Lesson 7

August 5 - 11

The Tools for Witnessing

Sabbath Afternoon   August 5

DORA IS A SENIOR CITIZEN who prays daily for all the missionaries, evangelists, pastors, and colporteurs. Children take great delight in visiting her because she tells wonderful stories. Often she shares a home-baked loaf of bread with a neighbor. Once, when an entire family was baptized, they said the first person from the church who contacted them was Dora. After reading the following definition, state why you think Dora is a missionary.

DEFINITION: A missionary is someone who crosses a "barrier" in order to communicate the gospel This barrier may be a different faith or culture, as well as a physical distance.

This week we will learn about five tools for witnessing. As you study, decide which tool fits best in your hands and how you will use it to win souls for Christ.


    I. Personal Evangelism (Acts 8:26-38).

  II. Personal Testimony (Acts 21:37-22:21).

III. Health Evangelism (Acts 9:32-35).

 IV. Lifestyle Evangelism (Acts 2:44-47; 9:36-42).

  V. Public Evangelism (Acts 8:5, 35; 19:8).

MEMORY TEXT: "And daily in the temple, and in every house they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (Acts 5:42, NKJV).  

Sunday  August 6


DEFINITION: Personal evangelism is sharing the gospel with an individual or with small groups of people.

As you review Acts 8:26-38, ask yourself how this incident fits the above definition of personal evangelism. Think of at least three principles of personal evangelism this event illustrates.  

As you review Acts 8:26-38, ask yourself how this incident fits the above definition of personal evangelism. Think of at least three principles of personal evangelism this event illustrates.

"'Do you understand what you are reading?' "(NKJV). "What Philip said [to the Ethiopian] was an expression of interest in the man. People usually respond to the compliment of someone's wanting to know them and what they are doing. Find out what a person's interests are and you have hold of the protruding thread with which to unravel him or her and to know how to share Christ."Ogilvie, Acts: The Communicator's Commentary, vol. 5, p. 162.

Personal Bible studies are important tools of witnessing. Following is one approach to Bible study that has proven effective.

A. Visit informally for three to five minutes.

B. Pray for God's guidance before beginning the study. Let the students take part by allowing them to respond to your questions, look up and read texts, and ask questions. Usually, seven to ten Bible texts will be enough to teach what Scripture says about a doctrine. Be sure they understand the lesson by asking them such questions as, "Does this seem reasonable to you?"

C. Secure a decision at the end of each Bible study. As stated in lesson 4, a simple way to do so is to ask three questions: (1) "Is this subject clear to you?" (2) "Do you have questions?" (answer them, if any); and (3) "Then, are you willing to believe this doctrine?"

D. Have the students close with a short prayer. Listen carefully. Their prayers may tell you what they are thinking and how they are feeling about what they have learned.

The entire study should not be more than 30-40 minutes, and you should meet at least once a week.

How can you make the following quote a reality in your life? "By personal labor reach those around you. Become acquainted with them. Preaching will not do the work that needs to be done. Angels of God attend you to the dwellings of those you visit. This work cannot be done by proxy. Money lent or given will not accomplish it. Sermons will not do it. By visiting the people, talking, praying, sympathizing with them, you will win hearts."Christian Service, pp. 117, 118.  

Monday  August 7

PERSONAL TESTIMONY (Acts 21:37-22:21).

DEFINITION: A personal testimony is an account of how you yourself have experienced Christ's power. "Tell them how you found Jesus, and how blessed you have been since you gained an experience in His service.... Tell them of the gladness and joy that there is in the Christian life."Evangelism, p. 486. The purpose of such an account is to create a desire in the heart of the listeners for a similar experience of their own.

The three essential elements of a testimony are:

1. Your life before you became a Christian. This part of the testimony seeks to establish a bond with the listener.

2. How you became a Christian. Even if you were brought up in a Christian home, there was still some point at which you gave your life to Christ. Your testimony might revolve around an answer to prayer or a particular victory in your life that made Jesus real to you.

3. What Jesus means to you now. Tell how your life has changed and something of the joy you now experience.

Paul's account of his life in Acts 22 can be divided into the above three parts of a personal testimony.  Find a key phrase for each one of these parts:

My life before I became a Christian (Acts 22:3-5).

How I became a Christian (Acts 22:6-13).

What Jesus means to me now (Acts 22:14-21).   

"It is the testimony of personal experience that is the irrefutable argument. It is the power of a life which has been changed that no cynic or unbeliever can withstand. When the world shakes for fear of what may befall it, nothing can steady it so much as the simple, direct statement of a man or a woman who has seen the Lord and whose whole life is illuminated by the light of the vision."The Interpreter's Bible, vol. 9, pp. 291, 292.

What can I share about my experience with God's grace? Write your own testimony using the three essential elements listed above. 

Tuesday  August 8

HEATH EVANGELISM (Acts 9:32-35).

Peter's ministry took him to the coastal plain area of Sharon. Lydda, today called Ludd, is a city located about eleven miles from Joppa. Describe Peter's ministry there.  Acts 9:32-34.  

What is the significance of the word found in verse 33?  Explain the significance of Peter telling Aeneas, " 'Jesus the Christ heals you' " (v. 34, NKJV).
What do the results of Aeneas's healing tell you about the influence health evangelism can have (v. 35)?

"We are not to wait for souls to come to us: we must seek them out where they are. When the Word has been preached in the pulpit, the work has but just begun. There are multitudes who will never be reached by the gospel unless it is carried to them."Christian Service, p. 121. The time period of the man's illness extended back through the ministry of Jesus. But because Jesus had not healed all the sick, He empowered many of His followers do to so.

As in everything else, Jesus is also our example in the area of health evangelism. He spent more time healing than preaching, knowing as He did so that many who are afflicted with physical ailments long to know that their sins are forgiven. (See The Ministry of Healing, p. 77.)

"Gospel workers should be able also to give instruction in the principles of healthful living. There is sickness everywhere, and much of it might be prevented by attention to the laws of health. The people need to see the bearing of health principles upon their well-being, both for this life and for the life to come. They need to be awakened to their responsibility for the human habitation fitted up by their Creator as His dwelling place, and over which He desires them to be faithful stewards. . . In teaching health principles, keep before the mind the great object of reform, -that its purpose is to secure the highest development of body and mind and soul. Show that the laws of nature, being the laws of God, are designed for our good; that obedience to them promotes happiness in this life, and aids in the preparation for the life to come."Evangelism, pp. 525, 526.

In what ways can your church integrate health ministries with evangelistic efforts?  How can you participate in health ministries even though you may not be a health professional?  If you are a health professional, think about how you can engage in medical evangelism in your church or town.  

Wednesday  August 9

LIFESTYLE EVANGELISM (Acts 2:44-47; 9:36-42).

DEFINITION: Lifestyle evangelism refers to a life that is growing and maturing in Christ, while letting the words and deeds of that life draw others to Christ. It is presenting the gospel by living a good testimony before others. Every Christian is a lifestyle evangelist.

 Explain how Dorcas's ministry fulfills the criteria of the above definition.  What do the results of her work tell you about the importance and effectiveness of lifestyle evangelism?  Acts 9:36-42.  

We are to feel empathy and compassion for both Christians and non-Christians who suffer distressing physical, mental, or emotional problems. This compassion that leads a person to serve others, including society's outcasts, is ours when Christ reigns in the heart.

"First meet the temporal necessities of the needy and relieve their physical wants and sufferings, and you will then find an open avenue to the heart, where you may plant the good seeds of virtue and religion."Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 227. Read Matthew 25:31-46.

Dorcas's example has inspired the Seventh-day Adventist Church to establish active Dorcas Societies and Adventist Community Services around the world. Families who lose their homes to natural disasters or fires, people who need a helping hand while between jobs, parents who find the pantry bare between paychecks, and anyone in need can still find a helping hand because of one caring person who lived centuries ago.

Describe the lifestyle of the early Christians. Acts 2:44-47.  What was the result?  Verse 47.  

"Let us remember that a Christlike life is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Christianity."Christian Service, p. 26.

Contrast Romans 12:9-21 with the behavior of most of the people you hear or read about in the news.  Then analyze why a Christlike life is such a powerful tool in witnessing.

Consider your own life in light of Romans 12:9-21.  What kind of impression are you leaving with others?  

Thursday  August 10

PUBLIC EVANGELISM (Acts 8:5, 35; 19:8).

DEFINITION: Public evangelism reaches large groups of people through meetings in which they receive doctrinal instruction that will enable them to make a responsible decision to join the church.

Provide answers for the following, based on Acts 19:8.

  Place of the meetings: _________________________________________

  Style of the preacher: _________________________________________

  Period of time the meetings were held: ___________________________

  Methods of evangelism: _______________________________________

  Content of evangelism: ________________________________________   

Peter's sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40) could be classified as public evangelism, especially because of its Christ-centered content and its strong appeal (v. 38). However, evangelistic efforts are not to be limited to a two-day evangelistic event, a week of harvest evangelism, or a one-month series of gospel meetings. Interest should be cultivated before an evangelistic series. Strengthening the spiritual condition of the church, as well as training church members to help with an evangelistic series, is also a necessary activity for success. Nurturing new members and interested people, along with a review of doctrines after the meetings, is just as important as the series itself. (See Evangelism. p. 334.)

"In the cities of today, where there is so much to attract and please, the people can be interested by no ordinary efforts. Ministers . . . will find it necessary to put forth extraordinary efforts in order to arrest the attention of the multitudes. And when they succeed in bringing together a large number of people, they must bear messages of a character so out of the usual order that the people will be aroused and warned."Evangelism, p. 122.

How can I use my gifts in a team for public evangelism?  

Friday August 11

FURTHER STUDY:  This week we studied five tools of evangelism. They are: (1) personal evangelism, (2) personal testimony, (3) health evangelism, (4) lifestyle evangelism, and (5) public evangelism. Determine which tool is described in the following passages. Be able to explain why you categorized each passage the way you did: Acts 2:14-40; Luke 1:46-55; 2 Kings 5:1-15; John 4:1-30.

Read from Christian Service the chapters entitled "Bible Evangelism" pp. 141-144; and "Ministry of the Printed Page" pp. 145-154. From Evangelism, read the section entitled "Personal Work" pp. 429-455.  

"As witnesses for Christ, we are to tell what we know, what we ourselves have seen and heard and felt. If we have been following Jesus step by step, we shall have something right to the point to tell concerning the way in which He has led us. We can tell how we have tested His promise, and found the promise true. We can bear witness to what we have known of the grace of Christ. This is the witness for which our Lord calls, and for want of which the world is perishing."The Desire of Ages, p. 340.

Pinpoint the differences between the tools Philip used in Acts 8:5, 35.  Why is it necessary to have several different types of tools at our disposal when it comes to witnessing?  What do you think is the one essential tool for effective witnessing?  Why?  

SUMMARIZE this week's lesson by defining in your own words personal evangelism, personal testimony, health evangelism, public evangelism, and lifestyle evangelism. Then do the following activity.

Under Column A, check which form of evangelism you participated in during the previous six months. Under column B, check which form of evangelism you would like to participate in if you had the opportunity and training.

A (I Did) B (I Could Do)
 _____            _____     Personal Bible studies
 _____  _____     Personal testimony
 _____  _____     Small-group activities
 _____  _____     Health evangelism
 _____  _____     Public evangelism
 _____  _____     Lifestyle evangelism
 _____  _____     Literature evangelism
 _____  _____     Community services
 _____  _____     Bible seminars  

About Face

J. H. Zachary

Captain Gregorio Montoya, leader of the 207-officer motorcycle unit in Lima, Peru, was concerned. His wife worked in the office of the commander of the Peruvian police force. The man was an Adventist, and now his wife was becoming interested in the Adventist church. In fact, she joined a small group that her boss had started. She talked about the singing, fellowship, Bible reading, and prayer time. One day Montoya told his wife, "This interest in religion must stop. You must choose between that small group and me."

She continued attending the small group meetings in spite of her husband's threats. Soon she began rising early on Sabbath mornings while he was still asleep and quietly slipping out to attend the Adventist worship services as well. But one Sabbath her husband awoke and followed her to church. He was determined to find out what was so compelling about the Adventists. Captain Montoya attended the worship service that day and has not stopped attending since then. He was baptized in 1996.

Recently I visited Captain Montoya at his police station. I watched as a new shift of officers came on duty. Some 24 officers stood at attention as a short devotional was presented. Then they sang an enthusiastic gospel song. After closing prayer they received their orders for the evening.

Later Montoya said, "I want my officers to follow the principles of God's Word. None of us receive high salaries. There is always a temptation to accept bribes. I tell my officers, 'If you take so much as one cent, you will lose your job and your soul. It is not worth it.'"

Six of Captain Montoya's officers have been baptized in the first two years following his own baptism. Sixty officers on the force are studying the Bible. In his off-duty hours Captain Montoya conducts small Bible study groups for his neighbors and friends.

With a sense of pride and determination Captain Montoya said, "With God's help, as our police force discovers and puts into practice the principles of the Bible, Peru will have the best police force in the world."

J. H. Zachary is coordinator of international evangelism for The Quiet Hour and a special consultant for the General Conference Ministerial Association.

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