Sharing The Gospel - Acts 8:26-40 NIV
Why study this? Some people have the "GIFT" of evangelism. But we all have the responsibility to share the good news! Consider that there are unique relationships we each have that put us in a unique position to reach someone for Christ! How do we do it?
#1 - Starts and ends with the ____________________ .
This is really good news because it takes the weight off our shoulders for a person's response to the gospel message. Otherwise we might wonder if WE did it wrong and are responsible for the other's decline of the gospel. NEW SPIRITUAL BIRTH is God's plan & provision from start to finish. Our responsibility is to be responsive to God's Holy Spirit in our lives.
“An angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Go south to the road - the desert road - that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.'” Acts 8:26 NIV
“The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it.'” Acts 8:29 NIV
"When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing." Acts 8:39 NIV
Philip was so close to Holy Spirit that he could hear His specific instructions. "Go south." Not north, west or east. "Take the desert road." Not the super highway. "Go to that chariot."
What makes this story so applicable is not the specific instructions, but Philip's response. He "ran up to the chariot!" Is it any wonder the Holy Spirit worked through Philip? Are you committed to listening to the Hoy Spirit? Are you even more committed to doing everything He says immediately and with enthusiasm?
#2 - Best advice - _____________________ they are.
The greatest challenge we face with evangelism is being too focused on what we say and how we say it. People don't care so much about what WE say but about our LISTENING to them and connection with them. Not everyone is ready at every moment in life to be responsive to the gospel. But everyone is ready at SOME moment in their life to be open to spiritual good news.
“This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.” Acts 8:27b-28 NIV
This eunich was actually studying Isaiah and trying to understand it. Not automatically "Christian!" Both Jewish and Islam faith also considers this a holy text!. So how do we begin where they are? Two ways.
1st way - look around us to find people who we automatically connect to because of our commonalities - hobbies, work/school, circumstances. We begin where they are because we are there too!
#3 - Ask and listen for _____________________ .
Notice Philip's questions...
“'Do you understand what you are reading?' Philip asked.” Acts 8:30b NIV
Example of asking question. Starting with where eunich was. Showing interest in what other person is interested in (not what we want to tell them.) Then (and this is key) LISTENING to the answer! Not just for how we can turn it around to talk about what we want to talk about!
“The eunuch asked Philip, 'Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?'” Acts 8:34 NIV
This answer is one that indicates, "I want to know more." "I'm open to spiritual information." Listening for that is critical because it tells us whether or not someone is open right now to good news of Christ. Remember Jesus' parable of the soils? You are testing the soil with your questions and their answers. Is the soil ready or not? Don't try to force it. But also if someone is open to spiritual info, you have to move forward! Why? Because evil one will most certainly try to fill that spiritual void with false or substitute. Trust the Holy Spirit for the go / no go decision!
#4 - Only after establishing common ground in #2 and #3, _______________________ .
“Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” Acts 8:35 NIV
Those 1st 3 words in verse 35 are often throw-away words in our minds. Don't throw them away because they are critical. Then! Why "then?" After he had been responsive to the Holy Spirit. After he began where the eunich was. After probing with questions and listening for the openness of the eunich to spiritual matters. Then Philip began to share. How?
#5 - Sharing good news of Jesus involves BOTH ________________ and ________________.
“... with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” Acts 8:35 NIV
We see two key aspects of sharing the good news of Jesus. This is a pattern that will repeat itself often in the Book of Acts.
The first is sharing Scripture. We share the Word of God. It's not just OUR Word of God. It is God's message to all humans. Not important at this point to "quote" chapter and verse. Enough to say, "The Bible says." Or "Scripture teaches." Or "I read God's Word and remember."
You will want to remember some key verses. "All have sinned." Rom. 3:23. "Wages of sin is death, but gift of God..." Rom. 6:23. "It's by grace you've been saved not by works." Eph. 2:8&9.
It's not necessary that you become a Bible expert. Just enough to be prepared. After all YOU should know why you believe what you believe anyway, right?
The second is just as important and we often completely forget this part. We tell the good news. Why is it good news? What does it mean to us? This part is completely personal and subjective. It is our story. What difference has Jesus made in our lives? What have we experienced?
#6 - There's nothing better than the _______________ of a brand new Christian.
“As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, 'Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?'" Acts 8:36 NIV
We conclude with this... There is no thrill in life equal to being present for new spiritual birth. We parents of children can clearly recall each child born to us! We can also be spiritual midwives and see new children of God being delivered. Nothing like it. New Christians are so enthusiastic and so open to new truths. "Why can't I be baptized right away?" Why not? Kind of attitudes. You won't want to miss this eternal experience!