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May 26, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Jeff Musgrave begins a three-part series on “Evangelism.” Jeff has more than 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry, and he now travels the world, training believers in evangelism and discipleship. Today’s message is titled “Learning to Ask Questions and Listen,” from the book of John.
Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program preacher sermons from travel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform were beginning a three part series on evangelism, led by Dr. Jeff Musgrave.
Jeff has more than 30 years experience in pastoral ministry and he now travels the world training believers in evangelism and discipleship. We are honored to have speaking in Chapel Dr. Jeff Musgrave.
I've known Jeff for many many years I preached in this church that he started in Highlands Baptist Church in Colorado on many occasions and for many years.
Jeff is been traveling in a special itinerant ministry where he goes in the local churches and he actually helps people in the matter of learning how to be relational in evangelism and discipleship and outreach and going in the end up in a number of ways I think this is a really important week. First of all because of the nature of COBIT is been really difficult to just get out and talk to people and share the gospel with people on one the one hand, and secondly were coming into the summer as we move forward as the as the masking protocols in the health protocols will begin to have some significant changes. We also want to make sure that we are working hard at what the Lord is called us to do and that is to share the gospel where we go. I was preaching yesterday in Houston Texas and Saturday night I went out with the pastor and I was I was very if I could say this way and impressed and challenged at the way he just so naturally share the gospel with the waiter that we had the restaurant where we were eating and I was thinking that is exactly the way we ought to be all the time spreading the good news everywhere we go. So I go this week really is to focus our attention and our heart on the preaching of the gospel and I'm so glad that he is here so let's give Dr. Musgrave a warm welcome as he comes this morning. Thank you, Dr. Pettit, you already heard that my wife and I travel around teaching people what we love to call relational evangelism. We believe that discipleship is actually a human to human relationship builds a human to God. Relationships of God calls us to make disciples, then I believe that relationship comes everything and so over the next three days were going to do our best to share a little bit about what God has taught us through the years about how we can use relationships to be able not only to make friends, but literally a paternal friends friends that will be our friends forever have a granddaughter who took our class and she was talking to her neighbor and she told her neighbor. You know, if you don't know Jesus. You can't go to heaven but if you trust Jesus we can be friends in heaven forever and and in some respects I really believe that that's kind of the childlike friendship that we ought to extend to everyone recognizing that we have something that they desperately need and that if we are the kind of friend that we ought to be to them will be able to get to to the gospel and give it to them. So these chapel messages may be a little unconventional in comparison to what you may be expecting the first to specifically are going to be very different today I want to talk about how to get in the gospel conversations and I'm really going to talk primarily about how to be a compelling conversation was how we can be the kind of people that other people want to talk to. I think some of the things are going to talk to about today will help you in every aspect of your life, but specifically in helping you to be able to reach people for Christ tomorrow. II want to talk about the content of our gospel conversations were exiting a focus on looking at a app that we developed. You might want to look at it. Between now and then go to your app store.
The Google play store and find it.
It's called the exchange message And will be looking at that tomorrow and then actually walking through a gospel content so we would know exactly what were going to help our friends with and then on Wednesday I want to motivate us to actually pursue gospel conversations by helping us to believe that God has given us the power to influence our friends for Christ and so hopefully it will be at a three days that you will enjoy and that will be helpful to us since discipleship is all about relationships that you would assume by the way the title of this morning's message is learning to ask questions and listen. It's interesting that we don't really think of that aspect in terms of being a good conversationalist. We tend to think in terms of how can how can I get someone to listen to me. How can I talk but I believe that will see that Jesus was actually the master of asking questions. We were just talking about this this morning. He knows everything and yet you look in Scripture and see how many times he asked specific questions of people and how important asking questions is in his conversations that he has with people where to look. Just a second. If you don't mind to ask Chapter 11 asked Chapter 11 and it's the first church plant that we see in heathen territory.
You would assume that discipleship is not so central in disciple making, then we would see extremely relationships central you would see relationships in these church plants early in the book of acts. This is the first church plant where Jesus had not actually preached and so this is the first time anybody had traveled far enough from Jerusalem to be able to be in a place Jesus had in preached and the Bible tells us that there were a dispersion there was a dispersion among the Christians in Jerusalem and some travel as far as Antioch and some of the Grecian Christians began to have conversations with other Grecian Christians are resuming other Greeks.
They were Christians yet and through the means of conversation they were able to give them the gospel, and I believe that we see here a relational bridge that can be very very helpful to us. What happens is just as this.
This is Monday. If you can imagine from last Sunday to the day. How many of you have had an opportunity to preach in the last week. Let me see your hands. Okay, so several good let me ask you this how many of you had a chance to have a conversation with someone during those same a period of days and I only want to show us that in life we have a lot more conversation opportunities than we do preaching opportunities in view and I am going around looking for places we can give the gospel I'm just telling you you're not going to find very many right off the bat preaching opportunities. But if you and I are going around looking for conversations you're gonna find them everywhere and I believe that in this passage you will see that when they spoke to them and had conversations with them. Found things that they had in common and then directed those conversations the gospel there was a bridge that help them. There's a second bridge in that passage, I would invite you to go study through but will not have time to look at that this morning I would encourage you to start looking for conversation opportunities literally just to just start walking through life a little slower. Looking around you and noticing the people God puts in your path and strive to engage in conversations as often as you possibly can and then to strive to take those conversations deeper so that you're actually talking about heart issues.
Soul issues and I believe you will find that those conversations are quite easy to direct specifically to the gospel. There's a life resolve that I've made that I'd love to share with you and love to encourage you to consider making this your life resolve I resolve to direct every conversation I possibly can to the theme of themes learn of that souls need and if possible needed. We believe that in this world we live in when people come to the table with less information about God and about the Bible that it usually takes more time for truth versus brief encounters with a brief gospel. So I believe that if we will learn the importance and of compelling conversations and by the word compelling. What I mean is that the other person wants to talk to you so you're having a conversation with this person in which they are enjoying it and they want to talk to you. I actually believe that we can learn to be curious about people and and just ask God to give me the ability to show the people he brings in my life. Genuine interest and concern so I'm in a could jump into the middle of a session that I typically teach in our seminars and so your beer.
If you feel like were getting jerked just a little bit you're gonna get dropped right down into but this is kind of the heart of the session, I want to use our time wisely so I believe that one of the most important parts of the conversation is just learning how to ask questions at that that can help us get to know the person were talking about. Be careful though because you need to avoid questions that are that can be answered with yes or no answers. You can have a lot of awkward pauses.
If you're asking questions like are you new to the area. Yes, do you like it here though and and you all of a sudden this conversation is gone, both negative and very quiet. So what you need to do is is to be able to ask positive questions that will help you get genuine information about the person. So where you from, then they have to actually talk back to me and tell me something so you can ask questions that lead to a positive answer like what you like about the area so far and and there's two things about that question that is powerful. Number one, I'm kind of leaning into something positive, but number two there accident to tell me what they like and I'm beginning to learn what they are like most questionnaire conversations if they stay on the surface, it's not going to be very warm and very compelling for very long.
And so with the careful not to go to serious too quickly because that comes a little strange. Maybe a little awkward weird so but as we ask questions we can begin that spiral to think in these words go deeper so I like to think of it is going from surface to soul conversations and you can do that by simply asking some questions now so why did you and your family movie or what brings you to town so you see what were doing were going from where you work, what you like about the area. Those are just surface questions now to what's making your life tick. What's going on inside of your life and eventually we could ask the question, how do you feel about your move because now were talking about what's going on inside of the heart.
I have found that if were talking about the weather.
I have a really hard time going from boy it's beautiful out here today if you were to die today. Are you hundred percent sure you're on your way to heaven.
It's it's it's it's it's a little strange.
It's a go straight from surface topic to the gospel. But if you and I can learn to direct conversations to soul topics. From there, it is not difficult when a person tells me that they're afraid because their child is struggling with drugs and alcohol. I can easily say to them, you know when I struggle with things like that. It's my relationship with God that really helps me ask a question how would you describe your relationship with God. And that's not a strange conversation because we've already been talking about things on the heart issue like to encourage you to recognize five soul needs that every human has in these five soul needs. If you can learn to direct conversations toward them or at least to recognize them when you're getting close loneliness and emptiness fear, love, or lack of love, every human soul needs to love and to be loved, and guilt is a God made me to have a perfect relationship with him and my sin separates me from him and leaves an empty spot inside of me and as we began to talk and in a normal conversation and these topics come up, we can see the Lord allowing us to be able to turn the conversation, may I encourage you to learn to be a good listener to give you a couple of values of listening number one.
Listening shows respect. Respect is simply placing value on a person. It when you listen to your friend, you're actually showing him that he's valuable to you. I believe that trust is an important component in a relationship for us to be able to share with someone something so intimate as to how Jesus can meet the needs of their brother Pettit told you that we've known each other for several years and I remember one of the earliest meetings that he was having in our church with talking about this subject. And he said to me Jeff. I can't imagine leading someone to the Lord parts to me. Someone being led to the Lord by someone they don't like and I actually believe that having relationship with someone which they can enjoy us and like us is importance of showing respect, listening builds relationships. Dell Carnegie is said, you can make more friends in two weeks. By becoming a good listener than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you. Listening builds loyalty. You see when you listen to your friend what you can find is that the two of you are going to draw closer to one another. Everybody needs a good friend who will listen to it. John Maxwell has said most people consider listening to be pretty easy and consider themselves pretty good listeners. However, few are capable of really listening that concerns me. He says it is never too late to become a good listener and can change your life and the lives of the people showing listening shows people that you care about them. We all know the statement. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. So what are some traits of a good listener number one, don't just waiting for your chance to talk.
That's not listening that's just waiting. Listening is focusing on the other person and what they're saying. Great listeners don't talk about themselves when you're in a conversation and you hear the word I coming up repeatedly. It's time for you to start asking questions of the other person.
Show your friend that you're listening to them ministry how to kill a conversation real quick can't hang on just a minute just like I just I just need to some real quick.
See when we stop what were doing and start focusing on something else we've actually told our friend what's happening here on my phone is more important than the new right now and so I you and I can help our friend Noah were listening by actually looking at them focusing on them, you can respond to your friend verbally to help him know you're listening. You can refer to something that he said probably one of the greatest ways to be able to take a conversation deeper is just to simply ask a follow-up question to what the person just said because literally what you're saying is go-ahead go a little deeper there and that subject. And of course that's our goal in trying to get down to sulfur impact conversations on track with your friend listening takes aim, but it's worth it. So the bottom line to being a good conversationalist is to create a desire for the gospel. I actually believe that put relational evangelism is is really just taking Christ in you up close and personal to another person so that they can see Christ in you, the Bible tells us that Jesus is the water of life. He will meet their needs but we all know you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, but you can put salt in his oats and then you want to drink that's really what a good conversation can do is let us God calls the salt of the earth make people thirsty for Jesus by our own lives.
In conversations, be sensitive to needs. When you find a need show interest in it. Show concern about it. Explore and everybody has a need and you can find that need to begin to meet those needs to be surprised how far you can get into a person's life. Learning to share your own story of faith with an open heart is one of the great ways for people to open their hearts to the gospel and so I think learning to be transparent in our online think it's interesting the book of John.
The Bible tells us the John wrote to help unbelievers become believers.
The Bible says that Jesus did many other things in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, and believing you might have life in his name.
So I think it would be good for us just enclosing here and I know I still have just a few minutes but I have a few things to do yet to look at the book of John and look at just a few of Jesus conversations what is run through them and kind of stuck out from them. Some of the conversation tools that he uses someone start with John chapter 1. When you're reading the book of John. If you're reading from a red letter edition of the Bible. I would suggest that you notice how the red letters in the black letters back and forth because you're not seen as many discourses as you as you are conversations.
I think it's very very interesting. I was good for me.
Not that I was able to accomplish a lot on the road. We only had six seminars will usually have well over almost 30 but I did get a book written in the books title is conversations with Jesus just simply a walk through the book of John and learning about Jesus and I wrote it specifically to help unbelievers become believers for believing friend to take his friend through it. The very first words that Jesus says in the book of John is, what are you seeking he's talking to two of John's disciples and I actually believe that it's really instructive for us to know number one the very first thing he did was ask a question that's the first words we see from Jesus in the book but but literally helping us to recognize what we really want to find with our friend in conversation is what you looking for life, and then the ultimate question just comes right after and when Jesus says follow me and that's how I just want to know that is the ultimate question, so wherever we go, starting conversations, the question is are you willing to follow Jesus and put your trust in him right now so that's that's where were headed. That's where we want to take our conversations when disciples of John asked Jesus where you staying, his response was, come and see. That's interesting he could is that when you go down to the butcher shop and turn left and you go to the carpenter shop and turn right.
Go to the industry that were in Spain, but he didn't do see how relational that is it's not just informational. By the way the gospel is informational but it's relational by nature. Come with me I'll show you, and I believe that that's the lifestyle that we need to develop in our lives. It's interesting the just a few verses later Philip, one of the first disciples meets Nathaniel and Corsi 20,000 Jesus the Messiah. Nathaniel says I don't think so my Messiah doesn't come from Nazareth and Jesus note Philip to fill out his apologetic… Oh no, he's really born in Bethlehem and fulfilled 15 Old Testament prophecies, but that's not what he did. Listen to this question.
He said come and see not to. Two things about that number one where did you learn that and I believe is just from Jesus a few verses earlier but but number two what was actually saying here's what I believe you say, look, and meet Jesus for yourself because of you know Jesus like I know Jesus you're gonna love them as much as I do and frankly friends. That's what evangelism is is just inviting people to come and meet Jesus for themselves in one of the first conversation you see with Jesus and Nicodemus. I think it's interesting that Nicodemus is a theologian and Jesus talks to him on the level of a theologian. That's interesting because were seated something totally different in the next chapter. It's also interesting to notice that Jesus started where he was on the surface and then move the conversation to level Jesus didn't hold back a central truth, even if it shocked Nicodemus when he said to him you must be born again. It's also interesting that Jesus did not expect Nicodemus to make a decision that very first time. He talked to him. John allows us to see Nicodemus two more times in this passage when he finally trust Christ as Savior.
It's interesting the next chapter with the woman at the well. Jesus is talking to her on a very practical basis, not a theological level and I think it's very instructive for us it. I do think it's helpful for us to recognize as well that Jesus went there looking for her, it says I must needs go through Jerusalem.
Jesus graciously spoke to her and ask her to help him. This is a very interesting revelation about Jesus and this is the master of the universe who literally can speak and things exist and he's asking this woman for help. When the Bible says that the Jews have no dealings with the Gentiles literature literally what it meant was they don't touch. There's so when Jesus took her vessel and took a drink from her vessel. This was this was quite a communication tool in terms of letting him know how he felt about her. He offered her a better source of water.
After he asked her for water, and I think it's very interesting.
Taking those conversations from surface to soul.
She she said and says how do you have water and he says if you come to me.
The water that I will give you will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
So is delving into those eternal matters think it's interesting you study it, there's lots of conversational tools but ultimately what Jesus did in that conversation was revealed himself to the woman at the well and ultimately our goal for every relationship is to introduce our friend who Jesus is and how he can relate to them. The invalid at the well in verse chapter 5 he Jesus simply asked the question, do you want to be healed.
I think it's interesting all of us are broken and one way or another everyone of us and I think one of the things that we can help people with his recognize we have a solution to their brokenness. Because Jesus makes a difference in people's lives and just simply asking the question, do you want to get over this. This is this problem something you want to solve. And I think it's also interesting that Jesus healed him, but then found him again and will see that as a recurrent theme in the passage verse to skip chapter 8 and then go straight to chapter 9 there is a man there that was born blind that the disciples asked Jesus so Jesus he was born blind who send that he would get blindness was his parents. Was it him and I think it's interesting.
This is instructive to me.
The disciples were focusing on the past. Why did this happen and Jesus was focusing on the future God's power is gonna be put on display. That's why this happened because of what the possibility of God, being put on display. It's interesting that Jesus found him a second time. This is this is a reoccurring theme that we find what Jesus and the Jesus touches a life and then goes back and touches it a second time and in this particular time he asked him do you believe in the Son of Man, the man did not know what to say and solicit who is the Son of Man, Jesus revealed himself to him and the man said, Lord, I believe he worshiped him, and ultimately friends that that's what we are asking our friends.
This will work. Our goal is with our friends.
We want them to believe, to confess with your mouth and plan to worship him as Lord in their lives. So I summarize with just four concepts your number one ask questions number to go deeper.
Number three show compassion number four revealed Jesus Lord, I want to thank you for allowing us to spend this time together and I pray that as we spend this time together each day this week that we will learn to go deeper in our conversations have gospel conversations, I would ask that as a result of the time we spend together here this week that we would see friends in heaven because we have begun to get the gospel chance and we thank you Lord for what you're doing what you're going to do in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Jeff Musgrave, which is part of the series on evangelism preached at Bob Jones University listen again tomorrow is we continue this series on The Daily Platform