Lesson 11

September 2 - 8

Places and Occasions for Witnessing

Sabbath Afternoon   September 2

"EVANGELISM IS FOR NONBELIEVERS. And it should be done under a tent! Not here!" someone whispered to his wife while the pastor extended an altar call at the end of the sermon.

But a careful look in the book of Acts reveals a surprising variety of places where early Christians shared the gospel with others. The first, immediately after Pentecost, was "in the temple" (Acts 2:46) and then "in many villages" (8:25), in a chariot (8:28-31), "in the synagogues" (13:5), "by a river side" (16:13), in a prison (16:23-25), "in the market" (17:17), "in the midst of Mars' hill" (17:22), in a school (19:9), on a ship (27:21-25), and in Paul's lodging (28:23).

When did the early Christians witness? They did so "at the hour of prayer" (3:1), "early in the morning" (5:21), "at midnight" (16:25), "daily" (17:17; 19:9), and "from morning till evening" (28:23). Of course, they also witnessed on the Sabbath day (13:42, 44; 16:13; 17:2).

This week we will examine in depth the "when" and the "where" of witnessing. As you study, consider your own life. When and where do you witness? Is it a natural part of your life that you have cultivated with the assistance of the Holy Spirit?


    I. Friendship Evangelism (Acts 10:1, 2, 21, 22, 24).

  II. House Evangelism (Acts 5:42; 20:20; 28:17-31).

III. Sabbath School Evangelism (Acts 16:13-15; 18:1-4).

 IV. Worship Evangelism (Acts 13:42-44).

  V. Urban Evangelism (Acts 17:16; 18:1, 9, 10).

MEMORY TEXT: "Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4. NKJV).   

Sunday  September 3

FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM (Acts 10:1, 2, 21, 22, 24).

There are many biblical examples that show how, once the gospel has been introduced by an outsider, church growth takes place through new converts or through a network of personal relationships.

DEFINITION:  A "network" refers to "a group of people who relate informally through voluntary associations, professional contacts, family or racial ties, or other connections. "Ray Bakke and Jim Hart, The Urban Christian (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter Varsity Press, 1987), p. 14.

There are many biblical examples that show how, once the gospel has been introduced by an outsider, church growth takes place through new converts or through a network of personal relationships.

What can you learn about "network evangelism" from the following examples? Acts 10:1, 2, 21, 22, 24; Mark 5:18-20.  

Two facts underline the importance of "network evangelism." The first fact is related to the question, "How did you join the church?" Between 60 and 90 percent of church members answer that their first contact with the faith was through Adventist relatives, friends, and neighbors. The second fact is related to the knowledge that the closer the relationship a church member has with nonbelievers, the less costly and more effective it is to bring the unbeliever into the church.

Most relatives and friends of a newly baptized person are not church members. After a time, however, the new member's circle of friends includes mostly members of the church. Before this happens, newly baptized persons should be encouraged to witness to their network of relatives, workmates and classmates, neighbors, friends, and even those with whom they used to worship.

The chart below is divided into three categories: immediate family members, relatives, and friends. Record the names of at least three persons under each column with whom you wish to share Jesus. Pray for them often, mentioning them by name. Pray also that God will give you opportunities to witness to them.   

Immediate family Relatives Friends




Monday  September 4

HOUSE EVANGELISM (Acts 5:42; 20:20; 28:17-31).

The early Christians felt overwhelmed by the size of the task Jesus left for them. They did not begin by making plans to cover the whole world. They began in one house. Then they visited people "in every house" (5:42) in Jerusalem, then in all Judea and Samaria (1:8). The work that began thus will be finished the same way. "How can the great work of the third angel's message be accomplished? It must be largely accomplished by persevering, individual effort, by visiting the people in their homes."—Welfare Ministry, p. 97.

What can we learn about house evangelism from the texts in the chart below?  

Acts 5:42 Acts 20:20 Acts 28:17-31



The book of Acts begins with Christ's followers' praying and waiting for the Holy Spirit in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem. From this humble beginning, believers received strength and courage to spread the gospel in Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome, the most influential cities of the world at that time. But the book of Acts ends where it began. While under arrest, Paul witnesses from a house where he lived with the guards who were most likely chained directly to him. From such a humble position, it is believed that Paul wrote his letters to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and to Philemon.

"The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which, as yet, they have scarcely begun. . . . They can distribute our publications, hold meetings in their homes, become acquainted with their neighbors, and invite them to come to these meetings."—Christian Service, pp. 178, 179.

What does Paul's experience of being under house arrest in Rome teach us about witnessing?  

What approach should I follow in inviting my friends, relatives, and neighbors to my house?  How can I approach them with an invitation to participate in a Bible-study group? 

Tuesday  September 5

SABBATH SCHOOL EVANGELISM (Acts 16:13-15; 18:1-4).

Where did Paul meet with others to study the Word of God and pray?

Acts 16:13-15 ____________________________________________________________________

18:1-4  _______________________________________________________________________  

Even though the Sabbath School concept is relatively new, it is possible to use these texts to support the idea of using Sabbath Schools to win souls. The Sabbath School not only provides many opportunities for nurturing existing members, but it is a useful tool for attracting visitors, nurturing and preparing nonmembers for baptism, and providing care and follow-up for newly baptized members.

Most people will have their first contact with the church through a Sabbath School. As visitors come to church for the first time, the warmth and quality of the Sabbath School program most likely will play an important part in helping them to decide whether they will return.

What approach to Bible study did Paul follow in Corinth? Acts 18:4. What does this tell us about how to conduct Sabbath Schools? 

The following suggestions relate to the way we deal with visitors attending our Sabbath School services.

1. Visitors might get more from our meetings if they attended a separate Sabbath School Action Unit. "Many who listen frequently to sermons, even though the truth be presented in clear lines, learn but little. Often it would be more profitable if the Sabbath meetings were of the nature of a Bible class study."—Evangelism, p. 348.

2. Instead of studying the regular Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, visitors might benefit more from a study on Bible doctrines. The teacher of such an Action Unit should possess the gifts of teaching and evangelism.

3. Members, especially those who have been newly baptized, might profit from attending such a visitors' class. But it might be advisable not to have visitors in a regular Sabbath School Action Unit because of some of the subjects that might come under discussion based on the topic of any one current Bible Study Guide.

"The Sabbath school should be one of the greatest instrumentalities, and the most effectual, in bringing souls to Christ."Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 10.  How can this be a reality in my own church?  

Wednesday  September 6


What groups listened to Paul and Barnabas in Pisidian Antioch? Acts 13:42-44.

  1.  ____________________________________________________________________________

  2.  ____________________________________________________________________________

  3.  _____________________________________________________________________  

In Pisidian Antioch, located in the province of Galatia, Paul and Barnabas attended synagogue services, as was their habit. They used these opportunities to preach the gospel. Their sermons helped many people of the Hebrew faith, including those who had converted to Judaism, to accept Jesus as the Christ. But their sermons also assisted Gentiles, who were visiting, in understanding the gospel. Evidently the two apostles had learned how to combine worship with evangelism.

What did Paul do at Corinth on Sabbath days? Acts 18:4, 5. What two principles in particular do these verses give us regarding worship evangelism?

  1.  ____________________________________________________________________________

  2.  _____________________________________________________________________  

DEFINITION: Worship evangelism makes worship services an evangelistic tool by presenting doctrinal subjects during the sermon and by offering invitations in each sermon for those present to accept Jesus as their Savior.  Worship evangelism may be offered throughout the year, on a permanent basis, in the regular worship of a church.

Every sermon should move the audience closer to Jesus; "the science of salvation" should "be the burden of every sermon."—Gospel Workers, p. 160. If we would follow these guidelines, we would see conversions and renewals of commitments to Jesus in our church services.

How can the worship services in your church be used as a means of evangelism?  What can you do personally to help it be so?  

Thursday  September 7

URBAN EVANGELISM (Acts 17:16; 18:1, 9, 10).

What did Paul experience as he visited the city of Athens? Acts 17:16  

   Acts 15-19 describes Paul working in five urban centers:

   (1) chapter 15—Jerusalem;

   (2) chapter 16—Philippi;

   (3) chapter 17—Athens;

   (4) chapter 18—Corinth;

   (5) chapter 19—Ephesus.

Why did the Lord encourage Paul to stay in Corinth after he finished his initial evangelistic effort? Acts 18:9, 10.  

There are many reasons why we should have a strong missionary presence in cities: (1) industry, government, and education generally concentrate in cities; (2) masses of the population emigrate daily from the countryside to urban centers; (3) urban poor, living in slum areas, comprise between a fourth to a half of the population of many of the largest cities (for many reasons, these people are more responsive to the gospel than any other group); and (4) more than half the world's population live in urban areas.

Because cities are centers "where the enemy is served in every way, and where God is so often forgotten" (Life Sketches, p. 410), believers, and families especially, are encouraged to live in more rural areas (for example, see Ellen G. White's Country Living, p. 24 and The Adventist Home, p. 139).

What is the best way, then, to evangelize cities? "Repeatedly the Lord has instructed us that we are to work the cities from outpost centers. In these cities we are to have houses of worship, as memorials for God, but institutions for the publication of our literature, for the healing of the sick, and for the training of workers are to be established outside the cities."—Country Living, p. 31.

"Lot could have preserved his family from many evils, had he not made his home in this wicked, polluted city [Sodom]. All that Lot and his family did in Sodom could have been done by them, even if they had lived in a place some distance away from the cit y."—Evangelism, p. 79.

List the three largest social groups in the city in which, or near which, you live. Which ministries would be relevant in reaching them with the gospel? How can you involve yourself in one or more of these ministries?  

Friday September 8

FURTHER STUDY:  Decide which of the following texts are an example of friendship evangelism, house evangelism, worship evangelism, and urban evangelism: 1 Kings 17; Jonah 1:1, 2; John 1:43-46; Daniel 3.

Also read any or all of the following: Christian Service, "Christian Help Work" pp. 186-193; Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 21, 22; Counsels on Sabbath School Work, "The Importance and Purpose of Sabbath School Work" pp. 9-14; Gospel Workers, "Preaching Christ" pp. 156-160; Evangelism, "The Metropolitan Masses" pp. 25-44.  

"Visit your neighbors in a friendly way, and become acquainted with them."—Welfare Ministry, p. 78

1. How can you demonstrate practical Christianity to your neighbors? Think of at least two areas where your help or presence would be welcome. Then go and do!  
2. What discussion topics in a small group might attract the interest of "unchurched" people? What topics may not attract them? Explain your answers. How can you incorporate your answers into a ministry?   
3. Should announcements be part of the worship service? Is promotion appropriate as part of the sermon? Is it appropriate to use the worship service for evangelistic purposes? Explain your answers.   
4. List at least three differences between evangelism in urban areas and evangelism in rural areas. What approaches may be used in urban areas to "penetrate" apartment buildings?   

SUMMARIZE this week's lesson by answering the following questions in your own words: (1) When and where did the early Christians witness? (2) What does the answer to the first question teach us about the "when" and "where" of witnessing? (3) List and describe the times and places of witnessing that this week's lesson discussed in detail. (4) What will you do differently regarding witnessing as a result of what you have learned this week?  

Gems in the Mud

J. H. Zachary

Jason was nearing graduation from a university in Papua New Guinea. He was confident that he would find a good job. Then two things happened that changed his life.

Jason attended some evangelistic meetings and became convinced of God's claim upon his life. He surrendered his life to the Lord.

Following graduation Jason began searching for work. But with only 30 percent of the population in Papua New Guinea employed, few employers were willing to honor his request for Sabbaths off.

Jason asked God what he should do, and God answered. Jason was convinced that God was calling him to share his faith among the islands that dot the southern coastline of Papua New Guinea, a challenging and largely unentered area. Small villages dot tiny islands that barely stand above the mud and water. The people suffer health problems from their environment, and most cannot read or write. The majority have never heard the good news about Jesus.

With only his Bible and the clothes he wore, Jason journeyed to his island mission field. In the first village he made the people an offer. "If you will provide me with food and shelter and transportation costs, I will teach you how to read." The villagers agreed.

Using his Bible as a reading textbook, Jason set up class. Villagers flocked to learn how to read. And as the light of literacy dawned on them, the light of Bible truths dispelled their spiritual darkness.

Soon Jason began Bible studies, and a number of villagers made decisions to follow Christ. When a small group of believers was firmly established in this village, Jason moved on to the next island village, where he repeated his offer with equal success.

A mission worker learned of the work Jason was doing and asked him, "What supplies do you have for your work?"

Jason answered, "I have my Bible."

"What else?" the man wanted to know.

"I have Jesus."

The pastor emptied his case of all the books and gave them to Jason to enrich his teaching. Jason now receives a small stipend for his work. He is preparing some 500 people for baptism in the island villages of southern Papua New Guinea. Pray for him and for the people he ministers to in this land of spiritual hunger.

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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