Tag Archives: individual

No Individual is the Same

I am reading a book that considers the Christian’s approach to witnessing to an individual about Jesus Christ. I have not gotten too far in the book because I am forever arrested by the author’s words. At one point, he states that Jesus never approached any two people the same way. This made me pause to reflect on the individuals He talked to. The author was right. Jesus did not use a “formula” or “steps” to minister to individuals. Instead he met them where they were.

Dr. Guinness uses the phrase “cookie-cutter evangelism” to describe the method that most churches use when reaching out to the lost. This made me think about the church where I first got saved. My enthusiasm for my newfound faith in the Lord motivated me to join the evangelism team. They taught me the “method” to witness to souls. It was okay to put it in my own words, but certain things had to be covered before walking away from the candidate.

There was an apartment complex located down behind the church. It was on the next street. Once a month, the evangelism team would have a service there on Saturday. We would gather at the church around 10:30 a.m. for prayer. Then we would walk down to the apartment complex as the church van played gospel music announcing our arrival.

Once we got to the complex, we knocked on doors, and passed out gospel tracts, and then we gathered to sing songs. Then someone would encourage people to gather to hear the message of the day. There would be some soloists singing before the speaker brought forth the Word. Then altar call would be made before we left. The workers would get upset because the majority of the tracts were thrown on the ground. Now I know why. We used the same method every time we saw these individuals. They knew the routine, and they knew what we were going to say. It was old and outdated. No wonder they were hard to win to Christ! It was never fresh. The Word of God should be fresh—not stale!

I hope this makes you think about how you approach an individual who you are trying to win to the kingdom of heaven. It does make sense doesn’t it?

 

Advertisements

The Capital Case

Jesus’ case was a capital case. Such cases were heard by a plurality of judges. Later tradition mentioned a minimum of twenty-three. The rule was that no individual could legally act as a judge in a capital case. This law did not stop Annas from exercising his political power and interrogate the arrested individual privately. Annas may have excused himself by a law that those tried by the supreme Sanhedrin for misleading the people first had to be tried by two lower courts. This law may be Pharisaic in nature. This law may have come into existence later than the first century. It is doubtful that Annas is attempting to follow any law. The priestly aristocracy was predominantly Sadducee. They would not follow the Pharisees’ rules. They had to please the Romans instead of the Pharisees. Therefore, the fact concerning Annas’ conduct in relationship to a law may only be a conjecture.

 

Spiritual Implications

Stress is a spiritual issue that has an effect on a person’s entire life. Pressure is not the perpetrator. [See Warrick, How to Handle Stress, 5-6]. How an individual reacts to pressure reveals their understanding of God’s ways. An individual can allow pressure to come between them and God. An individual can also make the choice to allow pressure to press them closer to God. There needs to be an evaluation of their mental, emotional and physical response to the pressures that produce stress in their lives.

 

Mental Response

It must be understood that this kind of stress is a result of how an individual thinks about or interprets events. [Ibid.] If an individual dwells on something negative that is going on, then that person will feel stress. If that person makes the choice to dwell on God’s faithfulness to provide, God will replace their stress with His peace.

You should ask yourself this question: Do you have a positive or negative outlook? When you dwell on negative thoughts, you can turn even good circumstances into stress. That is how much power you can give your thoughts. That is why God wants you to mediate on what is pure and holy.

“If anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things…And the God of peace will be with you.” http://ref.ly/Pp4.8-9

 

Emotional Response

This is how you process your thoughts. Bitter thoughts bring bitter emotions. If you think forgiving thoughts, you will feel forgiveness in your heart.

Although feelings need to be recognized and acknowledged, they are a product of your thinking. They can be controlled. Emotional immaturity makes you a prisoner to your feelings and keeps you chained to undue stress.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. http://ref.ly/Ro12.2

Physical Response

An individual’s physical body automatically responds to external pressure. When an individual dwells on difficulties, fatigue is developed. If an individual trusts God for His timing, He provides peace.

Medical science has its own special definition of stress. It threads mental and emotional reactions to the central nervous system. “As other physiological systems begin to activate in order to meet the external demands in life, if the pressure is not dealt with in a healthy way, you become susceptible to a variety of physical problems.” [Biblical Counseling Keys by June Hunt] Look what God reveals in Proverbs. We are told to keep His words in our hearts. This is how the believer can avoid many of the consequences of stress.

“Keep them [God’s words of wisdom] within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.” http://ref.ly/Pr4.21-22

 

Spiritual Connection Part One

John 14:20-21

Jesus speaks here of the divine revelation of the connection between the Father, Jesus the Son, and the body of believers. These are all in one. The individual who keeps Jesus’ commandments by believing in Him shows his love. The one who both keeps His commandments and loves Him shall be loved of the Father. This person will experience the manifestation of Jesus to him.

 

The Day of Pentecost will bring this manifestation to those in the upper room. This will reveal the ascension of Jesus to the Father. This is the believer’s assurance.

 

Christian love is manifested as a believer obeys the Lord’s words. (Vv. 15, 23). The rewards of loving Him are great:

 

(a) The Father will show His love (v. 23)

(b) The Son will love him and show Himself to him. This passage does not teach “works” religion, but rather than one who believes and obeys, Christ’s Word is loved by the Lord. Such a relationship between the Father and the child manifests itself by causing the individual to show this relationship through works. Saving faith results in obedience (cf. “the obedience that comes from faith,” Romans 1:5).

 

John 14:22-24

Judas (not Judas Iscariot) may have been the same man called Thaddaeus. This is not conclusive. See Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18. He was puzzled that Jesus would manifest Himself to them and not to the world. See John 14:19. Those who walk in disobedience shall not see the manifestation of Jesus and the Father. Obedience grows out of love for Jesus and His Word. (Note verses 15, 21 and I John 2:3; 3:22, 24. As a result, the Father and the Son abide make our home with him. To rebel against Jesus’ word is to rebel against God the Father who sent Him. Jesus’ words were not His own. He previously made this clear John 12:49 and 14:10

 

Depression Introduction

Check out these symptoms:

 

-Are you emotionally stuck?

-Are you muddled in your mind?

-Are you mired in your emotions?

-Do you feel isolated and alone?

-Are you afraid no one understands?

 

You are not alone–especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. People from all lifestyles experience these feelings during the holiday season. I have in the past. This season will be like no other holiday because my roommate’s family has accepted me into their circle. Last season my pastor opened his home to me, and I was not alone. I am thankful for the people who are in my life, and I am not alone. This may not be the case for you and many other people.

 

Depression brings an individual under the black clouds of depression. Is there anything that can bring back the white clouds of contentment? King David was no stranger to depression. He discovered the answer. He learned how to exchange the darkness of despair for the light of hope. When he felt downcast, he changed his focus. He riveted his focus on the faithfulness of his Savior…his Redeemer…his God. Three times in three different verses, David asked himself the same question. Each time he followed with the same answer.

 

“Why are you downcast, O my soul?

 Why so disturbed within me?

 Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:5-6, 11; 43:5

 

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet Part One

John 13:1

Jesus knew that the hour had come that His earthly ministry would come to a close. Soon He would die for the sins of the world. He would return to the Father. He would have overcome the penalty of sin, which was death. His believers would know that His death was an act of obedience to the Father, and love for His believers. He loved them till His death. The full extent of His love is seen in the following ways:

 

1. His humble service 13:1-17

2. His teaching 13:18-17:26.

3. His death Chapters 18-19

 

All three of these reveal His love for humanity.

 

John 13:2-4

The devil had already prompted. Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Jesus. Jesus had predicted that this would happen. John 6:7-71. Note John 13:27 where Satan actually entered his heart. Even though this happened, God was still in control of all things. Nothing is done without God’s will being accomplished.

Jesus knew the following:

-His sovereign authority

-His origin and coming destiny

Jesus voluntarily took the place of a slave by washing the feet of His disciples. This was in comparison of the disciples’ self-seeking desires. http://ref.ly/Mt20.20-24, http://ref.ly/Mk9.33f-34 and http://ref.ly/Lk22.24-30. Jesus took on the form of a servant. http://ref.ly/Pp2.5-8

 

John 13:5

The act of foot-washing was common in Palestine. The streets were dusty. People wore sandals without socks or stockings. This was a common custom when welcoming an individual or individuals into one’s home. It was one of the first things done to the guest. It was a mark of honor. Otherwise, it was a breach of hospitality not to do this. Note the following verses:

 

I Samuel 25:41

Luke 7:40-50

I Timothy 5:10

 

An example of how families did it is as follows:

-Wives often washed their husbands’ feet

-Children washed their parents’ feet

-Most people washed their own feet

 

Two Kinds of Obedience

John 8:33-36

Jesus has just stated that if they were His disciples, they would be spiritually free. They respond by saying they are Abraham’s seed. Therefore, they were never in bondage. Jesus is speaking of spiritual bondage. Jesus says that if an individual is living in sin, they are in bondage. Note the following verse:

Romans 6:16 (NASB)
(16) Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”

An individual could be a slave, but it is “who” they give themselves to reveals the end result. Obedience to unrighteousness leads to slavery. Obedience to righteousness leads to freedom.

 

Note 2: Discrediting the Witness

 

How would you discredit a witness if that individual’s testimony would bring you down? Here are some ways that you could approach their testimony.

First

You could eliminate the witness. You could have the individual killed. You could threaten the individual so that he would keep quiet.

Second

You could seek to discredit the witness. If you could show that, the individual does not possess good character. Perhaps this individual has lied in court before. You could get people to discount what he has to say concerning your case.

Third

You could seek to have their testimony thrown out of court on a technicality.

These are three lines of attack for anyone who is unscrupulous. These three attacks are used against Jesus. They sought to discredit Jesus Christ’s testimony he bore to men of God’s nature and of man’s need for salvation.

First, they sought to eliminate Him. The first attack came in the closing verses of John 7. They wanted to arrest Him–but it was not time.

Second, they tried to discredit him by throwing such doubt upon His character that no one would listen to him regardless of what He had to say. This was the object of the abortive attempt to trap Jesus in the incident concerning the woman caught in adultery.

Third, they wanted to eliminate the force of His testimony as the result of a technicality. They questioned His witness.

 

Debate Over Jesus

In http://ref.ly/Jn7.10, Jesus is cautious about going up to the feast. He travels undetected, and keeps a low profile. He probably travels on the back roads. He does not want Himself to be seen until the set time.

http://ref.ly/Jn7.10-36

When Jesus told them to go up to the feast, He remained behind in Galilee. The conflict over Christ begins in John 7:11-13. When the Jews saw Jesus’ brethern, they were asked where Jesus was. At the same time, the people began to murmur and debate the character of Jesus. They debated on whether He was a good man or a deceiver. This debate continues today. Deception at that time would result in stoning if found guilty. No one spoke openly on behalf of Jesus for fear of the Jews. Fear can stifle our witness for Christ.

When the feast was midway completed, Jesus is found in the temple teaching. Naturally, Jesus speaks with power and authority. Those who heard Him ask the question concerning His knowledge of the scriptures. They know He has never gone to any schools of learning for the Jews. Character and doctrine go together. A person’s belief affects their behavior. Jesus says that what He teaches comes from the Father who sent Him. If any man does the will of the Father, that individual will know the doctrine of Him. Doing God’s will gives discernment about Christ’s doctrines. The phrase “do His will” in the Greek can also read “desire His will.” The idea behind the words “do” or “desire” mean “to seize with the mind; to be resolved; to have a deeply rooted desire to know and be in God’s will.” [Mattoon’s Treasures, Treasures from John Volume 1 – Chapter 30. The wait for an Opportune Time, p. 217]

The hearer will know what is being taught is of the Father or not. The religious leaders were responsible for teaching the Scriptures. Once again, they are shown their shortcoming concerning their knowledge of the Scriptures. They were caught up in doing their will and teaching the commandments of God according to their tradition. Notice in verse 18 where Jesus bears this out. He that does this is seeking his own glory. They presented themselves as being knowledgeable concerning the scriptures, which caused them to be highly esteemed in the eyes of those they taught. The one that teaches the Scriptures according to the Father is righteous. This individual does not seek accolades from humanity. This individual seeks to glorify God by being a faithful and loyal believer.

 

Incident at the Well Part Two

 

http://ref.ly/Jn4.7-10

 

He is a Jew

 

During that time, it was not considered proper for any man, especially a rabbi, to speak in public to a strange woman. http://ref.ly/Jn4.27 When it came to the earthly ministry of Jesus, He set social customs aside. Jesus was out of the norm. He broke many man-made laws and customs. He introduced love and compassion in a world that was custom and law driven. This woman’s soul was at stake. It surprised her when Jesus asked her for a drink of water. This woman thought Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. She was attempting to read between the lines. She thought there was another meaning behind His request. She wondered what He was really seeking.

 

The information John gives at the end of http://ref.ly/Jn4.9 was to benefit the Gentile readers of this gospel. Since the disciples went in town to purchase food, Jews did limited dealing with the Samaritans. Note what the Bible Exposition Commentary says, “ask no favors from the Samaritans” or use no vessels in common with the Samaritans.” Jesus asked the woman to give Him water from her “polluted” vessel. [Ibid.] Jesus was raising the standard.

 

Jesus used His need for water as a way of starting a conversation with this woman. He opened the door of truth in order to share the good news with her. Have we ever taken the time to use the “door of opportunity” to share the good news of Jesus Christ with someone? On the other hand, have we silenced ourselves when it came to sharing our faith in Jesus Christ? Notice that Jesus did not use a “template” to witness to her. Every individual we meet is just that “an individual.” We should not have a certain witness plan to witness about our faith and belief in Jesus Christ. We should be flexible enough to meet the individual where they are. This means knowing verses in the Bible that will suit the individual. It also means being prayerful when approaching somebody for the gospel’s sake. An example of this is when Jesus dealt with Nicodemus. To him he taught about the new birth while He dealt with this woman about living water.

 

Jesus did not “preach” to her. Instead, He dealt with three areas of ignorance without making her feel like nothing. Here are those areas where she was dealt with:

 

Who He was

What He had to offer

How she could receive it

 

Plain and simple without being “theologically correct.” I am not speaking against theology, but we should make the message simple to understand. Jesus was offering her eternal life. She was just as blind as the Jews http://ref.ly/Jn1.26. The words that Jesus spoke aroused her interest. She pursued the topic. The “open door.”