Basic Truths: Witnessing #5

Faith Church July 5, 1992

- We're in a Sunday School series on "Basic Bible Truths"

    - we've been studying those Basic Bible truths that every

       believer needs to know and be applying

- most recently we've studied the tongue, and what the Bible

    says about that important subject

- first we talked about all the wrong things (the Bible

    identfies) we could do with our tongues and how those

    things needed to be put off

- next we studied all the right things that could be done

 

- that has brought us to our current topic - the topic of

   witnessing

     - in other words - we're studying what God's Word says

        about using our tongues to tell others about Jesus

        Christ.

 

- now I realize we have different classes here this morning

   who are at different stages in the material

     - we also have folks who are visiting (and you're surely

        a special joy to us)

         - but to draw us all together and get us thinking

           the same way--let me ask you this:

 

    - INPUT - why is it important for us to study this

        subject?

          - whether you're a high schooler

          - you're newly married

          - you're middle aged

          - whatever comes after middle age...

 

- One of the keys to becoming more effective in this area is

   developing the ability to handle objections.

- now the Faith Bible class has already spent a week on that

   by discussing three or four of the more common objections

   and how they can be answered from God's Word.

 

- here's what I'd like to do today

 

- I'd like to begin by studying How to Develop A "Philosophy

   of Objections" (I'll tell you what I mean by that in a

   minute)

- If we have any time remaining , we'll look at some

  additional objections

    - now, the following week, Lord willing, our classes will

        be back in their regular settings and we'll catch

        everbody up so all that we will have all studied the

        same objections, just in a different order

 

- let's begin this morning by talking about: Developing A

     Philosophy of Objections

 

    - now when I say "philosophy", I'm not talking about

      deeep philosophical questions.

        - we're not going to talk about earth, fire, and

          water and the philosophical question of the one and

          the many

 

    - but I believe we need to think through - "What is your

      response (when you're talking to someone about the

      Lord) when they have an objection?

       - not asking "what is your specific verbal response to

           their specific objection."

       - instead, I'm asking--"how do you respond mentally

         (faciallly, in your tone of voice, emotionally) to

         the fact that that person has an objection?

 

- I want to propose to you this morning that that's a

    critical question.

 

    - Is it automatically bad that someone has an objection?

    - Is it automatically good?

    - Should you view that as a personal attack?

    - Are there different kinds of objections?

 

- See, How do you respond mentally just to the fact that the

    person you're talking to about the Lord has a question or

    an objection?

- I think we need to say this as well

    - the answer to that question reveals a lot.

       - what we're going to try to show today is:

          - it may reveal some ways that we need to change.

          - We may have some thinking (and resulting

              behavior) on this subject that doesn't really

              square with God's Word and therefore it needs

              to change.

 

 

- in order to Develop a Philosophy of objections, one of the

  first questions we need to ask is:

 

I. Do people have the "right" to have objections and the

    ability to think them through?

 

        - Now let's chew on that for a minute.

        - we're saying--when you're talking to a friend or

            loved one about the message of salvation from the

            Bible,

            - you're telling them about God and His holiness.

            - and about sin and it's affect on man

            - you're talking about our Savior and the need to

               trust Him as Savior and Lord

 

            - and in the middle of that presentation, or at

              the end that person raises an objection

                - my question is: Do they have a right to do

                  that?... and assuming they do, and assuming

                  you answer that objection... do they really

                  have the ability as unregenerate people

                  with unregenerate minds to think through

                  the answers anyway?

 

- that's really the point when it comes to having a biblical

   philosophy of objections:

 

    - What part does the unregenerate human mind have in the

       process anyway?

- now, I'd like to present this.

    - the way you answer that question is going to have great

      impact on the way you witness (or don't witness).

 

- what I'd like to do here is this:

    - let's sketch out two possible answers, and then go to

      the Scriptures and find out which answer is right.

 

    A. two possible answers

 

        1. unsaved man is still completely rational.

 

        - people who believe this would say things like this:

 

            a. Mind wasn't affected by the fall.

                 cf. Aristotle - "human mind is capable of

                      bridging the gap between the natural

                      and the supernatural."

                 cf. Aquainas - "the fall of man did not

                      affect the mind."

 

 

- I probably need to say here--we're not talking about things

     that can be objectively proven.

- we're not talking about mathmatics.

    - under common grace--an unbeliever can do just as good a

      job learning 2 + 2 as a believer.

 

- when we talk about being rational, people who hold this

  position would say that:

 

        b. unsaved man has the ability to rationally consider

            and prove things like:

 

             - the existence of God

             - the validity of the Bible

             - need for salvation

 

                 - all of this apart from the Scripture

 

- now I realize you might say-PV, what does all of this have

   to do with witnessing?

    - Answer is - this has everything to do with witnessing.

 

- let's think about:

    -- the impact of this position of witnessing

 

   (c. implications)

 

        1) reason is elevated

 

            - people who hold this position are saying saying

              this:

                - the reason more people are not saved is

                  because we haven't done a good enough job

                  explaining/defending God and His Word.

 

            - See, man is rational--and if we can just find

              somebody who was swallowed by a whale and

              lived-then they'll believe the book of Jonah.

            - Then if we can disprove the theory of evolution

              or the Carbon 14 dating method

 

- if we'll just do a better job of explaining/defending/

  arguing--then man with his rational capabilities will of

  course see the truth and trust Christ as Savior.

(another result)

 

  2) Faith unnecessary (or not nearly as important as reason)

 

    - see, if you hold that unsaved man is completely

      rational--and if you just give him the facts, he'll

      automatically see the truth of those facts and believe

       - then what's the need of faith?

 

       - the answer is - there isn't much need for faith.

           (we'll say more about that later)

 

3) The witnesses ability to handle objections becomes

    supremely important.

 

    - not just objections about what the Bible says,

      but objections in the area of philosophy, science,

      every other discipline.

 

   - see, if man's mind is rational, and if:

      - the primary reason more people are not saved is

        because we haven't done a good enough job proving or

        defending God and his message

           - then we have to become expert "objection"

              handlers.

 

   - INPUT - what impact do you think that would have on

        witnessing?  (few would do it -- never quite

        qualified)

 

4) Always looking for more external proofs/arguments.

 

    - folks who hold this position say:

 

       - we've got to find the ark.

 

           - see, if we find it, men/women are rational

             enough to see the obvious conclusions and will

             believe the Bible and the message of salvation.

 

       - or we've got to prove that the Shroud of Turin is

          real.

 

- see, always looking for more external proofs/arguments

    apart from the Bible itself.

 

 

- now, what's another possible answer?

 

    2. unsaved man is completely irrational

 

        a. no right to any objections, even to clarify what

            the Bible says.

 

        b. No ability to think through answers to questions

            anyway, even Bible answers to Bible questions.

 

        c. Ought to "simply believe" and forget about

           questions.

 

 

 

- Implications of this position to witnessing are:

 

  (d. implications)

 

    1) Share "the plan" and that's it.

 

    - So, if you like using the Roman's road

        - you share that plan, and that end say

            - now, either accept this and go to heaven or

                reject it and go to hell.

 

    - the person says, but what about...

    - (you cut them off) No, no questions---accept it or

         reject it-what's it going to be?

           - you're completely irrational

           - your mind has been ruined by the fall and you

               have no ability to think whatsoever

 

    - therefore, no objections!

       - but...

         - No objections...one more objection and I'm

            leaving!

 

  2) no reason to study objections

 

- now, let me ask you to think about a couple of questions:

    - (not asking you to answer them out loud at this point)

    - which one of these positions is right?

 

        - Is man's mind rational, or is it completely

          irrational?

 

        - Which of these positions do you hold?

 

        - (probably the most important)--when we look at your

            witnessing habits, which position would your

            practice/lifestyle say you're most like?

 

 

II. What does the Scripture teach? (about the condition of

    unsaved man's mind and its place in the salvation

    process.)

 

    A. Every human mind has been indelibly marred by sin.

 

        1. Gen. 3/Rom. 5:12

 

            - we're not going to take time to look up every

              one of these passages, but you know that Gen. 3

              tells of the fall of mankind, and Rom. 5:12

              says that the fall affected every human who was

              ever born.

            - the sin nature is transmitted by the regular

              process of procreation--thats why (by the way),

              our Savior had to be born of a virgin.

 

 - point from this passage - every person has been affected

    by sin.

 

 - these other verses show how sin affects our minds--our

     ability to think and reason.

 

        2. Gen. 6:5 (READ)

 

            - here's a passage that records the terrible

              affects of sin on mankind.

            - "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart

               were only evil continually"

 

            - you know, that two verses later the Lord says

              that man must be destroyed by a flood.

 

 

        3. Jer. 17:9 (READ)

 

            - the same idea is found here.  The heart

              (control center--including our minds/ability to

               think and reason) is deceitful and desperately

               wicked.

 

             - same idea is confirmed in the NT.

 

 

        4. Eph. 4:17-19 (READ)

 

- what are we saying by all this?  We're saying that

   according to God's Word, every person's mind has been

    indelibly marred by sin.

- There's something very wrong with the mind of every human.

 

 

    B. Unsaved man suppresses or twists whatever truth he

           has or hears.

 

        Rom. 1:18-23

 

            - this is an important addition.

            - The Scripture does say, that while man's mind

               is marred, he is given a "knowledge of God."

            - in other words, God has been gracious is

              allowing men/women still to be born after the

              fall with some knowledge that God exists.

 

            - but look what man does with it.

               - instead of building on that knowledge.

               - instead of allowing that knowledge to drive

                   him to the Scripture.

               - instead of hungering and thirsting after

                  righteousness.

 

               - he suppresses the truth.  - he ignores it.

               - see, unsaved man's mind is incapable of

                   learning truth about God and eternity

                   apart from the Bible.

                     - and whatever truth he was given, he

                       suppresses.

 

- that means this:

 

    C. no amount of rational proofs will overcome this

       stubborn mental resistance.

 

        1. Luke 16:19-31

 

        - we're not going to take time to go through this

          passage verse by verse

        - but let's just think it through together:

 

        - this is the passage about the rich man and Lazarus.

           - Lazarus (not the Lazarus that Jesus raised from

              the dead) was a beggar -- who had trusted

              Christ as Savior

           - in this parable, there was also a rich man who

               was had not been saved.

 

         - the parable says that the Rich man had two

            requests from Abraham (remember, this is a

            parable: (in this parable-the man in hell could

            speak to Abraham)

 

            INPUT - what were they?

 

              1) that Lazarus get him a drink.

 

              2) that Lazarus would be sent to talk to the

                 man's 5 brothers and tell them about Christ

                 so they wouldn't go to hell and suffer the

                 torment they were suffering.

 

                  - his point was - if something supernatural

                    or extraordinary happened, then his

                    brothers would believe.

 

                  - now two things happened next (one

                    surprising and one not so surprising)

 

                      - the not so surprising thing was -

                        Abraham refused the request.

 

                      - the surprising thing is - the reason

                        he gave for refusing the request.

 

             - he said (in effect) - that wouldn't change

                your brothers anyway.

                  - READ 29-31

 

- point is - man's mind has been so affected by sin that no

    amount of rational proofs will overcome that stubborn

    resistence.

 

 - another example of that is:

 

        2. Rev. 9:20-21, 16:21

 

            - both of these passages are in the context of

              the Tribulation judgements.

            - but even in the midst of terrible and awesome

              displays of the holiness and power of God--the

              people in these verses refuse to repent.

                 - in fact, some even continue to blaspheme.

 

- now, what does that mean?

 

- that means that position #1 is wrong.

 

 

    - unsaved man is not completely rational.  We'll talk

      about some implications of all this in a minute.

 

- question now is - If position #1 is wrong, then does that

    make position #2 right?

 

- INPUT?  (the answer to that is "No", though we're closer to

      position #2 than we are to position #1.

 

- the reason is:

 

    D. Unsaved man does have the ability to think through

        the claims of Scripture.

 

        - see, there's a lifeline for unsaved man.  (draw a

            picture of a Bible with a line going to it)

 

        - it's admittedly thin, but it does exist.

 

        - unsaved man does have the ability to think through

            the claims of Scripture.

        - he can't find truth on his own

           - he'll always suppress what he finds

 

        - unless he submits himself to the Word

 

        - now, how do we know that?

           - Why do we witness to people instead of

              witnessing to cats?

                (one answer - who wants cats in heaven?)

 

        1. man was made in the image of God

 

            Gen. 1:26-27

 

        2. that image, though marred, still exists after the

             fall.

 

            Gen. 9:6, James 3:9

 

            **Therefore, man still has enough mental ability

              left to think through the claims of the

              Scripture if:

 

                1) exercise faith

 

 

                2) submit to the Holy Spirit's work in his

                    heart through the Word.

 

- now, how does all this apply to the way we witness?

 

III. Implications

 

    A. Objections are not automatically bad

 

        - now, remember what we said at the outset.

        - this study might reveal some thinking on our parts

            that needs to change.

 

        - remember one of the questions we asked at the

          beginning.

          - Do people have the right to have objections?

 

          - INPUT - what's the answer to that? (YES)

 

              - in fact, we ought to expect them to.

              - for many, the message of salvation is going

                  to be completely new.

 

              - (develop - people aren't gospel hardened...)

 

              - illus - I'm a marchian who comes to earth and

                  you're going to show me the ropes.

                     - first you teach me about oreo cookies

                     - then you take me outside and teach me

                         about dirt.

                     - maybe I'm trying to be proud-whatever

                        - but I object - these two things

                          aren't different--they're the same

 

- maybe thats a foolish objection--but what would you expect

    from a person from outer space?

 

- the point is - some of us get uptight when someone objects,

    we might even stay away from witnessing because someone

    might object.

       - we need to change that attitude,

       - the fact that they are objecting may be a sign that

           they are using their sin cursed mind and perhaps

           for the first time seriously thinking through the

           claims of Christ on their life.

 

        - it would be like a dead corpse coughing.

 

- that may be a good sign!

 

    B. Intelligence in one area of life doesn't mean there's

       intelligence in every area.

 

        - some of us really need to hear what the Bible is

           saying about this first point.

 

        - you may work around someone who's really a genius

          when it comes to their job.

             - or they're really well read

 

        - if we're not careful, we might conclude

           - I can't talk to this person about Christ,

             they'll argue circles around me.

           - they're intelligent about everything.

 

        - thats simply not true.

        - the person might be a great arguer, but the Bible

            says -- if he's unsaved he's intellectually

            bankrupt and therefore a great candidate for the

            simply truth of God's Word.

 

- point is - just becaise a person's smart in one area - that

    doesn't mean he's smart in all areas.

 

   - cf. License branch

 

 

    C. Don't be intimidated by questions outside of the Word

        of God.

 

        - we don't need to know everything about science and

           philosophy

              - in fact we've studied plenty of Scripture

                that shows that a person's not going to be

                saved through those means even if we did know

                all the answers.

 

       - when someone has an objection about a subject the

         Bible doesn't address -- lovingly and simply put

         that one aside.

 

    D. Direct objections back to the Word

 

        Rom. 1:16-17

 

        Heb. 4:12-13

 

    E. Emphasize the importance of faith

 

 

 

 

IV. Question we need to ask

Faith Church