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Keys to Effective Evangelism

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Jesus defined the church’s mission in Matthew 28:19a.
Mt 28:19a
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations
not too many Christians would disagree that evangelism is an absolute necessity if the church is to fulfill its mission
Paul in Romas 10 says,
Romans 10:13–15 ESV
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
80% of us are here today because someone shared the gospel with us and/or invited us to come to church!
if we are to be a faithful church we must be a a church with heart for evangelism
the question is what are the foundational principles
this morning our goal is to learn from the start of the Apostle Paul’s 2nd missionary journey some key things that make for effective evangelism and discipleship

A Passion for Souls

Acts 15:36a 
And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return ...
“after some days”
after the delivery of the letter the delegation from Jerusalem went home and the pastors of the church at Antioch continued their preaching and teaching ministry (v.35)
it is likely this teaching and preaching was a focused on the nature of salvation
what it means that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone
when the congregation had been sufficiently instructed and strengthened Paul determined to go back and revisit the believers won to Christ on his first missionary journey
reveals Paul’s passion to preach the gospel
1 Corinthians 9:16 ESV
16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
Paul’s purpose to preach where the gospel had not yet been heard,
Romans 15:20 ESV
20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation,
One of the keys to effective evangelism is a passion for the lost and for the spiritual growth of those won to Christ.

The Priority of Equipping

Acts 18:36b
… and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.
Paul intended to retrace their steps on their first missionary journey to see how those they had won to Christ were progressing in their spiritual growth
Paul was not only concerned that people hear and believe the gospel but that when they did they were strengthened in their understanding of the Word and thereby equipped for ministry.
he desired to see them grow into maturity
The ultimate goal of evangelism is discipleship, the last part of the Great Commission. (Mt 28:19b-20a)
Mt 28:19b-20a
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
what does this discipleship look like?
Paul gives us the answer in Eph 4:11-16,
Ephesians 4:11–16 ESV
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
the work:
to equip the saints
the goal:
for the work of the ministry
for building up the body of Christ
attain unity of the faith
attain knowledge of Son of God (knowledge of new believer vs. mature believer)
to mature manhood (1 Jn 2:15-17)
to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ
the result:
no longer tossed … carried about
speaking the truth in love we are to grow (we have a responsibility to each other’s growth!)
built up in love (note the connection between love and spiritual maturity!)
Paul was committed not just to making believers but to equipping believers.
he did not want to leave the church with spiritual infants, incapable of reproducing, weak in love and susceptible to false teaching
Colossians 1:28 ESV
28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
this was mirrored the ministry of the Lord Jesus who spent most of his earthly ministry with only 12 men
we all know that through those 12 men the HS changed the Roman world!
the 12 disciples were for the most part just like us!
a 2nd key to effective evangelism:
In the long run a well taught, spiritually mature church will have a far greater impact than massive evangelistic crusades.
It is better to go deep with a few than to be shallow with many!

The Right People

if the work of making and growing disciples is to be effective not only must there be a passion for souls and a priority of equipping those won, but the right people must be set apart
Principle: God uses the people of his choosing for the tasks he has determined for them.
he can and does use even the most negative circumstances to fulfill his purposes
Acts 15:37–16:3 ESV
37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. 1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
before they were even able to begin Paul and Barnabas hit a road block
Barnabas fully intended to bring Mark with them
in his estimation it was unthinkable to go without him
Paul was equally insistent they not bring Mark because he had deserted them
we get our word “apostate” from the Gk word for “withdrawn”
when someone apostatizes they renounce what they once believed
example of Joshua Harris
after committing himself to Paul and Barnabas and their missionary journey he turned away from both them and the work
Paul had no confidence in Mark while Barnabas was determined to give him a second chance.
Acts 15:39 ESV
39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,
“sharp disagreement”
the Gk word for “sharp” sounds like the English word “paroxysm”
a sudden attack or violent expression of particular emotion or activity
the disagreement was so charged with emotion that Paul and Barnabas separated from each other
men who had pastored together and had risked their lives together for the gospel parted ways
Barnabas took Mark and sailed away to Cyprus
it is natural for us to wonder who was right, Barnabas or Paul
although we are not explicitly told the evidence points to Paul
as an Apostle Paul had been chosen by Christ himself and had been specially equipped and empowered
as such he possessed an authority and spiritual insight that Barnabas did not
Barnabas should have submitted to him
Paul and Silas were commended by the church (v.40) not Barnabas and Mark
Barnabas should have realized that if Paul did not trust Mark it would have been unwise and difficult to include him as a member of their team
although they did not minister together again (Barnabas is never mentioned again in Acts) it appears as if Paul and Barnabas eventually reconciled
In 1 Cor 9:6, written after this separation, Paul spoke approvingly of Barnabas’ ministry
although Mark was the cause of the separation
he later became a valued co-labourer with Paul (Col 4:10; Phm 24; 2 Tim 4:11)
he became a close associate of Peter (1 Peter 5:13)
he wrote one of the 4 gospels
in spite of their disagreement Barnabas appears to have had a very positive influence in turning Mark around so that he became an effective tool in the hands of the HS
after Barnabas turned away from Paul,
Acts 15:40 ESV
40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
Silas was a well equipped partner for Paul.
as a leader of the Jerusalem church he could reinforce Paul’s teaching that salvation was by grace alone
especially important given their task of delivering the letter from the Jerusalem council (Acts 16:4)
as a prophet he was an effective communicator of the Word
as a Jew he had access to the synagogues where Paul often began his evangelistic work
as a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37) he enjoyed the same privileges and protections as Paul
Acts 15:41 ESV
41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
because Barnabas and Mark had already gone to Cyprus there was no point in going there
instead they took the land route through Syria and Cilicia
as they did so they preached the gospel and strengthened the churches eventually coming to Derbe and Lystra
what can we conclude from what appears to be an ugly stain on Paul and Barnabas’ ministry?
Satan’s attempt to derail the spread of the gospel backfired!
Instead of one missionary team there were now 2!
the HS doubled the impact of the gospel!
Acts 16:1–2 ESV
1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.
“Timothy” - means, “honouring God”
the son of a Jewish woman … father was a Greek
Timothy was both Jewish and Gentile giving him influence in both cultures
mother’s name Eunice and grandmother Lois (2 Tim 1:5)
he was acquainted with scriptures from childhood (2 Tim 3:15)
Although Timothy did not come to faith until Paul came to Lystra and preached the gospel, his mother and grandmother laid the foundation by teaching him the Word of God.
an encouragement to parents and grandparents whose children have not accepted the Lord or have gone astray
a young man (1 Tim 4:12)
Paul instrumental in his coming to faith (1 Cor 4:17; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2)
well spoken of by the brethren = above reproach (1 Tim 3:2)
Acts 16:3 
Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him,
recognizing Timothy’s value and potential Paul wanted him to join him in his church planting ministry
Joining Paul was a costly choice for Timothy because it required him to leave his family.
Jesus to a disciple who wanted to delay following until his parents passed on: let the dead bury the dead (Mt 8:22)
if you love family more than me you are not worthy of me (Mt 10:37)
Timothy ended up playing a key role in Paul’s life and ministry
became his right hand man (1 Cor 4:17; 1 Thess 3:2; Php 2:19)
pastored the influential church at Ephesus
Timothy listed as co-sender of 2 Cor, Php, Col, 1&2 Thess, Phm
Paul’s testimony: “I have no one like him” (Php 2:19-23)
Passion for proclamation of the gospel, Priority of discipleship, the right People for the task and next the right Preparation,

The Right Preparation

Acts 16:3b
… and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
with Timothy fully committed to the work Paul circumcised him
some have wrongly criticized Paul for this as a capitulation to the Jews and a violation of the Jerusalem letter
Paul did not do this to ensure Timothy’s salvation but to ensure his acceptance among the Jewish people
they all knew Timothy’s father was a Greek and as such was not circumcised according the the Law
if he had not been circumcised the Jews would have assumed he had renounced Judaism limiting his ability to work among them
Circumcision removed a stumbling block to Jewish evangelism.
Paul’s teaching on becoming all things to all people in 1 Cor 9:19-22
gave Timothy full access to the synagogues visited by Paul and Silas
Paul did not circumcise his other protege Titus because he was a Gentile
there was no reason to circumcise him other than to placate the Jews
circumcising him would not have been right
Those who would bring the gospel to others must be sensitive to the unique characteristics of the cultures in which they are working.
must avoid giving any unnecessary offence
must not try and make your hearers become like you before telling them the truth
applies to our efforts to win our family, neighbours, friends and co-workers
Passion, Priority, People, Preparation,

The Proper Presentation

Acts 16:4–5 ESV
4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
A key to effective, biblical evangelism is having the right message.
the message affirmed by the Jerusalem church:
salvation a sovereign work of God on spiritually dead sinners (Eph 2:1-2)
a work of grace through faith which is God gift (Eph 2:8-9)
salvation is only for those who recognize their spiritual poverty, confess their need of Christ’s riches, and rest in God’s mercy
Paul, Silas and Timothy were spreading this message
they were also communicating the restrictions on Gentile believers so that there would be no hinderance to fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers
summary: salvation is by grace and is marked by living in love


keys to effective evangelism: Passion, Priority, People, Preparation, Presentation
Luke’s summary statement shows the effect of biblical evangelism and discipleship
Acts 16:5 ESV
5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
the goal is not only converts but converts who become mature believers
Strong churches, those which are established in the Word, will increase in numbers and spiritual maturity. (Acts 16:5)
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