“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.””
In this age of outrage (see Jonathan Haidt) some find it hard to sit down with someone and have a good conversation. It doesn't need to be that way. Jesus stood in the middle of an age of outrage and welcomed sinners. He feeds us with a meal as the eternal host.
In Luke 15:1-2, Jesus addresses or faces different kinds of sinners. Who are they and how would you describe their sinfulness?
In the sermon, pastor described two common, major categories of sinfulness: self-indulgence and self-righteousness. How would you describe the sinfulness of the people you run into most often? Or yourself? This is not about prying. Knowing this tells us a lot about how we can best approach others and ourselves.
How does understanding the sinfulness of the people you run into most often help you adjust your practice in reaching them?
Jesus reaches many people by eating meals with them. Meals tell us a lot about who we are identified with or with which group we belong. When did you know you belonged to the people of God? Was it a meal?
Think about 2-4 people in your life that you might like to share the forgiveness, joy, peace, love, and new life you have found in Jesus Christ. What are their names? ____________________ ____________________ _________________________ ____________________________
For those 2-4 people above, where are you with them compared to the following (I.e. how many have you done, tried, worked, didn’t work, etc). Share comments and insights with others.
Let others know of your Christian faith and activities in natural ways (e.g. talking casually about church attendance and events).
Ask questions about other people’s beliefs and experiences with faith and church and simply listen appreciatively and sympathetically.
Describe briefly and naturally how you process some difficult personal problem—some misfortune or some mistreatment—by using your faith to help you get strength or grant forgiveness.
Offer to pray regularly for a friend, neighbor, or colleague who is facing a challenging situation.
Share your spiritual ‘narrative’—your explanation of Christian experience.
Offer books or recordings about Christian issues and discuss them.
Initiate a discussion about a friends’ biggest problem or objection to Christianity.
Invite friends to venues where they meet believers but don’t listen to gospel communication.
Offer and then read a part of the Bible together—preferably one of the gospels—to discuss the character of Jesus.
Invite friends to venues where they hear the gospel communicated. (#8 may be more intense/demanding for the Christian than #9, but for many non-believers, #8 is less intense/demanding than #9—going to some Christian event.)
Share the basics of the Christian faith with your friend, lay out how to become a Christian, and invite them to make a commitment.
If you’re stuck someplace, would you like to move on to the next step? How can we or someone else help?