Summary: Four Prayers we need to pray to become effective evangelists
Building God’s House – Acts 4:16-31 – Courage
About a hundred years ago, the Rev. Alexander Whyte was pastor at a large church in Edinburgh, England. There was a salesman named Rigby who often stopped in Edinburgh because he liked Whyte’s preaching.
When he was there he often invited business friends to come with him. Once a man came with Rigby for the morning service and was so impressed he returned to the evening service and decided to put his faith in Christ as his Savior. Because it had been such a dramatic moment for his friend, Rigby went to the pastor’s home to tell him how
his sermon had reached his friend.
When Rigby introduced himself, Whyte said, "You’re the man I’ve wanted to see for years!" Whyte went to his desk and returned with a bundle of letters -- all from persons telling of changed lives. Each of them had been brought to that church by Rigby to hear the gospel, and their lives were transformed.
• People’s lives were transformed because someone simply invited them to come along to church
Anyone want to share any evangelistic stories since we last spoke?
• Share story of woman who found out she had contracted a dreaded disease
• “You and Susan were the first people I thought of to call”
• If we had not been nurturing that relationship, or if we lacked courage to make her aware we are Christians, that call would never have been made
Today we back to the subject of evangelism – we’re going to address the issue of courage – the courage to evangelize
• Evangelism takes courage – it’s a risky business
• Ask Jesus, He knows the risk involved. It cost Him his life
• He said in Mark 10:45 that He came "to give His life as a ransom for many."
• We’re get cold feet just thinking of what others will think of our reputation if we open our mouths, Jesus knew it was going to cost Him his life
• Not many of us face that risk. At worst we may be labeled a “Bible Basher”
• This same Jesus later said to His followers, "As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you" (John 20:21).
• He wants us to show a little gumption and take this message to the world
• So let’s look at this subject of courage – How can you and I become courageous evangelists
The first step in being courageous evangelists is to pray
• One of our goals this year is to become more of a praying church
The first thing we need to pray for is the gift of evangelism
• Say for instance we wanted the gift of wisdom so we could make wise decisions, what does God’s word say we should do to receive it?
• James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
• How many of you have ever prayed for the gift of wisdom? Just before an exam, job decision, relationship decision
• How many of you have ever prayed for the gift of evangelism?
• Hmmmmm! Why is that?
• Now we all want the gift of wisdom because we want to make wise decisions, makes us look like we’ve got our lives together, in other words there is an element of self-interest in it, so we aren’t afraid to ask for it are we?
• Yet evangelism which is arguably a better gift to have than wisdom is more of a challenge
• Evangelism makes us think outside ourselves
• And don’t you think God will honor the prayer for the gift of evangelism just like he honors the prayer for the gift of wisdom
• So the first thing we need to do in order to be courageous evangelists is to get over that fear and take that courageous step and ask for the gift of evangelism
Second thing we need to do is pray for boldness to speak up when an opportunity presents itself
• We humans are very fearful of what others will think of us, so we hate putting ourselves in a dubious situation where we may come out looking bad
• The apostle Peter was no different from you and I, and he too had his fearful moments like denying Christ so he wouldn’t look bad
• But on the day of Pentecost all that changed
• In Acts 3, Peter and John had just healed the lame man at the temple, crowd gathered to see the lame man jump and run, Peter gives his second sermon on Jesus to the crowd, Jerusalem is in an uproar