Summary: What are the key elements involved in seeing God use His people to reach their world for Christ?
As we think about the call of God for us to share our faith with a world that does not know Him, we would do well to understand God’s plan for how He wants to use believers to reach our world for Him. As a local body of believers, I think it is important that we, as a church, understand the key elements associated with God’s plan for using His church to reach our world for Christ.
In his book, “The Evangelistic Church,” author John Havlik defines and describes evangelism as, “the incredible good news of what God has done by his mightiest of all acts in Jesus Christ. Evangelism is that message verbalized by human lips and fleshed out in human lives. It is the message preached, whispered, shouted, spoken, sung, printed, displayed, and parabled. It is news that is too good to keep.”
Although there are several methods and means whereby believers can go about the work of evangelism, there are certain Biblical elements that will characterize the church that is an evangelistic church.
In the book of Acts, we are given a model for doing. As we consider the way God worked through the life of those early believers to reach the known world of their day for Christ, we can learn about God’s plan for using us to reach our world today.
1. Divine power must be procured - Acts 1:3-8
The church cannot operate on its own powers of proclamation, promotion, or persuasion in doing God’s work. No. We must rely on God’s power if we are to be involved in God’s work.
Peter became a bold and daring disciple only after the Holy Spirit empowered him at Pentecost. When Peter stood and preached Jesus, 3,000 persons were born into the kingdom. They did not respond to the Good news because of peter’s dynamic pulpit performance, or because of his flashy presentation, or because of his charismatic personality, but they responded to the Gospel because they heard the Good news
proclaimed by one whose life was empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The early church didn’t have any buildings. They had no budget, no programs, no literature, no organization, no buses, no tracts, no staff; but it didn’t matter what they didn’t have, for the Holy Spirit had them! Filled with the Spirit, they turned their world upside down for the Savior!
They prayed for 10 days, preached for 30 minutes, and saw 3,000 come to Christ! Today, we pray 30 minutes, preach 10 days, and are satisfied if we see 3 people come to Christ! Oh, how we need to be awakened from our spiritual slumber and have stirred within us a hunger for the power of God!
An old story is told about a famous organist who was to give several concerts using an old-fashioned pump organ. The bellows of the organ had to be pumped by hand, so the organist hired a boy to stand behind the organ and pump while he played. After one concert, the boy said to the organist, “We played good tonight.” “What do you mean, ‘we’? I was the one who played, not you,” replied the organist.
When the organist sat down to begin the next concert, no sound came out of the organ. Then it dawned on him that there was no air in the bellows. The organist whispered to the boy behind the organ, “Pump!” The boy responded in a whisper, “Say ‘we.’”
Churches can press the right keys and create wonderful programs and ministries, but if the power of the Holy Spirit is not flowing through the life of that fellowship, you will not see many come to faith in Christ.
So let’s talk for a moment about how to live the Spirit-filled life.
The Bible tells us that there are three kinds of people.
A. The Natural Man (One who has not received Christ) -
“But the natural, non-spiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:14 (Amplified)
B. The Carnal Man (One who has received Christ, but is trying to live the Christian life in his own strength as opposed to the Spirit’s power) –
“HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to non-spiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!] I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not yet strong enough [to be ready for it]; but even yet you are not strong enough [to be ready for it], For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?” - 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (Amplified)