Summary: An overview of the meaning, purpose, content and results of evangelism taken from Acts 17:1-10
There she was. On a subway train with a bible in her hand, trying to gather herself. I sat at a distance on the same subway car and watched as the fear and apprehension seemed to overtake her. I could sense what she was dealing with, because I’d experienced this type of fear before. What to say? How to say it? What if someone does not like what I say? What if someone has questions? I watched her and began to pray for her silently. I don’t believe anyone else on that car knew what was happening. But I did. As I recall, she did pass through the car passing out tracts, and saying ‘God bless you.’ When she got to me, I accepted the tract and looked directly at her smiling, hoping to encourage her. She went on to the next car. I never saw her again.
In its simplest form, evangelism can be defined as being the active transmittal or communication of the gospel from a saved individual to an unsaved individual. Whether it be one on one verbal witnessing, by tract, or by preaching from the pulpit, evangelism is the forgotten commandment. Nowadays it seems the church is more concerned with ‘bettering’ itself. From ‘health and wealth, to ‘name it and claim it’, to ‘blab it and grab it’, and now the so-called grace ‘revolution’, the unsaved have gotten lost in the shuffle. While the church continues to be seduced by these doctrines of demons, the lost are perishing. Where is the gospel? We would rather dance and shout and leave God’s house ‘feeling good’ because we ‘had church’; folk actually leave the church still in bondage and need of a Saviour.
Jesus’ words in Mark 16:15 are explicitly clear, and they should pierce us. He said ‘Go ye.’ This was not a passing thought or idea. It was not a good suggestion. It was a command; plain and simple. He expects us to evangelize, and any excuses are feeble at best.
The reasons why Christians do not evangelize are varied. The reasons can range from fear, ignorance, or just plain apathy. Whatever fear Paul and the other apostles may have had was replaced by boldness when the power of the Holy Ghost came upon them. Ignorance cannot be claimed if one knows what Jesus said in Mark 16:15 and other places, and if that is the case, then its open disobedience-or maybe rebellion is a better word. In most cases apathy rules. Not that we do not care at all what happens to the unsaved; in most cases we know what scripture says. It also cannot be said that we are oblivious and have a total disregard for the lost. So what’s the problem? I believe that we are simply unwilling. Unwilling to go the extra mile. Unwilling to put our time and effort into it. Unwilling to (in some cases) put ourselves in peril. We want to fit in and not really make any waves. The quiet life. Live and let live. You do your thing and I’ll do mine. Invite folk to come to your church every once in a while, or to a concert your church is involved in. That’s about as far as many will go.
The proclamation of the true gospel will turn heads. It will cause the masses to do a double take. The true gospel will cause people to reassess and rethink all that they’ve known and heard. The true gospel, through the power of the Holy Ghost, will convict the world of sin (John 16:8).
The following is an overview of the meaning, purpose, content and results of Spirit led and inspired evangelism, taken from Acts 17:1-10.
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
• EVANGELISM TAKES YOU WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE. Be led by the Spirit of God. (Acts 16:7). Whether it’s at school, on the job, or wherever you find people-that’s where the Spirit will send you.
2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
• EVANGELISM IS THE HEARTBEAT OF CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. Evangelism is what Paul did; He had an occupation as a tentmaker, but this was his calling. This was his manner or his custom. Wherever God places you in the secular world, you are only there as a means to spread the gospel where you are. More often than not, we get caught up in the culture of the job, and our Christian witness suffers because we become 'one of them'. The gospel needs to be at the center of all we do in Christian ministry-regardless of our ministry. Whether you sing, sweep or simply sit, evangelism is something all of us should do. Also note he reasoned with them, ‘out of the scriptures.’ A working knowledge of scriptures pertaining to salvation is vital. Do you know how to lead someone to Christ through scripture?