April 07, 2014
For the next four weeks we will be talking about Oikos, which is the Greek word meaning: household. Biblically this word refers to those people in your sphere of influence, the people you come into contact with where you live work and play. This series will focus on the question “How do I share Jesus with my oikos?”
Sharing Jesus is the process of evangelism. Simply defined, that is what evangelism is: sharing the gospel of Jesus with the people around us in the hope that they repent of their sin and place their faith in Him.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus told the disciples they would be his witnesses. A witness is someone who is able to give a testimony for what they have seen, heard, and experienced. When we share the gospel, we are being no more or no less than witnesses to the reality of the life death and resurrection of Jesus. We tell what we have seen in the Scriptures, and what we have learned, as we grow to know Him more deeply.
But if you are like most people, the word evangelism probably makes you shirk back a little. It carries with it the thought of doing something that you expect will make you uncomfortable. Sharing the gospel is simple, but it isn’t easy. We have a tendency to think that evangelism is only for certain Christians who had the spiritual gift of evangelism. However, the Great Commission is not a suggestion to some Christians, but a command to all Christians. The implication of a command is that it is to be followed.
If we were honest most of us would admit to experiencing difficulties and struggles sharing Christ with others. Matt Chandler, head of the Acts 29 network, and pastor of the Village Church in Texas recently said, "I never feel cool sharing the gospel." And that is okay! It is normal to feel that way. Telling people about Jesus is like a muscle, the more often you use it the stronger it gets. However if we don't use a muscle for an extended period of time it atrophies and fades away.
Studies have shown that a person hears the gospel 7 times before they believe. The Bible speaks about the process using these familiar metaphors: seeds, water, and fruit. Some people see fruit often. Those people we think of as having the gift of evangelism. They are that seventh person to share the gospel. The rest of us are planting seeds and watering seeds that others planted. Not everyone you share the gospel with will believe, and that is okay. The important thing is that you are obedient to share.
Here are a few simple questions to ask yourself as you think about your Oikos:
Who? - Take some time to write down the names of three, five, or maybe ten unbelievers God has placed in your life. Then begin praying specifically for God, through the power of His Spirit, to draw them to His salvation and to use you to share the gospel with them.
How? - Think through how, in the places where you live, work, and play, and with the people God has put around you, you can begin to speak intentionally about God’s character, man’s sin, Christ’s provision, and our need to respond to that provision.
When? - It’s wise to consider how you can create opportunities to tell people about Jesus. Think about the people you identified above and how you can specifically and deliberately find opportunities to share the gospel with them.
Some things to consider in light of Sunday’s Message:
- The Oikos cards exist to remind you to pray. Do you pray for the lost people you know? How often? Do you set aside intentional times of prayer each week to pray over the names on your Oikos card?
- Do you put yourself in a place where you are interacting with lost people? Many people in church spend much of their time around other believers. There is nothing wrong with spending time with other Christians, in fact, the Bible commands it. However the Scriptures also place a priority on sharing with those outside the Kingdom. Practically, to do that we must have authentic relationships with lost people. Jesus modeled this in His own ministry.
- In the myNext Series we spent a lot of time thinking about how to reach disenfranchised people through education, healthcare, and poverty relief. Zacheus does not cleanly fit into these categories. He was wealthy and powerful, though equally lost. Outward appearances can be deceiving, what is the spiritual condition of those around you if you look below the surface?