many styles of engaging others, however. Review these common styles and consider what seems to fit you best. (The six styles below are adapted from Becoming a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels)
Typically practiced by those people those with a gift of evangelism, this style of sharing gets straight to the point, preaches Christ, and seeks a response. Direct evangelism often takes place with people we don’t generally know on a street corner, or on an airplane. The Apostle Peter, know for his boldness and directness, is a great example of this style.
This type of evangelism focuses on inviting non-believers to a church service, Bible study, small group meeting or other type of event where the person will be exposed to the message of Christ. This is a natural way many newer believers can reach out to others even if they don’t have the right words to say. One example might be the Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well in John 4 who, after Jesus revealed he was the Messiah, ran back to her town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
This approach centers around sharing stories of what God has done in your own life. Even though a believer may not have all of the right theological answers, they can attest to God’s grace in their life as personal stories of transformation often carry a unique weight that facts alone may not. A great example of this style is the the man born blind in John 9. When asked about Jesus, he simply said “I once was blind, but now I see … Do you too want to become His disciples?”
This evangelism happens in the context of relationship (friendships, neighbors, family, coworkers) and is sometimes called “friendship evangelism.” Over time, the Christian life bears witness to Christ, and opportunities to share about Jesus occur. These people tend have a natural ability to relate to others, but prefer to develop deep relationships and earn trust before formally witnessing.
This type of evangelism focuses on appealing to others from an intellectual standpoint and is apologetic in nature. It very much models the approach Paul takes in Acts 17 when he reasoned with the philosophers and deep thinkers of Athens. Ravi Zacharias is a great modern example of this style as he engages others in intellectual conversation and debate about the evidence and reasonableness of the Christian faith.
People who prefer this approach often enjoy sharing the love of Christ through their deeds, hospitality and acts of service. The gospel, when lived out in works of service, often opens doors for Christians to share the reason why they serve. The young woman Dorcas in Acts 9, described as a woman “full of good works and acts of charity,” is an example of this style through her well-known life of service.
Resource to Consider:
- The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever