Chariots of Opportunity

Faith Church July 12, 2009 Acts 8:26-40

Intro:

  1. This morning, I would like for us to study a passage of Scripture where God gives us a model example of effective evangelism
  2. All of us who know the Lord could give examples of how somebody was loving enough to take time to show us about Jesus Christ -
  3. somebody who's schedule was not so full that they neglected to obey the Great Commission and we benefited from their obedience to God
  4. As we study this passage, you and I ought to leave here with a greater purpose to faithfully minister the gospel to people when God gives us those "Chariots of Opportunity"

Read Acts 8:26-40

  • Look for prerequisites for effective evangelism and be thinking about some lessons we can learn from the life of Philip the Evangelist.

  I  What are some basic questions we need to answer first?

A.  What is evangelism?

*  Meeting people who do not know Jesus as their Savior and loving leading them to where they ought to be their relationship to the Lord!

  • Implies couple of things:
  • People – individuals, anybody in our sphere of influence (friend, family member, coworker, neighbor)
  • Involvement (contact)  with them and their needs of growth
  • in talking about evangelism, let me say we're not implying that 1) nothing is being done or 2) nobody wants to do it
  • What we are saying is, How can we be more effective?
  • we cant study a subject like this without talking about some excuses we give for not being INVOLVED

B.  What are some excuses we tend tomake for not being involved?

1.  "I don’t know how" (most common) 

Q:  What's the answer to that? Learn

  • Peter challenges us with our readiness in 2 Peter 3:18
  • 2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
  • 1 Peter 3:15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

 

2.  "I'll serve some other way in the church, but not in evangelism."

Input: How would you answer that?  (cant pick and choose in God's service)

  • Every person has the responsibility to do his/her part in spreading the Gospel!!

3.  "I'm afraid they will ask me questions I can't answer"

ILL: The blind man healed (John 9) – he didn’t know the answer to the Q he was asked

  • this I know ... once I was blind, but now I can see!!
  • God wants you and me as believers to be men and women who, not necessarily have ALL THE ANSWERS to every theological question, but who eagerly share what we do know about what God has done in their life

C.  What are some prerequisites for evangelism?

Input: As we read through this passage, what did you see as some prerequisites for effective evangelism?

*. Be saved yourself (Philip knew the Lord himself)

  • the greatest thing that could happen in a study on evangelism is for an individual to say, "I need Christ"
  • without Christ, you can’t be God's kind of friend
  • you might be friendly, a good person, or kind
  • but you can never make the spiritual impact God would have you make, because you don’t know the Savior yourself
  • if you would like to know more about accepting Christ, we have alot of people who would be glad to take the bible and show you how you can be saved
  • It’s a prerequisite for evangelism – you have to be on the TEAM (or part of the BODY)

1.  NO respecter of persons – 8:25

  • Acts 8:25 And so, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

-  Comment on the nature of the relationship of the Jews with the Samaritans

2.  Availability and involvement in God’s service – 8:25

  • By that I mean, looking for ways to please God, carefully watching for ways to demonstrate my loyalty to Christ
  • Read 8:1-4 context – then 8:4 –(wasn’t afraid of man – loyal to Christ

3. Obedient "arose and went" – 8:26-27

-  The issue wasn’t:

  • Lord, that’s a desert - people don’t live in deserts - why do you want me there?

Point:  The issue isn’t the circumstance in which God chooses to place us!

 - The issue is:  Will I be obedient and fulfill what God’s expects from me?

Input:  What biblical mandates do we have that direct us to be “evangelistic”?

4. Listener -  8:30

  • Acts 8:30 And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

Point:  He didn’t just start talking and TELLING him about Jesus – he listened

  • we can learn a lot about people just by listening to them

Suggestion:  Find out what a person is interested in and you will find the best way to reach them

  • Being a good listener communicates to others that you are sincerely interested in them

5. Knowledge of the Scripture

  • he had some answers because he took the time to learn and grow himself
  • if you don’t know how to show someone from the bible how they can know Christ as Savior, we have some very practical ways to help you in this area
  • Q:  Have I mentioned the personal evangelism training class?

6. Verbal testimony – 8:25 and 35

  • testified (to testify, to bear witness, to solemnly declare)and spoken the word of the Lord”
  • Acts 8:35 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.

preached” = our word for evangelize – proclaimed the Gospel (death, burial, resurrection)

  • Romans 10:14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
  • Philip was willing to speak up and share his faith
  • Certainly there are ditches to avoid on both sides: 
  • Only evangelize with my life – never say a word
  • Only evangelize by telling everybody they are sinners – but not live a life of change!

7.  Willing to have your schedule interrupted (8:31)

  • Acts 8:31 And he said, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
  • Philip viewed this "chariot of opportunity" as a divine appointment and not as an "interruption"
  • Q: How often do you and I view people as interruptions instead of divine appointments?
  • if we are going to be effective in evangelism, we have to see people as divine appointments

8.  Interested in people

  • 1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

Input: I can show I am sincerely interested in people by _________________.

                 (various answers)

D.  What is the next step?  Where can I start?

-  (not implying you are standing still)

  1. Pray regularly for unsaved friends by name!
  2. Enroll in the Personal Evangelism Class
  3. Do some reading on the subject – recommend some good books!
  4. Use the outreach-oriented activities of the church
  5. FCI classes
  6. New series
  7. Community Center
  8. Sports leagues

Other suggestions?

 

  1. Set goals for yourself and your family (PLAN for the next 3 months what you will do to grow in this area!)

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