Tag Archives: Evangelism

Wandering from the Truth

Wandering from the Truth James 5:19-20

I. Is denominationalism acceptable?

    A. How many churches?

      1. How many did Jesus say He would build? (Matthew 16:13-18)
      2. How many on the Day of Pentecost? (Acts 2:41-47)
      3. How many when Paul wrote his epistles? (Ephesians 4:4-6; 1:22-23)

    B. What’s the big deal?

      1. The church is a part of God’s eternal purpose! (Ephesians 3:8-12)
      2. The cost of the church shows the value God places on it (Acts 20:28)

    C. Our attitude in reaching out to those in error (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

II. Reaching those who have left the truth

    A. Are you spiritual? (Galatians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Acts 20:27)
    B. Too many have wandered away, and it’s time for them to come home (James 5:19-20)

Mission: Possible (With God)

Mission Possible With God

Job 42:1-6

I. With God, it was possible “back then”

    A. The Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-6, 14-15)
    B. God’s promise to Abram (Genesis 15:1-6; 16:1-2; 17:15-19; 21:2)
    C. God’s deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 3:11-12)
    D. The evangelization of the world (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:5-6)
    E. Preaching even to Caesar (Acts 23:11; 25:1-12)

II. With God, it is possible “today”

    A. 7.8 billion people in the world, but the church is losing 300 preachers each year
    B. Individual Christians have a responsibility to be active in the work of evangelism
    C. Don’t know enough? Study and learn! (2 Timothy 2:15; 2:2)
    D. Utilize sound resources like oabs.org to increase your personal knowledge

The Seed, the Soil and the Sower (Luke 8:4-15)

The Seed The Soil and the Sower Luke 8

Luke 8:4-15

I. The seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11)

    A. Warnings against false doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3-4; 4:1-2; Titus 3:9)
    B. Preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 2:1)
    C. We can only learn about Jesus through the Word (2 Timothy 3:15; James 1:21)

II. Four types of soil

    A. The wayside (Luke 8:5, 12; cf. Romans 10:17)
    B. The rock (Luke 8:6, 13; cf. Mark4:17; Matthew 16:24-26; 2 Timothy 3:12; Mark 10:29-30)
    C. The thorns (Luke 8:7, 14; cf. Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Timothy 4:10)
    D. The good ground (Luke 8:8, 15)

III. The sower’s responsibility: “Sow as you go, wherever you go!”

    A. “As you are going, make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20)
    B. Every child of God is expected to be a sower (Luke 8:15)

Launch Out Into The Deep (Luke 5:1-11)

Launch Out Into The Deep Luke 5:1-11

Luke 5:1-11

I. God doesn’t expect you to do everything all at once

    A. The Great Commission (Mark 16:15) was preceded by a limited commission (Matthew 10:5-7)
    B. Our obligation begins in our own backyard (Matthew 10:5-6)
    C. We need to obey the initial “little” command (Luke 5:3) before we “launch out into the deep” (Luke 5:4)

II. We are not doing it alone

    A. “They signaled to their partners” (Luke 5:6-7)
    B. Don’t be anxious or scared (Luke 5:9-10; 1 Samuel 8:6-7)
    C. Even Jesus was not 100% “successful” (Mark 10:22; John 6:65-66)
    D. Don’t give up (Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58)

III. The importance of our attitude

    A. Peter seemed reluctant (Luke 5:4-5)
    B. Don’t complain (1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Philippians 2:14-15)
    C. Full commitment (Luke 5:11; 9:57-62; Romans 12:1-2)

Becoming a Soul Winner Like Jesus

Becoming a Soul Winner Like Jesus

I. The value of “one”

    A. Sinners Jesus will receive (Luke 15:2; Romans 5:8)
    B. The lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7)
    C. The lost coin (Luke 15:8-10)
    D. The lost son (Luke 15:11-32)

II. Using circumstances

    A. The Samaritan woman (John 4:6-9, 13-14, 39-42)
    B. Avoid the temptation to blow off an opportunity because you don’t believe much good will come of it (David Lipscomb and J.W. Shepherd)

III. Deal with sin empathetically

    A. We must tear down walls, not build them up
    B. The Samaritan woman (John 4:16-18)
    C. Show empathy, but do not excuse sin (John 8:3-11)

Keep Going!


          Your friend said he wasn’t interested in hearing about religion. He doesn’t need Jesus; he’s happy in his denomination; he thinks, “We’re all going to heaven, just taking different paths.” We don’t like rejection, but rejection is a part of evangelism. Does that mean we should give up?
          “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). As we discussed in our examination of the parable of the sower, our job is to scatter that seed. We cannot force someone to accept the truth, nor can we force them to even listen to it. However, we must take seriously our role as sowers, realizing there are many who will ignore the gospel but praying for those who will obey.
          Jesus prayed for the people who would believe. He prayed for His apostles, then said, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21). If Jesus prayed for prospective converts, shouldn’t we do the same?
          We need to be watchful for opportunities to share God’s love, even with those who have resisted it in the past. One who may not initially be aware of his need for the Lord can change his mind over time. A major event in life may disrupt a friend’s status quo, and that could be a perfect opportunity to get him to think seriously about Jesus. His invitation is always open: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
          Our attitude is extremely important in evangelism. Some people are very fluent in sarcasm, but we need to recognize there are situations that call for seriousness. If we never show that we can be serious, our friends will never confide in us when they are struggling. They don’t want to be mocked, but comforted.
          “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers….Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29,31-32). This applies to social media (written word) as much as the spoken word. When hateful, spite-filled memes dominate your profile, serious conversations will be difficult to come by. Kindness trumps bitterness.
          “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2). Brother Kerry Williams asks a very thought-provoking question: “If we should approach a weak brother in such a way, how much more should we approach unbelievers with gentleness?” (Kerry W. Williams, Fishers of Teens, p. 37).
          Consider how Aquila and Priscilla dealt with Apollos, and how he responded. “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 18:24-28).
          Did Aquila and Priscilla stand up and interrupt Apollos? Did they shout him down? No! The Scriptures say that “they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” There is an implication of gentleness. They didn’t want to embarrass him or diminish his zeal one bit. They simply wanted him to have the full story so he could lead others to the truth.
          You likely have friends that are passionate about their religion. They may be involved in their church and active in service. Perhaps you can find an opportunity to take them aside and study the truth more deeply. Invite them over for dinner with your family. Highlight the areas wherein you agree…don’t diminish the fact that they do believe that Jesus is the Son of God! Encourage them to keep developing that faith through a study of the Word, and explore what His Word says about obedience, specifically the gospel plan of salvation. “Explain the way of God more accurately”…“in a spirit of gentleness.”
          Why is it important for us to do this? Paul writes, “And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
          “Do you have a lost friend? Do you intend to try and talk to that person about Jesus? If not, then maybe you should ask yourself one final question. What kind of friend am I?” (Kerry W. Williams, Fishers of Teens, p. 39).

Discussion and Action

1. What is going to happen to those who do not know and do not obey the gospel? Who is going to teach your friends if you don’t?

2. Can you think of opportunities that you have neglected? Learn from those missed opportunities and grab ahold of them next time!

3. Keep working on memorizing the gospel plan of salvation and the verses that go along with each step.

4. This class is over, but don’t forget about the five names you wrote down. Will you be a true friend and teach them about the Lord?



          We have discussed the gospel plan of salvation, the definition of evangelism, the importance of righteous living, the extent to which we should scatter seed and thereby identify prospects, and God’s responses to common excuses we might make to avoid teaching others. Now that we have some of these things set in our minds, let us look at what to do when we find that good and honest heart that is searching for the truth.
          There are numerous systems of teaching within the brotherhood. Ivan Stewart’s “Open Bible Study,” which became popular in the 1970s, is still a good tool that Christians can use in teaching their neighbors. There are a handful of lessons with mostly “yes” or “no” questions. Brother Stewart published a book entitled Go Ye Means Go Me that is very useful in helping one with the “Open Bible Study” system.
          A newer workbook was designed by Stephen Rogers of Evansville, Indiana. The student workbook is called The Gospel Made Simple, and the teacher’s textbook is Evangelism Made Simple. His materials are mostly fill-in-the-blank and the topics are thoroughly discussed.
          Another tool that many have used successfully is Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank. This is a recounting of brother Shank’s conversion in 1988; he was led to the truth by conversations with a co-worker in Nashville. It is not only a tool for converts, but also for evangelists. The attitude of the teacher in the book, Randall, is one that should be emulated by those hoping to reach and teach others.
          These are only a few of the tools that can be used by Christians in the work of evangelism today. But here’s the thing—they are only tools. The authority for all things comes from Jesus Christ and the revelation of the Holy Spirit in the written Word. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). When we talk to our friends about spiritual matters, if we have nothing but the Bible at our disposal, we have all we truly need. All the programs mentioned above—as good as they may be—are merely tools used to learn what the Bible teaches.
          Inviting friends to worship with us is good, but it is usually not enough. We must be willing to talk to them about the Lord, and to do that we should have a basic understanding of the authority of Scriptures, the power of God, the deity of Christ, the gospel plan of salvation. We need to use this understanding to engage with the good soil in spiritual discussions. Those who have been receptive to the seed, keep watering.
          Consider the example of the apostle Paul. He did not travel around the known world inviting folks to worship services. He went to where they were and started conversations with them based on their knowledge and understanding. In Acts 16, Luke writes about the conversion of Lydia, a woman who “worshiped God.” (Acts 16:14) Notice how Paul and his traveling companions came into contact with her: “And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there” (Acts 16:13). They went to where spiritually-minded people were gathered!
          Even in Athens, a city overrun with pagan idolatry, Paul started with the same approach. “Now while he waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:16-17). Nearly everywhere Paul went, he started with the people at the synagogue, or where worshipers were gathered. When the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers heard his preaching about Jesus, they decided to take him to the Areopagus, “(f)or all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21).
          Paul used his surroundings to build a lesson, pointing to one of the altars there. “Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNONWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you’” (Acts 17:22-23).
          These people were not Christians, but they were religious. They were interested. And Paul used that interest to teach about Jesus. What was the result? “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, ‘We will hear you again on this matter.’ So Paul departed from among them. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them” (Acts 17:32-34). Despite their pagan background, they had good and honest hearts and believed the truth when it was taught. We never know how someone might respond until they are given the chance to hear and believe.
          Will talking about Christ cause awkwardness at times? How did Felix feel when Paul talked to him? “But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, ‘When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case.’ So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him. And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.’” (Acts 24:22-25).
          When Paul spoke before Festus and Agrippa, how did they respond? “Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!’ But he said, ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.’ Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian’” (Acts 26:24-28).
          Their response was not what Paul wanted, but he had no way of knowing how they would react without first presenting the truth. Notice, however, that he did not anger them with his teaching. In fact, they lamented that he was a prisoner, as he had done “nothing deserving of death or chains” (Acts 26:31).
          When we teach others about Christ, let us strive to do so gently. Pray that you can lead someone to understand and obey, but even if their response is not immediately favorable, let us not burn bridges and prevent further influence and teaching.

Discussion and Action

1. We often invite friends to worship services instead of trying to set up a private study. Essentially, while Christ tells us to “go,” we tell our friends to “come.” Do we have it backwards?

2. Are you familiar with any formal Bible study tools other than those mentioned in this lesson?

3. How might you interest a friend in a private study in your home?

4. Recite the six steps of the gospel plan of salvation and where you can find Scriptures for each step.

5. Memorize the text of another verse in the gospel plan of salvation.

6. You have identified five people over whom you have some influence that need the gospel. Over the past month and a half, how have you engaged them in spiritual discussion? Has there been any positive response?

Get Involved…No Excuses!


          All too often, people make excuses to avoid doing the Lord’s work. We need to take an honest evaluation of our own personal involvement in the work of evangelism and be sure we are not using excuses to neglect our duties.
          One of the greatest examples of excuse-giving is presented in Exodus chapters 3 and 4 when God called Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. We can learn a lot from God’s responses to Moses.
          God called Moses’ attention to the suffering of the Hebrew slaves, saying, “‘Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt’” (Exodus 3:9-10). How did Moses react to God’s call? Did he feel honored that God had chosen him to be the one to deliver the people? “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’” (Exodus 3:11).
          Inspiration reveals that Moses was a humble man, “more than all men who were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). If this was the only objection Moses offered, perhaps we could view it simply as him not seeing himself worthy of this opportunity. As we continue to examine these events, though, we see that it is not humility that prevents Moses from accepting the task immediately.
          God’s response to the first excuse is found in Exodus 3:12: “So He said, ‘I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.’” Didn’t Christ say the same thing when He commissioned the apostles in Matthew 28? “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20). When God commands us to do something, He expects us to obey, but He is not going to turn His back on us in the process. Moses, go to Pharaoh! Christian, go into all the world!
          “Then Moses said to God, ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they say to me, “What is His name?” what shall I say to them?’” (Exodus 3:13). Moses is basically saying that he doesn’t know enough about God to answer the Israelites’ questions about Him. But God reassures His prophet, “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exodus 3:14).
          God tells His prophet, “You don’t know the answer? I’ll tell you!” We need to accept the fact that God’s “divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Anything that you need to know has been revealed by inspiration! “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Is evangelism a good work? Yes! Guess what? God has given us the Scriptures to equip us to evangelize!
          “Then Moses answered and said, ‘But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, “The Lord has not appeared to you.”’” (Exodus 4:1). God promised to perform signs through Moses to encourage belief: turning his rod into a snake (4:2-5), turning his hand leprous and restoring it (4:6-8), and turning water into blood (4:9).
          Moses demonstrates a fear of rejection, and that is a legitimate fear that we must face still today. Many of the people we talk to about the gospel will not believe. But we do have evidence for the veracity of the gospel, and we have the signs recorded in the Scriptures. “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). Faith comes through hearing the Word (Romans 10:17); let us do our part in spreading that Word!
          Jesus recognized that some would not accept the truth. He told the twelve when He sent them out initially, “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:14). If they don’t want to hear it, take it to someone else who does. There are people in the world that want to know the truth; the Lord needs His people to take the truth to them.
          “Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since you have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’” (Exodus 4:10). I don’t have the ability to do what you are asking me to do, God. “So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say’” (Exodus 4:11-12).
          There is a saying that God does not call the qualified, but He qualifies the called. All Christians are called to share their faith, and through His Word all Christians are qualified to do just that! It is not our ability that will convert a lost soul to Christ, but the power of God that resides in His gospel (Romans 1:16). Paul wrote, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
          Moses’ final appeal is found in Exodus 4:13: “But he said, ‘O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.’” In essence, Moses is saying flat-out, “I don’t want to do this. Pick someone else.” What is God’s reaction to this request? “So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses” (Exodus 4:14). God will accomplish His will, with our help or without it. When the Jewish race was threatened in the book of Esther, Mordecai told the queen, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
          Do we want to make God angry? He has commanded us, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Will we accept Jesus’ command, or will we perish in rebellion? There are people in your life right now who need the blood of Jesus. It is your responsibility to share with them the good news of Christ’s love.

Discussion and Action

1. Which of Moses’ excuses do you believe is most common among members of the Lord’s church and why?

2. Which excuse have you used in the past, and what can you do to overcome it?

3. Recite the six steps of the gospel plan of salvation and where you can find Scriptures for each step.

4. Memorize the text of another verse in the gospel plan of salvation.

5. Review the five names on your index card. Have you used any excuses to avoid talking to them? What opportunities have you taken advantage of this week to share the Scriptures with them? Keep praying, keep shining your light.

Identify Prospects


          No one likes to waste time. The sad fact of the matter is this: most people will reject the truth. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Despite this fact, we still bear the responsibility of taking the gospel to those around us.
          Our duty is to obey God without regard to how people respond. You never know how a kind word or deed will impact a person, and in fact, you may never see that impact. Paul and Apollos worked together in spreading the gospel; Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
          “Perhaps many of you have heard the story of the gospel preacher who a number of years ago held a meeting in a country school. He thought the meeting was a failure because during the meeting only one little freckled faced girl obeyed the gospel. This little girl grew up and married and reared five boys and all of them because gospel preachers—the Dunn brothers—who have led many people to the Lord through their faithful preaching of the Word of God” (Otis Gatewood, You Can Do Personal Work, p. 177)
          We must scatter the seed. Jesus tells the parable of the sower in Luke 8:5-15. The sower was not concerned with the quality of the soil; the Scriptures simply state that he “went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside…Some fell on rock…And some fell among thorns…But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” What’s the lesson? Wherever you are, whoever you’re with, spread the seed.
          We can then start to identify prospects by seeing how others react to the Word. Jesus identifies four types of soil in this parable.
          First, “the wayside.” The seed there “was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5). He later explains that the wayside represents people “who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (8:12). These are the non-believers. Remember that the seed must be sown before we write anyone off. What is the first step in the plan of salvation? Hear! Without first hearing the message, there is no possibility for belief (Romans 10:17). Once they have heard it, if they reject it, then they are in “the wayside.”
          Next, the “rock.” The seed, “as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture” (Luke 8:6). There are going to be people who will gladly listen to what you have to say, but they don’t allow roots to develop, “and in time of temptation fall away” (8:13). Mark’s parallel account sheds more light on the “temptation” under consideration. Mark quotes the Master Teacher as saying, “Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble” (Mark 4:17). Some may expect the Christian life to be easy, but one must make painful sacrifices and face trials in this life (Matthew 16:24-26; 2 Timothy 3:12). Despite the pain we may experience in this life, there is joy that rests in the hope of everlasting life (Mark 10:29-30).
          Third in the parable, the “thorns” which “sprang up with (the seed) and choked it” (Luke 8:7). Jesus says, “Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity” (8:14). Does the evangelist bear any responsibility in this? Possibly. Consider in the Great Commission recorded by Matthew, Jesus said to “make disciples…baptizing them…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). We need to make disciples and baptize, but keep on teaching after they put on Christ! Some will find the draw of the world too strong, and their desires for the temporary pleasures of sin will outweigh their desire for God. This is possibly what happened to Demas, who forsook Paul because he “loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). The distractions of this world are many, and we must be on guard against materialism (1 Timothy 6:6-10). Still, the church must make an effort to keep the saved saved.
          Finally, the “good ground,” in which the seed “sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold” (Luke 8:8). “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (8:15). They will hear, believe, confess, repent, be baptized, and be faithful. Can we predict who these individuals will be among our friends? Sometimes, maybe. However, we must be cautious that we do not pre-judge and present the gospel to only those who we think are “good ground.” Until that seed is sown, we do not know how someone will respond! Sow as you go, wherever you go!

Discussion and Action

1. Have you noticed any of these attitudes in your friends when you talk about spiritual things? What are some of the negative reactions you have had to the gospel? What are some of the positive?

2. Identify types of “times of temptation” or persecutions that can cause a person to fall away.

3. What about the “cares, riches, and pleasures of life” that choke out the truth?

4. Recite the six steps of the gospel plan of salvation and where you can find Scriptures for each step.

5. Memorize the text of another verse in the gospel plan of salvation.

6. You should have five names on your index card. Have you talked to them about the gospel? Are you still praying for them? Don’t ever give up!