Summary: A description of how the church spreads the Gospel.
The Body Speaks
How the Church Speaks to the World
A. The church is the body of Christ, and as a body functions as an organization within the world, with a specific mission to interact with it and affect it. Often, the church will experience violence when the world’s powers feel threatened by the activities of the church members.
B. The church, as any organizational body does, speaks to the world. It is commissioned to carry a message from the Lord to the people who live in the world.
C. The book of Acts contains many narratives where the members of the church spoke to the people in the world. By studying these passages, we may acquire an understanding of how the church carries out the task of evangelism.
D. There are essentially four forms of discourse described in the book of Acts for when the church spoke to the world. They are:
4. Personal Testimony
E. Each form of discourse was used in response to particular circumstances, and sought a particular response.
A. Those who are seen confronting people with their response to the truth of Jesus Christ:
1. Peter (Acts 2:14-42; 3:11-26; 4:5-12; 5:29-32)
2. Stephen (Acts 7)
3. Paul (Acts 13:12; 16:30-32)
B. Confrontation is used when some act of God has taken place to authenticate the truth of the gospel when it has been preached.
1. Peter confronted when the city witnessed the baptized believers.
2. Peter confronted when the city witnessed the healing of the lame man at the temple gate.
3. Stephen confronted when he was arrested because of his testimony and the signs God performed through him.
4. Paul confronted when a sorceror attempted to discredit his preaching.
5. Paul again confronted when the jailor sought to kill himself after seeing the jail thrown open.
C. Description of a confrontational message
1. Declaration that what has happened has been done through the name of Jesus Christ.
2. Authentication from scripture that the event proves that Jesus Christ is Lord.
3. Invitation to repent of sins and become a follower of Jesus Christ.
II. Explanation of the gospel
A. A simple, non-confrontational explanation of the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ was described in the book of Acts. This was occasioned by a request being made by someone seeking to know how to know God.
1. Philip explained that the prophet Isaiah was speaking about Jesus. The Ethiopian treasurer asked for an explanation of the passage. (8:26-35)
2. Peter explained the gospel to Cornelius’ family in response to his sending for him. (10:34-)
3. Paul explained the gospel to a synagogue after being asked to give a word of encouragement. (13:16-43)
4. Paul explained the gospel to scholars in Athens when they inquired about what he was teaching. (17:2-3)
B. How to explain the gospel:
1. Answer the question or request from Scripture. (This requires a thorough knowledge of Scripture and practice!)
2. Summarize the gospel.
A. Both Paul and Stephen are said to be debaters who argued with people that Jesus Christ is Lord.
1. Stephen argued against the Jews (Acts 6:9-10)
2. Paul often argued against Jews and with scholars (9:22; 17:18-31; 19:8-10)
3. Apollos was an effective debater (18:28)
B. Where they debated
1. In synagogues
2. In marketplaces
3. In lecture halls
C. How they debated
1. From scripture
2. From reason
3. With vigor and skill
IV. Personal Testimony
A. Paul gave his testimony twice in the closing chapters of Acts.
1. Before a mob of people bent on killing him. (22:1-21)
2. Before king Agrippa in Caesarea while appealing to Caesar. (26:1-23)
B. The occasions for giving his testimony.
1. He was given an opportunity to speak to the masses.
2. He was given the opportunity to speak to a high ranking ruler.
Conclusion: The church speaks to the world using specific methods to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the good news of salvation through him. The well trained believer will know how to speak to the world and when so that people will hear the Word and come to faith in Jesus Christ.