Power of Relation Evangelism – sermon video audio notes – People with a primary Relation style of evangelism have many friends. Some of their friends are sinners. Some of their friends are very religious. Some of their friends are very affluent. Some of their friends are poor. They enjoy getting together for meals or parties or for whatever reason. They were most likely “party goers” before they came to Jesus and enjoy entertaining.

The Power of Relation Evangelism

Power of Relation Evangelism

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audio

The Power of Relation Evangelism

Scriptures: Acts 1:8, Luke 5:27-30, Luke 19:2, 1 John 4:4, Luke 5:31,
Luke 5:34-35, Luke 5:38-39

God loves people and all people matter to God. Does God love those of the Muslim beliefs? Can they get around devoted followers of Jesus Christ and become devoted followers of Jesus Christ? Absolutely!

People have a tremendous impact upon each other’s lives. Someone has influence upon your life right now and you have influence upon someone right now. Most likely someone was very influential in your coming into the kingdom and becoming a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Likewise, you have been or should be influencing someone concerning the kingdom of God. This is a part of the power given by the Holy Spirit which Acts 1:8 speaks about. Let’s stand and read the passage and some of the passages for today’s lesson.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The power given us by the Holy Spirit is first and foremost to be witnesses and impact the lives of others.

Luke 5:27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him,

Luke 5:28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Luke 5:29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.

Luke 5:30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

Jack and Bonnie

There are people you can reach better and more effectively than anyone else alive. The right person can get us to do just about anything. I’ll give you an example. A person who has tremendous influence on my life is Jack Spencer. For those of you who don’t know who Jack Spencer is, he is my three-year-old grandson. He can get me to do just about anything even if I know I will get in trouble for doing it. Jack likes to jump on our king size bed, but his grandmother and mother told him and me Jack was not to jump on the bed. The reasons are obvious. But every week Jack and I go up to my bedroom to eat popcorn, and jump on the bed. My point here is everyone has influence on someone no matter who you are or how old you are. It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are or how educated you have become. Sometimes children accomplish more than us adults. I remember a time years ago. Bonnie, Jack’s mom and my daughter, was talking to my dad at his house. Bonnie was about twelve at the time. At the time my dad was not a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Bonnie said, “Grandpa, do you know Jesus? Are you saved?” Dad said, “Well, uh, uh, well, uh, yes.” Bonnie said, “Then why don’t you go to church with us on Sunday?”

Next Several Weeks

Over the next few weeks, I plan to take time and look at each evangelism style. I realize this evangelistic concept is new to many of us. So, I want to saturate us with it. Imagine, if you will, the change in Life Gate if we get a handle on this truth as we have gotten a handle on the temperaments. We will be awesome salvation instruments for the kingdom of God. We will take breaks throughout and recognize Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

Before we begin today’s lesson, I want first to refresh us on the different evangelism styles.

1. Intellectual Style

2. Confrontational Style

3. Interpersonal / Relation Style

4. Invitational Style

5. Serving Style

6. Testimonial Style

7. Prayer Style

Each of us moves fearlessly in at least one of these styles. All we need to do is hone it a little and tweak it a little and it will become extremely powerful for Jesus.

Several Styles Used on Ahmad

If you noticed in the video of Ahmad’s story, his becoming a devoted follower of Jesus Christ included several of the evangelism styles. Initially it was from a Relation with his then wife to be. Then it included an Invitation from his then mother-in-law to be. He came to Life Gate and heard a Confrontational style preaching. There was Prayer going up for him. Also, the Intellectual Style was necessary to answer his thousands of questions. Ahmad’s becoming a devoted follower of Jesus Christ included several people, several styles, and several months. This is a fairly typical salvation experience.

I. Today’s Lesson – THE POWER OF RELATION EVANGELISM

Today’s lesson will be a look at Relation evangelism. God loves people. People matter to God. He gives us special relation and relationships ships and expects us to salt them and catch them on fire for the kingdom. He is asking us to flavor our friends with our lives and show the light of the kingdom to each person we know. Most of us were affected by this style at some point in our initial salvation experience. It is a power (Act 1:8). The reason I am beginning with this one will be obvious shortly.

Relation (Interpersonal) Style – Levi (Matthew) in Luke chapter five. Luke 5:27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him,

Luke 5:28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Levi was a tax collector. He was of the Jewish nationality, but collected taxes for the Roman government which ruled the Jewish people. Because of this, tax collectors were viewed by the Jewish people synoptically with sinners. We usually read “tax collectors [King James says publicans] and sinners” together in the Bible (Mat 9:10-11; 11:19; 21:31-32, etc.). Both were disdained by the Pharisees.

The tax collectors were very wealthy. They were paid well by the Romans and were also known to “skim” and even add a little extra tax for themselves. Remember Zacchaeus? He was the little guy who climbed the sycamore tree to see Jesus. He confessed to Jesus he had taken a little extra, but would pay it all back. Zacchaeus was “wealthy.” The King James’ version says he was “rich.”

Luke 19:2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.

Somehow Jesus had so impacted Levi’s life that when Jesus said Levi, “Follow me,” Levi left his affluent position and followed Jesus. Isn’t it wonderful the gospel of Jesus Christ can reach the affluent as well as the poor? Most likely Levi was afflicted with affluence, yet he still gave his life totally to Christ. Levi became the apostle called Matthew who is the author of The Gospel According to Matthew which has touched every Christian believer.

Party for Jesus

Luke 5:29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.

We don’t want to miss this thought. Levi “held a great banquet for Jesus.” Please notice this was immediately after Levi’s decision to follow Jesus. I really like the thought. The party was for Jesus. The best way to interpret this is Jesus asked Levi to give a party. A party was given by the new believer Levi “for Jesus.” How cool is this?

As I began to see this and read the context, I quickly saw what Jesus had Levi doing. Levi was affluent. He had some wealthy friends. Some friends were tax collectors and some were others, but Levi influenced their lives. Jesus arranged this party so it would touch Levi’s friends. Without doubt Jesus had looked over the invitation list and approved Levi inviting Levi’s party friends to this great banquet. We begin to see how Jesus expects us to work.

Levi, not Matthew

It was Levi, not Matthew, who pitched a huge party for Jesus. What I mean by this is Levi had not yet changed his identity to Matthew. A change of a name in the Bible indicates a change of nature. Simon Barjona became Peter the apostle. Saul of Tarsus became Paul the apostle. Levi would become Matthew, but at this point in time he was Levi. This party took place shortly after Levi became a follower. This is extremely important for several reasons.

1. Levi’s Influence upon his friends

One reason is Levi wanted his friends to meet and see Jesus the way Levi knew Jesus. Levi was a new believer and had great influence on his unchurched friends. Over the years relation and relationships had been established. Most likely banquets and parties were a common aspect of the lives of Levi and his friends. He could easily get his friends to come to a party. There they could meet Jesus and be around the disciples. Jesus encouraged this style of evangelism.

a. Include Jesus

Notice Jesus did not instruct Levi to stop having his parties. Instead, Jesus instructed Levi to simply included Jesus and the disciples of Jesus in the parties. Usually, we instruct new believers to stop partying and being around the unchurched. This is not the way Jesus evangelized or wants it done today. Jesus said to have the parties. Adjust the parties and include him and his disciples.

Me, What if?

I think back before my wife and I became devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We had a party or went to a party nearly every weekend. We had all our “party” friends and there were a lot of them. We had spent years and years developing a relation and relationships with those people. I remember one year a bunch of us went camping for an entire week for our vacation. We enjoyed being together so much we spent our vacation together. We saw each other at least once a week and looked forward to getting together. We were with them when some got married. We were there when babies were born. We were there when they had marital problems and even divorced. We had invested years and years into the lives these people and they us. They loved us and would do anything for us. But when we became Christians, we stopped going to or having parties. The heart break is not long after this, we lost touch with every one of those friends. One friend saw this happening and rebuked us saying, “Don’t forget about your friends.” But we did and you know what happened? I lost the opportunity to bring them into the kingdom of God.

What if I had this “Levi party” revelation then? What if I had kept partying (making the necessary adjustments of course), but invited my pastor, his wife, and some of the fun leaders in the church to the parties? What sort of impact would I have on the lives of my friends and the kingdom? Most likely some of them would have followed me right into the kingdom just like some of Matthew’s friends followed him. What would have happened to some of my friend’s children? I would have at least taken some of their children to Sunday school with us. Surely some would have received Jesus.

Instead, we did what we were instructed by our pastor. I love my pastor and he is one of my dearest friends, but he missed this one and admits it today. Just before Judy and I became devoted followers, we had made arrangements to fly to Los Vegas with my sister-in-law and her husband. My sister-in-law and her husband were anything but followers of Jesus Christ. Our pastor told us we couldn’t go to Vegas. He said we were too immature in the Lord to take the chance. So, we didn’t go. What he was saying was, “You can’t eat and drink with those sinners! They will injure your relation and relationship with the Lord.”

Luke 5:30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

The doctrine says, “Greater is he that is in the world than he that is in you.” This is totally opposite of what correct biblical doctrine.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Avoiding sinners is totally opposite of the life Jesus lived and encouraged each of us to live. Jesus joined in the party with them. He allowed his fire (light) and his salt (abundant life) to set the unchurched on fire and flavor their lives. What my pastor should have said was, “Sure you guys should go to Vegas, just take me and my wife with you.” It’s is exactly what he would say today.

I want to ask each of us a question. How many souls could have been brought into the kingdom had we continued a relation with people far from God? We have missed something and it is time to find it and fix it.

2. Life Style Comparison – Doctrine

Another reason Jesus wanted Levi to give him this party was so he could have some conversations. We have already noted Levi was a new follower. He was not yet schooled in the doctrine of Jesus and was incapable of accurately sharing the teachings of Christ with his friends. The “great banquet” provided a place for questions to be asked and life styles to be discussed in a non-threatening environment. It was exactly what happened at this party “for Jesus.”

a. large crowd of tax collectors and others

We have already talked about how Matthew invited his tax collector and sinner friends to the party. However, the Bible says there were some “others” who were invited and attended as well. Present and obviously invited to this “great banquet for Jesus” were some Pharisees. Isn’t it interesting Levi had some friends who were Pharisees? In reality, we all have friends who are types of the Pharisees.

The Pharisees were the very religious and heavily indoctrinated believers in God. They must dress a certain way. They must talk a certain way. Nearly everything was “unclean” and sin. Anyone who did not think, dress, act, and talk like the Pharisees were considered sinners by the Pharisees and doomed for God’s judgment. Interestingly, Jesus never rebuked a sinner, but was constantly rebuking the Pharisees and religious leaders (see “Woe unto you . . .” in Matthew 23:13-39).

b. Pharisees will be at the party

It has always been interesting to me how those Pharisees were at a party in Levi’s house. It is even more interesting now I see the “great banquet” was actually “for Jesus.” One would think the Pharisees would be the last people Jesus would want at his party and the last ones Levi would allow to come to his house. Even so, Levi evidently had some friends who were Pharisees. It may be even more interesting the Pharisees would come. God has tremendous love even for the Pharisees. The desire of Jesus is to help them understand his kingdom. God loves people and all people matter to God.

The fact of the matter is this. It is impossible to give or go to any party and it not have people with religious ideas about God and what the Bible says. This doesn’t mean they are devoted followers of any religious group. It just means everyone has their opinion. It’s like ears. Everybody has at least one. You have your opinions and I have mine. The worst of sinners has at least one. They may know they would bust hell wide open if they were to die today, but they still have an opinion about God and what the Bible has to say.

c. Doctrinal discussions

So, Levi had gotten all these people together. He had the affluent tax collectors, he had sinners, he had religious people, he had the disciples of Jesus, and he had Jesus. Inevitably spiritual or doctrinal discussions must surface. It’s had to happen. It will happen at any party with this type mix. It is inevitable and it actually should be planned and prepared. Don’t we know Jesus had planned and prepared?

It is so cool to me Jesus allowed the Pharisees to share their ways and how they viewed things in open discussion and debate. What is interesting is he allowed discussion to take place in front of all the “sinners” and in front of his own disciples. Then he shared his ways and how he viewed things. He was not intimidated by the Pharisees and he didn’t attempt to intimidate them. He allowed and encouraged discussion. He allowed the listeners to decide which was the best.

At this particular party several discussions came up. Let’s look at these quickly.

1. Insolation from sinners

They discussed of why Jesus hung out with sinners.

Luke 5:30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

Luke 5:31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

The Pharisees believed the tax collectors and sinners were unclean and would defile those following God. Jesus believed they needed him and his teachings as a sick person needed a doctor. The doctor subjects himself to the sickness to heal the sickness. The doctor will ask questions, take the temperature, and touch the sick person to find out where it hurts. It’s this way in the kingdom. We can’t help anyone if we don’t get close enough. We need to ask questions. We need to check their spiritual temperature. We need to touch that life to see where it hurts. We have what they need, but until we get around the sick, we can’t help them. How good was the answer Jesus gave?

Remember the tax collectors and sinners were present and listening to this question and answer. Religion will make a sinner feel inferior. Religion says believers cannot be around sinners. Jesus made certain the “sinners” never felt inferior. He made certain they knew he had the remedy for what ailed them. At no time did he look down upon them.

2. Fasting and Praying

They discussed and debated fasting and praying.

Luke 5:33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

Luke 5:34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?

Luke 5:35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

“They said . . . “

“They said . . .” Jesus allowed them to share their beliefs and their heart and teachings. Concerning fasting, they felt they should do it frequently. It seemed to them the disciples of Jesus just had fun and never fasted. Jesus said at their time it was like the groomsmen spending time with the bridegroom. They were enjoying being together and it wasn’t time to fast. However, time would come when they would need to fast.

Following Jesus is more than fasting and praying. It is an abundant life (John 10:10). It is a fun life nearly all the time. Yes, there are times we need to fast and pray, but it’s not all Christians are to do. We enjoy being together and being with Jesus. So many religious groups have so many regulations and laws and are filled with thousands of “thou shalt nots’.” Jesus said Christianity is loving God and loving people. Everything else hangs on those two things. Those two things should be fun and enjoyable.

Trade Up or Trade Down

If you or I were there, which way would we select? We need to get in context to accurately answer. These were people who enjoyed partying. Though they drank too much and did a lot of things wrong, in their minds they were enjoying life. Would we want to be part of a group who looked at what we did and enjoyed as unclean? Would we want to be part of a group who was full of strict religious orders and dos and do nots (mostly do nots)? The Pharisees are condemning and critical and sad people. Would we trade what we thought was fun and brought us joy for a sad, critical, condemning life? Or, would we want to trade up and learn to help people and enjoy life even more? I know which way I would go.

3. Three parables

Then Jesus told them three quick stories.

a. old garment / new garment – stop thinking in the box -New Covenant

Luke 5:36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.

Jesus essentially told everyone, the sinners, the affluent tax collectors, the religious, and the disciples, needed to stop thinking in the box. What he was bringing to the table was not like anything they had experienced previously. He was telling them his way was not to fix an old garment. No one tears a patch from a new garment to fix an old garment. What he was bringing to the table was not a fixed Judaism. First of all, the garments do not match. Judaism continues to wait for its Christ. Christianity has received Christ. Secondly, he wasn’t going to mess up what he was bringing. This was a new garment, a new covenant.

b. wine skins

Luke 5:37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.

Luke 5:38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.

Then Jesus in essence said his ways would burst Judaism. Judaism could not handle Christianity. It would mess it up. Jesus said it’s like putting fermenting grape juice in a container having no room for expansion. Judaism was hard and would never expand to receive him. The container would explode and both the container and the wine would be wasted. His new wine must be placed in a new covenant. The things Jesus teaches must be put into expandable containers. How are we doing? Can you and I expand? To reach those far from God, we must expand.

c. grape juice / wine

Luke 5:39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'”

Finally Jesus told a story relevant to the party. Jesus said people do not want to drink grape juice when they can have a good wine. Grape juice is, well, grape juice. That’s about all we can say about grape juice. However, wine is more and “better” than grape juice. Wine can make people feel good. It can make them happy. Wine can cause us to think differently and talk differently. Wine, according to Jesus, “is better” than grape juice. His ways will cause people to feel good and be happy. His ways will cause people to think differently and talk differently. The old covenant is grape juice. The new covenant is wine. His kingdom is better.

Again, all this was said in the hearing of the sinners, the affluent, the Pharisees, and the disciples. Each was now able to compare their lives and beliefs with that offered by the Pharisees or offered by Jesus. If you were unchurched which way do you think you would go? Would you stay the same, go with the Pharisees, or follow Jesus? They would ask, “Do I want to be an old garment needing patching or a new garment? Am I an old wine skin ripping and bursting when new things come along, or am I a new wine skin expanding and providing joy to people? Do I want plain religion or am I ready to have some fun and joy and expand my thinking and life?”

We are entering a new day when it comes to evangelism. Old ways and old wineskins are not working. We must expand the way we have seen evangelism and how we approach evangelism.

Relation Style

These people think relation, relation, relation. People with a primary Relation style of evangelism have many friends. Some of their friends are sinners. Some of their friends are very religious. Some of their friends are very affluent. Some of their friends are poor. They enjoy getting together for meals or parties or for whatever reason. They were most likely “party goers” before they came to Jesus and enjoy entertaining.

We have projected relational style evangelism is only a party. Relation style evangelism is more than a party. It is developing a relation with a person or people and then helping the person to come into the kingdom. It can be doing anything. In my case, I have often used my hobbies. I have used golf. I have used and use fishing. I have used working on this building. What do you do? Invite and include some unchurched people. It is powerful.

We are coming into Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. We will be going to all sorts of parties and giving parties. Invite sinners, religious people, affluent people, and devoted followers. Jesus will be the guest of honor and the party will be for him. Remember we have the Holy Spirit and have a power to be witnesses for Jesus.

Other Related Sermons:

It’s Great To Be Alive With Technology – sermon notes

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes

Defeating the Terror of Evangelism – sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young