Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

An Effective Lesson in Evangelism, by John

An Effective Lesson in Evangelism
Read Matthew 28:18-20 and then Acts 3:1-10

1. We have God's Great Commission to witness to all lost people, but it seems hard for us to do.
2. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth! We depend on Him.
3. Peter and John were going about doing business as usual. It was their habit to go to the temple and pray at 3:00 p.m.
4. I wonder how many times they had seen this man sitting there begging? We don't know.
5. The text we just read contains several spiritual truths that work just as well today as they ever did.
6. This text is an effective lesson in evangelism.
7. Many churches have learned from this and have become effective in reaching people for Jesus.
(1) It's true that some churches use these principles and don't know where they got them.
(2) Some also go beyond the reasonable limits of the lesson, and that just may not be good!
8. We need to practice what John and Peter did here, and it shouldn't be so much a conscious thing as a spiritually natural desire.
9. Let's examine their experience, and let's be aware no one taught them a thing about how to grow a church other than what Jesus spoke to them while on the earth! As the scene opens…

I. They were simply living their regular daily lives.

1. It is apparent they made a habit of going to the temple for prayer at 3:00 o'clock every day.
2. On the way, by the Beautiful Gate, they came across a forty year-old cripple begging beside the walkway.
(1) They could have crossed the street to avoid him. They didn't.
(2) They could have tossed him a few coins if they had any. They didn't.
(3) They could have said, "Blessings on you! I hope you have a good day!" They didn't.
3. There was something in their hearts that called out to them to help that man!
(1) Have you ever felt a call like that?
(2) That's the Holy Spirit calling out from your heart!
4. They could have called a meeting of the disciples to see if they couldn't find a way to help that poor man. Maybe they could get him on Social Service's list of people needing help, but they didn't.
5. They answered the call themselves! (I wonder if they didn't recall the story Jesus told about the Good Samaritan? If they did, they did not want to be like the Levite and the Priest!)
6. Folks, We should be watching! We should be alert! When anything unusual happens, the Lord may be preparing to use you to bless a lot of people!
7. Like Peter and John, during our daily tasks, or worship, the Lord may bring what appears to be a small blessing, and it leads to far greater things.

II. This man's healing led to a great revival.

1. Peter and John looked at the man, and Peter spoke, "Look at us!"
2. The man looked. He expected a gift of money!
3. Peter told him he did not have any money, but he would share what he had with him.
4. Then he said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!" (I like the KJ ts better: "rise up and walk." That is the Greek wording.)
5. If I understand the text here, the man continued sitting! So Peter reached down with a right hand shake, and lifted the man up! ("Helped" in our text, v 7, is the same Greek word, egeiro. that Peter used when he first spoke to the man.)
6. Sometimes even though a person has heard the Gospel, he teeters on the edge of faith. He needs a hand up! Peter gave this man the lift he needed.
7. The Scripture says, his feet and ankles were strengthened immediately, and he jumped to his feet and walked about praising God!
8. By the way, when we help people, we should make clear that their help comes directly from God!
9. Suddenly these three were the center of public interest!
(1) Everybody knew that man sat there for years begging!
(2) They knew that a notable miracle had occurred.
a. How did it happen?
b. How could they receive a miracle for their own famiies, and perhaps their friends!
c. What could this mean?
d. Did these two men really represent God?
(3) This is the moment when the disciples could withdraw to a safe place, or they could advance the cause of Christ at the risk of bodily harm! They chose the latter!
10. Peter preached his second sermon! And people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior! That's evangelism!

III. Following the Lord's will is both dangerous and rewarding.

1. We always have choices before us.
(1) Many times it is an either/or choice.
(2)We have to consider: Is it worth it to do the Lord's will? Or is it too dangerous?
(3) Peter and John thought it was worth it to serve the Lord!
2. They were arrested, tried, and released because the rulers were afraid to do anything else.
3. 4:4 tells us about 5,000 men believed in Christ because of the healing of the crippled man coupled with Peter's sermon.
4. Zechariah 4:10 says, "Who has despised the day of small things?" (5000 people were saved because one man was healed!)
(1) Sometimes that person who seems so useless, so unimportant, is a very important person because God plans to use him to bring a great revival to a lot of people!
(2) We need to take care that we don't miss serving God because we considered the job at hand too small, or to insignificant!
(3) We should hope that God will use us like He used Peter and John!
5. I trust we count everything else as worthless in comparison to serving God, as Paul said in Philippians 37-11, "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Conclusion:

1. Can you imagine a revival starting here in Bassett that would spread through all the surrounding counties? It can happen!
2. Even so, there will be danger that Satan will conspire against us and cause us suffering pain and shame! But if it is for Jesus, it will be worth it!
3. There is also always a danger that we will consider something the Lord asks us to do as too trivial to be concerned about.
4. Everything the Lord asks of us, every blessing He gives us, is vitally important!
5. God can use someone in this room to lead thousands, yes, five thousand and more to the Lord!
6. Dwight L. Moody that famous evangelist who started out as a humble shoe repairman said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with one totally dedicated man. I plan to be that man!" He led revivals across the nation and died in 1899. 107 years later, Moody Bible Institute carries on the work that started with that humble man!
7. Have you dreamed of doing something wonderful for Jesus? If you have, have you dedicated yourself totally to the Lord and asked Him to empower you?
8. Perhaps you would like to do that while we pray.

Emmanuel Community Church 1/22/2006.

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