Summary: Evangelism is not primarily about keeping people out of hell, but winning them to serve God. That's why we need to keep the focus on God.
A Comprehensive Faith
1. This week an interesting story hit the presses:
A woman who was kidnapped as a newborn 23 years ago says finding her real mother "felt like a dream."
Carlina White was just 19 days old when she disappeared from Harlem Hospital in New York. She tells the New York Post that when the woman who had raised her could not produce a birth certificate, she became suspicious.
White was raised in Connecticut under the name Nejdra Nance. She now lives in Atlanta.
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children helped her find her birth mother, Joy White. They were reunited in New York on Saturday. [AP]
2. What a story. But, if you think about it, that story is replicated in each one of us when we find the Lord. We were meant to be children of God, but sin has stolen us away. When we come to know Christ, we are united with our Father in heaven.
2. When we try to share Christ with people, we can encounter many obstacles. One of them is ignorance – lack of basic information. And the American public is more ignorant than ever, so we must explain more than ever.
3. You cannot believe the Gospel if the Gospel has never been communicated to you.
4. The highlights of Paul's sermon, recorded in Acts 13, teach us much about what people need to hear in order to understand the most important and essential facts of the Gospel.
5.Ben Witherington III divides Paul's sermon into 5 sections, based upon the oratory style of the era. I'll use simpler terms than Witherington:  the introduction (vs. 16),  narration (vs. 17-25),  the proposition (main idea) (vs. 26),  the proofs of the proposition (vs. 27-37), and  the final call to faith (vs. 38-41).
Today we'll look at the first three parts, next week the rest.
Main Idea: Evangelism is not primarily about keeping people out of hell, but winning them to serve God. That's why we need to keep the focus on God.
I. Our God is One Who Opens DOORS (13-15)
A. God apparently used the new believer, SERGIUS PAULUS (13-14a)
1. We tend to have the most evangelistic opportunities while a new believer
2. Likely:Sergius Paulus had land & family in Pisidian Antioch; [Witherington]
3. A motivated new believer can quickly pass lackluster seasoned saints
4. Why is this? The new believer recognizes that his main source of importance is his relationship to God, not his social status; this often gets lost later on.
B. Paul used his status as a Jewish RABBI (14b-15)
1. God allows us to develop status; this status to be submittted to him;
2. The doors God opens are often things we have in common with others.
C. Paul understood that all the Scriptures connect to the GOSPEL
D. What OPPORTUNITIES does God give you? [You have certain status]
Application: Evangelism is not about us opening doors, but rather walking through the doors God opens. But you have to have open, alert eyes to see where those doors are; if you do not seek, you will not find. If you do not knock, the door will not be opened.
Evangelism is not primarily about keeping people out of hell, but winning them to serve God. That's why we need to keep the focus on God.