Lesson 2 - How do I Talk to My Friends

2 Timothy 4:1-5
1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Ephesians: 4:11-16
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

Wanting to share your faith is the noblest thing you can do. It is also one of the most intimidating things you can do. So how can we do this when it is so hard? First, it is important to realize a few things:

1. It isn't as hard as you think it is?
2. You know more than you realize.
3. Your friends will respect you for your beliefs, if not maybe they weren't really friends.
4. There are no short-cuts or "magic" words.
5. The reward is worth the risk!

Getting ready
2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

So how do you get ready? Like anything if life that is valuable and noble it will take effort and time to be an effective teacher. Preparing yourself is a lifetime effort that is never completely done. With this is mind the time to start is NOW. Here are some of the things where you will need to invest time and energy:

1. Study
2. Prayer
3. Relationships

Colossians 3:2
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

1 Peter 4:8
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

Having the proper goals in mind before you begin will help you prepare for the study. These goals are actually very simple but may vary depending on who you are studying with. Here are a few examples:

1. Convince the person that sin is the root problem of mankind.
2. Comfort the person by showing how Jesus is the Savior and can forgive sin.
3. Show the person that God desires unity among this people.
4. Compel the person to understand there is truth, and by extension, only one truth.
5. Comfort the person by sharing that God loves them and the church loves them.
6. Let the person know God has a plan for them and wants what is best for them.

Setting Your Expectations
It is important to realize the process of sharing your faith will most likely not be quick and easy. Let's face it, you are where you are because of YEARS of study. You may be speaking to someone who has a long history of doubt in God and may see this as part of their identity. Or someone who has been taught religious error for their whole life. Many people view matters of faith as being closely tied to family heritage. Questions about what they believe may be viewed as an attack on their family. With this in mind it is important to consider these things:

1. Studying with someone will take lots of time.
2. When discussing long-held beliefs you must be patient and kind.
3. It is critical to not speak about the person (or people) but instead about the doctrine.
4. It is ok to not have all the answers.
5. Don't risk trying to win the argument but losing the war.
6. Once you start studying with someone you WILL GROW!!!

So it may to tough to study with someone, but you should expect the best anyway because you are doing God's work! There is no greater activity in the universe and you will be blessed. Expect the best and you will acheive it with God's help.

Things to Avoid
People came to Jesus often testing Him. Their goal was to try to find a way to trick Him or to trap Him. They did not come to learn or even engage in a fair and open-minded study. They only wanted to derail His ministry and frustrate His followers. Many people want to do the same thing today. Do not get too discouraged when this happens. Here are a few ways to tell if someone is trying to "test" you instead of having an open study:

1. When the person wants to jump from topic to topic. This is especially true if they feel they are "losing" their point.
2. If they want to tell a lot of "fairytale" type stories. Stories that are built around impossible situations that will most likely not happen. These stories often have a "catch" that creates a moral dilemma that seems difficult to overcome.
3. Having a Bible study requires usage of the Bible. When a person wants you to make your points without God's Word they are not seeking His Ways. Don't be tempted to show someone God without using His Word!

Starting a Study
Studying the Bible with someone can be formal or informal. You may want to sit down and have a dedicated time together, or you may want to pass questions and answers casually. Either way is fine but nothing beats a focused time that each person has agreed to set aside. If you can arrange "sit down" study here are a few tips that may help:

1. Take the time to really get to know them!
2. Use the environment to learn as much about them as possible.
3. Remove distractions.
4. Be a good host/guest.
5. Agreed to the topic and stick to it.
6. If you get stuck on a topic suggest you move on and come back to it later after more study.
7. Always pray with and for them!

Getting Help
At some point you will need help. When this time comes, ask for it! This is especially true because people who are converted to God need a wide network of Christian friends. Ask people to reach out to those with whom you have studied. Ask for help with tough questions. Don't just repeat the answers, think about them and explain to them the meaning!

Christians are called to teach the gospel to those around them. Doing this will bring you great joy and motivate you in ways that will change your life. Take a chance and give it a try.