Getting Ready for Friendship Ablaze!

You have just received some really good news. You are engaged to be married! You got the position for which you interviewed! You are going to be a grandparent! You are "ablaze" with desire to tell a friend the good news. Who would that friend be?

Think about your friend. What is the history of your friendship? What qualities in that relationship make the friendship special?

Briefly write down your thoughts. If you are studying this in a group, take a moment to share your thoughts.

Consider one further question. Does the history of your friendship include a spiritual connection? Are you and your friend members of the same church? Did you have an influence on your friend coming to faith in Jesus Christ, or did the friend have an influence on your faith development? Did the words “lost” or “Christian,” “unchurched” or “churched” enter into your thoughts about your friend?

The reality is that friends and family members significantly influence how most people become Christians and find a church home. To ignore the spiritual dimensions of a friendship is a significant oversight in terms of outreach and spiritual growth through the church. The Holy Spirit fills all our friendships with spiritual power and spiritual opportunities. The Spirit wants us to have friendshipsAblaze! with His fire.

Let me share a personal assumption about friendship evangelism: It begins from the inside out.

Getting ready for Friendship Ablaze! begins with a relationship of faith in Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, I would suggest this might be thought of as a friendship. Read John 15:14-15.

Friendship with God begins and continues with a focus on the cross of Jesus Christ. It is sustained by the confession of sins and the wonderful assurance of forgiveness. Read I John 1:8-10. It is the mercy, grace, and love of God which you have received that you also share with friends in order to make spiritual connections. This is truly Friendship Ablaze! with the Spirit's power. It is the source of all our friendships Ablaze!

Think about evangelism from the inside out as you read Isaiah 6:1-8.

  1. In verse 3, how did God set Isaiah Ablaze! with the zeal to go and speak for Him?
  2. Read Luke 11:1-13. How does Jesus emphasize the holiness of God in His teaching?
  3. Read John 15:8. How is the glory of God seen in the world today?
  4. How does Isaiah describe himself as he perceives the presence of God? In verse 5, what does “Woe to me!” mean to you? Note: Many Bible commentators define “woe” as meaning “imperfect; not complete."
  5. In verse 5, how does Isaiah acknowledge his sin? 
    — His general acknowledgment
    — His specific acknowledgment
    — His identification with his culture (with all people) --
  6. In verses 6-7, what is God’s response? What is the good news?
  7. In verse 8, as a forgiven man, Isaiah discerns the Lord's purpose. God has a message for people. What is Isaiah’s response?
  8. Do you agree or disagree? Gratitude for the complete forgiveness of his sins motivates Isaiah’s response and sets him Ablaze! Why?
  9. What similarities do you see between this experience in the life of Isaiah and the experience of Peter in Luke 5:1-11? What sets their hearts Ablaze?
  10. Friendship Ablaze! begins from the inside out. Do you agree or disagree? The good news I have received I want to share with a friend. Why?

Would you take a very practical step? Think through an acknowledgment of your own sins in the same three ways Isaiah did. Would you ask God to forgive you for Jesus’ sake? Would you gratefully acknowledge your willingness to share that good news with a friend?

A closing prayer:

Father, I need Your forgiveness for the sin in my life. I know Jesus died for that reason. Thank You for that incredible expression of love. What good news! Holy Spirit, my friendships can be Ablaze!with spiritual power and opportunity only as You set my heart Ablaze! through Jesus' love. Fill me now with an excitement to share that news with a friend. Here am I. Send me to (name of friend). In the Name of my Friend Jesus, who created a Friendship Ablaze! with me. Amen.