Biblical Womanhood Bible Study

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 9- Beautiful Feet (Evangelism)

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Read These Selected Scriptures

Lesson 8 was all about obeying, and being “doers” of, God’s Word. Today, we’re taking a look at one way of “doing” the Word: having beautiful feet that take the good news of the gospel to a lost and dying world.

Questions to Consider

1. What is evangelism? In your own words, give a brief definition of what evangelism involves and why we evangelize. Briefly review lessons 7-8 (links above). Describe how knowing and loving God’s Word (lesson 7) leads to obeying God’s Word (lesson 8), which leads to sharing the gospel with others.

2. If evangelism is sharing the gospel with others, we want to be certain we’re sharing the complete and true gospel. Briefly review my article: Basic Training: The Gospel and the Scriptures it contains.

3. Study the Matthew 28 passage. This passage of Scripture is often called The Great Commission. Break the passage down into three parts, and exposit each part:

The Preamble (18): Describe Jesus’ authority, motivation, and reasons for giving the instructions and promise that follow.

The Prescription (19-20a): What are the four verbs (action words) in this passage that Christ instructs us to do? Explain how Christians in general, and you personally, can carry out each of these actions.

The Promise (20b): What promise does Christ make to us as we carry out The Great Commission? What are some of the things He does not promise us? Explain why His promise to be with us is the perfect promise – the one we need the most – as we share the gospel with others.

4. Examine Acts 1:8 (and read verses 1-7 for context) and Romans 10:13-15. In your own words, set the scene for Jesus speaking the words in Acts 1:8. How is verse 8 an explanation of the word “go” in Jesus’ instructions to the disciples in The Great Commission? Who will empower them to carry out The Great Commission? Relate this empowerment to the authority Jesus spoke of in Matthew 28:18. How are they to make disciples? Think of a witness in a courtroom. How were the disciples witnesses of Christ? Where are they to “go therefore” to find these people to witness Christ to and make into disciples? How does Romans 10:13-15 also explain the “how to” of The Great Commission? Why are the feet of those who bring the gospel “beautiful”?

5. Look at a 1st century map containing Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. Think about what you know (or search a concordance) about the disciples’ relationship to each of these places. Was Jesus just naming random places for them to go preach the gospel? What was the meaning the disciples would have mentally attached to each of these places that told them about the people they would be reaching in each of these places? Explain the expanding geography of the gospel: Jerusalem→Judea→Samaria→ends of the earth.

How can you make application of both of these points (the meaning of each place and the expanding geography of the gospel) to your own life and to your church? How can you take the gospel to:

“Jerusalem”– The people and physical location closest to you: members of your own household, family, closest friends. Your neighborhood, community, town.

“Judea”– People who aren’t quite as close, literally or figuratively: acquaintances, co-workers, extended family, cashiers/bank tellers/service people/your child’s teacher. People who live in farther away areas of your state or country.

“Samaria”– Remember the Jews’ and Samaritans’ attitudes toward each other? Explain how The Great Commission involves going out of your way to take the gospel, not just to the people you like and have much in common with, but to our enemies, or to people who look, talk, and act differently than we do, and are from different backgrounds and cultures.

“The Ends of the Earth”– How can we reach “the ends of the earth”? Have you ever seriously considered working in full-time, vocational missions, either as a field missionary or on staff with a support organization? Give it some thought. But even if God has not called us to vocational missions, we can still “hold the rope” for those who go. What are some ways you and your church can support missionaries, missions organizations, Bible translators, indigenous pastor training programs, etc.?

6. Study the 2 Corinthians passage. What is the message Christ has entrusted to us? What does it mean that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, that we are ambassadors for Christ, and that God makes His appeal through us?

7. “Put flesh on” The Great Commission by reading the story of Philip (Acts 8) and/or the story of the woman at the well (John 4, especially v. 28-30, 39-42). What catches your eye about the way s/he shared the good news of Jesus? In what way did s/he set a good example for Christians today of sharing the gospel? What was the effect on the person(s) being shared with? How do these two stories demonstrate that God can use our circumstances, skills, and personalities as tools for sharing the gospel?


Homework

Read one of the articles below, choose one of the resources or practical suggestions for sharing the gospel, and implement it this week.

10 Fun, Practically Effortless, and Free Ways to Do Missions and Evangelism

10 Ways to Share the Gospel During the Holidays

Share the Gospel Like a Twelve Year Old

Street Preaching: A Call to Arms


Suggested Memory Verse

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20

Christian women, Complementarianism, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Is it biblical for women to carry out The Great Commission?

 

Last week, I received some questions from a Facebook follower regarding my article Basic Training: The Great Commission. I thought they were very insightful and that other readers might have the same questions, so I’m sharing and expanding on my answers to her here. (I’ve edited/condensed the reader’s questions and comments {in bold type} for the sake of brevity.)

Given my understanding of what Jesus is commanding, and comparing it with other examples in the New Testament, it’s not for women to do the Great Commission. Our role is not to make disciples, teach, or baptize, but to keep the home, edify other women believers, etc. The Great Commission is for men, not women, to do because…

1. The Great Commission requires teaching and baptizing.

2. Jesus was speaking the Great Commission to His disciples, who were all male.

3. We don’t see any specific New Testament examples of women sharing the gospel with the lost through their own witness or example.

4. Because we don’t see any specific New Testament examples of women sharing the gospel or any explicit commands for women to share the gospel, it violates the regulative principle for women to share the gospel with the lost.

This reader’s questions really got me thinking and digging. I love questions that make me think hard and dig into Scripture and theology for answers!

First, let me briefly address the points of this issue that are not in dispute. As I understand her, the reader is in full agreement with Titus 2:3-5 and the example of Lois and Eunice. She agrees with the biblical principles of women training their own children in the gospel and discipling Christian women (already saved) inside the church. Her questions have mainly to do with sharing the gospel with the lost outside the church – evangelism.

Next, before we dive into the reader’s questions themselves, it is very important to distinguish between two types of Scripture:

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of Scripture: descriptive and prescriptive. Descriptive passages describe something that happened: Noah built an ark. Esther became queen. Paul got shipwrecked. These passages simply tell us what happened to somebody. Prescriptive passages are commands or statements to obey. Don’t lie. Share the gospel. Forgive others.

If we wanted to know how to have a godly marriage, for example, we would look at passages like Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Corinthians 7, and Exodus 20:14,17. These are all passages that clearly tell us what to do and what not to do in order to have a godly marriage.

What we would not do is look at David’s and Solomon’s lives and conclude that polygamy is God’s design for marriage. We would not read about Hosea and assume that God wants Christian men to marry prostitutes. We would not read the story of the woman at the well and think that being married five times and then shacking up with number six is OK with Jesus.

Descriptive passages may support, but never trump, the clear instruction of prescriptive passages.¹

Now, let’s see if we can come to some biblical conclusions on her questions:

1. The Great Commission requires teaching and baptizing.

Teaching:
Often, when we’re looking at women’s roles in the church and being obedient to 1 Timothy 2:12, people conflate evangelism with teaching. Teaching Scripture to saved people inside the church gathering is not the same thing as sharing the gospel with lost people outside the church gathering. They are two separate, distinct things. First Timothy 2:12 (and other prohibitive passages) only prohibits the former, not the latter. The Great Commission, and the New Testament overall, commands the latter.

As Christian women we want to be sure we keep these two things straight and carry out The Great Commission in the way God has prescribed for women to carry it out. May we share the gospel with a lost man or woman “as we are going”? Yes. If that person is a man, once he is saved is it biblically appropriate for a woman to teach and disciple him? No. If he is saved, he is supposed to be joined to a local church. Once inside the church body, he is to be taught Scripture and discipled by men.

Here are some resources which may be of further help:

Rock Your Role: Jill in the Pulpit

Rock Your Role FAQs (see #11 for using wisdom on sharing the gospel with men)

Basic Training: 7 Reasons Church is Not Optional and Non-Negotiable for Christians

Baptism:
When it comes to teaching inside the church, we have clear, prescriptive passages that specifically tell us what women are not to do. With evangelism, we also have clear commands in The Great Commission, and elsewhere, that disciples of Christ are to share the gospel.

But when it comes to baptism, we don’t have a clear “this or that person should or should not perform baptisms” passage, so we need to look at the principles and precedents surrounding baptism.

The people specifically named as personally performing baptisms in the New Testament were John the Baptist (who baptized Jesus), the twelve apostles, Philip the Evangelist, Paul and/or Silas, and Paul. All of these were men, and all held pastoral or pastoral/elder-type formal leadership positions in the embryonic or infancy stages of the church. All of them were commissioned, ordained, or set apart to their positions by God, Jesus, or the church. We do not see any New Testament instances of random church members – male or female – performing baptisms, only those in positions of church leadership.

Additionally, baptism is a formal, official, consecrated ordinance of the church, not a casual, personal, relational activity between individuals, friends, or loved ones. It should no more be administered by any church member who wants to do it than the Lord’s Supper should be. Both ordinances should be administered by an ordained pastor or elder of the church. That leaves out women as well as most men. Does the responsibility of pastors to baptize mean that men who aren’t pastors shouldn’t carry out the Great Commission? Of course not. We – men and women – share the gospel with someone, and if that person gets saved, part of our responsibility is to do what we can to get him plugged in to a local church where a pastor can baptize him. We don’t have to baptize him ourselves in order to be fulfilling The Great Commission.

Basic Training: Baptism

2. Jesus was speaking the Great Commission to His disciples, who were all male.
Yes, they were all male. They were all apostles, too. But first and foremost, they were all disciples – followers of Christ – just as Christians are today. Our identity in Christ – who we are, spiritually – trumps what we are, physically (male or female), and what we do (different roles and behaviors) as a result of who and what we are. Galatians 3:28 tells us:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In Christ, there is only one type of being: Christian. There is only one kind of spiritual DNA. There’s no XX and XY. There’s just X. Ontologically, Christians are all the same kind of spiritual being.

The Great Commission is based on who the disciples, and we, are – followers of Christ – just as many of the other things that Jesus taught His disciples were. For example, when the disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray,” and Jesus responded with the Lord’s Prayer, did Jesus mean that only the Twelve, or only men should use it as their model in prayer? When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, did He mean that only the disciples or only men should serve one another in humility? When Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive, did “seventy times seven” apply only to Peter, only to the disciples, or only to men? Of course not. Christ’s instructions to His followers apply to all who follow Him. It is in the way in which we carry these instructions out that Christ differentiates and delegates divergent and discrete responsibilities to men, women, and church leadership.

As disciples, we are to carry out The Great Commission. As Christian women, we carry it out in a different way from men and pastors.

3. We don’t see any specific New Testament examples of women sharing the gospel with the lost through their own witness or example.
We don’t see any specific verses that say something along the lines of “Miriam shared the gospel with Simon, and he got saved,” that’s true. But how about these…

✢The woman at the well in John 4: “So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ They went out of the town and were coming to him.” (28-30)

✢The widow (and townswomen) of Nain in Luke 7: “Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and ‘God has visited his people!’ And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.” (16-17)

✢The friends of Tabitha in Acts 9: ” And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” (41-42)

✢Lydia in Acts 16: “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well…” (14-15)

1 Corinthians 7:12-16: “If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife…For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?”

1 Peter 3:1-6: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.”

The first four examples imply that various women, to one degree or another, were pointing people to Jesus. But, again, these are descriptive passages. They lend a bit of support to the idea of women sharing the gospel with others, but we build doctrine on prescriptive passages like The Great Commission. The last two examples are prescriptive passages instructing women in sharing the gospel with their lost husbands. These passages are supportive of women sharing the gospel.

Evangelism at Theology Gals

4. Because we don’t see any specific New Testament examples of women sharing the gospel or any explicit commands for women to share the gospel, it violates the regulative principle for women to share the gospel with the lost.
Well, as I mentioned above, we do see descriptive passages that at least hint at women sharing the gospel, and we also see prescriptive passages that explicitly instruct women in sharing the gospel with their lost husbands. But The Great Commission and other passages that are general commands to all followers of Christ to share the gospel are the strong and emphatic passages we draw doctrine from, not the more tangential passages. So even if the regulative principle did apply to evangelism, it would be supported by Scripture.

But the regulative principle doesn’t apply to evangelism as the full terminology – the regulative principle of worship – helps us to understand. The regulative principle applies to the corporate worship service, not evangelism, not marriage, not finances, not employment, not parenting, nor any other biblical issue. Just corporate worship.

 

Are women to carry out The Great Commission? Yes. We are to carry it out in the way Christ has prescribed for godly Christian women.


¹Rock Your Role: Oh No She Di-int! Priscilla Didn’t Preach, Deborah Didn’t Dominate, and Esther Wasn’t an Egalitarian

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Evangelism

Share the Gospel Like a Twelve Year Old

A couple of years ago, my 7th and 8th grade sons had to take the standardized state tests for their grade levels. Because I home school them, I took them to the testing facility where they were grouped with other home schoolers their age.

My 7th grade son, Jacob, came home the first day and mentioned that a couple of the kids had picked on him a little, especially a girl his age who made fun of him. She also told him she was an atheist. She continued to tease him for the next two days.

In the car on the way to their last day of testing, Jacob was sitting in the back seat and saw my supply of tracts sticking out of my purse. He asked me if he could have a couple of them. I was so proud. I thought maybe he would leave one in the restroom or on a bench as he’s seen me do before. I told him he was welcome to them.

When I returned to pick them up that afternoon, Jacob told me what he had done with the tracts. He put one at the work station of the atheist girl who had been teasing him. When she found it, she tore it up in Jacob’s face. So he gave her the second one. She tore that one up too and told him that if he ever gave her anything else about Jesus she would “kill him.”

Ladies, I share this story with you, not to brag on my son, but to encourage you. If a twelve year old child can share the gospel with someone so hostile, you can do it too! Share Christ with your friends and family, your neighbors, people you run into at the store. Get yourself some tracts and hand them to cashiers, wait staff, clerks, anyone you come in contact with. Or at least leave them behind when you go somewhere- the library, restaurants, the doctor’s office, etc.

We have a commission from our King to take the gospel to a lost and dying world. Let’s get out there and do it! Here are some resources that can help:

Bezeugen Tract Club– Get a free supply of tracts every month, and follow Bezeugen’s social media pages for fun “tracting” challenges.

Living Waters– Ray Comfort’s phenomenal witnessing ministry offers courses in biblical evangelism, eye-catching tracts, witnessing and apologetics videos, and more!

Wretched– Listen in to Witness Wednesday every week as Todd Friel goes out and about to share the gospel, and participate in The Biggest Project or The Big Toe Challenge.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Should I Attend the Baby Shower?

If you have a question about: a well known Christian author/leader, a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

mailbag

 

I have a dear friend who has a daughter who had two children out of wedlock and then married. Her daughter, who is now 18, has a child out of wedlock and is pregnant again by the same guy. Seems she is following in her mother’s footsteps. Should I attend the baby shower?

Obviously, sex outside of marriage is a sin, which, I’m sure, is why you’re in a quandry about whether or not to attend the shower. You may be wondering if your attendance will send the message that you approve of the sin of adultery or fornication. On the other hand, the sin itself is over and done with. Perhaps you’re wanting to show this young lady grace in order to find an opportunity to share the gospel with her. These are both perfectly valid, biblical considerations.

Since I don’t personally know all of the people involved or all of the details of the situation, and there’s nothing in the Bible about whether or not to attend showers for babies conceived out of wedlock, I don’t think it would be wise for me to give you a “Go” or “Don’t go” answer. But I would like to offer some thoughts that may help you as you make your decision.

As I mentioned, the Bible is silent on what to do in this situation. It would not be a sin for you to attend, nor would it be a sin not to attend. This is an issue of conscience and wisdom.

First, if you’re married, be sure to discuss this with your husband. Or, if you’re a young lady living under your parents’ authority, talk with them about it. Always obey God’s word by submitting to your husband or to your parents’ authority if these apply in your life.

Ask your pastor, Sunday School teacher, or a godly friend for insight and counsel.

Ask God to give you wisdom, trust that He will, and then make the most godly decision you can. James 1:5 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Does the young lady in question seem repentant over her actions? Are she and the baby’s father getting married? Does she seem determined to flaunt her sin and continue in rebellion? These are some factors that may influence your decision.

I think what it boils down to is this: How can you best represent Christ in this situation and serve as a godly influence to this young lady? Whatever you decide, continue to be kind to her, love her, pray for her, offer to help with the baby, and share the gospel with her as the Holy Spirit provides the opportunity.