Summary: Exposition of Acts 28:17-29 regarding Paul’s example of evangelistic method and subject matter
Text: Acts 28:17-29, Title: Expression of Sentness, Date/Place: NRBC, 11/1/09, AM
A. Opening illustration: Carl Boyle is a sales representative, and he was driving home through his suburban neighborhood one day when he saw a group of young children selling Kool-Aid on a corner. They had taped the typical hand-scrawled sign on their stand: “Kool-Aid, 10 cents.” As a salesman, Carl was intrigued. He pulled over to the curb, and one of the boys came up to his car and asked if he would like strawberry or grape Kool-Aid. Carl placed his order and handed the boy a quarter. After much deliberation, the children determined he had some change coming, and rifled through the old box in which they kept their money, until they finally came up with the correct amount. The boy returned with the change, then stood by the side of the car watching him as he drank. The boy became impatient and asked if Carl was finished drinking. “Just about,” said Carl, “Why?” “That’s the only cup we have,” answered the boy, “and we need it to stay in business.” Fortunately, we have more than one cup and we don’t have to use the same one to stay in business. There is more than one method of evangelism. There is more than one way to enter the harvest field. There is more than one cup of cold water we can share with the world.
B. Background to passage: Now Paul has been escorted into the city by the brethren, and his temporary lodging is taken care of, Paul can continue his missionary activity (as you know, it never really ceased). So now, Paul is chained to a soldier, but the gospel is not chained!
C. Main thought: Paul sets us a pattern for expressing our “sentness”
A. Methodology (v. 17, 23)
1. It took Paul three days to get settled in, and take care of whatever legal processes that needed to get going, but after that he called the Jews of the area together to witness to them. First we see that he was intentional about his witnessing. He made sure that opportunities came, rather than just hoping they would. He didn’t just wait for Jews to come, he called for them. Secondly, he explained. Don’t think about Paul like Billy Graham at a crusade or even me at this church. This word meant to expound on in a systematic or logical fashion. This is not the word for preach or proclaim. Thirdly, Paul testified. This is the word for witness with a Gr. intensive on it. He continued to testify repeatedly to the facts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Fourthly, he did it consistently, faithfully, and regularly, all day long, even in the face of rejection and persecution.
3. Illustration: one common complaint about visitation type programs from pastors is that it reduces evangelism to a one night a week thing, but that is better than no nights a month, D.L. Moody once spoke with a woman who didn’t like his method of evangelism. "I don’t really like mine all that much either. What’s yours?" She replied that she didn’t have one. Moody said, "Then I like mine better than yours.” a Hindu guru years ago, and he said, ‘Luis, don’t ever use the Western style of arguing, trying to show your religion is better than my religion or your Savior is superior. Just simply tell who Jesus is. Tell of His character. Tell what He’s like. Let people do the comparing for themselves.’
4. We should be as intentional as the Apostle about making our own opportunities to share the gospel. What spheres of influence to you have access to? What avenues are open to you that will allow you to meet new people, and develop relationships? Many are placed upon us through work or family. But others are sought out by those that want to be intentional. Join a civic group, club, or organization, not only with the intention of helping a good cause, but of sharing the gospel. 2) Don’t think that this is the job of vocational “preachers” and missionaries. You are all preachers and missionaries. You are sent to reach your circle. If you can explain the nuts and bolts of the gospel, you can do this. If you can’t, come back tonight, and I will give you that. 3) Just explain what Jesus did in your life, include some scripture, that the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Know a 3-min and 10-min version of how you came to Christ. 4) Keep on doing it. Paul was rejected, Peter was rejected, even Jesus was rejected, are you better than they? Most people have to hear the gospel several times before they come to know Christ.