Luke 10 provides us with the best advice on evangelism in all of Jesus’ recorded teachings. Stop and read it right now (Luke 10:1-22) and answer the following questions:
- Are the four fields of a mass movement present in these instructions and results?
- Which of the four fields can you see inside this passage?
- Why did Jesus focus on person of peace evangelism? (Acts 10:9, Acts 16:13-15, Acts 16:25-34.
- Compare this approach with the following: Radio, TV and internet, Mass meetings, door to door, social ministry?
- How quickly will this method get you inside the local community?
- How important are the first two verses?
How it relates to the Four Fields:
What was Jesus’ entry strategy?
What was Jesus’ Gospel communication strategy?
What was Jesus’ discipleship strategy?
What was Jesus’ multiplication strategy?
2. DO’S AND DON’T’S OF THE PASSAGE
What were the 70 disciples told to do and told not to do?
|Say “Peace to this house”||Do not take a purse|
|Stay in one house||Do not take a bag|
|Eat and drink with them||Do not take sandals|
|Heal the sick||Do not greet people on the way|
|Preach the Kingdom is near||Do not go from house to house|
|Shake dust off your feet|
What principles can we learn from these instructions for our circumstances?
3. LUKE 10: VERSE BY VERSE
First up, Jesus sent them out two by two ahead of him to every town and place he was about to go. Jesus would have had to go to around 200 towns and villages to cover all of Galilee with the Good News. If so, then these teams would have only had to go to 5 or 6 villages each to get the job done. In addition, they were probably being mentored by the 12 apostles who had done it before. That’s how it should be done with a church planting movement as new levels of leaders emerge with growth.
Why in twos this time? With two people listening to the voice of Jesus and obeying his prompting, they would more quickly have found the person of peace they were told to look for (Luke 10:5). There is strength in twos that is missing when on your own, especially in most places in the world where it is dangerous to preach the Good News.
Jesus then surprisingly said the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field. Jesus started a mass movement. He was and still is our level one leader. Then he chose the 12 as level two leaders. Then he chose the 70 as level three leaders. Here he is asking his level three leaders to pray for level four leaders to emerge from within those they evangelise. This was now becoming a four-generation movement!
This ties in neatly with what Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:2 where he too talks about 4 levels of leadership: And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Paul trained Timothy who trained reliable men, who taught others. Mentoring, discipling, tutoring, teaching, training and releasing.
This was the heart of the movement. Jesus was always and every day training these men (and women) to take over the movement in three years’ time. He was looking to the future because any multiplying movement is only as strong as its trained leaders. We get a glimpse of this now uncontrollable and deeply layered multiplication of Jesus’ mass movement in Luke 9:49-50 where his disciples report in on a man they saw casting out demons in Jesus’ name, but was not one of Jesus’ own training team. Jesus was very pleased and told the disciples to let the man continue. A mass movement out of human control was exactly what Jesus wanted. This verse was a glimpse of the future, believers everywhere doing what Jesus had been doing.
The early church considered four levels of down-line generations of church planters normal but knew it didn’t happen without training leadership at every level. This four generation standard is now used as a measurement tool in determining if a modern church planting movement is self-sustaining.
In the Western church we have plenty of watchers but a lack of harvest workers (Luke 10:2). The harvest is always there, there are always souls whom the father is touching and who are ready for salvation. If we are not seeing a harvest it’s because we don’t believe in it anymore. It is us who are the problem. Start praying, but not for the harvest as it is always there. Pray for workers, and the best workers are new Christians who God will lead you to. More on that in a minute.
Go! Jesus doesn’t ask the people of Galilee to come to his little group, so today don’t ask people to come to your church. Go to their hangouts, homes, worksites, communities, and countries. After the resurrection the word “go” became a universal directive for all serious followers of Jesus (Matthew 28:19). Jesus modelled going into his society and looking for followers to disciple who would then become workers.
The harvest is not inside religious buildings and we will never win the world if our prime method is inviting them to our meetings. We must be where the people are. That was why Jesus was called the friend of publicans and sinners (Matthew 11:19). Jesus also warned this team that when they went out to be spiritually alert, they were lambs among wolves.
Do not take a purse or bag or sandals. Jesus again emphasised for a second time that his kingdom would not be built on money but on miracles (Luke 10:9). His men were to travel light when evangelising. The lesson for us is not to bring lots of fancy systems or equipment, methods or technologies. Especially don’t splash money around as it corrupts the motivation of both those you send and those you go to. It’s just not reproducible on a large scale, especially in hostile cultures. The guidance of the Holy Spirit is more effective than any trick or method of man (John 16:8-16). Listening to the Holy Spirit allows you to be flexible as he directs. The key is to listen and obey, that’s how miracles happen.
When you first enter a house say “Peace to this house”. If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him. Jesus asked the 70 disciples to find the Person of Peace wherever they went because this is a key point in successful discipling and church planting. Finding the person of peace is the first step in finding 4th soil people. A person of peace is someone whom the Holy Spirit has already been working on.
- Zacchaeus was a person of peace and a 4th soil person who opened his house for Jesus to minister to many others (Luke 19:1-10).
- The woman at the well was both a person of peace and was an exemplary 4th soil person who opened up her whole village to the good news and saw a new community of believers birthed in her village within two days (John 4). Interestingly, both were outcasts.
- The Roman Centurion of Luke 7:1–10 was a person of peace because of his great need, but we have no record of him becoming a 4th soil person.
- Cornelius, also Roman soldier, showed that he was both a person of peace and a 4th soil person as he gathered together all his family, close friends and relatives to hear what Peter had to say (Acts 10:24).
- Finally, the Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:22–38) was also a person of peace and a 4th soil person, bringing his whole household to faith. Spirit-led demonstrations of the love of God and the power of God are the quickest way to find these precious people.
If you do find a person of peace, then the seed of the Gospel will more likely be falling on good soil instead of stony ground (Matthew 13:8). There could be a future 30, 60 or 100 fold harvest if this person is discipled properly (Matthew 13:23), or there may be nothing if you neglect them! God will have already been working on their heart so go with what he is doing in them and drop you other plans. This is what it means by stay in his house, sow into their life.
The person of peace will usually have great contacts inside their community and will open many doors for the Good News to spread further. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to do what Jesus asked us to do.
Sow lots of seed.
Find a person of peace.
Then nurture their spiritual interest.
They are the key to creating new communities of faith. With them onside you will be on the inside of the village, peer group, club, school, university, worksite, family or whatever else is the centre of that person’s social relationship web.
When you enter a house first say “Peace to this house”. Once the person of peace has been found, you can bring them the message of peace with God via the Prince of Peace and it will be falling on good ground (Isaiah 9:6). Just follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Pray for peace to come into their needs, sicknesses, finances and family. Answered prayer will open their heart further. Once the peace of God rests on them they will soon realise that God is the key to peace to all areas of their lives: To their family, other relationships, workplace, finances, their emotional state, their community, and their health. They will feel the change in their heart and their family will see the change in their lives.
Most people need to see a changed life in someone they know before accepting the truth of the Gospel. Seeing Peace emanating from in this person of peace will begin that process.
Jesus said to stay in that house. This may mean literally staying with them if the circumstances permit, but it can also imply taking responsibility for training them through relationship building. They can then watch your life and copy your example. They are not to be left spiritual orphans after coming to the truth. Too much emphasis has been placed on evangelism and not enough on discipling in traditional evangelical circles. Become their spiritual parent. It will be best to drop your other plans, you now have a spiritual baby to take care of! The person of peace must be trained and the best place is usually in their home.
The Apostle Paul would stay for weeks or months, sometimes a year or two with these new believers, training them in all that he knew himself. In time he would appoint leaders in each of these communities as servant leaders emerged. John Wesley did exactly the same in England. There are plaques in villages all over England saying John Wesley stayed here. He transformed the nation in a single generation.
How you apply this principle will all depend on the culture and the circumstances you are in and what the Holy Spirit tells you. Jesus stayed an extra two days with the woman at the well before moving on. Don’t leave that person until at least the initial training is done and the best way you can tell is if you can see their spiritual children and grandchildren coming to Jesus. Keep in touch for months, even years if you need to. Mentor them as best you can. Church planters create spiritual sons and daughters, not just converts.
Eat what is set before you. In other words make sure you do everything you can to overlook cultural differences and concentrate on loving the person of peace and nurturing their relationship with God. Cultural differences can be a little scary sometimes. If you get stuck on cultural differences you will never see spiritual transformation, Satan will make sure of that. This was the great problem with 19th Century European missionaries. They sadly exported their culture as well as the Good News. Exceptions to this rule, such as Hudson Taylor and William Taylor, were few and far between.
Heal the sick and tell them “The kingdom of God has come near to them”. The miraculous should be a normal part of evangelism as it is a profound manifestation of the compassionate love of our father for his lost children (Mark 16:15-18). Miracles also demand a response as people see your message is not mere words, but a message with supernatural power. Sow seeds by praying for people at every opportunity as that will often be how you find your person of peace. Be available, Jesus was always available (Luke 9:37-45). The healing of Jairus’ daughter in Luke 8:40-56 was one such example. One great question each of us can consistently ask people is: If Jesus could do a big miracle for you today, what would it be? Then offer to pray for this miracle. Prayer is always a step of faith. Most people welcome your prayers as most people are in need.
Know when to leave. Some places will reject you. Move on quickly as the Holy Spirit could be moving in another location or family. However, if a community rejects messengers from the sovereign king of the universe there will be a price to pay.
The 70 returned with joy and said “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Expect results! Satan quivers under the authority of anyone who has been taught and trained by Jesus (Luke 10:18-19). The power of Satan is real in all cultures, however he operates differently and at each cultures point of weakness. The Kingdom of God is never more powerfully demonstrated than by releasing people bound up by demons. That is why all the gospels record Jesus’ deliverances so many times. That was now the disciples new-found authority, and is now our authority too.
When the 72 returned from their practical training they were in awe at the authority they possessed as even the demons obeyed them. Jesus confirmed their feedback by telling them from now on they would have all authority over Satan, but not to gloat in this new-found power.
Then Luke records a unique statement. He says Jesus was full of joy in the Holy Spirit. Jesus was rejoicing. He was exuberant. This is the only time in all four gospels we read of Jesus so happy. The movement was achieving everything he had imagined it would. The Kingdom of God was now with men, not just him. There was no stopping this movement now. Jesus’ joy was complete. Does he have the same joy over your work for him?
Find another believer who wants to see the kingdom grow and go together looking for that special person of peace. Nothing else matters!