Contributed by Jeffery Anselmi on Feb 15, 2019 (message contributor)
Summary: The early church was successful in their efforts to reach the world around them for Jesus and Acts 4:32-35 gives us insights as to why.
• SLIDE #1
• Have you ever wondered why you have tried to do something, but it did not seem to work?
• You put time and effort into the endeavor, yet at the end of the day, it just did not work.
• Then maybe you tried again with the same result, so after a while, you just gave up.
• As we continue with our ReBrand series, we are going to examine the subject of evangelism today.
• We called to share the message of Jesus with the world around us. Tom Sears talked about the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 a couple of weeks ago and one of the things we learned from that message was the importance of going and making disciples.
• The book of Acts shows us how the Great Commission looks in HD.
• Acts provides us with an account of the early church’s spread and recounts the “acts of the apostles.” In other words, it gives us “the first page of the history of the Church” (G Campbell Morgan, The Acts of the Apostles [Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2012]
• The early church was growing by leaps and bounds.
• Why was the early church doing so well in the area of evangelism? They had no social media, no You Version Bible App?
• No big church signs, no big shiny new churches in which to worship.
• Yet throughout the book of Acts, we see a great deal of growth.
• I think from an intellectual standpoint, we all know we are called to reach people, yet the task seems so tricky.
• It seems as though forces are working against us, which is true.
• However, here is something for us to consider.
• Many times, we excuse our lack of success in the area of evangelism on the society in which we live.
• It is true that society is not too eager to embrace Jesus; however, the early church thrived in the same environment.
• The honest truth is that most societies are not eager to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• Last week as we looked at the 1 Corinthians 1, we saw the church was starting to have some issues, but at this point, the church in Jerusalem was going strong as well in some other areas.
• Today I want to suggest three things that the early church did to help make the evangelistic efforts succeed.
• The great thing about these three issues is that we still possess them today, we just need to make sure that these things are a part of our efforts to refocus our mission and purpose in the right direction.
• If all the churches strived to take advantage of these three issues, our efforts to reach lost people for Jesus would grow by leaps and bounds.
• Given the fact that the early church thrived in spite of their surrounding circumstances, if we refocus our efforts in the right direction, we too can succeed!
• If we can grasp onto the three facts we will share today, we too can be successful in our endeavor to reach a lost world!
• Today we are going to examine Acts 4:32-35.
• We will start with verse 32.
• SLIDE #2
• Acts 4:32 (CSB) — 32 Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common.
• SLIDE #3
Our evangelism efforts are aided by…
I. A powerful witness.
• The early church possessed a powerful witness!
• Last week we talked about how damaging disunity would have on the efforts of the church to carry out her mission. The Corinthian church was struggling with division within the ranks.
• Well, the church at Jerusalem was showing us what unity looked like and how powerful of a witness a united church can be.
• These folks were laser beam focused on their mission, they were united in CHRIST, AND THIS UNITY GAVE THEM A POWERFUL WITNESS TO THE LOST WORLD AROUND THEM!
• We have a powerful weapon at our disposal, the weapon is the powerful witness of our unity.
• We spoke about how the Corinthian church was struggling with this concept, the Jerusalem church showed the world what unity looked like, and it became a powerful witness for Jesus!
• Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind,
• This one heart and one mind shows the depth of their unity.
• One heart is a phrase that indicates that they felt alike and were interested in the same things.
• The phrase represents the intellectual side of their Christian life!