Every Church Planting Movement begins with a meaningful way to tell non-Christians about the good news of Jesus Christ. We call this an entry strategy. Where an entry strategy is absent, no matter how theologically sound the Gospel presentation, no matter how comprehensive the discipleship curriculum, no matter how robust the leadership training, no matter how sound the ecclesiology, a CPM will never see the light of day.
Despite the importance of this CPM trigger, it is probably this same element that is neglected more than any other….
Despite the importance of this CPM trigger, it is probably this same element that is neglected more than any other to most practicing Christians. Church Planting Movements invariably begin with and a rapidly reproduce entry strategies that lead to meaningful and effective Gospel communication.
Jesus understood the importance of this initial point of contact that would usher in a Kingdom movement. That is why Jesus taught his disciples how to introduce the Kingdom. That’s right, Jesus taught them entry strategies.
What does Jesus have to teach us about entry? What does he teach his disciples about connecting with the lost in a manner that will lead to a gospel presentation? Kevin Greeson, and imb colleagues Randy Owens and Mike Lopez, find insights and guidance from Jesus’ example and teachings.
Good News! Jesus has shown us how!
John 1:11 “He came unto His own and His own did not receive Him.”
Jesus came into a world that was very hostile to Him. Most of his own people rejected Jesus completely. But even in a hostile environment, Jesus found those who did receive him.
John 1:12: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the sons ofGod, to them who believe in His name”.
Jesus took those few who did receive Him and built His church, which spread rapidly, even in a hostile world.
In John 5:17-20 Jesus provides for us a pattern for how He did the work of the Kingdom in a hostile environment:
Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working … Truly, I say to you the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these that you may marvel ( John 5:17-20).
FIVE PRINCIPLES OF HOW JESUS WORKED
1. Jesus knew God the Father was at work. “My Father is working until now.”
Sin came into the world separating us from God. Since that time, God has been working to restore mankind to Himself. He has been seeking those who are lost. God is already at work preparing hearts to hear about Jesus and to believe in Him. He is preparing a harvest and He is telling us, “the harvest is truly plentiful”. – Luke 10:2
2. Jesus was committed to joining the Father wherever He was working. “…and I am working”
Jesus explained to His disciples that He had come into the world to join the Father in the work of seeking the lost. “The Son of Man has come to seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10).
Jesus was committed to work with the Father and join Him wherever He was at work (John 6:38).
Our natural inclination is to want God to show us His will and then we will decide if we will do it. Many fail to find where God is working because they do not “will to do His will.” There are limits on where or how they will follow Jesus. Is your will surrendered to the will of God, so that you are willing to join God wherever He is at work? If so, He will make it very clear to you where He is at work.
3. Jesus knew that apart from the Father He could do nothing. “…the Son can do nothing of Himself”
Read John 15:4-5 – If you are not abiding in a close relationship with Jesus, how much can you do for God?
If a branch is separated from the tree, it cannot bear any fruit. The same is true for us spiritually. Unless we are abiding in a close relationship with Jesus, we cannot see where God is at work, nor can we bear any lasting fruit for the kingdom of God.
4. Jesus watched with His spiritual eyes and listened with His spiritual ears to know where the Father was working. “…but what He sees the Father do.”
Look to see where God is at work!
Matt 9:36: “And seeing the multitude, He felt compassion for them because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.”
What we see:
First thing we see is what is different from our own experience:
We immediately look to help someone’s physical situation:
Bring you to my country
What did Jesus see?
Multitude, distressed, downcast, sheep without shepherd. Jesus sees the spiritual need (sheep without a shepherd) That is why they are distressed and downcast.
Jesus immediately recognized their spiritual need.
He has said ‘the poor you have with you always’
Mark 14:7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me
Ephesians 1:18 – “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened…….” Paul prayed that we would be able to see with our spiritual eyes, not just our physical eyes.
Jesus saw where the Father was at work and joined Him where He was working. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. The Father would direct Jesus to particular people whose hearts the Father had specifically prepared for an encounter with Jesus.
EXAMPLES about how He saw with spiritual eyes where the Father was at work and then joined Him.
- Zacchaeus – Luke 19:1-9 Jesus came into Jericho surrounded by a large crowd. The tax collector Zacchaeus could not see Jesus, so he climbed into a tree. Jesus saw him and sensed this was where the Father was at work. So he left the crowd and went to Zacchaeus’ house.
- The Samaritan woman – John 4:1-42 Jesus and the disciples were on their way to Galilee. They took a shortcut through Samaria and stopped near a village. There Jesus talked to a woman and she believed that He was the Messiah. Jesus delayed His trip to Galilee and stayed in Samaria, because that was where the Father was working.
- The woman with the flow of blood – Luke 8:41-56 The daughter of Jairus was dying. Jairus pleaded with Jesus to come and heal his daughter. On the way, a woman who had been suffering from a flow of blood for years touched Jesus’ clothing and was healed. Even though Jairus’ daughter was at the point of death, Jesus stopped to spend time with the woman. He sensed this was where the Father was working.
Listen to hear where God is at work!
If we are of God and want to do the works of God, we must be able to clearly hear Jesus when He tells us where He is at work!
- Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.”
- John 8:47 “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them because you are not of God.
- John 14:6 Jesus did not say, “I will give you a road map,” He said, “I am the way.”
- Mark 1:17 Jesus did not say, “I will tell you how to be fishers of men.” He said “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.”
- John 10:27 Jesus did not say “I will tell my sheep what to do and send them out alone.” He said “My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow.”
How can we hear God’s voice?
1. Through Prayer – As you spend time with Him you grow familiar with His voice.
2. Through His Word – As I fill my heart and mind with the Word of God I grow familiar with His voice. The Bible is God’s Word and God always works in accordance with His Word.
3. Through Obedience – Every time I hear a word from God and obey Him, His voice is easier to hear the next time. Every time I hear a word from Him and do not obey it, it becomes more difficult for me to hear His voice the next time.
When we hear His voice, then we can follow Him. If you are in close relationship with Him, He will show you where He is working and how you can join Him.
With your spiritual ears, you can hear where God is at work
- “I feel bad for the sins that I have done.” John 16:8-11
- “I had a dream or vision.” (about Jesus, Bible, etc) Acts 10:30-33
- “I want to know what the truth is.” John 16:13, 17:17
- “I understand what the Bible is saying.” Matthew 13:10-11
- “I think that God is speaking to me.” John 10:26-27
- “I want to hear more about Jesus.” John 6:44
- “What will happen to me when I die?” Hebrews 2:15
If you hear someone say things like these or similar things, your spiritual ears should tell you that God is at work inside him. The Bible tells us that only God can cause a person to have questions and desires like these.
5. Finally, when Jesus saw where the Father was at work, He joined Him (began to work where the Father was at work). “…the Son also does in like manner.”
When God shows you where He is at work, it is His invitation for you to join Him. When you do join Him, you will see the hand of God at work. Then you, and those around you, will marvel at what He does! You can do nothing apart from God. But as you join God in what He is doing, God does the work.
Read John 5:19-20 again: This is how Jesus did the works that He did. He saw what the Father was doing and joined Him. This is how God wants to work in you! Put your name in the blanks
Most assuredly, I say to you, ________ can do nothing of himself, but what ________ sees the Father do: for whatever He does, _______ also does in like manner. For the Father loves _______, and shows ________ all things that He himself does: and He will show _______ greater works than these, that ________ may marvel.
God wants you to join Him in His work, but this may not begin with a mass of people coming to Christ. It will start as God draws out people like Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, and the disciples, whom He will use to multiply His work.
Jesus always found that person or persons in whom God was already at work. Then he invested Himself and His time in those people, because He knew they were the keys to reaching a community or a group of people. He joined the Father where He was at work.
Jesus taught His disciples to work just like He did. In Luke, chapter ten, before He sent His disciples out to do ministry, He taught them how to look for those people within whom God the Father was already at work, so that they could join Him and work with those people.
Jesus taught His disciples how to look for a “person of peace”.
This article was written by Kevin Greeson
First appeared here