Lesson 11

Places and Occasions for Witnessing

(Mark 5, Acts 18)
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Introduction: Last week, as part of our study of the "structures" for witnessing, we looked at where the disciples witnessed - in the temple, the synagogues and in homes. This week we continue to explore the "where" and "when" of witnessing. Let's jump into our study!

  1. Personal Witnessing


    1. Read Mark 5:1-5. How would you like to meet "Tomb Man" in a dark cemetery? How about in broad daylight?


      1. How would you like to live in his neighborhood? (If the cry of a wolf at night sends a chill up your back, imagine this. He would call out in the night as well as the day!)


      2. What kind of appearance do you think he had? (He was cutting himself (v.5) which would give him a bloody appearance.)


      3. Had the homeowners association tried to do something about this? (Yes! He had been chained, but no chains could hold him. He had supernatural power.)


      4. Now here is a serious neighborhood problem!


    2. Let's continue by reading Mark 5:6. Do you have the picture? When Jesus and the disciples land the boat, "Tomb Man" comes running towards them. Do you think the disciples had some anxious moments?


      1. Notice the running towards the disciples ends up with the man falling to his knees in front of them. Have you found witnessing to be like this sometimes - at first the situation seems rather scary, and then it turns out to be just fine?


    3. Read Mark 5:7-9. What do you think about "Tomb Man's" (Legion's) first question? Didn't Legion come running to Jesus? Jesus did not run him down! (The man did come running to Jesus. However, verse 8 reveals that Jesus commanded the evil spirits to come out of the man. That is apparently what Legion is referring to in his question.)


      1. Can you find a lesson for witnessing in this? (This shows that Jesus drew the man to him. The power of the Holy Spirit can draw unbelievers to us. We need to pray for that.)


      2. What would you say if someone came to you with "Swear you won't torture me." Is this like, "Swear you will stop beating your wife?" The assumption in the statement is that Jesus is a torturer.


        1. Do you think Legion really believed this?


          1. Does the Devil have his minions brainwashed?


    4. Read Mark 5:10-13. Consider the impact of sin. These fallen angels from heaven ( Matthew 25:41, Revelation 12:9) are reduced to torturing a man and wanting to live in pigs!)


      1. How much should our witnessing focus on the demeaning, abasing aspect of evil?


      2. Did you notice the evil spirits are "homebodies?" Why? (They must be filled with fear. This is a very interesting insight into evil angels -- they fear torture, they fear leaving the area and they are willing to go live in pigs! What a life! Bet they are glad they rebelled in heaven! Bet that was not in Satan's "brochure" for their future.)


      3. Why did they drown the pigs? (This gives you an idea of what life would be like if God had left us to Satan instead of rescuing us -senseless evil.)


        1. Or is there a sense in this - to discredit Jesus?


    5. Read Mark 5:14-17. Jesus cures a serious problem in the community and they want Him to go. Why?


      1. Isn't this an excellent witnessing opportunity for Jesus? If you were trying to set a foundation for witnessing, wouldn't it be this: Believers cure a serious community problem, then proceed next to sharing the gospel. Why didn't it work here? (This gives another insight into the nature of sin as opposed to God's nature. These people valued their pigs (probably someone else's pig) more than this man. God, on the other hand, valued us so much He was willing to give up His Son!)


    6. Read Mark 5:18-20. Note that the demons did not want to leave the area, but this fellow did. Why do you think he wanted to leave?


      1. Jesus gives this fellow some instructions on witnessing that may be helpful to us. First, to whom does Jesus tell him to witness? (His family. He then spread out to his town.)


        1. What do you think his family thought about him up until this point? How would you like to be his father or mother?


        2. Is our first priority for witnessing our own family?


          1. Are we the best witnesses to our own family? If you say, "no," they know me too well - what about "Tomb Man's" background?


        3. Why would Jesus want this fellow to witness to his own town when Jesus had just been "tossed out" of town (v.17)? Why would the message from this fellow, valued lower than pigs, be more accepted than a message straight from the mouth of our Lord?(They were afraid of Jesus. But they knew this fellow - and were no longer afraid of him.)


          1. Is there a witnessing lesson in this for us today? (Our lesson (Sunday) has a very astute observation. It notes that newly baptized people normally have unconverted friends. This tends to change after their conversion. They develop more friends in the church. Therefore, one of the best times for converts to witness is right after they are converted.)


      2. This fellow just got cured from demon possession. How is he qualified to witness? (The extent of our "theological knowledge" may not be the most important factor in witnessing. Access may be the most important qualification.)


      3. What were Jesus' instructions on what this fellow should say in his witnessing? (Verse 19: How much God had done for him and how God had mercy on him.)


        1. Can you think of a more theologically appropriate message than this?


        2. Have you ever used this idea before as a witnessing message?


        3. Does the content of our witness turn in part on our qualifications to witness?


  2. Sabbath School Witnessing


    1. Most churches have a worship service each week that consists of a Bible study session (first) and then a preaching session (second).


      1. Which session do you think would be more profitable for witnessing to visitors?


    2. Turn to a text we looked at last week: Acts 18:4. Is Paul preaching or is he involved in something that looks more like Bible study? What do you know about a typical synagogue service that forms your opinion? (It is typical in Jewish synagogues to read a portion of the Torah and have a "sermon" on the reading. This reading is supposed to be the same in all synagogues and is a progressive reading through the Torah.)


      1. Do you think this focus in the synagogues on the Scripture helped or hurt Paul's witnessing efforts?


    3. Let's read on. Read Acts 18:5-8, 11. Paul says (v.6) that he is "clear of his responsibility." What responsibility is that?


      1. What is the nature of our responsibility?


      2. Why do you think Paul went "next door?" Was this a witnessing strategy? (I think so. The people were used to coming to the synagogue. They could come to the same area to hear Paul's preaching.)


      3. Notice that Paul converted Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue. Why didn't he stay in the synagogue if he had the ear of the man in charge? (We are just charged with warning/teaching/inviting people. We do not need to fight about it.)


    1. What do you think brings visitors to your church? What motivates them to come? Are people curious to know more about the Bible? Curious to know more about God?


      1. What portion of your church service is actually devoted to Bible study? (We devote the entire Sabbath school time to Bible study in our church.)


      2. Do you think you are answering the needs of visitors to your church?


    2. Recently, I was visiting in a church during the lesson study. To my amazement, almost no one had their Bible open. Most were looking only at their lesson quarterly. Is this a problem? If so, what is the problem?


    3. If you have been following these teaching studies, you know my lessons are driven by the study of specific Bible texts and thus force the teacher/student to read and study the Bible.


      1. How does your class operate?


      2. Is it driven by the study of the Bible, the study of the lesson quarterly or by whatever people suggest are "good ideas?"


    4. Our lesson suggests (teacher's comments) that it would be inspiring to have a time when people tell about witnessing adventures during the week. Do you agree that this will inspire others? Does your church give an opportunity for this kind of sharing?


      1. Are you inspired to hear stories of successful witnessing?


    5. Friend, each of us has a unique opportunity for witnessing among those that we know. That opportunity, like that of the "man formerly known as Legion," may be greater than the best teacher who ever lived! Everyone has the opportunity to tell others the mercy that God has shown to them and to direct them to the word of God. Will you take advantage of the opportunities set before you?


  1. Next Week: Errors and Setbacks in Witnessing.


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Lessons on Witnessing

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