Tips on Evangelism from the Good Samaritan – Part 5
In the services on January 8 and 15, we began looking at the Parable of the Good Samaritan and what it teaches us about how to go about spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The word ‘evangelise’ – from the noun evangelism – literally means in koine [common] Greek – ‘I bring you a good message’ and like another synonymous Greek word ‘kerusso’ literally means ‘to proclaim’. In fact, the angels are proclaimers and so have the same root from evangelise.
How do we proclaim the Good News – we are given eight keys in this parable to help us.
In the first week we said that like the Good Samaritan we must begin with a VISION for the hurting and the lost, and then we are driven by the COMPASSION in our heart.
In the second week we spoke about the need to pay ATTENTION to the lost and the hurting – to come near as Jesus and the Samaritan did.
We then said that as the Samaritan applied UNCTION – Oil symbolising the power of the Holy Spirit we are anointed and appointed as Christ’s servants to spread the message – not in our own power, but cleaving to God’s power. We share the load with Christ.
Today we look at the fifth and sixth keys.
The fifth key refers to our PURIFICATION which leads to our commissioning and acting.
In verse 34 of the parable, the Good Samaritan used wine to treat the wounds of the dying man – wine – not Chablis, Moscato, Chardonnay, Riesling or other white wines – no, wine was made from common red grapes found throughout the Middle East. It numbed pain but was also an antiseptic to be applied to cuts and abrasions.
Throughout the Bible – but particularly in the New Testament – wine is a symbol of blood and particularly the blood of Christ. Most famously we quote Paul’s letter to the Corinthians – chapter 11 from verse 11 or the Matthian reading we heard earlier.
When we receive Communion, the blood of Christ cleanses or purifies us from all sin.
These are the words we say and hopefully believe when we come forward to receive the Eucharist [which literally means God Showing Grace].
We are delivered from the stain of sin by the clarifying, healing, antiseptic power of Jesus’ blood.
Let’s think about the power of that we hear the words from 1 John 1:5-10 from the NRSV Bible:
God Is Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Paul reminds us of this in Romans, Corinthians, and Colossians and in Hebrews. We hear it also in 1 Peter and in the Book of Revelation. We see the prophecy of Christ’s blood poured out in the book of Isaiah but particularly in Isaiah 53:7.
By God’s act of UNCTION [and anointing] and PURIFICATION we are commissioned to take the message forward. That is, evangelising is our response to the goodness and forgiveness and the love and grace of God towards us.
Interestingly, I met a very well educated man recently who wanted to talk about Christian faith and why it that we come together in corporate worship was.
I replied that God loves our worship – that we are invoked throughout the Old and New Testaments to come together in worship.
He asked me whether I thought God needed our worship for God to flourish.
I was floored, I’d never heard someone speak about God having needs. I replied, perhaps rather simplistically, that I don’t think the ‘needs of God’ was in God’s character, let along vocabulary.
The situation and the timing made it difficult for a deeper exploration with this fellow, but I thought afterwards [and don’t you hate it when you thank of what to say sometimes a long time after the event] that I should have reminded him that worship doesn’t come God’s need but as a response from us to God’s goodness and purifying power – and so it must be with evangelism – that occurs from a deeper place within, and not a formula, routine or ritual.
Maybe, the fact that I didn’t have the words at the time was God’s working on what God knew could be achieved or not achieved in this interchange.
Tips on Evangelism from the Good Samaritan – Part 6
There is a wonderful saying that goes like this, ‘I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care!’
How much we care is shown usually not in one magnanimous ac but lots of small ones [that continue, that help] create a meaningful and enduring relationship.
The apostle Paul recognises this when he speaks about the synonymous terms ENDURANCE and PERSEVERANCE. He often connect these things to the characteristics of love.
Think of the famous love passage in 1 Corinthians 13, ‘Love is patient, it bears all things, believes all things hopes all things, endures all things, Love never ends.’ [selected lines from Verse 4-8].
In Romans 5:3-5 we hear,
‘We know that suffering producing endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearths through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us’
Perseverance is one of the fruits when we have the Spirit [Galatians 5:22]. Perseverance produces fruit for God also.
The Good Samaritan we read in verse 34 of the parable, took the wounded man to an inn for further care and so he could recover completely and experience healing to its fullest.
This is the message too for would-be evangelists [that is, all who hold the Christian faith], we need to connect, persevere and continue in our caring work to show individuals that the healing power of living in and with Christ.
So many opportunities exist around us everyday – think even of the possibilities that exist in our ukulele group, the Arts and Crafts community, Men’s Shed, Friday Friends, etc.
The development of real and deep relationships, especially revolving around sharing our faith, is an often difficult and even costly exercise, particularly if it is not reciprocated. It can also take us out of our comfort zone – because, unlike one off acts – it does not involve a permanent new way of seeing thinking and doing.
We like to stay with the old and familiar – even if it is to our detriment. Thinking about the fleeing Israelites in the desert or by the Red Sea who longed for the familiarity of their slavery, drudgery, hard work and hunger over the circumstances on the new horizon.
Think about Peter and the disciples after the resurrection – still wanting to return to the old familiar life of fishing when Christ had to new task and a continuation or evolution of the old one???
We will face seeming failure and opposing, but our faith, hope and love of God and humanity helps hold us despite the circumstances.
Tim Costello in his book ‘Faith’ from which I quoted a couple of weeks ago, speaks of a faith crisis that is built only on favourable circumstances and looks at the deeper bonds that hold us together and keep us persevering and continuing in our work.
I finish today’s message with this – page 76-78.
Teach me Lord to persevere not because of any adverse or favourable circumstances, but because you have placed your spirit upon me to bring the Good News in word and deed.
In Jesus’ name we pray.