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When we speak of “evangelism,” many of us may think first of a public proclamation of the gospel. The reality, however, is that whether we realize it or not, each one of us preaches a message through the way that we live. In fact, our actions speak much more loudly than our words. So, it isn’t just our proclamation that matters. Our verypresence in a community says something about the God we serve.

  1. In 1 Thess 4:11-12 we read, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so you will not be dependent on anybody.”
    1. What is the reputation of Christianity around the world? What do “outsiders” think of when they hear about Christianity?
    2. On a more local level, what does your community think about your local church? Is your reputation earned?
    3. On an even more personal level, what do your neighbors, coworkers, and business associates (or competitors) think of you? Have you won their respect through your daily life? How about your own children?
    4. Which is easier to do: proclaim the gospel through our words, or, to live the gospel in our daily lives?
    5. Is there a tension between public proclamation of our faith and leading “a quiet life” and minding our “own business,” as 1 Thess 4 says?
  2. According to Acts 9:36, “In Joppa, there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.” Is this sort of humanitarian aid of secondary importance to the explicit, public proclamation of the gospel? Is the “social gospel” merely a preparation for the real gospel–or is helping others in their distress evangelism?
  3. Look at the definition of true religion in James 1:27. If this is so, do you belong to the true church?
  4. I worked as a literature evangelist for one summer in a city not far from home. It was fascinating to me to watch the reaction of people when they found out I was a Seventh-day Adventist. Many didn’t know anything about my denomination. Many were confused. A few knew something, but what they knew wasn’t what I wished they knew! If a local church is living as they ought to live, what should be their reputation in the community? What should they be known for? Does John 13:35 help to answer this question?
  5. I’d like to conclude with two quotations from E. G. White. In what ways do these statements encourage us? How do these statements challenge us? “A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity” (GW 122). “Too often the influence of the sermon preached from the pulpit is counteracted by the sermon preached in the lives of those who claim to be advocates of the truth” (9T 21).

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