From a Jan 2007 teaching, [brackets mine]
We will look at what Jesus Christ did to win people to God, and what we can do today to witness in our culture.
Jesus Christ was a servant. He was not influenced by the worldly appearance of people. He loved unconditionally and looked past character flaws to find those who would believe. Let's take a look at the record of the Samarian woman at the well
Then cometh he [Jesus Christ] to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, [Judean] askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews [Judeans] have no dealings with the Samaritans.
This is an honest question. The difference between their two cultures was very evident. The Samaritans were looked down upon as dogs by the Judeans and would have been considered a lower class of people. This is the reason this record and the following verses are significant. let's read on:
Verse 10: Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
She was surprised that Jesus talked to her at all, even for a drink of water. He looked past that cultural prejudice and saw believing in her heart. He spoke of eternal life using an analogy of the well water. This would have been an example she clearly understood. Once you had a drink from this well, you never went thirsty again. Spiritually that is what salvation is like, we are no longer incomplete, searching for spirituality. God makes us whole and gives us life everlasting.
She eventually brought back more people from the city to meet him. Through cultural barriers, Jesus Christ won over the hearts of people who were searching. There are many more examples, but this serves as a good example for us today.
Here are a few practical points in our day and time to win the hearts of people:
-Pray before you go witnessing
-People are won by love, understanding, compassion and a listening ear...not necessarily by argument or preaching to them about God
-Make it a point to talk to people, whether about the Word of God or not
-People who are believers already are usually happy to find that someone else is a "Christian" just like them. Bringing up the subject of God and salvation finds common ground and makes new friends
-Expect that God will give you open doors to speak, that is what his Word promises in Colossians 4:3
-Seek the opportunity to meet a need, not necessarily just to invite them to a gathering
-Develop conversation skills as you go. People aren't won by fancy words and extensive knowledge...just love
-Have a plan. Set goals for your life and the life of others
-Respect people's time
-Assume that most people are going to be interested in talking with you about God because they ARE. Rude people are not as common as we think they are
-We all have a great knowledge of the word through the Ministry, we can give answers as God gives the inspiration
-Why do we witness? We do it because it is what God wants
-The only thing scarier than knocking on a door, or starting a conversation with someone...is what will happen to the person if you DON'T do it! You can change their life.
-Remember to follow up. I have heard countless stories of people who were pursued for long periods of time until finally checking out a bible fellowship and now they are strong believers! Those people that I have talked with on this subject are very thankful someone took the time to stay in touch with them.
Here are the 6 “styles” of Witnessing:
Unfortunately, many stereotypes have developed from the abuses of this style. We don't like to be grabbed by the collar and asked, "Are you saved?" Yet, this style is strongly evident throughout Scripture. Peter uses it in Acts 2, when he addresses the crowd after Pentecost. "What must we do to be saved?" many asked, after Peter confronts and challenges them. "Repent and be baptized,” demands Peter.
This style is logical, rational and loves to deal with questions and ideas. "What do you think?" is often the opening question. In Acts 17, Paul uses this style with the Athenians, at the centre of the intellectual civilization, as he debates with these learned men of Greece.
This style is perhaps the most familiar to us. In John 9 the blind man who was healed by Jesus refuses to argue with the authorities as to whether Jesus is a good man or bad. "All I know is this," he says. "I was blind, and now I can see." We too, have personal experiences of Jesus to share like this blind man.
This style is probably the easiest for us to use. Levi, in Luke 5, was a hated pariah, a tax-collector, yet he followed Jesus. His evangelism style was to throw a great bean-feast and invite his tax-collector buddies to come and meet Jesus. He used his relationships to bring others to Christ.
Many feel comfortable with this style. In John 4, the Samaritan woman runs back to town and invites her friends to "come and see" Jesus. Who does not like to be invited to meet someone?
Dorcas is described in Acts 9 as filling her days with acts of kindness and charity. Often this style melts the hearts of unbelievers because it demonstrates love over a long period of time.
No one style fits everyone's personality—or every situation.
6 Styles of Witnessing, Source: Mark Mittelberg and Lee Strobel "Discovering Your Evangelism Style"
Here are some further verses on the subject.
Acts 10:43 – To him give all the Prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him [Jesus Christ] shall receive remission of sins.
God provides remission, or forgiveness of sins when we are born again. Likewise after we are born again all we need to do is thank him for forgiveness and he willingly gives it. There are no outward works we need to do or actions to perform. God's grace is a gift - and gifts cannot be earned, they are always given freely.
Romans 5:1 – Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ:
One of our rights as a child of God is justification. We are forgiven and acquitted of all charges spiritually. We can stand before God righteous without any sense of sin or guilt in our hearts. That is what we are sharing when we reach out to people.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [new creation] old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. And all things are of God who hath reconciled himself to us through Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
The Ministry of Reconciliation is our opportunity to "reconcile" people back to God. It is another name for outreach or witnessing. In the beginning God created us complete with body, soul, and spirit. When Adam and Eve sinned and lost their spiritual connection with God we all became incomplete humans and separated from God spiritually. We are born into this world with only body and soul, no spirit. Jesus Christ came so that we can be reconciled back to God through the creation of holy spirit within us at the time of salvation. That is where this term "reconciliation" comes from. let's read on in verse 19:
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he [God] hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [Christ].
We are ambassadors for Christ, showing people God's love and offering not only salvation and eternal life, but an even greater knowledge of the truth that follows as noted in I Timothy 2:4
Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.
The Word says that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. We can shine with God's light in this world of darkness.
1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear [respect, awe].
God will work in us to provide an answer to anyone who ask us the reason for the hope that is in us. We can't help but share all that God has done for us.
We speak with the boldness that Jesus Christ spoke, we can do his works and even greater. We look past cultural or worldly appearances to see believing. We can give an answer to every one that asks us where our hope lies.
We are the light of the world.
God Bless You!