Back to Acts: Evangelism

acts.jpg

There have been many books written and sermons preached on how the modern church needs to be more like the church in the book of Acts. Now that doesn't work for every single aspect of the church. For instance, we don't have a "Paul" running around writing doctrinal letters that we read as sermons, and we shouldn't have that by the way. We could talk about several things that the early church did, that the modern church is neglecting to do now.

I recently heard a sermon that directed me to Michael Green's book Evangelism in the Early Church. One of the disheartening things that I have read so far (I'm not done with the book yet) is that the number of practicing Christians in America has decreased significantly. Most of us probably already knew that, but what you may not realize is that the number of Christians in India, China, and many third-world countries has increased significantly.

My question is what did they have in Acts that led thousands of people to come to Christ at a time? What allowed to add to their number "day by day those who were being saved"? What did they have that we don't? Pay attention to this paragraph from Green's book:

One of the most notable impressions the literature of the first and second century made upon me as I wrote this book was the sheer passion of these early Christians. They were passionately convinced of the truth of the gospel. They were persuaded that men and women were lost without it. It was the key to eternal life, without which they would perish. They shared in God's own love, poured out on a needy world. They paid heed to Christ's Great Commission. They sought to interpenetrate society with the gospel which had had so profound an effect upon them. Christianity for them was no hour's slot on a Sunday. It affected everything they did and everyone they met. As far as we can tell, their church life was warm and nourishing for the most part, and equipped people to move out with the good news.

Are we passionately convinced of the truth of the gospel? Do we really think that our friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances need Christ in their lives? Do we think that God is great enough to be worth mentioning and sharing with others? Do we really think that the life that God wants to give us is better than what we can come up with? Somewhere along the way, we have made Christianity a possible upgrade to life. We've made him an option. "Let me tell you about Jesus Christ and maybe you'll think He's better than what you have right now," is the attitude that we have towards evangelism, if we actually say anything about Christ at all. Instead of a passionate call and cry for others to come to Christ pleading and urging that they need Christ in their lives. "Jesus Christ is worth giving up the things of this world." Do we say things like that?

In Acts 2:42-47, you see Christians studying, praying, and eating together. You see them serving in awe or fear of God. More than just a healthy fear of God, I believe that this was them taking God seriously. Often times we don't take God seriously. We play "Church" by singing the songs, giving the money, even saying amen when we think it fits, but we do not really take seriously who we are supposed to be worshiping when we do that. You may have everyone else fooled, but you're not fooling God. This is something we all need to think about. We can't just be so tired on Sunday that we come in and go through the motions, we need to make sure that we are aware that we are in the presence of a Holy God, who loves us and gave us His only Son to save us, and realize that our worship is serious.

We also read in Acts that they "had all things in common." Did they agree on everything? No. But they worked together in spite of their differing opinions. They gave up their stuff to make sure that everyone among them had what they needed. Look at verses 46 and 47:

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The point of this text is not that we should have church every single day of the week, but that we should enjoy to gather often with other Christians. They would go to the temple together, they would meet in each other's homes, they ate together, and the had favor with all the people. Does this mean that everyone liked them? No. It means that those who weren't hostile towards the Gospel noticed that they had something desirable.

The people of the early church were passionately convinced of the truth of the Gospel. Are you? These Christians looked for ways to share Christ every day. What are some ways that we can share Christ every day with others? How do we do this where we work? How do we do this with our friends? How do we do this with our family? How do we make Christianity more desirable without compromising the Gospel? Pick one of these questions and share your answers below or on the Facebook page.