Here are a few more thoughts that I had following Tom Short’s visit last week.
1. It is important to remember that most, if not all of the men, who preached in Acts were appointed by a church or other elders. The picture in Acts is not of lots of men just deciding to go preach in the open air. The men who preach in Acts, Peter, Paul, Philip, Stephen, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, were appointed men who had been recognized as gifted and sent by a church. God does not expect that many men will do open air preaching. There are some gifted for this. These men should be trained and appointed to the task. We should support them with prayer, money, and if we have time accompanying them as they preach.
2. I have made this point before, but it is worth repeating. There are not a lot of commands in the New Testament for the average Christian to go out and evangelize (Ephesians 6:19 might be one of those verses). There is such an emphasis in churches on evangelism that we fail to look at the Biblical data. Here are some passages that talk about our relationships with non-Christians: Matthew 5:13-16, Colossians 4:5-6, I Thessalonians 1:6-10, 4:11-12, Peter 2:11-12, 3:1-6, 3:13-17. These passages emphasize a holy life that is dedicated to Christ and a willingness to talk about God and Christ as the opportunity arises. I am not encouraging silence about Christ. But I am saying that for most of us evangelism will be done in the context of our daily living, not as we jump out of our daily lives to do something special. The danger is that our day to day living suffocates our desire to evangelize. We must work against this and look for ways in our daily lives to tell others about Christ.
3. The raising of godly children is one of the most effective ways of discipleship. A man who has several children would do better to raise those children in holiness than to spend every weekend evangelizing. Once his children are firmly planted in the Lord then he can extend his reach.
4. Good discipleship is essential for good evangelism. It is not enough to reach the lost. We must make disciples. That is why having a good church life, including good preaching, good fellowship, etc., is essential to the task of evangelism.
5. Our evangelism must be motivated by love for Christ and love for the lost, not by guilt.
6. The lifeblood of evangelism is prayer. We need to pray in a very deliberate fashion for those who do not know Christ.