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Can You Be a Disciple of Christ and Not Talk to Strangers About Jesus?

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
March 10, 2023 7:00 pm

Can You Be a Disciple of Christ and Not Talk to Strangers About Jesus?

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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March 10, 2023 7:00 pm

Jesse Connors co-host of Share the Truth interviews Dr. David Wheeler Professor of Evangelism at Liberty University.

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Hello, this is Matt Slick from the Matt Slick Live Podcast, where I defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundations of the truth of God's Word. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. This is the Truth Network. Hello and welcome to Share the Truth Now. I'm one of the hosts for this wonderful program that's going across the country on the airwaves and on video. And we are so thankful to be here with you.

I am sitting with a very special person. His name is Dr. David Wheeler. He is the evangelism professor at Liberty University, and he has been in this role for many years.

And he has thousands of students. I'm just so thankful to be here with you. I appreciate the opportunity.

I appreciate what you're doing with this as well, too. The church needs to wake up and be sharing the gospel. And I think the opportunity here to kind of prod the church a little bit or just encourage them, probably a little better word, that the gospel is needed now more than ever.

Absolutely. And boy, we have a good show for you. You are going to be so blessed by the information that we are going to cover. So stay tuned right now for what we're going to be talking about.

Make sure that you pray that God's Spirit is going to open up your eyes. And we are going to challenge you maybe like you've never been challenged before. So, Dr. Wheeler, what does a day in the life look like for a professor that has thousands of students? Well, it's a busy day, I can tell you that. I've been married to my wife for 40 years. I have two daughters. One of them is married. I have two grandsons.

They're all a part of my life, too, and a great son-in-law as well. I have about a thousand students this semester. Those 70-hour weeks come often. I also work as the senior executive director for the L.U. Shepherd office, so I'm one of our campus pastors. Trust me, it is a busy, busy day.

Well, thank you so much for what you're doing. And, you know, we have talked together about this new LifeWay research study that came out, and it blew our mind. Because we're seeing that in 2022 that there are 73% of unbelievers that are willing to talk to a stranger about Jesus, but less than 1% of Christians we know of that are actually able or doing that type of work to communicate with strangers. So we're seeing this disconnect.

The harvest is really plentiful, and the laborers are few. And I was going to ask you, why do you think that is? Well, I think obviously it's sin, it's fear, it's the devil, it's spiritual warfare. We need to realize, I think we underestimate the power of spiritual warfare. I don't think we prepare ourselves in prayer, those kind of things, for the battle that we're going to go into.

I think it's misinformation, too. I think the idea that evangelism is for everybody else, you know, it's not for me. The misunderstanding that it's not a command of Scripture, but yet the last words that Jesus speaks in Acts 1, he says, you will be my witnesses. I think discipleship over the years has taught that, you know, well, let's just go to another Bible study, which is important. We need to enrich the mind, but if we never engage the harder hands, how are we going to reach the world with the gospel? Because real discipleship should always seek to take the evangelized, become evangelizers.

So, yes, it is everybody's responsibility. We're not going to all do it the same way, but we all have the same message. The purpose of the church is to glorify God. The mission of the church is to make his name known, and that's for all of us. So, are you saying that you can't be a disciple of Jesus Christ without incorporating evangelism into your life? I don't think you can be an obedient disciple of Jesus Christ unless you're actually involved in sharing the gospel of Christ. Are you saying, too, that you have to incorporate strangers into your evangelism?

I think we have to follow the model of Jesus, and wherever Jesus went, he met strangers. I mean, you see Philip with the Ethiopian eunuch. He was dispersed because of, you know, the martyrdom of Stephen, and what did he do? He goes out, this layman goes out and shares the gospel. What does Paul do within three days after he's had that road to Damascus experience? He's out sharing with people, Jesus. He saw Zacchaeus, you know, the woman who touched him of his garment.

He was always out touching people's lives. Right, and you're triggering my mind, too, because I think of the woman at the well, a stranger, his disciples. He said, come follow me, and they didn't know each other either, and then go two by two, right? That's exactly right.

And dust off the feet, and go on to the next one. So he's dealing with rejection from strangers, and then you also have the biggest commandment of all, to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbors yourself. And then what happens is someone asks Jesus, well, who's your neighbor? That's right.

And what does he do? Remember that? He gave him the Samaritan, was it?

I mean, you know, again. And the Samaritan is helping a stranger. That's exactly right. And I don't see hardly any, I don't see hardly any relationships that have been like, I've known you for 25 days, and now I'm finally ready to share the gospel with you.

It just is a very quick interaction and a quick turn to what's really important. That's exactly right. And that's getting the gospel to that person, because hell is real. That's exactly right. And we need to understand that there are no strangers with God. Right. There are no strangers with him. God knows all of that.

He orchestrates all of this. To die for anyone. That's exactly right. I mean, that's why I like to say that the 99, you know, we are the 99, but the ones that are around us, they're the one, you know? That's exactly right.

And Jesus would come just for them. Dr. Wheeler, my goodness, what has happened? Why is it that less than 1% of Christians are willing to go off and share their faith?

What is happening? Well, I think we've been force fed for the last 30, 40 years. This whole idea that it's not my gift. You know, we talk about missions, but we disconnect missions from evangelism. We take mission trips halfway across the world, never share the gospel, that kind of thing. You know, we serve people. And I certainly believe in serving people. You know I love serving evangelism. But service without the evangelism part of that.

There's something wrong with that. We can't disconnect those two. I think what's happened over the years, truthfully, Jesse, is that we've become comfortable. We've bought into comfort and not commitment. I tell my students all the time, let me say this.

I tell my students all the time, a faith that you're not willing to die for will soon become a faith you're not willing to live for. Oh, that's good. You also trigger my mind because my wife, I was depressed, right? I'm like, oh my gosh, I can't handle this. I know people are going to hell. I know I need to reach them. I feel this in my heart.

But what's wrong with the church? I just was so confused. And my wife, I could see this shot of the Holy Spirit flow through her. And she looks at me, are we in the last days? I'm like, I mean, the disciples thought that we were in the last days. And I saw this serious face across my wife, like, don't mess around right now. And I said, okay, well, you know what?

I believe we are in the last days. And guess what? Revelation 3 says the church of Laodicea was neither hot nor cold. So that means it wasn't a refreshing drink and it wasn't from the cold or from the hot. It wasn't refreshing, it was warm.

Who wants to drink lukewarm coffee? But Jesus says he spits them out. Dr. Wheeler, what another revelation. We are living the last days. This church is lukewarm.

That's why it's so hard to pinpoint. It's because we're worshiping God still. We're still singing songs. But in the midst of it, we're not going out of those walls and talking about Jesus to anybody.

That's exactly right. You know, I'll give you a good example, Jesse, just of something about a stranger that happened to me a few years ago. I was traveling to a speaking engagement in Northern Virginia, actually heading up to Pennsylvania. Stopped off by a gas station just to get something real quickly. When I walked in, I saw a guy over in the corner using a water spigot, just filling up jugs of water. And it was a hot day and I thought, I bet you his car overheated. So I started walking back out of the car, out of the store, because I was in a hurry to get to the place I was going. God prompted me, the Holy Spirit prompted me to go back and tell him, say, listen, I bet your car overheated. He said, yeah. I said, it's a hot day. How far down the interstate is it?

About a mile and a half. I said, why don't you come out? I'll drive you back there. So we were walking out to the car.

I'll never forget this. He looked at me and he said, why would you do this? I said, well, this is what Christians should do.

And he got in the car and I thought, I don't have much time. So I looked at him and I said, hey, tell me about your spiritual beliefs. He said, man, I was a pseudo Christian for a long time. He said, and now I've been dabbling into Hinduism and Buddhism and all this kind of stuff. I said, well, is it working for you?

He says, no. I said, what are you looking for? He said, peace and contentment and purpose.

And I said, well, I think I can help you with that. And so when we pulled up behind this car on the interstate there, I said, his name is Jesus. And I walked into the gospel and this guy, I kid you not, began to weep on the side of the interstate and surrendered his life to Christ.

Praise the Lord. I want you to hear this. This is what he said. I, first thing I asked him, I said, I want to know who's been investing into your life that brought you to this point. Cause we've never met in our whole life. He said, you know, there's five guys at work that have been inviting me to their church.

They've been going the last six months. He said, I've heard what you said over and over again. He said, but today it made sense to me.

So let me say this to you. That guy was a stranger, but he wasn't a stranger to God. God orchestrated that. And he put me in that place at that time, just like he could put anybody else. Sometimes we will plow and plant where we will not harvest. And sometimes we will harvest who we have not plowed and planted, but it's all a part of God's plan. Again, to glorify him and to make his name known.

All right. And another major emphasis, there's two here that I see. Number one, the still small voice. That is a, the closer you get to God, the more you're in his word, you're going to hear this still small voice and you be obedient and you watch what happens. You know what we're talking about if you're a Christian. Secondly, you said that he taught four or five other people talk to him about Jesus.

Oh my gosh. Those are probably four or five other rejections that happened. And the people might've walked away like sad that they got, that they got those rejections, you know? And, but then what happened is it culminated into this awesome salvation story. So don't forget if you're rejected that it can culminate later on into this amazing story of redemption.

So don't be, don't be scared or afraid of rejection. That's just part of that salvation story. That's why the first thing I had him do was call those five guys to let them know they did not, they did not, they did not fail. We cannot fail if we're faithful. That's right. Oh my goodness. The only way we can fail is to be silent.

All right. Obviously there's a lot of people listening that just can't do this. They don't, they're not prepared.

The church didn't prepare them. We're here to help with that. And that's what this whole show is about.

The shareyourtruthnow.com website has all the tools you need on there to help you be an efficient Christian, to get out there and to experience the wonderful world that God has for you. The supernatural world. You talked about the Philip and talking to the eunuch. Man, he was reading the Bible at that time like the eunuch was.

And he was, he was like in the right passage at the right time. And then Philip comes in and he, and he shares exactly what he's reading. And those are moments you and I share all the time on the field for evangelism.

We're seeing us being the hands, the feet, and the mouthpiece of God. There isn't a better way to live than that people. And we're here to help you experience that type of life right now. What can people do to experience that type of life? Well, I think, first off, you've got to be expectant every single morning.

I think you've got to be intentional to share this. You've got to have some tools like what we have with the cards, what Jesse has with the cards. Yeah, we'll go into that in a minute. With truelife.org. But I think we have to be committed. I think get up every morning and ask God. Say, put somebody in my life who I can share the gospel with. I promise you, God's never failed me when I've asked him to do that. But I think we walk into our day and we're just going to do our thing.

And we're not expecting that. No, again, the only thing God cannot use is our silence. Yes. Oh, that's so good. So, in evangelism boot camp, it's on sharethetruthnow.com. You can get that as a free download.

Download that book. It talks to you about how to share your faith. It talks to you about how to pray every day.

And also, of course, we have truelife.org, which is waiting for you. All it is is an invitation card. That's what it seems like. But for those that are on camera, can we watch it? Our radio listeners can't see it. But it's information on the front. It could be the church information on the front. And on the back, it would be truelife.org.

So the person that's getting the card can get invited to church. And if they're not ready yet, they go to truelife.org. Well, what's on truelife.org? We have free video answers for atheists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims.

Whatever they are, we have free video answers. And they learn at the end that people talking to them are actually converted from that worldview. I mean, hello. That's who we want them to talk to, right? So we are giving out these invitation cards.

They can scan it, and they can see you even on top of the website. You can share your testimony. And you could actually be on there talking about your Jesus story.

It's called the Jesus Story Challenge. You can find out more about that at ShareTheTruthNow.com. You can also know this, that there is a great, wonderful network that we have across this country called The Truth Network. And you can get some of the best teaching 24-7 if you download that app. So I want to encourage you to download that app right now.

You can go to ShareTheTruthNow.com to do that. Dr. Wheeler, it has been an honor and a privilege, my brother, to be with you on the front lines for the last 15 years. And I'm so excited that we have the opportunity to ask you to join us on the front lines.

You will never regret it. So please join us again at Share The Truth Now on our next show. And you can go and get the extended version of our show right now at ShareTheTruthNow.com as well. And Dr. Wheeler, thank you so much for being with us. Thank you, Jesse. God bless you, buddy. God bless you too.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-11 17:11:44 / 2023-03-11 17:19:05 / 7

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