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In Jesus Begins his Ministry we learn important examples of lifestyle evangelism and discipleship. How the first disciples were recruited speaks to us, today, about reaching people for Jesus Christ. 

Harmony Of The Gospels Series 5, Jn 1:29-51

For more information about Jesus see these books on the History of Jesus Christ.  Here are some popular books on the beginning ministry of Jesus

Jesus Begins His Ministry-1

Jesus Begins His Ministry is a great place for us to learn how to begin ours. not to.  We had a Chinese missionary living in our house a few years back. It was a great blessing. She and her daughter stayed with us for about 3 months. They cooked often…and I gained a lot of weight. We learned a lot about the customs and practices of that giant land on the other side of the world. China is distant in more than miles…the culture is distant and foreign to us. The missionary, out of a sense of religious duty, approached everyone we came in contact with and asked, "Are you Christian?" If they said they were, she would ask about their church. If they said they weren't, she gave them a cheap photo-copy of a short "gospel" message. Out of the many people she approached I never saw a more favorable response than mere tolerance. Often, I saw anger. You see, she hadn't concerned herself with the history and culture of the United States or Northern California, just her compulsion to "promote the gospel."

If she had cared enough about her potential "converts" to investigate, she would have learned that we are in a "post-Christian" culture, where most citizens receive multiple "gospel" messages by the time they reach 21 years of age, and most of those messages are perceived as offensive and judgmental, coming from people who care less about the recipient than the promotion activity. This leaves most people very resistant to the gospel message. The other thing she would have discovered is how many people in our culture erroneously believe they are Christians. According to George Barna's book, 'The index Of leading Spiritual Indicators', "Almost 9 out of 10 people consider themselves to be Christian". But only 3 out of 10 say they have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Someone's confused!

Add to this the attitude of those who don't attend fellowship services toward those who do and we begin to understand what an uphill battle our guest from China had. In a survey I conducted of 100 people who don't attend services, I found out they think we're pushy, arrogant, judgmental, hateful, selfish and greedy. In the past 12 years, I've attended several churches and served on staff at two. I can honestly say that those I surveyed are right. In fact, in my experience, it's even worse among the pastors. That's one of the reasons I don't go by the title 'pastor', because it's come to mean something I'm not and never plan to be. The words 'church' and 'Christian' have lost their original meaning, as well. So why would anyone want to be Christian if it means these undesirable things? Why, indeed? Why not be a follower of Jesus? Every follower of Jesus is a Christian, but, sadly, not every Christian is a follower of Jesus.

In our Scripture passage, today, we get some wonderful examples of people just following Jesus. It shows:

Following Jesus is a way of life, not a doctrine, program, or goal.

We'll take just two points from our passage, today, one is Lifestyle Evangelism, the other, Lifestyle Discipleship.

1. Lifestyle Evangelism:

Jn 1:36-37, 41, 44-46 "When he saw Jesus passing by, John said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip."

Natural: Lifestyle evangelism is not a program. Did you notice anywhere it says Jesus told the disciples to bring their friends and relatives to Him? Can you imagine Him saying, "We need to knock on 100 doors, loan 1,000 tapes, or hand out 10,000 tracts."? He left that up to each individual follower. He didn't start a campaign, He didn't need to. He knew the Holy Spirit would lead disciples to contact exactly the right people. It's like using a shotgun and a rifle. The shotgun scatters the pellets across a wide area, in hopes of hitting the target. A rifle focuses the blast to propel one bullet directly to the target. The rifle is much more effective for two reasons: No unintentional damage due to the scattered shot. Much more force applied to the intended target. That's the way natural evangelism works.

The "first thing" Andrew did was bring Peter to Jesus. It's like, when you're in real relationships with people who…like to eat corn. Each year, here in California, on the 4th of July, we eat a lot of corn on the cob. We know we're gonna need, like, 20 ears of corn that day. Fortunately, that's when a lot of it is being harvested in this area. If you found corn at, say, 6 ears for a dollar, you'd call your friends and family. They'd all want to know where, 'cause that's a good price. It's the same thing with sharing Jesus. Someone you know expresses a need you know Jesus could fill, so you tell 'em.

Continued at Jesus Begins His Ministry-2

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