Friday, July 24, 2015


And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.  (Acts 11:21)

A church isn’t built with bricks and mortar; it is built of people.  Therefore, a church must give priority to reaching people. If it is truly a New Testament church, it will be an evangelistic church.  We see an example of an effective evangelistic church in Acts 11, in the description of the church at Antioch.

We observe their motivation (v.19-20).  Persecuted for their profession of faith, they proclaimed it anyway.  Not only that, they laid aside their prejudices to witness to the Greek speaking Jews (called Hellenists).  All this was preparatory to a full scale evangelistic thrust to the Gentiles.  What motivated them to overcome persecution and prejudice?

The lordship of Christ motivated them.  In Christ’s sovereign design for His church, He scattered them as seed across the soil of the region.  The opposition Satan inspired for his evil plan proved to be an opportunity God intended for His evangelistic purpose.  Dying churches see difficulties in every opportunity and dynamic churches see opportunity in every difficulty.

The love of Christ motivated them.  Jesus died to redeem sinners.  We are to live to reach them.  These believers were compelled by compassion to reach the lost.  How about our church?

We note their message (v.20b).  The subject and simplicity of their message is seen in that it centered upon, “the Lord Jesus.”  In Him alone is salvation found.  One of our problems in reaching people is that even if we get up the courage to speak to them of spiritual matters, we talk about the church and what it offers rather than Christ and His claims.  Promote the pastor and fault can be found in him.  Push the church and fault can be found in it.  Publicize the programs and fault can be found in them.  Preach the Savior and no fault can be found in Him!  These first century saints shared what Christ had done for them. We can do the same.

We witness their might (v.21).  It wasn’t the strength in their hands, but the Almighty hand of the Lord that made them effective.  The Book of Acts documents the work of Christ through His body, the church.  We are extensions of His hands to reach the world.

A poem says it like this:

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way
He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.  (Annie Johnston Flint)

When we witness in the power of the Holy Spirit there will be those who will turn to the Lord.  Many will turn away—that is true—yet, some will be saved.  Our business is to do the sharing, and God’s business is to do the saving. 

The effective evangelistic church has individual members who have embraced God’s call on their lives.  Our witness corporately will be no stronger than our outreach personally.  If I want our church to be evangelistic, I must begin by looking in a mirror and praying, “O God, give me your heart for a lost world!”  Join me in that prayer today!

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