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-Five Principles Of Evangelism

Five Principles Of Evangelism FROM PHILIP’S ENCOUNTER WITH THE ETHIOPIAN


Picture FrameWhat are the two main responsibilities of the Church in the 21st century? The same as it was in the first century: Glorify God and evangelize the world. Let’s consider the second responsibility. The times have changed, the culture is different, but the message remains the same. Mankind’s need for the Savior is still evident in today’s world, and the Church needs to present the answer to this need, Jesus Christ. In Acts 8, the story is told of Philip’s ministry to Samaria. Even though it has been 2000 years since his evangelism ministry, there are still valuable lessons to learn from it. Below are five of them.

1. Preach Christ
The first principle of evangelism that we see in Acts 8:5 explains the material that Philip preached to others. Today it is common for those trying to evangelize to preach many important lessons of benefit to listeners. However, Acts 8 explains that what Philip preached was simply Christ. Nowhere does it say that Philip preached any sort of denominationalism to the Samaritans. It doesn’t say Philip preached on the differences between Christianity and other religions. Acts 8:6 says that multitudes heard Philip and saw his miracles (Acts 8:6). They weren’t taken up with colorful preaching about Christianity, but by the simple preaching about Christ.

This principle is important to everyone who has opportunity to share Christ’s story of redemption. Christians are called to preach Christ – to tell His story and turn hearts toward Him. When we try to preach about Christianity we might get lost explaining the practices of a religion instead of the Person and work upon which it is based. This should be the most-important information shared with others. Explaining who Christ is and what He did will win souls and make us better Christians.

2. Heed God’s Direction
Another important principle of evangelism in Acts 8:26 is the principle of heeding God’s direction faithfully and quickly. An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Arise and go … to Gaza … So he arose and went.” Also in verse 29 the Lord instructed Philip to go up to the Ethiopian’s chariot and Philip did just that. Philip’s simple obedience should challenge us today as we seek to evangelize others. Philip followed the Lord’s direction unencumbered by concerns about what he would have to do and what would happen. He never questioned the Lord’s direction to go to Gaza.

To us today the challenge is the same: Do we trust the Lord with our needs and personal feelings? It is so easy to ignore the Lord’s guiding in our lives because we think that we will lose friends and money and other basic necessities. Scripture tells us that, as we choose to serve Him, the Lord will meet our needs. Therefore, as we follow the Lord’s direction, He will take care of the rest of our needs as we go.

Too often we try to understand why the Lord has asked us to do something. Once we come up with a reason, it’s easy for us not to complete the task given to us, using the excuse that we have found a better way to meet the desired purpose. Or then again, we might not want to do what we are asked and therefore we ignore it. Either way, it is encouraging to see the ministry of Philip in Acts, and how he followed the Lord’s guidance quickly and directly. If we submit each and every day to the Lord, using Galatians 2:20 as our guide, we can be more ready and available tools to do His work: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

3. Help Them Understand
The third principle of evangelism is in Acts 8:30. Philip asks the Ethiopian if he “understands” what he was reading in Isaiah 53. This is a great example of how we are to help others understand the faith that we hold dearly. Too often, our generation condemns the unsaved as they come close to the person of Christ. The response today, on meeting the Ethiopian might be, “Don’t you see, you’re the reason Jesus had to die. Because of your terrible sin, Jesus was ‘wounded … bruised … led to the slaughter.’” While this statement is true, it is not the emphasis of Isaiah 53, which focuses on the sacrifice, not the reasons for it.

When Christians desire to help unbelievers understand the Christian faith, they ought to focus on the person of Christ, as mentioned earlier. As they are presenting Him, they need to do it with a humble attitude and motives that are easily understood as being helpful, not condemning. The primary reason people are turned off to Christianity is the attitude of Christians themselves. We want to be a help, not a hindrance.

4. Use The Scriptures
The fourth principle of evangelism appears in Acts 8:31-35, where we are told of the questions the Ethiopian asked about the passage of Scripture he was reading. The way Philip explained the story of Jesus, using the Scriptures, should encourage us to do the same. Scripture is the best way for us to lead another person to the Savior. This invaluable tool is sometimes passed over because people feel it is too hard to understand. A faithful reader of Scripture however, will come to see that it is “God-breathed and useful” (2 Tim. 3:16 NIV) In Acts 8, Philip used the Scripture to tell the Ethiopian about Christ. Christians should consider it their duty to use the Bible, the Word of God, to lead another to Christ.

5. Be Ready Everywhere
The last principle of evangelism appears in Acts 8:40. After baptizing the Ethiopian, the “Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away … to Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.” This should challenge us to consider whether we are really being diligent as Christians. Sometimes we think it’s the right time to do certain tasks for the Lord, while at other times those same tasks are not looked upon too favorably. However, when it comes to sharing the gospel, it’s always the right time! And faithful believers will take every opportunity to do just that. We do not read that Philip made a judgment call concerning a certain town’s aptitude to receive the Good News. We are simply told that he preached “in all the cities” along the way.

Can believers today take this principle to heart? Can they remember that wherever they go, they represent the King of kings and Lord of lords, and He has a message of salvation for everyone to hear? This is the duty of the Church, and we have been called upon to carry out this task: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). We must remember that Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (Jn. 10:10). That abundant life sometimes means taking up tasks that we might not be inclined to do. But we are not asked to judge the request, we are called to do what the Lord asks. Therefore we must go out into the world and preach the gospel; not only abroad, but here as well – and everywhere in between!

The Church today can learn much from the story of Philip’s ministry to the Ethiopian. If we read and apply Scripture to our lives we will grow more powerful, as the early Church did. We must remember that with evangelism comes opposition. But opposition is never a reason to stop serving the Lord. We are His servants, and we may be called upon to suffer. But in His service, we will find greater joy and satisfaction than anything else can provide. And applying these five principles from Acts 8:26-40 will help us show others the love Jesus has for them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaleb Jackson serves the Lord full-time in an administrative capacity at a Bible camp in Wisconsin, USA.

With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org

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2 Comments on -Five Principles Of Evangelism

  1. andrew diyyaolu // May 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm //

    more wisdom from god
    evangelism as expalained can bring unity back to the world if it was sincere accepted

  2. May God bless you and guide you always 4 interpreting that verse .Am blsd.

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