Jesus on Entry Strategies

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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. – Editor.

To read Greeson's insightful exegesis of Jesus' strategy for making  initial gospel connections, click <Read More> below.

 

Jesus on Entry Strategies

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 of God, 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:

Distressed

Downcast

First thing we see is what is different from our own experience:

Poverty

Hunger

Need

We immediately look to help someone’s physical situation:

Give money

Give clothes

Give food

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”.


THE PERSON OF PEACE

Finding a Person of Peace

Jesus is our model for finding where God is at work. He took the time to show his disciples how to find where God is at work.  In a crowd of people, or in a city or village, God has been at work in someone.  We call that someone a “person of peace” When you find the person of peace, you have found where God is at work.  Usually, this person of peace is the one that God will use to establish His church in that area.  Let’s look at how Jesus taught us to find the person of peace.

Read Luke 10:1-20:

Luke 10 is more than a story.  Luke 10 is a strategy!

Luke 8                        Jesus was sent out    (model)

Luke 9                        Jesus sent the 12 out   (model training)

Luke 10              Jesus sent the 70 out  (reproduce training)

 

JESUS’ INSTRUCTIONS

FOR FINDING THE PERSON OF PEACE

HOLD ONE ANOTHER ACCOUNTABLE - Go Two-by-Two Luke 10:1

"Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come."

They were appointed  (set apart for the task)

They went out 2 by 2    (accountability)

They went to places where He was going to come  (He is going to be there)

Matthew 28:19    "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,"

Matthew 28:20   "... teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

BELIEVE IN THE HARVEST – Luke 10:2

And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

What did Jesus tell them?

There is a harvest

The harvest is abundant

The harvest is already, but not yet

It doesn’t come alive until it is discovered.

NOTE: As Jesus was sending his disciples out to find workers for the harvest, he told them to pray that the Lord of the harvest would raise up workers for the harvest.  He was not telling them to stay home and pray for workers, but to go out and seek them, praying that the Father would lead them to those workers!   Just as you are looking for a Person of Peace….. THAT person is looking for a Messenger From God.

Jesus did not ask us to pray for the harvesters…Jesus commanded us to pray for MORE harvesters!

The needs are huge…… We can’t think addition,

Must think multiplication…. Exponential growth

Canada has a population of just over 30 million.

India has a birth rate of 30 million a year!

India            1.3 billion       -                US               .3 billion

Think and plan for multiplication, not just addition.

Addition                                     Multiplication

Seed sowing

Harvesting

Go make something happen

Go find something that is happening

Go start a CPM

Find a person who will start a CPM

An Apple

An Orchard

Converts

Disciples

 

Jesus did not ask us to pray for the harvest …. It is already here!

Jesus did not ask us to pray for the harvesters!

Jesus commanded us to pray for MORE harvesters!  (The Person of Peace is the key to MORE HARVESTERS)

Jesus talked about HARVEST.  This means a crop, not a single fruit. Do you see an apple, or an orchard? Even though we are looking for a person of peace, that person is the key to the harvest.

John 15:8 "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and {so} prove to be My disciples.”

John 15:16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and {that} your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you,”

It is not your job to make it happen Each day and night people all over the world are attacked, attracted, convicted by the Holy Spirit.  Your job is to find these people.

Watch Out! Luke 10:3

"Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”

Sheep alone are at the mercy of wolves.  But remember the shepherd stands between the sheep and the wolves.

Hostile environment:

Deuteronomy 31:8 – “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."

Go Needy Luke 10:4

"Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way.”

You have nothing to offer (but Jesus)

With no money, bag or shoes, …. You are totally dependent.

Remember your purpose.

Don’t get distracted.

MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN Luke 10:5 - 6

"Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace {be} to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.”

When you enter a house say: “Peace to this house; If a many of peace is there, you will know”

Historical background note:  To really understand what is happening in this passage, it helps to understand the historical setting.   Typically, in Jesus’ time, there were no hotels in which strangers could stay when they came to a town or village.  A common practice was for someone in the town to show hospitality to a stranger and invite him to stay in his home.  God taught His people to take care of the stranger who comes to his town.  (See Genesis 19:1-3; Job 31:32; Matthew 25:35; and Hebrews 13:2.)  If no one invited the stranger to his home, the stranger would have to sleep out in the open.  The stranger would go to the city gate or to the center of the town and wait for someone to invite him to his home.  Jesus sent his disciples into the cities and towns where He was going to come later.  He sent them to preach the coming of the kingdom of God.  So, when they went into a city they went in proclaiming that Jesus was coming and that He was bringing in the Kingdom.  So if someone invited the two disciples into his home, he knew what these disciples were going to talk to him about.  His invitation, “I want to hear more about Jesus.”

Thought Question: How do we “make our presence known” when we go into a new place?

IDENTIFY THE PERSON OF PEACE – Luke10:6-8

  • He will desire to hear more about Jesus.
  • He will make “spiritual hunger” statements, like:

“As I listen, my heart is burning.”

“I like what you are saying; I want to hear more.”

  • Often has a reputation as a “sinner” or will readily recognize his own sin.
  • Eventually, this person of peace will believe in Jesus.

 

What do I do once I find the Person of Peace?

Stay! Luke 10:7

"Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.” If God gives you a person of peace He can also give you the time needed to work with him.

EAT AND HEAL Luke 10:8-9

"Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you;” God has given you an assignment – find the person of peace.

God has also given the person of peace an assignment – find the person of God.   He will find you because you are the needy stranger who has come to town.  His job is to take care of you.  Do not rob him of his God-given assignment.

In Asia, everyone offers food and drink to strangers.  How do I determine who is the man of peace when I am overwhelmed with Asian hospitality?  Answer: Clearly identify the purpose for which you have come.  If the offer for food, drink, or shelter remains, it is possible that you are in the presence of the person of peace.

If the Lord can heal them, he can help you eat anything they put in front of you and survive.  “Lord I will put it down, if you will keep it down!”

Luke 10:9

“…and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'”

PRAY for the sick… ask if you can pray for health, finances, family……

Finding needs and praying for them in the name of Jesus, is often the key to further discussion about Jesus.

  • It diffuses tense situations
  • It opens the door to spiritual matters
  • It fosters appreciation in those you pray for

 

What do I do if I do not find a person of peace?

SHAKE THE DUST OFF – 10:10-16

Luke 10:10

"But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say…”

Luke 10:11

“'Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off {in protest} against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.'”

Luke 10:12

"I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.”

Luke 10:13

"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.”

Luke 10:14

"But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.”

Luke 10:15

"And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!”

Luke 10:16

"The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me."

 

What happens when you find the person of peace?

RESULTS – See Luke 10:17-23

Luke 10:17

“The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."

Luke 10:18

“And He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.’”

Luke 10:19

"Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.”

Luke 10:20

"Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."

Luke 10:21

“At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, ‘I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from {the} wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.’”

Luke 10:22

"All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal {Him.}"

Luke 10:23

“Turning to the disciples, He said privately, ‘Blessed {are} the eyes which see the things you see,’”

Luke 10:24

“…for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see {them,} and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear {them.}"

SUMMARY

Here are the key principles from Luke 10 for seeking and finding the person of peace.

  • Go in faith with one or two others in search of where God is working and look for the person of peace.  Go expecting to encounter people who have been prepared by God to hear your witness.
  • Depend on God to supply both your physical and spiritual needs. The more you abandon self dependence and trust in God the more likely you are to find a person of peace.
  • Depend on God’s guidance. He will show you where to stop and begin to make your presence known.
  • Begin to talk about Jesus. As you talk about Jesus, those in whom God is already at work will be drawn to you and will want to hear more about Jesus.
  • Offer peace in Jesus. If it is accepted, stay there.  If not, move on.  Sometimes you will not find the person of peace until you walk away.  He will pursue you.  If your peace is not accepted, move on.
  • When you believe you have found the person of peace, stay with him. He will provide everything you need. He will open doors of opportunity for you to share with others.
  • Eat and drink what is placed before you when you are with a person of peace.
  • Whether you are accepted or rejected, always remember that God is with you and the kingdom of God is near.  You have not failed if you have done what God has asked and talked with them about Jesus.
  • Your mission is to lead the person of peace to receive Christ and to share with his family and friends. He then will share with many more in that region.
  • Know that as you depend on Jesus to show you the way, you will see many signs that God was ahead of you, planting seeds and laying a foundation.
  • Your purpose is to find the person of peace, not to win an argument about religion. You may not have an answer for all objections.  That’s OK!  Just present Jesus to them and watch and see who God draws (John 6:44).

Ephesians 3:20-21 “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

  • The Principle - God always does more than we expect!
  • The Question – What do you expect God to do?
  • The Expectation – Expect God to do “God-size” works

EXERCISE: In the following passages, what principles that Jesus taught in Luke chapter 10, do we see Paul applying?   What bridges did he use to communicate?    In each case did he find a person of peace?

Acts 16:12-15

Acts 18:1-11

Acts 17:15-34

Written by Kevin Greeson

With contributions by Randy Owens and Mike Lopez