Effective Evangelism - Acts 17:1-15
This is a sermon by Melvin Tinker from the morning service on 28th March 2021.
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Effective Evangelism Acts 17: 1-15
What is evangelism? ‘[Evangelism] is so to present Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men and women shall come to put their trust in God through him, to accept him as their Saviour and serve him as their King in the fellowship of his Church.’ A Trinitarian definition-a coming to know God the Father through God the Son by the power of God the Holy Spirit.
The evangelistic method
The same approach is taken up in both Thessalonica and Berea in Macedonia.
- The immediacy of evangelism- also v10
- The depth of evangelism- 3 Sabbath days in Thessalonica and daily reading in Berea
- The nature of evangelism- ‘reasoning’; ‘explaining’ and ‘proving’ from the Scriptures.’- involves engaging people’s minds. V11 Bereans were of a ‘noble character’- fair minded and thorough minded.
But also grips the heart. There is ‘logic on fire.’
In addressing the Jews Paul demonstrated the divine necessity for a suffering Christ.
The Christ had come and he is the Jesus Paul proclaimed.
The evangelistic results
V4- a ‘multitudinous multitude of devout Greeks’ were converted.
Evangelism in breadth- the Gospel draws in people from every religious group and every social class into one family, and both men and women are saved. cf v12
V4 -they were ‘allotted’ to Paul and Silas. The primary activity of evangelism is by God the Holy Spirit- converts are his gifts to the church.
Satan reacts- v5.
In contrast to the feral like savagery of the mob you have the kind hearted concern of the believers who smuggle Paul and friends from both Thessalonica and Berea. But the Gospel continues its progress into the intellectual heartland of Athens.
‘I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Rev. 3:7
- If you were asked to say what evangelism is, how might you reply looking at the examples we have in this passage? What is involved for it to be true and effective evangelism?
- Why is it necessary in order to do ‘evangelism in depth’- v2, v11? What virtues are required of us to be able to do this genuinely?
- What are the disadvantages and yet attractions of ‘shallow’ or ‘hit and run’ evangelism?
- What other ‘Jesus’s’ are being proclaimed today? How much of the life of Jesus must we explain and present if we are going to be true to the example of the apostle Paul and see genuine converts?
- How might we develop a ‘noble character’ like the Bereans (v11)?
- What is striking about the results of evangelism in vv 4 and 12? How does this challenge the temptation to restrict our evangelism to certain ‘types’ of people? Share examples of the wide variety of people you know who have become Christians and how they became Christians (including your own testimony).
- How does the family nature of the early church show itself in the way Paul was cared for (vv9-10; 14-15)? How might we show a similar concern for Christians ‘going through the mill ‘for their faith?
- What might the Jews be ‘jealous’ about in v5? Do we see similar jealousies towards Gospel success today?
- How does the mob mentality show itself today? What effects can this have upon us in being open about our faith and supporting those in the firing line (leaders)?
- How might we be preparing ourselves for similar opposition?
- What encouragement will you take away from this passage?
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