Summary: The early church was very effective in communicating the gospel. In this sencond part of the series we examine why they were so effective in evangelizing and reaching people with the good news.
¡§How to communicate the good news effectively¡¨
There was a man who lived up in upstate New York and he was getting tired of the cold weather, so he decided to go to Florida. His wife was on a business trip at the time so he called her to let her know what he was doing and to tell her not to go back to New York but to meet him in Florida.
When he arrived he sent her an e-mail to let her know he was there, but he got a few letters wrong in the address and instead of going to his wife the e-mail went to a little old lady in Iowa, who was a pastors wife. And whose husband had died the day before.
The little old lady turned on her computer ¡V read the e-mail, screamed and fainted right on the spot. Her family and friends who were there came in saw her on the floor ¡V and when they read the screen they understood why she fainted..
„«Dearest darling just wanted you to know I arrived safely
„«Looking forward to you being with me, tomorrow
„«Signed, your husband ¡V PS, it sure is hot down here¡K
We chuckle at that story and it is humorous because of the miscommunication. Last week we began looking at the effective communication of the good news. We saw the example of Paul as an effective communicator of the good news.
Most of us know with our heads that we are called to communicate/share the gospel of Christ but the truth is that very few of us are.
Darrell W. Robinson, Total Church Life, (Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville; 1997), pp. 174-175
¡P A few years ago it was estimated to require one thousand laypersons and six ministers one year to lead one person to Christ.
¡P It was also estimated that 95 percent of the Christians today never lead a soul to Christ.
¡P This is the reversal of Jesus¡¦ strategy of New Testament evangelism. These trends must change if our world is to be reached, and evidences are that they are changing.
Go with me this morning to:
1 Pet 3:15
15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (NIV)
We will effectively communicate the good news when we like the early church:
I. Expect His Soon Coming
Note in the text¡V ¡§the reason for the hope you have¡¨
Titus refers to this hope as the blessed hope:
13 while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (NIV)
A. One of the reasons the early church was so effective in communicating the gospel is the fully expected the return of Christ at ANY moment!
1. The church was ablaze with this expectation!
It was quite common for them to greet each other with the phrase Maran ¡Vatha ¡V ¡§The Lord Cometh!¡¨
They had a great expectance of his return
2. So much so that Paul had to write to the Thessalonians to dispel their fears that Christ had already returned!
II Th 2:1-2
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers,
2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. (NIV)
B. Unfortunately the opposite, which is a fulfillment of scripture, is true in the church today
2 Pet 3:4
4 They will say, "Where is this ’coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." (NIV)
1. Jesus parable of the 10 virgins illustrates that a great deal of the church would be slumbering, sleeping and caught totally unconcerned with the hour they lived in.
C. We must recapture the urgency of his coming. --- But How?
We can recapture this urgency by ¡K
1. Become students and watch the signs of the times. (Pt. Of Matt.24)
32 "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.
33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. (NIV)
2. Watch the Fig Tree ¡V Israel
The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday approved the resolution calling for statehood and a cease-fire by a 14-0 vote. Syria abstained from the vote.
¡§Israel is among those trying to reach a cease-fire and calm,¡¨ said Arie Mekel. ¡§And to facilitate the immediate renewal of the peace process and a return to the negotiating table.¡¨