Evangelism for Timid Christians (Journey to Jesus) — John 3 & 4

  • Why do most Christians find it so hard to share the Gospel?
    • fearful of being looked down on?
    • don’t know what to say?
    • afraid of creating an awkward moment?
  • This message aims provide some practical help and encouragement for sharing our faith.

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  • Why do most Christians find it so hard to share the Gospel?
    • fearful of being looked down on
    • don’t know what to say
    • it could create an awkward moment


  • To provide some practical help and encouragement for sharing our faith
  • Key idea: New Life comes in a moment, but conversion is often a journey
  • God’s job is to save them. Ours is simply to help them on the journey


  1. Stories from the New Testament on how people came to salvation
  2. Steps on the journey
  3. Focus on John 3 & 4

Mark 12
“not far from the kingdom of God”

  1. Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
  2. Jesus answered, “The most important is:
    ‘Listen (Shema), Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
    30Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
  3. The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
    There is no other commandment greater than these.”
  4. The expert in the law said to him,
    “That is true, Teacher; you are right to say that he is one, and there is no one else besides him.
  5. And to love him with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
  6. When Jesus saw that he had answered thoughtfully, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
  • This Scripture says to much!
    1. It is a journey
    2. It is possible to discern, as Jesus did, where someone is.
  • We are going to spend most of our time today in John chapters 3&4
    • We’ll start at the end so that we can see where we are going
    • and then we’ll go to the beginning and work our way through

John 4

  1. Don’t you say, ‘There are four more months and then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, look up and see that the fields are already white for harvest!
  2. The one who reaps receives pay and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that the one who sows and the one who reaps can rejoice together.
  3. The saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38I sent you to reap what you did not work for; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”
  4. Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the report of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I ever did.”
  5. …they began asking him to stay with them. He stayed there two days, 41and because of his word many more believed.
  • You may be be the person to plant a seed in someone’s life
  • Another person may water it
  • and a third person see the harvest.
  • Learn to understand where people are, and what they need next
  • Don’t be discouraged, your job is to play your part

Paul before Agrippa

Paul before Agrippa

Image source: Bodarevsky

  • Here’s an example of Paul witnessing to King Agrippa, and identifies precisely where he is on the journey

Acts 26 King Agrippa

  1. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly…
  2. Do you believe the prophets, King Agrippa? I know that you believe.”
  3. Agrippa said to Paul, “In such a short time are you persuading me to become a Christian?”
  4. Paul replied, “I pray to God that whether in a short or a long time not only you but also all those who are listening to me today could become what I am…”
  • Afterwards King Agrippa wanted to have Paul released
  • But there’s no evidence from history that he became a Christian. Someone can be on a journey and turn back.
  • We need to understand that process


  1. Stories from the New Testament on how people came to salvation
  2. Steps on the journey
  3. Focus on John 3 & 4
  • In 1975 a man named James Engel wrote a book which profoundly changed many people’s idea of evangelism.
    • The book, What’s Gone Wrong With The Harvest? examined the steps people go through in their journey of becoming a Christian
    • He suggested that if we have an all-or-nothing approach, we can get discouraged and become ineffective
    • He came up with some common steps on the journey:
  • See a much fuller description at bibl.cwa/engel-scale

Steps on the Journey (by James Engel)

☐ God is a myth

☐ Dissatisfaction with lack of meaning
☐ Admit possibility of God
☐ Vague awareness and belief in God

☐ Wondering if God can be known personally
☐ Aware of what Jesus has to offer
☐ Interested in Jesus/Church

☐ Touched by reality of God (e.g. Christian love)
☐ Impacted by the truth of the gospel
☐ God brings awareness of personal need

☐ Count the cost of following Jesus
☐ Feel challenge to respond
☐ Turn from everything else to trust Jesus

Some Examples of people on a journey

  • Man born blind
  • Nicodemus
  • Ethiopian Eunuch
  • Pilate
  • Paul
  • Samaritan woman at the well

John 3: Nicodemus

  1. Now a certain man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council,
  2. came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”
  3. Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
  4. Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?”
  5. Jesus answered, …What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit…
  6. Nicodemus replied, “How can these things be?”
  7. Jesus answered, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you don’t understand these things?
  8. For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

based on NET Bible

  • So where is he?
    • And where does Jesus move him to?
  • Is he now a believer? —not right now as far as we know
  • But that’s not the end of the story.

John 7

  1. Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before and who was one of the rulers, said,
  2. “Our law doesn’t condemn a man unless it first hears from him and learns what he is doing, does it?”
  3. They replied, “You aren’t from Galilee too, are you? Investigate carefully and you will see that no prophet comes from Galilee!”
  • We don’t know his heart, but he is taking a risk by defending Jesus
  • However it is pretty clear that he is a disciple when he takes Jesus body down from the cross, wraps it, and contributes 75 pounds of expensive spices.

John 19

  1. Nicodemus, the man who had previously come to Jesus at night, accompanied Joseph, carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about seventy-five pounds.
  2. Then they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it, with the aromatic spices, in strips of linen cloth according to Jewish burial customs.
  3. …they placed Jesus’ body there [in the tomb]

John 4: Woman at the Well

  1. Jacob’s well was there, so Jesus, since he was tired from the journey, sat right down beside the well. It was about noon.
  2. A Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some water to drink.”
  3. (For his disciples had gone off into the town to buy supplies. )
  4. So the Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you — a Jew — ask me, a Samaritan woman, for water to drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.)
  5. Jesus answered her, “If you had known the gift of God and who it is who said to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
  6. “Sir,” the woman said to him, “you have no bucket and the well is deep; where then do you get this living water?
  7. Surely you’re not greater than our ancestor Jacob, are you? For he gave us this well and drank from it himself, along with his sons and his livestock.”
  8. Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks some of this water will be thirsty again.
  9. But whoever drinks some of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.”
  10. The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
  11. He said to her, “Go call your husband and come back here.”
  12. The woman replied, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “Right you are when you said, ‘I have no husband,’
  13. for you have had five husbands, and the man you are living with now is not your husband. This you said truthfully!”
  14. The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet.
  15. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you people say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”
  16. Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
  17. You people worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, because salvation is from the Jews.
  18. But a time is coming — and now is here — when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers.
  19. God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
  20. The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (the one called Christ); “whenever he comes, he will tell us everything.”
  21. Jesus said to her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”
  22. Now at that very moment his disciples came back. They were shocked because he was speaking with a woman. However, no one said, “What do you want?” or “Why are you speaking with her?”
  23. Then the woman left her water jar, went off into the town and said to the people,
  24. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Surely he can’t be the Messiah, can he?”
  25. So they left the town and began coming to him.
  26. Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the report of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I ever did.”
  27. …they began asking him to stay with them. He stayed there two days, 41and because of his word many more believed.

based on NET Bible


  • Don’t expect someone to be saved immediately after a short conversation (but they might)
  • God is working—you don’t have to do it all
  • Your part is to assist in the process
  • You need wisdom to understand where they are (as Jesus did)