Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
Effective Evangelism Acts 15:36-16:5
Many churches, today have become more of a parking lot with programs and fellowships being the main focus. I don’t believe God has a problem with the programs and fellowships, as long as they aren’t the main focus of the church. The church should be the place where we learn to be the people God desires us to be but it should, more than anything, be the launching pad for the people of God to do what He put us here to do.
The Apostle Paul always had to be doing something. He had to be preaching or witnessing or discipling or visiting.
The truth is he could have settled down comfortably in the church at Antioch, but he didn’t. The problem was that there were more people who needed to be reached and unlike many today, Paul didn’t view the church as a parking lot, but as a launching pad!
If we are to be the people of God who become obedient to the command of Jesus, in Acts chapter 1: 8 we must have a heart for evangelism.
This morning I want to begin looking at three essentials for effective evangelism.
So the first thing we must have if we are to experience effective evangelism is...
1. The Right Passion.
When people, today, are passionate about something we say they are driven.
What drives you or what are you passionate about? Some have a passion for money…some for fame.
Paul’s passion was, as our passion should be, reaching the lost.
Listen to what Paul said in [1Co 9:16 NIV] “For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled (obligated, required or duty-bound) to preach. Woe (grief, affliction, misery) to me if I do not preach the gospel!”
Some people will only serve, if they can be in the limelight or the bell of the ball BUT Paul does not have some “hero complex.” He’s not riding in on his big white horse to save the day, he’s saying, don’t pat me on the back because I witness and proclaim the Name of Jesus. I have to do these things…it’s in my bones!
He’s saying, “For me, witnessing is a command. Paul was passionate about reaching the lost.
Listen to what he said in [Col 3:23a NIV] “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…”
Someone said; “You can’t have too much enthusiasm.” And we could sure use some in the church.
But I read about a man who may have had too much enthusiasm. He ran an open air fish market in NYC. This particular day had been very good for him and he had sold all but1 small fish. He was closing up when a lady came by and said, I’d like to buy a large fish for my husband’s supper.
He looked down in his barrel at that one little fish. He reached in and threw it up on the counter… “How’s this?” “It’s a little small” she said. “Do you have another one?” He took the fish, swished it back around in the barrel and lifted it out and said, how’s this? “Still too small” she said. So for a 3rd time, and with all the enthusiasm he could muster said, “ooooh, take a look at this guy!”
She replied, well…they’re all a little small…I believe I’ll take all 3! Oops!
Now that guy may have been just a little too enthusiastic, when it comes to selling fish but spiritually, we really cannot have too much passion.
I’ve noticed something, in the 20+ years I’ve been in the ministry. When we have someone with the passion for the lost, like Paul had, most church going people shun them. We say something like “Oh their just a fanatic and we don’t want people to think we’re like them.”
BUT the opposite of spiritual passion is spiritual sleep.
Paul says in, [Rom 13:11 NIV] “…The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
In other words, Jesus is coming sooner than you think!
Paul is referring to spiritual sleep here.
Today the church is able to sleep in a noisy room full of lost people.
I wonder how many of us understand that a vast majority of Florence County doesn’t know Christ as Savior. Yet we walk right past them in stores, at work, on the street and never give them second glance because we’re “sleep-walking!” At my last check, there was approximately 7.1 billion people on this planet but most are spiritually dead. And there’s a small minority of us which are supposedly spiritually alive but we’re in some kind of a slumber…
Ladies and gentlemen it is time for the Church to wake up!