Evangelism For The 21st Century
Mid-State Bible Institute
So far we have looked at what Evangelism is, some characteristic of , and the fact that before a person can evangelize, they must first have been evangelized themselves. For this lesson, I want to spend some time looking at evangelism principles from the early church. Sometimes, to see where you are going, you must see where you came from.
The truth is, “the church does not nee more gimmicks and newer programs” today. What we need is to return to the model that God has given us through the examples of the Apostles and the early Church.
HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERED AND DIRECTED
The first thing that we see when we look back to the example of the early church is that they were filled and directed by the Holy Spirit.
Act 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
As you read through the book of Acts, you will see that this dependency on the Holy Spirit was not a one time things, but was a life style. It was who they were, not who they pretended to be.
Read also: Acts 8:26-40 / Acts 10:9-39 / Acts 16:6-10
What do all of these readings have in common? It was the Holy Spirit that directed them. The principle we learn here is very clear: If the 21st Century Church is to have any affect in Evangelizing, it must be directed and powered by the Holy Spirit.
ROOTED IN SCRIPTURE
The second thing we see from our the early church examples is that today s evangelism must be rooted in God’s Word. Jesus Himself used Scripture to announce His earthy Ministry (Luke 4:14-30). Peter, then, following Jesus’ example, drew a large crowd and started to preach. Some of the first words out of His mouth were, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (Act 2:16). He then went on to quote David in verses 25-28, 34-35.
Again, following the same example, Philip quoted Isaiah when talking with the Eunuch in Acts 8:35. James used Old Testament Scripture at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:15-19 as well. And, many time the Apostle Paul quoted and referred to Scripture in his Missionary travels. The sad truth is, many church and Evangelist today rely upon their own wisdom and strength to evangelize, and this is the reason for such dead churches.
CENTERED ON JESUS
The third example that we see from the example of the early church I that their evangelism was centered on Jesus Christ. If you are talking about anything other then Jesus Christ, you are not evangelizing. You, your Church, your programs, your pet doctrines, your thoughts or feelings, or even your ideas have nothing to do with evangelism. Real evangelism is always centered on the life, death, resurrection and works of Jesus Christ.
Read Acts 2:22-24 and write down all the details Peter mentioned about Jesus in these three verses. No less then eight details are mentioned about Jesus in these verses, and then as you read on, it is very clear that all Peter is doing is centering his sermon on Jesus Christ (verses 32-36).
STRESS REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS
Peters message convicted the listeners so much because he was filled with the Holy Spirit and he was keeping his message centered on Jesus Christ. It convicted them so much in fact that they cried out “Men and brethren, what shall we do” (V. 37)?
Peters reply in verse 38 is the same thing our evangelism should be proclaiming… “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Jesus himself, after He was baptized called for people to “repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). You see, evangelism is about Jesus and His desire and ability to forgive sins. BUT, there must be repentance before there is a new birth.
Evangelism is not a “self help” program. Evangelism is the good news that when we repent of our sins, God is “faithful and Just to forgive us of our sins, and to cleans us of all unrighteouness” (1 John 1:9)
STRATEGIC AND SPONTANEOUS
Effective evangelism, just like during the early church days, must be intentional. It has to be planned and thought out. Jesus gave His disciples His strategy when He told the in Acts 1:8, “ But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Today, this same message applies to us. Our Evangelism should always start at home. Family, friends, neighbors, and yes, even our enemies need the Lord. Our first and foremost mission field is those right around us. As we evangelize those, then our city, county, state, and country. As we reach out further, our eyes should then start turning to ways we can help those abroad in other countries.
If we are truly living a life of evangelism, not only will we be strategic, we will also be spontaneous. We will look for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others
There are several examples of this “spontaneous” evangelism in Scripture. Take the time to read about Philip, in Acts 8:26-40 and notice how he took advantage of the situation to evangelize. Another good example is found in Acts 16:16-36. Here Paul and Silas uses an unfortunate side trip into prison to evangelize.
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, keeping Jesus Christ foremost in our lives, and ready to share the Gospel with others, God will always give you the opportunity. He is just waiting for someone to say, “here am I Lord, send me”