Sermon Summary: Pastor David Lien’s sermon emphasizes the importance of personal engagement and empathy in evangelism. He encourages listeners to actively listen, understand others’ perspectives, and steer conversations towards Jesus with gentleness and respect. The sermon provides practical tactics such as asking clarifying questions and maintaining a gentle demeanor when addressing objections.

Pastor David Lien – How to Talk About Jesus – July 7th, 2024
Full Transcript…

All right, so we’re continuing our series on evangelism, sharing the gospel. And today it’s going to be called How to Talk About Jesus. So it’s going to be hopefully some more simple, practical ways for you to engage the people around you while you’re being a normal human being. All right. So that’s what we are. We are going for it.

Thank you, Pastor John. Yeah, it did, I did thank you. Pastor John just invited me to church. That’s a really good thing for you to do. By the way, when you’re handing out fliers, you want to say, did you get one of these? You don’t say, do you want one? Because the person goes, no, you know, it’s junk. You go, hey, did you get one? And they take it more often. Okay, so that’s just that’s another little, pointer that you can use if you’re, if you really want to get out there. Okay. man, I’m just really proud of Alexis. I’m just really proud of that. Just. That was awesome how you just put it out there.

And, you really built us up with that song. also, Beth, it was just a pleasure going through spirit one with her in the class, and she added so much. And, I know God just has such great things for her. So, you know, we’re a family at Word of Life, and we’re all in this together, so we can’t be the church on mission if it’s just a couple people on mission, we all need each other.

So if you’re here in this room, you are called by God to step into his adventure for your life. You’re called by him to be part of something that’s far greater than yourself, to be part of a family that is growing. The family is growing. People are being brought in, people are being invited in. And you can be, the representative of God, the diplomat, the ambassador that’s bringing them in.

And in order to do that, you have to use your words. You have to use your words. I’m going to say it over and over again. so we we heard today we experienced a lot about the power of God. And God is a God of power. We saw that. We heard that testimony, but he’s also a God of persuasion.

He’s the God that would come sit beside you at your lowest point and reason with you. He’s a God who’s not. He’s not uncomfortable, overwhelming you, but he’ll never override you. He doesn’t want to control you. He doesn’t want to just blast you until you submit to him. He wants to overwhelm you with his love and then persuade you and invite you using your heart.

You know, addressing the heart, addressing the mind, even addressing the reason. And we have to be equipped as believers in Jesus Christ to have critical conversations with people in our lives and in order to do that, we need to have some tactics. So I actually have a book recommendation. Again, last time somebody took me up on my book recommendation and they actually bought Power Evangelism and read it.

I was so excited about that. Okay. so I do recommend that one, but I also recommend Tactics by Greg Coco. It’s a game plan for sharing your Christian convictions, so this will really help you if you want to do more of a study on this, on how can I be ready in every circumstance, to respond to somebody and to engage in a spiritual conversation.

That book will really help you. I’m going to take a few of his points here, but I hopefully I’ll give him credit when I do that. Okay. but we’re going to look most of all, to Jesus as our teacher because in John four we have a masterclass on personal evangelism. So if you want to turn to John four with me, it’ll really help you.

I was only going to read snippets of this, but the Lord put it on my heart to just read the section to us. So I want you to open your Bible, open your phone app, whatever it may be. John. Chapter four, we’re going to read this account of Jesus talking to a woman of Samaria. And the Samaritans were, a different ethnic group than the Jews.

Jesus was a Jew. They were a different religious belief. It was taboo in that culture for Jews to have any dealings with Samaritans. And Jesus talks to a Samaritan. Not only does he talk to a Samaritan, he has a Jewish male rabbi talks to a Samaritan woman, which would be really, really low down the social, totem pole of that day.

So Jesus is breaking through every barrier to share the grace of God, the gift of God with a woman of Samaria. He says at one point, I want you to notice this. He says, if you knew the gift of God, if you. That’s what Jesus is talking about. He says, I have a gift to give you. I have something that I want to give you.

That’s our mindset when we’re sharing the gospel. The gospel is good news about the grace of God. And the grace of God is the gift of God. Eternal life in Christ Jesus, right? The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Okay, so let me read and John four, starting in verse five, I’m going to read a little bit of scripture, and I just want to challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, make this real to me.

Help me see the picture in my mind. Help me see who Jesus really is. And if you receive the Bible like this, it becomes a living word. The Holy Spirit turns it into bread, into living water. The very thing that Jesus is talking about. Okay, so father, I pray your blessing over your word today and by the power of the Holy Spirit would you show us Jesus?

And would you please equip us to share Jesus in any situation? I humbly ask you this in Jesus name, Amen. All right, so we depend on the Lord to teach us His Word. Verse five. So Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there.

So Jesus wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. Let’s just pause as we’re going through it. Okay, so Jesus was wearied from a long journey. Jesus was fully human as well as fully God. He was tired. This was 12:00 in the middle of the day in the Middle East.

He was hot and he’s waiting for his disciples to buy food. We’re going to see. So he’s hungry. Have you ever been tired, hot and hungry? Were you like, how do I share the gospel right now? How do I just how do I love these people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? Love my neighbor as myself.

Okay, no, but Jesus is sitting there in that condition and it says this A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, stop again. Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman. You have to get those lenses on that. He’s weaving his way to her heart. As we’re reading this, we’re going to see that Jesus is weaving his way through traffic all the way to this lady’s heart.

This lady has, cultural defenses. She has ethnic defenses. She has religious defenses. She has a different belief system than him, a different race than him, and a different culture than him. And everyone in his culture would say, you’re sinning by even talking to this lady. How can you call yourself a holy man to talk to a Samaritan woman alone in a Gentile nation?

How can you do this? So this is the situation. He opens his mouth and he imposes on her day. He actually takes her time and her energy. So this is what we’re called to walk like Jesus. So say Holy Spirit, I don’t do this too well. That’s what I say. You know, I don’t do this as consistently and as well as I should, but Jesus is teaching the class right here says this.

He said to her, give me a drink for his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. He asked her for help. The Samaritan woman said to him, how is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink from me, a woman of Samaria? For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, if you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, give me a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.

The woman said to him, sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock. So she is still thinking from a completely physical paradigm way. He already has water.

Why is he asking me for water? So you have to be patient. When you’re communicating with people. You’re trying to get to their heart. They might not initially be ready for a spiritual conversation. Do you give up? Yeah. Oh, I guess it’s not. Today is not the day. No. You use your your skills, you’re led by the Holy Spirit and you keep going.

This is what Jesus did. He said to her. Verse 13, everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Okay, Laurel knows, because she gave me a word right before this that said, hey, you’re going to speak about you have empty places, and there’s going to be water that’s welling up and shooting out, like in that Las Vegas casino.All these jets of water. I don’t know what that means or anything. So this is what it means. This is what we’re talking about today, that you can come in here in your most empty spot, you can come to Jesus in your most empty spot. You say, I got nothing left. I got nothing left with this boss. I got nothing left with this relationship. I got nothing left with these kids. And he says, well, guess what? I have living water, and it will become in you a spring fountain of living waters. And you’ll never thirst again. This is the Jesus that we love. This is why we love Jesus, because he feeds us at our most broken place, and he gives us refreshment when we don’t deserve it, when we just don’t deserve it.

And so she said, wow, it sounds pretty good. Now, that’s not in the Greek. The woman said to him, sir, give me this water so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water. Sounds pretty efficient. Okay, but she’s still thinking in the natural. Jesus said to her, go call your husband and come here.

That’s actually a sign of politeness. And he says, hey, we need some accountability. We need to handle this in a way that’s above board. I want to actually spend even more time talking to you. Bring your husband. Let’s talk more. You see the availability that Jesus has even when he’s hot and he’s hangry and he wants a Snickers and he’s like, oh, all right, bring your husband. Let’s talk more.

The woman answered him, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, you are right in saying, I have no husband, for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true. The woman said to him, sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.

So as Jesus is having a normal conversation, the Holy Spirit breaks in when you are willing to obey Jesus and just start talking to people. All of a sudden, word of knowledge, prophetic word leading to pray for healing. The wisdom will come in. So he’s just talking with the lady that the Father is seeking. He’s just, hey, I’m here. I’m about the Father’s business. I’m really hungry. But here’s the lady. Let’s talk. Oh, she’s had five husbands, and she’s living with someone that’s not her husband. And imagine the love with which he said this because she didn’t immediately shut down. She keeps talking to him. She didn’t just go, Oh, well, I guess you heard from the people in the town. Yeah. I’m pretty famous around here. Everybody hates me, okay? People have all kinds of names for me around here. I guess you heard those. And she doesn’t go, Oh, you’re just a Jewish rabbi that’s judging me for my sin. He didn’t say that. I’ve heard preachers preach this before. And they go, you’re right to say you don’t have a husband because you’ve had five, and the one you have now is not your husband. And I just don’t believe that. That’s the tone that he had. And he said, yeah, you’ve had five. The one you have now isn’t your husband. That’s right. And she goes, yeah, you’re a prophet. I perceive that you’re a prophet. The specificity of that word of knowledge that there’s been five in the past, and she’s been kicked to the curb because men initiated divorces in that age. She’s been kicked to the curb five times and now is number six. Who knows how that’s going to go? And here’s a lady that’s living to fall in love. She’s living to fall in love. And he says, I’ve got living water. I’ve got love for you that will never run dry. I’ve got love for you that will never run out. And she hears the love that’s in his voice. She keeps talking to him. But she’s not quite ready. He’s not all the way to the heart. He’s almost. He’s almost to the heart. He’s almost convinced her that he’s the Messiah, that he’s someone to really be taken seriously. But she’s got one more defense, and she throws up this last defense.

The woman said, sir, I perceive you’re a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain. But you say that in Jerusalem is the place people ought to worship. Yeah. You’re really getting to my heart, Jesus. But where are we really supposed to do the sacrifices? You know, it’s like some. You’re like, hey, are you interested in giving your life to Jesus and having eternal life? Yeah, but what about, you know, there’s only one way to God. What about that? How come there’s only one way? You’re like, okay, but you you want

Jesus, and now you throw this other smokescreen, you throw this other traffic. Well, how come there are so many denominations in Christianity? Oh, well, how come there’s evil in the world?

And those are all great questions. If you have those questions, I’d love to talk with you about it. We’re not intimidated. We can open up the Bible and see if we can find Jesus on those things because there are real issues. But the first issue is who is Jesus to you? And Jesus does not get derailed.

He stays on subject, which his subject is the gift of God, living water, himself as Messiah. He doesn’t get derailed. He kind of addresses it real quick. Jesus said to her, woman, by the way, that’s a term of respect. He’s not, hey woman, stop questioning me, okay? It was actually a term of respect. Woman.

Believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the father. You worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the father in spirit and truth. For the father is seeking such people to worship him.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth. Isn’t that so amazing? He goes, hey, you’ve had five marriages. You’ve committed the unforgivable sin of religion five times divorce and now you’re in another bad relationship. The father is seeking you. The father is seeking you right now. You can worship him in spirit and in truth.

It doesn’t matter what your relationships look like. It doesn’t matter what your job is. It doesn’t matter your situation. He is seeking you to worship him in your spirit and in your heart and in truth. And so the lady goes, all right, he’s already made it all the way to the heart, okay? And she goes, I know that the Messiah is coming.

He who is called Christ. When he comes, he will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I who speak to you, am he. So that was where he wanted to get. I’m the Messiah. I’m the Savior. Drink of my life and have eternal life. All you have to do. It’s so simple. It’s like picking up a water bottle and just taking a drink.

So one question you can ask people when you’re evangelizing is you can say, can I ask you an interesting question? Are you far from God or near to God? And people a lot of times will say, oh, well, I’m pretty far from God. I don’t go to church as much as I should. I don’t read my Bible, this and that.

And you go, well, what makes you far from God or close to God? And it’s really the gift of God, the grace of God to meet you at any point that you’re at. Okay. And so when you reveal that he is the Christ, that he has come to us, all you have to do is receive that. You don’t have to do a bunch of stuff to become a Christian.

You don’t have to do a bunch of stuff to be accepted by God. You don’t have to go to church a lot. You don’t have to give a lot of alms and offerings. Those are great things that you will do, but the first thing you do is receive the Messiah and say, I believe Jesus died for my sin and rose from the dead to give me a new life.

Maybe there’s someone here that’s never known that it’s that simple. And what holds you back from just saying, okay, I’ll take the life that God’s given me. I’ll be like this lady at her lowest point, feeling so broken, so empty, so unworthy. God has water for me. God has bread for me. He has life for me.

I don’t have to earn it. I’m just going to receive it. I’m just going to receive him. If you want to do that, just do it. Stand up and say, I want that. If that’s you, if God’s calling you at any point during this message and you say, I want the Lord, I want to be saved, just stand up, I’ll see you, and I’ll just say a quick prayer over you for a blessing.

But I believe that God wants to encounter you. He wants to come to your life as the one that’s giving you water, giving you refreshment. He is the Messiah. He is the answer. It’s all about Jesus. When you talk to people, it’s going to be anything but Jesus. There are going to be all kinds of rabbit trails just like this lady showed.

Oh, I’m a Samaritan. I’m a woman. I believe that the temple is not the right place to worship. I believe it should be here. You’re going to get all kinds of smokescreens. What you want to do is stay in your lane. Stay in your laneThat is Jesus. Okay? And you always want to get back to the gospel and get back to the grace of God.

Okay. So let me just quickly say that was our word for the day and just let me apply this to us in our modern times. How do you take some of these things? How do we take some of these tactics that Jesus used, and how do we start speaking with people in such a way that we’re getting to the heart?

Is that something worth doing? Is it worth getting to the heart of your coworkers, the people you know that have walked away from the church? Is it worth getting to the heart of the person on the street that’s just completely lost everything in their life? Of course that’s what God is doing. Jesus said the father is seeking people to worship him.

He’s not seeking people who already worship him. John Piper said missions exist because worship does not. He’s seeking people to worship him. People that aren’t worthy, people like myself. All right. So let me just do a quick overview here. We’re talking about conversational evangelism. And the conversation is really an exchange. It’s a heart to heart. And we’re not talking about how to lecture people into the kingdom of God.

I would love to do that. By the way. I used to try to do that. I had an evangelism ministry. I’d be like, you’re coming to me because you’re in sin. You’ve broken all the Ten Commandments, you know? And I would go through this whole thing and I would be like, I’m going to lecture this person into the kingdom right now, you know, and you can’t really do that, but you can persuade somebody.

Has anyone here ever been persuaded to change their mind over anything? Wow. A bunch of stubborn people out there. Okay. All right, I believe it, actually. No, I’m just kidding. But, no. Yeah. So we can actually change our minds about things, and we can change other people’s minds about things. This applies to spiritual things. The Holy Spirit has to help you.

The Holy Spirit has to convict. He has to open hearts. But you’re called to persuade. There are many instances in the Bible. We were going to have scriptures for this, but do a word study in the Bible of how many times Paul persuaded people. Just type in your Bible app, Paul, persuade on the search bar. It’s going to give you a whole laundry list of scriptures.

And that’s what he did. He tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. He tried to persuade every single person that Jesus was the solution in their life, that Jesus was the fulfillment they were looking for. And he had to reason with them because they had all kinds of preexisting beliefs. So I like to think of this as spiritual combat. Think of it as really having to counter, taking what they’re saying, receiving it, asking God in you to flow back.

Right? You’re just weaving around, you’re cutting through. You’re finding the opening. You could also think about it as driving through traffic. That might be a little bit easier metaphor. So if we’re going to have a conversation that’s successful, we should see our conversation as a vehicle to transport someone from unbelief to trusting in Jesus. I think we have a slide for this one.

So what we’re going to see is that there are really four elements of this. There’s starting the car, steering the car, driving defensively, and parking the car. So that’s what you’re going to try to do when you’re talking with people. The first thing you got to do if you’re going to transport someone anywhere, you better have a key and be able to start your car.

Right. So this is where a lot of people get bogged down because they say, I don’t really know how to start a spiritual conversation. We had a message a couple weeks back. I was speaking on spirit-led evangelism. It can be as simple as seeing someone praying for them, getting a heart for them, and just going up and saying, hey, I’d love to pray for you.

Is there anything that you need prayer for? That’s honestly the primary thing that I do. But there are other ways that you can do this. You can actually just pay attention to people and start talking to them. You can say hello. That’s a great opening line. You’ll be in a conversation, and all of a sudden you’ll be able to transition.

You’ll be able to steer that car because the car’s already started. Right. There’s a great preacher slogan that says, God cannot steer a parked car. And this applies to any part of your spirituality. If you’re like, God, what’s my calling? Am I supposed to serve all the poor in Africa? And he’s like, why don’t you start in this homeless shelter over here in Sonora?

You’re like, God, what is my calling? I told you where to start. Start the car, start it, move in, and then he can direct you down the path. Okay, this is so true in evangelism. You just have to notice people, observe them, and begin talking with them. It should go without saying, but it doesn’t really go without saying.

And before we even say something to someone, we need to be available to people. I say this every time, right? Get your headphones out when you’re in public. I’m guilty of this sin sometimes too, because I really just want to shop and I want to get an audiobook going or something. But when I actually take the headphones out and I say, hey, I’m in this situation, is there somebody here I’m supposed to notice and engage with?

Normally there is. Okay. And Jesus, you’ll notice from this passage he was available to God. He was tired. He was hot. He was hungry. He was alone. But he’s sitting around and he goes, oh, here comes a lady. Hey, maybe I’ll ask this lady to give me a drink. That was customary. The women would serve water to the men.

Okay? It wasn’t like he just felt entitled to that. All right? That was a customary thing. Right? And so he actually asks for help. That’s how he opens the conversation sometimes. Does anybody ever need help from people? Everyone here is very self-sufficient. Now. I can just do it. I can do it myself. I’m not going to borrow eggs from the neighbor.

I’m going to order them on Amazon. They’ll be here in a day. You know, I’m not going to ask anybody for help, right? But if you actually ask somebody for help, you’ll be talking with them. All right. So there you go. All right. So there’s a couple other good openers. Just shared a great one a couple weeks ago.

He said, hey, can I share some good news with you? Most people would like to hear some good news. Okay. You can say, hey, can I ask you an interesting question? And most people are like, yeah, I want to hear something interesting, but then you actually have to ask an interesting question, right? So you should think ahead and be like, hey, do you think there’s an afterlife?

Is there anything out there beyond death? Do you think there’s a God? What do you think about Jesus? But you can preface that by just saying, hey, can I ask you an interesting question? If you look at this expression I have on my face, I look totally helpless, and somebody wants to help me.

Okay. Hey, can I ask your opinion on something? This is a nonverbal. Okay. Go ahead. I’ve been thinking about something. Can I get your 2 cents on something? Okay. Why is there evil in this world if there’s a God? You just ask somebody, right? So you can kind of have fun with this, but you’re just communicating an openness.

Everything you’re doing is communicating openness. One thing I like to do is go up to people if I want to talk to them. I’ve done this a couple times. Hey, how are you doing? It’ll normally be somebody that’s lingering around. They’re not doing anything, so I’m not imposing on them too much. Hey, can I push my religion on you for a minute?

I’m one of those guys. Can I push my religion on you? They’ll be like, oh, all right, what’s your religion? Most of the time people actually will talk to you about it. So you could just literally say anything to anybody, all right? And you’ll be able to start talking with them. We spoke about this last week.

We want to start with greeting people and observing people. Jesus did that. He observed the woman, so he greets her. He goes, hey, can I have a drink? He just starts engaging. So we have our evangelism goals. I put up the slide last time. I don’t know if we still have the slide. Yes. Good. Again, you can observe first.

If you greet first, it’s a little more politically correct to say it a little bit nicer. So first we greet, then we observe, then we ask, then we listen, then we give a sincere offer. Right? Does this ring any bells for anybody? All right, so you greet the person. Hey. What’s up? Pretty simple. How are you doing? Then you’re going to observe something about the person. Now, that could be a tattoo that they have. This is a really, really good one. Most people

Put a tattoo on their body because it means something to them. So what does that tattoo mean anything to you? Why did you get that?

And you’ll be having a good conversation. Or they have a cross necklace or they have a cross earring right there. Right there. You have a conversation already. The door is wide open to you. Let’s go. Oh does that is that cross, significant to you religiously? Is that a religious symbol for you or is that just jewelry? Right.

And so you ask it a nice way here. Notice you have a cross. Is that your is that your belief or your Christian right there. You’re going to be talking. And here I want to take a pause right here and say the next one is so important because you have to ask what it means. You have to ask the person a question and then hear what their response is.

So I don’t know if you know this, but not every Christian believes everything the same. Not everybody that wears a cross necklace is a Christian or believes in grace. They might believe in showing up to church sometimes and doing a lot of good stuff. But and they believe they they’re terrible and they’re horrible, but they don’t they haven’t ever heard about the life of God.

They haven’t heard about the kingdom. Right? So always just ask, what does it mean to you? Oh, you’re a Christian. Someone says they’re a Christian. You say, oh, what does that mean to you? What does it mean to you that you’re a Christian? I’m a Christian, too. What does it mean to you that you’re a Christian? This would apply to any other belief system.

There’s probably no two Buddhists that think exactly like there’s probably no two Hindus, no two Sikhs, no two Muslims that believe exactly alike. And if they even if they believe alike, they don’t practice alike. They don’t put that in their life the same. So you say, oh, you’re, you know, you’re a muslim instead of just saying, oh, I know that Muslim.

That means they believe Allah, one God, Muhammad the prophet. There’s five pillars. I know that I know exactly what this person believes. Because then you’re knowing. You’re assuming based on labels. And you might answer something that they’re not even asking. You might spend a lot of time talking about stuff that has no relevance to anything, and will never persuade them.

It will never get to their heart. Okay, so you always want to ask, what does that faith mean to you? How do you how do you practice that faith? And guess what? It’s going to happen. Then you’re going to learn something. You’re going to learn something that you didn’t know before. I’ve had a lot of conversations, when I was, ministering at UCSB, with people that were like biologists, you know, people that were, you know, hard science people that were, you know, atheistic, nihilistic philosophers, like teaching that subject.

And I’d be like, man, just teach me about this. I don’t know a lot about this. And I would listen for like an hour to what they were saying. I would learn a lot. I could take some points from some of it, but then I would say, hey, you mind if I share a few thoughts of how I received that?

What you said I’m a Christian. I thought XYZ this makes sense. So when you actually hear what their worldview is, you, the counter is going to emerge. What you’re supposed to say in response is going to become clear. So where you’re like, how do I convince a Hindu that’s that’s such a broad question that’s insanely abroad. But if you get to know one person really well and what they believe, and you hear what has hurt them in the past and why, they have trouble with faith and why they have trouble with Christianity.

And you ask a question like, what holds you back from Jesus? What holds you back from Jesus? All of a sudden you’ll learn what holds them back from Jesus, and you might actually have an answer for that or not. And you can just say, I’d love to talk to you about it again, okay? And you’ll learn and you’ll learn about a person.

You’ll begin to have a relationship and you’ll you’ll be a better person at the end of it. And you will have planted a lot of seeds that the Lord can use. Okay. So this is something you can just practice on a daily basis of, like, I’m going to practice greeting people. I’m going to observe their tattoos, their shirts, their the shirts that have words on them.

Right? If they didn’t want you to talk about it, they wouldn’t have put the shirt on. Okay. I’m going to just anything that they’re displaying about their personality, you can ask in a very nice, non-judgmental way what it means to them now, what it was. What that hair, what’s what? That haircut. Are you a punk? Are you a punker?

You know, that’s that’s obviously that’s obviously the cringe Christian. We’re always trying to avoid the cringe Christian. Okay. so basically you could just practice observing and asking about it and then listening. If that’s all you did. People would like you a lot. You would be like, oh, cool person. That just shows interest in others and listens to what they say and learns about them, and then you should be able to express back to them the views that they themselves hold you shouldn’t be like, oh, they’re they’re atheists.

They don’t. They’re immoral. they don’t they don’t like America, like, you know, things that maybe we think already or something. You should know what this person actually thinks. Then you’ll be able to minister to them. You’ll be able to to say like, hey, I really understand what you’re saying. Now, do you mind if I share what my life’s about?

Do you mind if I share my testimony with you? and then after the after you’ve listened, you have s, which is the sincere offer you can offer prayer. You can offer the gospel. You say, here’s here’s what I believe about about God. I believe we don’t come to God through our own works. I believe he came to us.

And you can offer the gospel to them. My favorite illustration for the gospel is the mountain. The mountain, the illustration. I’ll just give this one to you so you could put it in your back pocket. If you want to use it. if somebody is another religion other than Christ, or somebody is into self-help or being a good person, and maybe someday they’ll be okay, they’ll be accepted by God, they’ll get to heaven, whatever it looks like, you can say, hey, here’s the difference between Jesus and all other religions.

All other religions say, climb up the mountain to God. God’s at the top of the mountain. Climb up that mountain to God. Work really hard and maybe someday you’ll get there. But probably not. Probably only a select few will get there. Okay? And in many beliefs that has a number attached to it. Okay, only a select few can make it to the top of the mountain, but with Jesus, with the gospel, we don’t climb up the mountain to God.

God came down the mountain to us. God did not stay in heaven. He took on human flesh. He became a historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, that historians all attest to, that he was a real, He died in our place on a Roman cross, and he rose from the dead with a ton of historical evidence that you can you can give at that point to.

And so you can say it’s totally different. I don’t I receive God, I don’t have to strive for God, I receive Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. I receive the love of the father. I receive my identity as a beloved son. I receive being complete and not needing to strive, not needing to prove anything to anybody. I just receive it because he wanted me to have it so much.

Because he love me more than life itself. Now, do you think my life is different because of that? A little bit each day, a little bit more each day, and you can just be real, you know, real and authentic with people. Okay. so what we need to do is take the initiative, start conversations. it doesn’t have to be with strangers.

You can make an appointment with a friend, make an appointment with somebody you already know, and have a spiritual conversation with them. That’s my challenge. If you guys haven’t done this in a while, do it. Have an intentional conversation with someone. Because a lot of times we say, oh, I don’t want to have a spiritual conversation with this person because it will wreck the relationship that I have with them.

And is it good to have great relationships with people? You like it? Yeah, maybe. Yeah. Yeah, it’s it’s good. It’s good to have great relationships with people. That’s a good thing. The best thing is to have an eternal relationship with a person. So what we want to do is establish a relationship, but then we offer the person eternal friendship.

So our friendship isn’t just for this life, so that we don’t hold back what they need to know God forever. And so we should use every opportunity that we have, and we should create opportunities that don’t exist in order to to share that with people. Okay. other things you can do to start conversations, you can hand out a tract or a Bible.

You can invite people over to your house. You can serve in a ministry where you can evangelize, like the juvenile hall or a homeless feeding program, or an elder care facility, or a hospital, religious volunteer jail, religious volunteer, street evangelism team. If you want to join the street evangelism team, just talk to me and I’ll get you in a street evangelism team.

We’ll get some people and we’ll go out and we’ll start just sharing, sharing with people. You can actually join a ministry and make itmake it part of your life that you do this consistently. You could even join the greeting team, the usher team, and the parking lot ministry, because those ministries are the face of this, of this church.

And when people come in that may not know God, you could connect with them and be just a great friend to them and you might have a chance to share Jesus and share your testimony with them and show them, hey, you belong here. You’re not on the outside. Like, come on in, God. God has a place for you.

And we have an incredible team of ministers in these departments. Hospitality, ushers, greeting, parking lot. They’re just awesome people. Yeah, they deserve a hand on that.

Definitely volunteer for that. That’ll teach you how to be better at greeting people. What you do in here will then extend to your life outside. You’ll just have more of an affability to you. Okay. Right. And so you can learn that just connecting with people, getting to their heart. All right. So that’s kind of that’s starting the car.

Now steering the car. You want to steer into a spiritual conversation, right? We saw Jesus with the woman at the well. He’s constantly steering her back towards the gift of God, steering her back towards the life of God. Living water. I’m the Messiah. He’s constantly rerouting. Rerouting? It’s like the GPS is like, oh, you missed that exit. Reroute. Oh, you know, you’re on your phone. You missed that exit. Reroute. Oh, you’re drinking your coffee. You missed that one. Reroute. Okay. And so God is constantly wanting us to do that and get back on track with the gospel. Okay, so we need to steer not only into a conversation but steer towards Jesus. And the way you do that is you ask a transition question, and we have a couple of transition questions I can put up.

I’ve mentioned a few of them already. You can ask someone for help and then, you know, all of a sudden you’re talking deeper. You can ask them, hey, what’s been on your mind lately? That’s not really too deep, but, you know, you can say, how are you doing? Really? And then you stop and you wait for them to answer that question.

You can say, hey, where are you headed in life? What’s your dream? I really like this one when I’m, like, checking out at the grocery store or someone, there’s a kid bagging the groceries. Sometimes I’ll say, what’s your dream in life? What? What are you trying to do? And then that’ll reveal some of their values and what’s really important to them.

A couple of more direct ones are: do you have any religious background? Just ask somebody. Hey, do you have any religious background? You could ask someone, are you a spiritual person? You could ask, what do you think about Jesus? You could ask, do you go to a church in town? Do you believe in the afterlife? Do you believe in karma? It’s good. Okay. Do you meditate? We meditate. We meditate on the scriptures. Okay. So we can show the difference right there. All right. Are you near or far from God and why? Why do you believe that you’re near to God or far from God? And then just a real straight up one that I grew up doing. This is the first one anybody ever told me to do was you could just ask someone if you died tonight, would you go to heaven?

How do you know? By the way, we need to know the right answer to that question. The right answer isn’t I belong to the right denomination. The right answer isn’t. Oh, I was born a Jew. The right answer isn’t. Oh, I follow the teachings of Muhammad. The right answer is all. My hope is in what Jesus did for me on the cross.

All my hope is in what Jesus has done for me and he has saved me. He has died and paid the penalty of my sins, and he’s risen again to show the whole world that I’m right with God. That’s how I know for sure that I’m going to heaven. Not because of anything in me, but because of everything that’s in him.

And that’s the right answer. And you’ll find a lot of religious people and Christian people don’t have that. They don’t have that answer. So don’t be fooled by someone saying, oh, I go to church a couple times.

You’re good. Live different now because you’re free. Yeah. It takes a long time for a slave that’s freed, or a prisoner that’s freed, to live like a free person. Right? Okay, we can just leave that there. But, those are some good transition questions to steer the car, right? Again, always stay in your lane. You want to.

You want to talk about Jesus. This is pretty simple. You don’t have to have all the answers to every apologetics question. You don’t know how to answer, so you don’t know how to answer. Why does a good God allow suffering? Well, join the club. Okay, you can still share the gospel. You can still share Jesus. You can still get back to the gospel.

You can still say, yeah, you made a good point there. I learned some stuff. But what do you think about Jesus? Well, evolution says blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Oh good. Good point. what did you think about Jesus?

You could just be a broken record. You could just continually redirect it because none of that is a threat to Jesus. None of that is a threat to anything. Okay, so always just get back to the gospel. You can just put it in your head if you need to put a little southern accent on it so you remember it, you go get on back to the gospel, right?

You just get that in your head. You’re like, oh, I’m in a spiritual. I’m in a spiritual battle. Do I need to prove I’m right? No, you got to get on back to that gospel. That’s what you got to do, okay? That’s what you gotta do, right? You cannot get derailed. Okay? Just so, like, you can hear my stupid accent in your head.

Somebody’s like, what about, you know, there’s only one. You’re like, get on back to that gospel, okay? Just that’s what you got to do. The gift of God. Okay, so we’re just planting. We’re just sowing seed. And then we’re going to we will need to drive defensively. I talked about this a little bit. I’m going to make my rest of my points quickly, because I know we have kids that are in, in the junior church now, but, we want to drive defensively, not offensively.

So you’re steering the car. somebody is bringing up an objection. They’re talking about evil. They’re talking about how is there only one way to God. They’re talking about how can you say I’m a sinner? How can you say LGBTQ is a sin? How can you say any of this stuff? Well, you drive defensively. You should be able to respond to it.

But you don’t need to drive offensively. You do not need the middle finger for this. You do not need the middle finger for this. You can, with gentleness and respect, you just go, oh okay. Like tell me what you what you think about it and you will use questions. This is the one thing I want to say if you want to argue like Jesus.

Study how Jesus argued. Jesus argued with questions, Greg Coco and tactics. He has two questions that he uses all the time. And I’ve used them. And this this works, this works in any conversation, you can use these two questions. The first one is, what do you mean by that? Turn to the person next to you and say, what do you mean by that?

I’m just kidding. I’m saying I could say it in a nice in a nice way. Okay. What do you mean by that? Okay. So somebody goes, oh, I’m, you know, I’m a wicked. They go, oh, I’m a wicked actually. You go, oh, what do you mean by that? And all of a sudden now you reverse the conversation. You went back in the driver’s seat.

Now it’s their turn to say things. You’re going to listen. You’re going to learn. You bought yourself some time. Just make sense. Okay. question number two. How did you come to that conclusion? Turn to the person next to you and say, how did you come to that conclusion? Okay. Someone goes, someone says, hey, all Christians, all Christians are haters.

They’re all right wingers. You go, how’d you come to that conclusion? Well, because this politician did this and they all do this. Oh, well, what do you mean by this? Oh, because this. Oh, how did you how did you come to that conclusion. You again you can just broken record draw them out more and more and more till you fully understand their position.

And it’s going to be maybe hard for you to listen to it. It might take you a long time to get the whole thing vomited out in front of you, and then you’re like, okay, I see the vomit. Now we can clean this thing up and we can start and get the mop out. But if you still have vomit in the person’s stomach, you know you’re fighting a losing battle there.

All right. Okay. That illustration came to me right there from the Holy Spirit. Okay. All right. So I always add I always add one more question to this that I use. I say, what does that mean to you? So turn to the person next to you and say, what does that mean to you? All right. I feel like I’m ready to be a pastor in Arkansas now.

I’ve told you guys to tell your neighbor so many, so many things. Okay, so when someone says, I don’t believe in a god that could send people to hell, you say, what do you mean by hell? What do you mean by God? Hell? What does that mean to you? What does justice mean to you? Sin. Oh, you don’t believe people are sinners?

What do you mean by sinner? Start to understand it and start to explain to them on their same level, with their same words that they’re using. So you can forge an understanding. And again, when you have these questions ready, those are really your tactics, those three questions. What do you mean by that? How did you come to that conclusion.

And what does that mean to you? That’s really all you have to memorize. So somebody is like cutting in your lane. Oh, these people are cutting in my lane. You’re ready to defensively drive. You say, why is this person in my lane? What do they mean by this okay. No. So you can say you don’t need the middle finger for it okay.

You just keep your gentleness on. you just say oh tell me more about that. It’s interesting. I’m learning. You can even say, oh, I’m learning. Thank you for telling me about this. You know, it’s great as you go. Thank you for educating me about this. Like. Oh, yeah, that’s right. I’m a I’m an educator, you know, and they’ve and they educate you more and more and more.

And then you have a chance to educate them at some point. Okay. And once you’ve listened to them, the time will come that you can respond and you can confront things that they’ve said that don’t make sense, or that are based on a wound or that are based on something that happened to them or something that you can just actually minister to them with love and with grace and say, hey, I just you know, I heard what you said.

I’m really sorry that that happened to you. Jesus would never do that to you. And I’ve deflected I’ve heard the whole objection and I’ve I’ve tracked it back to Jesus. I’ve expressed empathy, and I’ve tracked it back to Jesus. Does this make sense? Okay. So all you really need are these tactics. I would encourage you to learn responses to all the the objections that I brought up.

They’re very important response is you should know how to talk about issues in our culture like abortion, LGBTQ, how can a good God, allow evil, all those things? You’re going to hear him all the time. How can there only be one way to God? How can a sincere Muslim, end up judge where a bad Christian is not right?

Those are all good questions. Let everybody hear me say that you can bring your friends to this church, because they can ask these questions here. They’re not going to be judged for asking these questions, because guess who’s asking those questions? anybody else here that believes in Jesus? Okay. And we don’t always we can’t always say, well, I have the answer.

Exactly. But we can help people get to the point where they can walk with Jesus through these things if we’re willing to spend time talking with them. Okay. So the time is going to come at the end, you have to park the car and I’m going to park the sermon right? Okay. So you have to call for a response.

So if you’re able to share your testimony, you’re able to share Jesus. You want to say something like, you want to say something like, what holds you back from believing that? Or what do you think about that? What I just shared, that’s that’s the most simple thing. So, yeah, Jesus saved my life. I was addicted to all these substances.

I lived in despair. I had no hope, and he brought me out of that. What do you think about that? Isn’t that awesome? Are you just like you put something out there and they go, okay, they have to actually respond something to it. And then you say something like, do you want to have a relationship with God? Do you want to know who Jesus is today, your day to give your life to the Lord?

What holds you back right now from saying, I want to let go of my sin. I want to be totally forgiven, and I want to walk with Jesus the rest of my life. And then you Just wait. You’ll want to fill it in and be like, but we don’t really have to talk about it. You want to. You’ll want to soften it. Oh, it’s okay, you know, but you just you leave the pause out there. Do you want to give him your life? And you let the Holy Spirit do something with that? You through the Holy Spirit, a lot of red meat. He’s going to do a lot, a lot with that, okay. Because you said, Jesus, you talked about it. You’re leaving it out there, you’re calling. You’re like, hey, let’s read. Like, let’s actually call this person to believe in Jesus. Let’s get their number and let’s plug them in, like, let’s, let’s do this thing. Okay? So you always want to call for that response. I love those statements that I just said. I will often say, so believing in Jesus, is that something you’re interested in doing right now? What holds you back from that right now? Is today your day? Right. so just learn a few of those things and be willing to call the person. And many of you, I believe, have people that you’ve lived your life in front of. They know that you’re legit. They know you’re a believer in Jesus. They’ve seen something different in you. And if you were to have an intentional conversation with them, you were to hear out all their objections and get them out of the way. You could then say, do you want to join the family? Do you want to come in? And they would. So father, I just thank you so much for your word. Thank you for Jesus, who is always seeking after us, even at our lowest place, and who had dealings with us even when we were way outside of His Holiness and God. I pray that we would be those, that reach out with love and authenticity and with listening and with compassion, and that we would learn about our neighbors, we would learn about our friends, and we would be, just very equipped, effective witnesses for the gospel. I pray that through this message and just through the truth of your word, we would see many, many lives brought into the Kingdom of heaven. I pray that you would equip your people with these tactics, and with the power of the Holy Spirit most of all, that they would begin these conversations and pray all this in Jesus name, Amen. Amen. All right. Amen. Thank you, Pastor David. You know, 75% of Christians know that we’re supposed to do this. And 66% never do it. That’s why we’re talking about this. We want this to just become a regular part of our life. So thank you guys. Thank you for being here today for our visitors. We are heading over across the parking lot to something we call fellowship, where we just eat a meal together and we would love for you to join us. So if you are interested in that, you want to spend some more time getting to know people, hear word of life fellowship, do stick around and, enjoy some food with us. Thank you everybody. We will see you Wednesday.

In the realm of sharing our faith, Pastor David Lien offers a refreshing perspective—one rooted in empathy, understanding, and respectful dialogue. His teachings provide practical insights into how we can effectively engage with others about our faith without compromising respect or understanding.

“Jesus didn’t stay in heaven; He took on human flesh, died in our place, and rose from the dead.”

Pastor David Lien, Sunday Service 07.07.24

Understanding Empathy in Evangelism

Central to Pastor David’s approach is empathy. He encourages us not only to listen but to truly hear others—to understand their perspectives, concerns, and life experiences. This foundational empathy allows us to connect on a deeper level, creating space for genuine dialogue about faith.

“Our friendship isn’t just for this life; it’s about offering eternal friendship through Christ.”

Pastor David Lien, Sunday Service 07.07.24

Navigating Spiritual Conversations with Grace

When faced with objections or differing beliefs, Pastor David advises a gentle approach of inquiry rather than debate. He suggests asking questions like “What do you mean by that?” or “How did you come to that conclusion?” These questions help clarify misunderstandings and create openings for meaningful conversations.

“You don’t need to have all the answers; just get back to the gospel. That’s what you gotta do.”

Pastor David Lien, Sunday Service 07.07.24

Keeping Jesus at the Center

Above all, Pastor David emphasizes keeping Jesus central in our discussions. Instead of getting lost in theological arguments, he encourages redirecting conversations back to the person of Jesus Christ—His love, His sacrifice, and His message of redemption.

Practical Steps for Effective Evangelism

  • Listen Intently: Actively listen to others’ stories and beliefs. Demonstrate genuine interest in understanding their journey.
  • Ask Thoughtful Questions: Use questions to guide conversations towards deeper spiritual truths. Encourage reflection and exploration of faith.
  • Share from the Heart: When sharing your own faith journey, do so authentically and with vulnerability. Personal stories can often resonate more deeply than abstract arguments.

Embracing the Journey

Evangelism, as Pastor David teaches, is not about winning arguments or converting others forcefully. It’s about building relationships, demonstrating love, and sharing the hope found in Jesus Christ authentically. It’s a journey of walking alongside others, respecting their beliefs, and gently pointing towards a life-changing encounter with Jesus.

“We’re not just called to talk about our faith; we’re called to live it out in front of others.”

Pastor David Lien, Sunday Service 07.07.24


Pastor David Lien’s approach to evangelism challenges us to rethink how we engage with others about our faith. It’s about more than just sharing words; it’s about embodying the love and grace of Christ in every interaction. As we practice empathy, ask meaningful questions, and keep Jesus at the center, we can make evangelism a natural extension of our faith journey—a journey marked by understanding, respect, and transformative encounters with the living God.

Call to Action

Are you ready to approach evangelism with empathy and grace? Start today by listening deeply, asking thoughtful questions, and sharing your faith journey authentically. Together, let’s impact lives with the love and hope found in Jesus Christ.

Study Guide


  1. Personal Reflection: Share a moment when someone’s listening and understanding made a significant impact on you.
  2. Current Events: How do you think Christians should engage with cultural or societal issues today?
  3. Spiritual Journeys: What’s one aspect of your faith journey that has shaped your understanding of God?

Sermon Summary: Pastor David Lien’s sermon emphasizes the importance of personal engagement and empathy in evangelism. He encourages listeners to actively listen, understand others’ perspectives, and steer conversations towards Jesus with gentleness and respect. The sermon provides practical tactics such as asking clarifying questions and maintaining a gentle demeanor when addressing objections.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do Pastor David Lien’s tactics for evangelism challenge or align with your current approach?
  2. What role does empathy play in effective evangelism, based on Pastor David’s teachings?
  3. Pastor David mentions using transition questions like “What do you mean by that?” How might this approach deepen spiritual conversations?
  4. How can Christians balance sharing their beliefs with respecting others’ perspectives, as discussed in the sermon?
  5. Reflecting on Pastor David’s illustration of climbing the mountain versus God coming down to us, how does this affect your understanding of faith?
  6. What objections to Christianity or faith have you encountered, and how might you apply Pastor David’s advice in responding to them?
  7. In what ways can we practically apply the concept of “defensively driving” in spiritual conversations without being offensive?
  8. How does the idea of “parking the car” in evangelism apply to your personal interactions with non-believers or seekers?

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for Pastor David Lien’s message today, reminding us of the importance of listening, understanding, and sharing your love with others. Grant us the wisdom and compassion to engage with those around us in meaningful conversations about faith. Help us to represent you well and to lead others closer to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.