CASE STUDY 1
Peter & Cornelius—Acts 10
Cornelius was very religious; he had been convicted and was ready to be led to the Lord. He also may have been under conviction and was not resistant to the Gospel.
PLAN: Lay out the Gospel Message, showing that works are not necessary for salvation but faith in God.
He was a leader, a Gentile, seemed to be a man with influence and wealth, and did many good deeds.
PLAN: Show him how to become a disciple and show him how to win his family and community for God. He now has to be shown how to become a disciple.
His family trusted him, he had a lot of influence on his family, seemed to be a man with integrity; his family and friends respected him.
PLAN: Show him how to become a disciple and show him how to win his family and community for God.
Visit his house, share a meal with him, and be sure not to equate earnestness with righteousness.
He was a Gentile, searching, doing good deeds; he was not yet converted and might have done things not in line with being a Christian. He was not like us; do not use your traditions and rituals to judge this person’s relationship with Jesus.
Use what is familiar:
Cornelius’s godly character had obviously built him a good reputation.
Present the Gospel:
Cornelius was open to whatever message Peter would have to tell him. Have you trusted in Jesus is the question that must be answered at this time.
Connect them to the Church:
In this case, the believers were baptized after they received the Holy Spirit, publicly declaring their allegiance to Christ and identification with the Christian community. A new Church was planted that day in this Gentile community.
CASE STUDY 2
Samaritan Woman & Jesus—John 4
Samaritan: No dealing with Jews, familiar with the Scriptures, had a form of godliness. She was more concerned about rituals and religious correctness.
PLAN: Allow her to see that the place she worships at is not as important as the true worship from the heart. Focus on a relationship that comes from the heart.
She was a social outcast and she was lonely.
PLAN: Lead her to identify her distance from God, and then lead her back to God through a series of forgiveness (hers and God’s). Once she finds herself in God, then she can address the issues that alienated her.
She was divorced five times and currently in an affair.
PLAN: Lead her to identify her distance from God and her source of fulfillment. Once she finds herself in God, then she can address the issues that lead to her failing family life.
Jesus met the woman, by deliberate design, where she was carrying out her daily activities. Jesus, in an effort to introduce salvation to the woman, asked for water and that started a conversation. Jesus skillfully navigated the objections, and was able to reach the heart of the matter and deliver the Gospel Message without offending the woman.
Jesus did not allow the past to interfere with the mission, even though her marriages, race, and religion were enough to cause her own people to blacklist her. We must imitate Jesus’ action toward the woman as we seek to fulfill the mission.
Use what is familiar
Jesus the master teacher always uses the things that the people are familiar with in order to make his point. Here, Jesus used the well, asked for water to drink, used her knowledge of worship and belief in God to assist in presenting the Gospel.
Present the Gospel
Jesus skillfully debunked her excuses and led her to the real need, salvation. It was only a relationship with God that could satisfy this woman’s longing. Jesus pointed out to her the differences between works and grace and worshipping from a pure heart.
Connect them to the Church
She was sent back to her home to evangelize, thus the aim of discipleship was attained. Mission accomplished!
Case Study 3
Ethiopian & Phillip—Acts 8
The eunuch was obviously dedicated to God because he had traveled such a long distance to worship in Jerusalem. This man may have been a Gentile converted to Judaism. He had an encounter and was searching for the next step.
PLAN: Develop a plan to lead him to full knowledge of Christ resulting in baptism and further spiritual growth. Address the Biblical question with care, understand that the person had an encounter, and begin the steps of a new convert that need to be handled with care. Answer the questions truthfully, honestly, and directly. Be prepared for all eventualities.
He was a treasurer of Ethiopia traveling home from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
PLAN: Show him ways to develop his new spiritual journey. Also, show him how to be a disciple in his home.
He served the queen; he had a copy of the book of the prophet Isaiah pointing to that probability. To own a scroll of the Scriptures (handwritten and thus rare) likewise indicated wealth.
PLAN: His position allows him to have impact; show him how he is the one to bring the Gospel to his country and that his practical living has to demonstrate Christ-like qualities. Address issues that he might face and make suggestions on how to deal with them in general.
Phillip followed the Spirit’s direction, began a discussion from where he was immersed in the prophets, and he explained how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies.
Phillip was aware of his background but he followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and ministered to the man, even though he was an Ethiopian and a Gentile.
Use what is familiar
It is important to note that Philip began where the man was; only then did he directly and clearly take him to where he needed to go. This means he listened, thought about, and adapted the message to his audience. He then explained the good news to the Ethiopian.
Present the Gospel
Philip exhibited two of the most important characteristics of an effective evangelist: The first is patience. He waited to find out where the man was in his understanding before diving in with the Gospel. The second is the power of observation. Philip looked for an opportunity to engage the man at a meaningful level.
Connect them to the Church
This was one of the first acts of new converts in the early Church. In submitting to baptism, this official was proclaiming his faith in Christ publicly. Deeply symbolic and meaningful, baptism sends a powerful message to onlookers about one’s obedience to Christ. Evidently, included in what Philip taught was the fact that being baptized was the next step of obedience in this newfound faith. The Ethiopian went home a new man on mission.