February 26, 2010

What can we learn from Jesus about “go(ing)” with the gospel?

In His message, there was a close linkage of repentance/faith and discipleship (see Matthew 4:17, 19).

Jesus spoke to anyone who came to Him who was open to talking (John 3, esp. vv. 15-18)… and told them the truth about Himself (John 14:6).

Jesus viewed anyone He encountered as a “divine appointment,” no matter what a mess their life was (John 4).

Jesus saw presenting the gospel as the most pressing life and death responsibility (John 11:25-26).

What can we learn from the apostles/other early Christians “go(ing)” with the gospel?

Reviewing from the last session, Jesus Christ commanded each of us to be witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

The apostles told everyone around them, starting on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).  It was “lifestyle evangelism,” and people were being saved every day (vv. 41-47), in the context of Matthew’s Commission being initially fulfilled.

In the power of the Spirit, they passionately debated who Jesus is, in the power of the Holy Spirit (i.e., apologetics; Acts 6-7).

They used the (Old Testament) Scriptures to witness (Acts 8; see also Acts 2, 13).

They kept the message as simple and direct as possible (Acts 16:31).

They drew upon any cultural “common ground” they could find (Acts 17).

What can we learn from how “going” (evangelism) is referred to in the NT Epistles/Revelation?

We must clearly and repeatedly explain the gospel (e.g., crucial simple summaries like Romans 3:23; 5:1; 6:23).

We must realize that the importance of Paul’s question in Romans 10: “How can they hear without a preacher” (i.e., someone proclaiming the gospel)?

We must clearly understand the bedrock historical basis of the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 15:1ff.).

We must understand and be able to explain the problem of sin, salvation by grace, through faith… and the proper place of works (see Ephesians 2:1-10).

We must truly adopt Paul’s wise perspective on evangelism (see Colossians 4:5-6).

We must grasp the need to “defend the faith,” but with the right attitude toward both the unbeliever and the Lord (see 1 Peter 3:15-16).

We should be greatly encouraged that the gospel of grace is, effectively, the passionate “last word,” according to Scripture (see Revelation 22:14, 17)!


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