This past Sunday, Derek shared with us the Biblical model of Evangelism. He took most of his material straight from the book of Acts, and below are the cliff notes for those interested in reading further. I’m really appreciative of Derek’s ministry, and for his filling in for me while I was away.
The Biblical Model of Evangelism
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
2 Tim 3:16- The Word of God is our textbook on evangelism
Mathew 4:19- Christ calls us to follow him and he will make us evangelists
1 Corinthians 11:1-Paul calls us to imitate him as he imitated Christ
2 Timothy 1:13-“Follow the pattern of sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:10-“You however (in contrast to false teachers) have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness…
-Therefore, based off this passage of Scripture, we are going to look at the Message, Method, and Motive of Paul as it related to Evangelism
-Background of the church in Thessalonica-Acts 17:1-5-founded by Paul and Silas after they had been imprisoned in Phillipi. This letter was written as a response to Timothy’s report of what was going on in the church. The most significant of these included 1, encouraging words as to the spiritual stamina of the Thessalonian converts in the face of opposition, 2, an alarming report of efforts to undermine Paul’s reputation and question his sincerity, 3,confusion about the Lord’s second coming and 4, areas of individual and community life that needed improvement. In response to this report, Paul wrote the letter to express thanks for the healthy spiritual condition of the church, to make a strong case against the false accusations against himself and his associates and to give specific ways in which their already strong Christian behavior could be improved.
-Here in chapter 2, Paul is defending his reputation by reminding the believers of his ministry which includes his method and message. He continually writes, you “know” as a remembrance of how he lived and ministered to them and for us gives a great example of how we are to do evangelistic ministry
Verse 1-Read Acts 17:1-5. This was a fruitful or effective ministry. Vain, or kenos, means without content, without result. Paul preached and gospel and they were saved! The method used by Paul was effective and thus a good one to follow and imitate
Verse 2-As we discussed earlier, Paul and Silas had ministered in Phillip and because of their driving out a demon from a girl, they were beaten and thrown into prison, however, Paul here is saying that in-spite of this persecution they continued to proclaim the message with great boldness. Paul was bold because he trusted in his God not himself. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. Paul was bold because he was motived by his calling, the gospel itself and he knew that it was powerful (Rom 1:16-18) Conflict is a term used to refer to an athletic contest, demanding dedication and energy.
-Gospel of God, …Jesus, ….Grace….
What is the Gospel of God? Can anyone give it succinctly? What are the key components of the Gospel?
-The power is in the seed. In Mark, Jesus indicates that this seed is the gospel and has power, so one of the most important parts of evangelism, or the most important is that we are throwing the right seed
-As I have studied the NT and how Jesus and the apostles preached the gospel in the Gospels and Acts, I believe the Gospel can be broken down into four key components:
God- Creator, Holy, Loving, Just-Acts 17:24-25
Man-Sinful, separated from God, deserving wrath, law frequently used-Acts 17:29, Acts 24:25
Christ- Christ and him crucified, person and work-1 Corinthian 2:2, 2 Corinthians 5:21
Response- Repentance and faith-Acts 20:21
-So this is the message that brought about the elect in Thessalonica, this is the message we are going to proclaim, these are the key components that need to be taught and preached, now what is to be our motive and method in evangelism?
What should be our motive for evangelism?
-Verses 3-6 really make clear what Paul’s motive was and was not
Verse 3-Paul here is countering his false accusers, his message is truth from a pure motive, and he was not trying to trick the Thessalonians in any way. The impurity here refers to sexual purity and at the time of this writing, it was typical for religious charlatans to enter a locale and seek women for personal sexual satisfaction under the pretext of offering them an intimate religious experience. We see this mentioned as well in 2 Corinthians 4:2.
Verse 4- Paul here gives us one of his primary motives, to please God who has called him to this mission. Read Acts 20:24. We have all been given this mission, for some it is a gift and the prime occupation, but in a very real sense, this is the mission of the church and thus of us! Paul was so confident in his message, that he could focus on sharing the gospel and by doing that he would please God. He was not focused on pleasing men but God alone!
Verse 5-Paul here again is defending himself, this time from those saying he is doing it for money, an impure motive. We see Paul continuously discussing this, 1 Corinthians 9 is all about that! It is very clear today, with the televangelists, that greed is a big motivator.
– I believe that our primary motive is to be the Gospel that saved us! 2 Corinthians 5:14
-Other motives are that there are “elect” out there how will respond, another one of course is the reality of hell
What is to be our method? What has been your experience in doing evangelism? Door to Door? Mall? Bible Studies? Across the fence? Do we use scripture?
Boldness Holiness/Integrity of character
Humility Using Scripture
Gentleness Many places-house, public, churches
Whole counsel of God Prayer
-In verses 7-12, Paul gives us his perspective from the example of a mother and father in how he specifically ministered to the Thessalonians
Why do you think Paul choose to speak of his ministry in terms of a mother and father? Many metaphors are used in scripture, farmer, shepherd, etc.
-Verse 7-He was gentle among them just as a mother nurses her baby. Gentle here is to be kind to someone and encompasses a host of other virtues, acceptance, respect, compassion, tolerance of imperfections, patience, tenderheartedness and loyalty. Just visual a mother nursing her baby and how gentle she is, we are to be the same way when we ministry to unbelievers. 1 Peter 3:15
-Verse 8-Here Paul is speaking of the self sacrificial nature of his ministry. Just as a mother seeks not her own well-being but that of her child, we are to do the very same. This verse is the one that most stands out to me in the section. The love, he is not just there to share the Gospel but to give of his life. This is love, through not only words but action. 1 John 3:18 tells us, let us not love in words and tongue but in actions and truth. Are we loving people into the kingdom? Jesus looked at the rich young ruler with love. Example of Lisa to our neighbors.
Verse 9-Paul here is speaking of the character of his ministry, he was not going to burden them as he came to them to share the gospel. Labor and toil speak to the difficulty and toil of the task. Again, we can think of the hard work it is in being amother. Sleepless nights, changing diapers, runny noses, etc and she works without expecting anything in return. We are to do the same, to work with all are might for the sake of the gospel.
Can anyone give an example of their labor and toil in the ministry from an evangelism perspective? Prayer? Bridge building?
-Verses 10-12 describes the ministry from the Father’s perspective. He is to be the model, teacher, motivator and producer.
-Verse 10-Paul here defends their character. They lived a righteous and holy life. They were men of integrity. I think of Paul’s instruction to Timothy, multiple times he called him to a holy life, especially since he was the pastor. How can we expect people to hear and respond to our message if we lead an unholy life? Are we striving for Holiness? Are we forsaking the respectable sins? Example of our neighbors with their friends, the husband is always talking down to the wife.
-Verse 11-12-A good father will exhort, which means, come alongside his children and teach, encourage, challenge their children. We are to be patient as we teach and share but also are to be challenging. So many times in the sermons in Acts we see the apostles exhorting their hearers to respond to the message. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God”
-Now, a few final thoughts on Paul’s method of evangelism
Read Acts 20:18-27
–Paul taught in public and in private
-Paul proclaimed the whole counsel of God, not just “God loves you”. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2
-Paul used the Scripture-Romans 10:17” Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ”. Acts 17:2 “as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days, he reasoned with them from the Scriptures”
-Paul humbled himself and became all things to all men-1 Corinthians 9:19
-Paul was a man of prayer-Romans 10:1
-The Message, Motive and Method of Biblical Evangelism. What is God saying to you today? Are we sharing not only the Gospel of God but also our lives? A sin to confess, a promise to claim, a stumbling block to avoid, an example to study. I challenge you to study the encounters Jesus had and the book of Acts to learn how they did evangelism.