Rev. Trevor Johnston and Eric Stewart
Sermon Series: Hand Off
Message 6: Seven-Mile Hand Off
Icebreaker Question for those on the West Campus: What did you think of Trevor’s shirt? 🙂
1. Watch the 20-minute video of Joe Townsend being interviewed by Pastor Dale at communityofhope.church/joe. After watching it together, discuss your thoughts about it together as a group.
2. Say 1 Peter 3:15 from memory: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
3. A recent study shows that, not only do very few Christians talk about their faith with unbelievers; but currently many Christians actually consider it wrong to share their faith with an unbeliever. Why do you think this trend has developed, even though Scripture is clear that Jesus wants us to hand off our faith to others?
4. Read Luke 24:13-35: Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. // 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” // They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” // 19 “What things?” he asked. // “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” // 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. // 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. // 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” // 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
5. What questions or comments come to mind as you read this passage?
6. The two men in Luke 24 recognized Jesus as a teacher, rabbi, even a prophet, but they missed what is most important – they had not yet come to accept Jesus as Lord and God, and they didn’t yet believe Jesus had risen from the dead. Paul writes in Romans 10:9: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Why are these particular steps so important for a person to connect with God?
7. Hand-offs are done best when we walk with others – Some people think of evangelism as almost a “hit and run” experience. But notice that Jesus took time to walk a long journey with these two men. What difference does it make when you walk with someone a while, before you share your faith with them?
8. Pastor and author Wayne Cordeiro said, “The greatest evangelist is not a D.L. Moody, Billy Graham, or the pastor of a church. The greatest evangelists are the individuals who make up the church. Each person has unchurched loved ones, friends or family members, each needing the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Through these genuine relationships a verbal witness is given, an invitation extended, and a non-churched person becomes willing to investigate Christianity.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
9. Watch for the Hurting – Jesus noticed that these two men were hurting. There is something about the brokenness of life that opens people up more to God. Consider whether there is anyone in your neighborhood, at work, or in your other circles of relationships who is currently hurting in some way, and as far as you know, they don’t yet know Jesus personally. Talk with your group about how you might be able to plant a seed of hope in those people.
10. Ask questions and listen first – Notice how long Jesus listened to these men on the road to Emmaus, even though their thinking was wrong. In the Gospels, Jesus asked 307 questions. He was asked 183 questions, but only answered 3 times. Christians often think evangelism is about having all the answers, and so they often don’t listen to an unbeliever explain their ideas. Why is listening such a powerful tool in evangelism?
11. What are some examples of good questions you could ask an unbeliever?
12. Be patient and trust God to work – Sometimes it seems to us like Jesus goes too slowly, especially when it comes to helping our loved ones find salvation. If you’ve ever felt that way, talk about that with your group.
13. Read 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. What thoughts do you have when you read this verse?
14. Notice the delayed reaction that these two men had. The things that Jesus said didn’t make sense at the time, but later they had an “aha moment” and started to be able to connect the dots of what Jesus had shared with them. This is often the case. People sometimes appear disinterested or even resistant, and yet God is working in them and using what we’ve shared in ways we can’t see. What should we do when someone doesn’t respond right away to our attempted faith hand off?
15. Who could you possibly invite to “Fresh Start” – our summer Bible study? What could you do between now and this summer that might help them agree to come with you?
16. Pray together as a group for people you would like to see come to faith in Jesus Christ.