DYNAMIC EVANGELISM OF THE EARLY CHURCH

 

The dynamism of Evangelism lies in the little word, “EVERY.” This small word causes an oceanwide difference between today’s evangelism and that of the apostles. The greatest multiplication factor of the early church was “every.” It is a climate-proof, health-proof, work-proof, money-proof word! Let’s look at a few examples of this concept

Every Christian

Unless every born-again Christian throws himself / herself into the task of evangelism, our city or nation can never be evangelised. God needs every one of us. Every Christian should reach every non-Christian. It is a total involvement of the Church. Every Christian is a missionary and every non-Christian a mission-field. In the early church the scattered ones preached the gospel (Acts 8:4). God wants you for a soul winner! Don’t think it is impossible for you to evangelise India. When did God ask man to do a possible thing? He always demanded the impossible. He expected the stammerer Moses to speak to Pharoah. He sent the young David to kill Goliath. If we have to do what we can do, we don’t need the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to us so we can do what we cannot do.

Everyday

Next comes the everyday thrust. Christians must be on their toes if they really care for souls. Don’t dream about tomorrow, do it today. Today is ours. Never forget to add a sentence to your morning prayer, “Lord, give me a soul today.” Then act on it. We pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” and then cook our meals. That is faith in action. After praying for a soul a day, be on the look-out for an opportunity or create one.

Souls were added to the early church “daily.” But for us soulwinning has become a sentimental Sunday affair. Jesus was a “daily” man (Luke 19:47); and so were the apostles (Acts 5:42). Their church was a daily ministering church (Acts 6:1). What was the outcome? “Churches increased in number daily” (Acts 16:5). Daily witnessing by individuals leads to the daily growth of the Church.

Everywhere

Then the everywhere push! If you claim every promise in the Bible you must claim Acts 1:8 too. Those who were scattered by persecution went “everywhere” preaching the Word. When someone was martyred, the one who kept the clothes was converted. If thrown in prison the prisoners were converted. When dragged before authorities the authorities were converted. Anywhere and everywhere, unrestrained witnessing was the key to their success.

Everywhere means where? Go out quickly (not slowly) into the streets, lanes, highways and hedges to the poor, maimed, lame and blind and compel them to come in (Luke 14:21-23). Mark it out in your Bible. This is where we are supposed to go. In our own language—win souls under the tree, in the bus, in the train, your door step, bus-stand, railway-station, schools, colleges, hospitals, offices—anywhere, everywhere! “And they went out and preached everywhere” (Mark 16:20). If the Church had stayed in the upper room, today we’ll be in the deepest gloom!

Every House

The apostles knew the advantage of leading families to Christ. Lydia was converted with her family and so was the jailor. Barnabas’ sister’s house was used as the prayer house (Acts 12:12). Houses became churches (1 Cor. 16:19; Col 4:15). The apostles’ target was “every house” (Acts 5:42).

Have you ever entered a non-Christian home to share the gospel? “Knock and it shall be opened to you.” We talk of closed doors before knocking. Closed doors are not necessarily locked doors. The moment you knock it opens. Mark out an area as your target and knock at every door within a set date. Let each unknocked door be a challenge to you. Do not assume negatively before you knock. Assumption is a quick-sand. Paul’s method was the house-to-house method (Acts 20:20). Get to know the non-Christians in your locality. Befriend them. Visit them. Win them.

Every Creature

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). How did the early disciples accomplish this? They spoke to any one they came across, be it lame, blind, children, prisoners, Jews, Gentiles, beggars, lepers, kings! Historically Christianity is a person-to-person religion. Jehovah Witnesses put us to shame. Jesus said, “You shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8). We received power but we are anything but witnesses to Him. We must be like live wires conducting the power of Christ to anyone who comes in contact with us. I believe every person we meet is by divine appointment.

Everyway

Paul said that he became all things to all men that he might save a few. Adopt as many methods as possible to bring souls to light. Be regular in your family prayer that the members of the family may be converted. Visit unsaved relatives whenever and wherever possible. I know of a godly family which arranges a family dinner annually as a get-together for all the relatives, and invites an evangelist to share the Word of God on that occasion. Start distributing good tracts. Concentrate on gaining many non-Christian friends. Attend their weddings and funerals. Be friendly with all, irrespective of caste and creed. Wear a smile all the time for the rich and poor, young and old, learned and illiterates. Have a friendly word for anyone. Stop condemning and criticising teenagers for their mod hair style and fanciful dresses. Rather extend a broad smile and a warm hand-shake. Gather the neighbourhood children in your house and teach them songs and Bible stories. Do not hesitate to lend a helping hand to the vegetable vendor struggling to lift his basket. Help anyone anywhere. Keep thinking of novel methods and don’t hesitate to practise it when God gives an idea. Be ready to spend some money. Collect old clothes and give to the poor. Invite friends to gospel meetings. Visit the nearby hospitals and console the sick and pray for them. Invite people to the church. Preach, sing, teach, and write. Somehow win some souls. Be versatile. Don’t be crying and praying for spiritual gifts all the time. Keep doing things for God and the gifts will manifest.