Using "Wisdom Towards Outsiders"

Click to View

An Exegeses of Colossians 4:5-6

God's word is so amazing! In just one scripture God has revealed many truths to help us reach the lost.

"Conduct yourself with wisdom toward outsiders making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace seasoned, as it were, with salt so that you may know how you should respond to each person" Colossians 4:5-6

Let us look briefly at the lessons we can pull from these two verses that will help us become more effective in reaching lost souls.

Click to View

"conduct yourself . . ."

One of the most penetrating questions that Christians need to ask is: If everyone in God's church was just like me, what kind of church would it be? If, because of members like me, the church is less than what God wants it to be, let me begin today to work on the things necessary to change my life so that it will become exemplary. We must continually make Romans 2:21 our standard of conduct: You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal?

Click to View

"with wisdom toward outsiders . . ."

Time should be given to planning objectives when having a discussion with an outsider. But first, as the planning of objectives begins, consider several possible existing conditions of the outsider.

  1. What are her beliefs about the Bible? Does she understand that the scriptures are the complete, all-sufficient word of God and not just a collection of writings compiled by man? Does she recognize and respect the authority of the Bible?
  2. Does she believe that she can learn and understand the Bible? Does she understand that she has a responsibility to study the Bible? Do not allow her to become discouraged about Bible study just because Peter said, There are some things hard to understand which the untaught and unstable distort (2 Peter 3:16). For a beginner, understanding the Bible may be like algebra to a six-year old overpowering. Time and study will make the Bible be like algebra is to a math professor understandable. Learning the foundational truths of the Bible will equip her to understand the harder things.
  3. What is her level of spirituality? Does she know Jesus? Is she attempting to walk in his teachings? Does she realize the need to make changes in her life? Does she attend church?
  4. What is her level of commitment? Does she want to make the decision to follow Jesus? What is keeping her from making the decision? Usually, external and/or internal forces become the major obstacles that prevent someone from following Jesus. External forces may include things such as family members objecting to newly learned beliefs or peer pressure that attempts to pull them back into running with the crowd. Internal forces may include things such as the cost in time to serve Jesus or the need to remove an existing sin. You must learn to identify her single greatest point of resistance to becoming a Christian. Knowing this will help you as you continue leading her to Jesus. Use God's word to overcome all objections.
  5. What are her needs spiritual, physical, emotional? How can Christ help her with her needs? How can she be made better or happier by following Jesus? You should look for ways to help her supply her needs.
  6. Is she a good person? Most people think they are good but fail to realize their need for a Savior who will cleanse them from sin. Help her to understand this.

Click to View

As a leader in the discussion with an outsider, you need to keep several things in mind.

  1. First, do not try to feed solid food to an untaught outsider. She needs milk until she is able to accept solid food as a growing disciple of Jesus (Hebrews 5:12ff). For example, don't shatter her weak belief by hitting her with a particular sin before creating a respect for the authority of God's word. Don't begin by jumping on her about smoking until she accepts Jesus as Lord of her life.
  2. Second, don't bombard her with one important point to the neglect of other important teachings. For example, don't emphasize the act of baptism to the neglect of her understanding the need to have her sins forgiven.
  3. Third, recognize the differences in our relationships with outsiders. Are they to be long and ongoing or will they possibly be short-term? Don't try to develop a close friendship out of a one-time study. Lasting relationships are built with people with whom we spend much time. Make your friendship known to an outsider but be careful lest she judge it to be a bribe to convert her. Always be sincere and take time to really care for her as a friend if there is time to develop a closer relationship.
  4. Fourth, guide her with gentleness and unconditional love. Love her in spite of her present condition before God. Strongly encourage her to obey the gospel after she realizes that the response must come from her relationship with God.
  5. Fifth, rid yourself of any fear of associating with outsiders because of having contact with a sinner. Remember association does not mean participation! Look at the life of Jesus. He was often challenged because of his association with sinners. It is necessary to serve, sacrifice, and give of oneself in order to reach the lost outsider. In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul said, For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews . . . . Look for ways to make God real while taking time to help her develop an interest in God.

Click to View

"making the most of the opportunity . . ."

Make the most of your opportunities invite the service station attendants, the hairdressers, the store clerks, etc. Acquire the necessary courage, boldness, and determination to invite a stranger to study the Bible. Learn to be aware of the many opportunities women have to invite people from the workplace, the malls, the parks, or even the neighborly coffee. When common interest exists between you and someone else, you already have a kind of relationship that allows a study together to be a natural progression of that relationship. Always be genuine in your relationships with others.

Avoid being negative to outsiders about those who are members of the church. Be aware of the damage that the tongue can do by gossiping, complaining, and criticizing others in the church. If an outsider has a negative impression of the church, do you think that she will want to be associated with it? The unity of the local body of Christians plays a very large role in whether or not the outsider will be interested in Christ. The church needs to be aware of this and learn to accept every outsider not for what or who she is but for what she can become in Christ.

Children can be a great help in getting studies started. They can help you talk more easily with other mothers. A good reason usually exists for getting together and letting the children play. Having small children does not free you of the responsibility to take advantage of your opportunities as they come. Study with the mother while the children play together. Regardless of the situation, make use of the opportunities God has given you by always being on the alert.

Click to View

"your speech . . . knowing how to respond . . ."

We need to know how to respond in speech to outsiders. This means we are not to be guessing, feeling, or thinking, but indeed knowing. God wants us to be fully equipped workmen (Ephesians 4:12-15) and to put on the full armor (Ephesians 6:11,13). God expects us to learn how to do this. A successful teacher of lost souls avoids occasions of arguing and confrontation. The successful teacher looks for common ground. If there is a confrontation, let it be her against the Bible rather than her against you. Second Timothy 2:14,23-26 warns us about the traps of arguing religion rather than teaching the gospel. We are told not to wrangle about words.

As fishermen must use different bait for different kinds of fish, we must also use different methods when dealing with different kinds of people. Basically, there are two kinds of people that will respond to your invitation to study: the committed religious and the uncommitted religious. The committed need to have a strong lesson on denominationalism. The uncommitted need a strong lesson on commitment, obedience to Christ, and weeding sin out of their lives.

Not every one learns at the same rate. However, we need to recognize the No signals: lack of desire, over commitment of time in other areas, and weak or lazy excuses. Be direct with those who appear inattentive. One time I tried everything I could to get an outsider to grow and learn God's word, even to the point of baby-sitting and doing her housework while she read the Bible. I continued to help her like this for a month. It was to no avail. Unfortunately, her desire to please Christ was never there. If a non-Christian is not willing to do homework or read the Bible, it is a strong indication that their desire to know Christ is shallow. You cannot assume their responsibility to grow and do what is right.

I often assign homework in the form of daily Bible readings because it helps me assess the outsider's desire, abilities, and stage of growth. Most of the time people are a little embarrassed by their lack of Bible knowledge, but I tell them that we all must start somewhere. It's not long until they are quite happy that they can find Bible passages for themselves. Sometimes, for a more confident student, I will assign them one or two verses to memorize.

Occasionally, I have a problem with the non-Christian not wanting to do homework assignments because they don't see other Christians doing any homework, studies, or attending regularly. Again, we need to be careful about the message we are sending outsiders by our example.

Pray to God for wisdom, direction, and help in bringing that soul into the harvest, believing that God will be there helping you. Paul said in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through him who strengthens me. You can do the same! The best way to gain experience is by setting up a study with a friend and giving it your best. We don't need to just continue reading lessons on how to evangelize; we need to go and do it. You learn to swim by getting into the water; you learn to ride a bike by getting on it. The only way you can learn to teach outsiders about Christ is to do it. You may take a few swallows of water or skin your knee, but the event won't kill you. Teaching an outsider about Christ won't kill you either. Soon you will be doing the backstroke, riding without hands, or leading someone to Christ!

Click Your Choice

Go to Interactive Bible Websight

Go back to Evangelism Websight