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January 1, 2022 2:00 am
Jesus said that He would build His church. But how does He build it? What means does He use to call people out of the world and into His church? The answer is simple: Evangelism. As the early church (and any church) shined it's light by proclamation and by practice, people left the darkness. In fact in the first stages of the church, unlike today, "joining the church" and "being saved" were equivalent statements. Let's see how the first church did evangelism.
This teaching is from the series Church? Who Needs It.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
We might say. This evangelism is God's work. Yes he uses people uses their words, their lifestyles, their bold proclamation, but ultimately it's the Lord who does the work that will good to connect with your vision. As we continue our series churches need to Skip points out that what it comes to winning souls for Christ. We need to be clear about whose job that is since 1995, the number of born-again believers who feel they have the gift of evangelism has dropped from 4% to about 1% Skip explains that evangelism isn't just the job of gifted evangelists.
It's something that we've all been called to participate in. So are you ready for that talk about how you can be adjustable. First, we have a great resource from Levi Lesko offer you this month. connectwithskip.com.
The year was 1962 trained in the space race only resident candidate a strong claim. I believe that this nation should commit itself in all Father's Day is out landing a man on the moon safely to their 3.Kennedy makes a great moon and never to do it in the next 10 years, and it can add safety with a man come safely back home.
What an incredible thing to say when all of our faith. At that moment amounted to 15 minutes in faith on the moon you hardcover.resource for this month, receive your copy to $35 more to support this program to connect, call 100 9288 connectwithskip.com one 892. We continue today at acts chapter 2. This message entitled soul winning part one. So let's join Skip Heitzig as he starts with a brief book is a book that I bought years ago by Charles Haddon Spurgeon was called the soul winner.
A picture of that book up on the screen. This is actually a picture of the book that I purchased in 1974 my body was a year old Lord in the book is a great book, but also the pictures a great picture and I've often been stirred by just that image on the front of this man with that chisel featured face extending his arms sowing seed in the hopes that he's gonna reap a harvest and so I would look at this and often place myself in this picture work were called to do that and or my wife in this picture as well. I've often thought of her in this place. There you go.
And then my son he's doing the work of evangelism.
So your picture there you are a soul winner.
That's what I want to talk to you about today's is the message and bearing for that message. George Sweeting.
Who was the superintendent of Moody Bible Institute tells a great story a true story. There was a man named John Corriere who was sentenced for life imprisonment because of a murder he committed.
This is back in 1949. So he went to prison. After a while he was paroled to a work farm outside of Nashville, Tennessee where he was working hard labor, but in 1968.
His sentence was terminated. He was a freeman, a letter was sent to him. He never got the letter. Nobody ever told him he kept working on the farm for 10 more laborious years, till finally some parole officer got wind of the story and told him the good news. You're a freeman so George Sweeting asked this every time he tells the story. Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message. The most important message of your life. If year after year. The urgent message was never delivered. Today I want to talk to you about fishing or soul winning. How did the early church feel about giving out the most important message ever they do with the letter that God sent to mankind about their freedom because of the cross of Christ and that's where acts chapter 2 takes us.
This morning we seen a pretty comprehensive picture of the early church. So far we've understood that they were a learning church right they devoted themselves to the apostles doctrine. They were a caring church for continued steadfastly in fellowship. This is all acts 242. They were not only a caring church but they were a Christ centered church.
They devoted themselves a continued steadfastly in breaking bread and in prayer. We also saw that they were a generous church.
Last week we considered how this group gave of their time and their talent in their treasure by with all of that. If we were to stop right there.
We have an incomplete picture of the church, because so far all we have been told is about their interior life or what they do when they gather together by themselves were told nothing of what or how they are related to the outside world. There exterior life in verse 47 clears that up very last verse of chapter 2 says they were praising God and having favor with all the people, and here's the verse we will center on this last sentence and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. That balances it out without verse 47 we have the wrong impression without verse 47 we might think they're only interested in Bible study and only interested in fellowship and hanging out with each other but is not till verse 47 where we realize now they had a relationship with the outside world and they were interested in evangelism as well.
That is hinted at in this verse, it is expanded upon throughout the book of acts is a sampling of verses acts four verse 33 and with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
Acts 542 and daily in the temple, and in every house they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ acts chapter 8, those who were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
That's just a sampling so we discover it altogether. This group of people wasn't just a worshiping community.
They were witnessing community wasn't just about praise, but proclamation they understood that they were called out of the world at Clay Sierra. That's what church means they were also passed alone sent out back to the world so in a dual sense we get called out of the world and equipped only to go back into the world for evangelism so we might say that the early church were saved. Souls eagerly wanting to see more souls saved. That is a complete picture. But look at verse 47 for that is where were going to spend our remaining time this morning.
Verse 47 and especially that final sentence of the chapter gives us three characteristics of the evangelism of the early church's number one they saw it as a divine work was a divine work. Notice it says the Lord added the Lord added to the church daily. Go back to verse 41, went to the notice of comparison, then those who gladly received his word were baptized in that day about 3000 souls were added to them. Notices put in the passive voice were added to them is not until verse 47 that were introduced to the active agent doing the adding. The Lord added to the church daily, so we might say. This evangelism is God's work.
Yes he uses people. He uses their words, their lifestyles, their bold proclamation, but ultimately it's the Lord who does the work and perhaps this is no more completely stated that in Romans chapter 8 verse 30 where it reads moreover whom he predestined, these he also called and whom he called these he also justified and whom he justified these he also glorified. So you have in one verse.
This beautiful panorama of salvation from predestination that happened somewhere in times past before the foundation of the world to glorification which will happen in the future. So then, evangelism is a cooperation between heaven and earth, between God and people.
God operates and we operate and you put it together we cooperate. That's evangelism.
I put it this way, evangelism is the intersection of divine predestination in human volition, to say that again and explain it. Evangelism is the intersection between divine predestination and human volition questions. Should we invite people to Christ. Should we ask people to receive Jesus Christ. Well, depending on who you ask.
You'll get different answers.
The ardent strict Calvinist would say no.
I had a conversation with the young man downtown a few weeks back who was such an ardent individual. We had a great conversation but I talked about receiving Christ and he Keith squinted his eyes.
He said I wouldn't use that word I said what were to sit receive Christ. I don't think that's accurate. He said it puts too much of the onus and responsibility on the human receiving rather than on the sovereign Lord is doing the saving. So I said oh I get it. You have a problem with the apostle John, and he said what I said yeah it was John in John chapter 1 verse 12. Who wrote for as many as received him, to them he gave the power to become the children of God, to those who believe in his name.
That's what he said you had a problem with them. True story. I was talking to a Billy Graham.
This is years ago we were at his home one evening and I was asking them questions about his crusades and especially about a crusade in London with some of the famous preachers that I love to read like Martin Lloyd Jones is a limit tell you a story about that when we were there for a crusade. We're trying to get all the churches involved years ago, Dr. Dean Martin Lloyd Jones who pastored Westminster Chapel.
I had a meal with him and I said Dr. Jones cannot count on your involvement in crusade and Dr. Laura Joneses when perhaps I will do that in the desert.
It takes away from it anyway.
He said Dr. Graham, you have our support under one condition and the condition is is that you do not publicly call people forward at an altar call to receive Christ.
Dr. Graham said I can promise you that. And Dr. Joan said that I cannot be involved and that's because of this idea that the sovereignty of God may not be calling a person to Christ through that means but Dr. JI Packer was correcting his little book called evangelism of the sovereignty of God when he writes it is a matter not merely of informing but also in fighting people to receive Christ.
I agree with him and Paul would agree with him.
Paul wrote in second Corinthians 511. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord. We persuade men we persuade them. We talk to them. We invite them. We get them to that place work. Are you ready now to receive. We persuade men.
Probably the altar call was popularized by Dwight L. Moody, he's probably the first guy, though others had done it. Who made it popular.
Dr. Moody would give a crusade or a campaign or even a church would call people forward to receive Christ while after one of his meetings. A woman came up to him and said Mr. Moody. I don't like your method of evangelism and he said to her, you know, I've never really liked all that much either. So tell me dear woman.
What's your method and she said I don't have a method and he smiled and said that I like the way I do it better than the way you don't do it.
He did it knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men out. What are the forms of evangelism will the New Testament speaks of three, number one, there is, believe it or not in the Bible, mass evangelism, or the preacher or the evangelist addresses the crowd, Jesus did this to the crowds in Galilee, saying, come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Peter did this on the day of Pentecost.
Acts chapter 2 to the crowds gathered in the Jerusalem Temple. Paul did this in the town of Lister for the whole town and Athens in acts chapter 17 and I'm particularly grateful for mass evangelism.
That's how I came to know Jesus Christ. It was when Billy Graham turned toward the television and said if you're watching the television you can know Christ and I did.
I made a commitment that intersection between God's predestination in human volition happen for me that day.
That's mass evangelism, then there's personal evangelism or person one-on-one shares in some of you have done that sometimes personal evangelism is taught in the class and then people are taken out to do it. It's formalized even door-to-door evangelism on if you've ever done this but some people love knocking on doors just door opens only start witnessing to other people knock on doors and pray to God. Nobody's home because that's just not there.
Did they just don't like to do it without a relationship and I think it's hard to do it without a relationship, but the New Testament speaks of a personal evangelism.
John chapter 4 Jesus personally spoke to a woman at the Samaritan well in the book of acts chapter 8. Philip personally evangelize the Ethiopian eunuch and we have both the responsibility and the privilege to personally share with neighbors, friends and family members but there's 1/3 form of evangelism that I think combines the first two and that is really the heart of our text this morning. I believe it's the spirit of the text that is local church evangelism. It's where the apostles preached, and the people themselves were out sharing. It was a combination of all of the talents. All of the gifts.
All of the lives of all of the church. It's what naturally flows from a church in its church life. I believe that every congregation every church ought to be both a worshiping community as well as a witnessing community and the very existence of this church in Jerusalem. They proved to be exactly that. In fact, I would put it this way. True worship will lead to witness you worship God so wonderful and is so good to you and you understand who we is and that makes you want to testify of him out there to people who don't know him, worship leads to witness and witness will lead the worship because if when you witness they respond. They also become worshipers in that cycle continued.
According to evangelism explosion.
They said it is been estimated that 95% of American church members have never let anyone to Christ here that statistic again.
This is their statistic.
95% of American church members have never once led anyone to Christ. No don't miss understand that it's not saying that people don't witness that I think people do witness according to the Barna research group 55% of people in America who claim to be born-again Christians over the last 12 months have share their faith with an unbeliever. 55% and that sort of been the that the norm over the last decade about 5055 60% of those who claim to be born-again Christians share their faith.
Most of them are evangelicals, people like you. The highest activity for evangelism in America is guess where here the western United States the Western states per capita have more Christians that are actively sharing their faith in anywhere else in America.
The place in America with the least amount of witness is the Midwest so I say this race of people up to the Midwest. Other a lot of things we can accomplish in life is no greater accomplishment in helping bring someone to new life in Christ to change someone's eternal destiny is a glorious undertaking. The fact that God wants us to be part of that is an amazing privilege. So are you ready to be a soul winner will have more for this teaching next time here and connect with Skip weekend edition. But before we go for today here's Skip and his wife.
When you some tips on evangelizing linear gap there might be some who find it difficult to share their faith. I wouldn't know anybody to be like that dear member when you take me to not spare a farmer in the Huntington Beach peer Patrick and I said we can go out Street and hissing and you said what is that as well. Words can go out and walk up to people and invite them to have a conversation about the Lord. So I let you walk up to people and have a conversation and I pray that's right. I remember we met at Leo's coffee a little joy in Costa Mesa. We drove to the peer and and and I just said just watch and pray, and then eventually you are thinking things in your mind because you want to get engaged pretty quickly. Pretty early on llama chatterbox doesn't take on that. I am so some of us think you have to do that preached to Crowder go Nino called to adore. But that isn't always the case. Can you give us some tips on how we can share the gospel sure you know when it comes to evangelism doesn't mean you have to speak to a crowd.
In fact, if you think of Jesus. He was engaged in personal evangelism, not just crowd evangelism on he spoke to a woman at a well. It was personal.
He encountered Harry engaged her in conversation he spoke to the need in her heart that he saw that he knew Philip preached on Ethiopian eunuch roots is just a conversational walking up to him hey what are you reading and getting into a conversation so I think it's it it's as easy as you know, inviting somebody to church. I know our church here in Albuquerque they're so used to seeing evangelism take place in the main services that the really good at inviting friends and relatives because they know that in in a couple weeks time or in a week time or whatever, there's going to be an altar call given an invitation for their friends, their relatives, the person they invited to know Christ so invite somebody to a church or to an event. Another good thing is to give somebody a book if they're in interested of their questions and you can answer the questions as good as somebody who wrote a book. Candace given the book and say when you get a chance. I know we talked about this read this and let me know what you think. It's always good conversation starter, and then I think it's also good to just be honest when you have a conversation not try to act like you know everything there that you have it all wired but say you know I don't know. I've struggled with that myself and and it it opens it. It lets people see a real and opens up your heart to them in a way that they feel safe to engage in another simple way is just to ask him if can I pray for you and we don't realize that a lot of Nino people don't have anyone who care prayer are trying to bear a burden for somebody.
And so just it is simply not even in a grocery line, you can just take. I pray for you and I just feel like I mean I want to encourage you and your legal amazed how many doors that will open to specialists suffering person.
I was at 911 after the towers fell in anyone and everyone. We ran into when I asked that they said please do that. They were so open to a consumer in such despair, and your showing forth the heart of a God who loves well thanks for that encouragement. Skip Delaney ahead if you like a copy of today's teaching soul winning it's available for just four dollars for shipping when you call us at 1-800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com will talk more about the importance of every Christian. Being involved in evangelism, so be sure to join right here and connect with Skip weekend division presentation of connection and ever-changing time