Summary: How to go about evangelizing
Introduction: The Apostle Paul told the early church that the role of the pastor was to teach the members of the church to build up the body of Christ. That takes place through every member evangelism. J. E. Conant says, “Will this kind of service [every member evangelism] build up the body of Christ? “It is the only kind that will (emphasis in the original). For it is certainly the only service that will build up the church in numbers, and it is also the only service that will produce real and lasting spiritual growth in the members.” (Conant, 21). Christ has given us a plan for evangelism.
I. The Background of the Gospel (vv. 36-43)
1. The disciples from the road to Emmaus had just returned to the other disciples in the upper room to tell them what had happened.
2. As they were telling the story, Jesus appeared in the room in the same manner in which he had left the disciples of the road to Emmaus.
3. Proof of the resurrection.
a) They thought they had seen a ghost.
b) Christ invited them to look at and touch his hands and feet.
c) His resurrection body had a connection to his pre-resurrection body, marks of the cross.
i) He ate a piece of broiled fish and honeycomb.
ii) He had flesh and bones, and could eat regular solid food.
iii) But it differed in that he could appear and disappear.
4. What this proves:
a) Jesus literally and bodily rose from the dead.
i) Anastasis—resurrection, anistemi, to stand again.
ii) Resurrection—to resurge, to rise again.
b) Some excuses for the resurrection:
i) Someone else died in his place, i. e. Judas or John. This would be deception or fraud.
ii) He merely swooned.
iii) He was only raised as a spirit. Docetism—“a heresy that the humanity of Christ, his sufferings, and his death were apparent rather than real” (dictionary.com) He only appeared, but did not physically exist.
a) The Resurrection separates Jesus from all other religious leaders.
b) Because Christ lives, we too will live again.
II. The Content of the Gospel (vv. 44-46)
1. The first Christian writings were what we call the Old Testament writings.
a) Moses, the Writings, and the Prophets were the three divisions of the Jewish Scriptures.
b) All of these portions contained scriptures that pointed to the death and resurrection of the Christ.
d) The sacrificial system also pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ.
e) It should not have surprised the disciples.
2. Christ suffered and died an agonizing death because of the horrible nature of sin.
a) As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. (Romans 3:10-11)
b) “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9).
c) All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
3. Christ opened their minds to understand the scripture.
a) They did not come to this understanding on their own study of the scriptures.
b) Christ had to reveal it to them as in Peter’s confession of Christ in Matthew 18.
c) God had to reveal that to him.
a) We know that the death and resurrection of Christ are central to the entire Bible. It was not just tacked on.
b) We also need to pray for others that their minds will be opened.
c) “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).
d) This was Paul’s method in Acts 17:2-3, “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”
e) One commentator wrote: “The missionary’s two instruments are witness and Scripture” (Benoit. Passion and Resurrection, 327. Quoted in Stein, Luke, 620)
III. The Format of the Gospel (v. 47)
1. We begin with Repentance. It is the first step toward forgiveness.
a) We must turn from sin, not wallow in it.
b) “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” (Acts 3:19)