Enjoy the Blessings You Received Within Evangelism (Acts 16:16-34) October 16, 2011
Last week, we thought about enjoying the blessings we received through prayer, and today we would like to think about how that is linked to evangelism. The blessing of the Gospel is that Christ has definitely solved all problems and we possess everything. First and foremost, restore personal prayer and enjoy the three blessings first. First, restore faith within prayer and do not waver within unbelief, discouragement, and resentments. Second, see what God has prepared for you within prayer; it is the life of receiving guidance from the Holy Spirit. Become a person who sees God’s plan and hear God’s voice in every problem and every incident. Third, become someone who really possesses God’s power. If this takes place, the works of the Holy Spirit will appear in everything you do, forces of the Darkness will be destroyed and things that did not work out will, unexpected doors will open, and everything will become evidence. In fact, this is evangelism. In everything you do, the works of the Holy Spirit must appear. It is not just sharing the Gospel through words (1The.1:5). When the Holy Spirit works, hinderers, the forces of the Darkness crumble. Things that cannot work out will and everything will become evidence as unexpected doors open. That is Acts 1:8. “You will be my witnesses…to the very ends of the earth.” I bless and hope that everything you do (studies, work, business, and ministry) may become evidence and evangelism.
1. You must hold onto the reason why God should turn everything into answer, blessing, and evidence for you.
1) That was God’s will from the beginning and His principle of creation.
a. God’s original will was for us to enjoy the world He has created and live happily. That is Gen.1:26-28. As He created us in His image, He blessed us to be fruitful, increase in number, fill and subdue the earth, and rule over its creatures (“God blessed them and said to them”). This is what all parents who have children share. This is God’s heart.
b. We lost hold of this because of Gen.3, but God sent His Son Christ as the way to restore this blessing (Jn.14:6). Through this Christ, enjoy God first (Rom.5:1) and enjoy all abundant things He gives (Jn.10:10). God’s true will is for us to enjoy happy life within Christ. That is evangelism.
2) God wants us to be witnesses. In whatever we do, God needs witnesses, and therefore, we need evidence. Others must see us and realize God is living and merciful. They must see how we who were weak and full of failures changed within the grace of Christ. That is evangelism. In some situations, that evidence can be internal, or it must manifest through our personality, life, and things we do.
3) God wants us to save others and the world.
a. It does not end at having the answer and happiness at the personal level. We must go out to the world and save others like us and share the solution, answers, and blessings we received. This is our privilege, but at the same time, our duty and commission. That is why the Bible says evangelism is privilege and blessing (Mt.4:16, Acts 1:8, and Mt.28:18-29), duty and commission (2Tim.4:3, 5). It even says in Eze.33:1-8, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’”
b. Someone who has sharing with the society is defined “social justice” in the world, but we call it the “life of a person in debt to God’s grace” (Rom.1:14). When I saw the Wall Street protesters, I thought “They should have shared earlier.” Of course our evangelism goal is saving souls. When the souls under the sins and curses bound by the hands of the Darkness are saved and changed, the world changes through them (social salvation, social justice).
2. Holding onto God’s will and plan, will and heart as the covenant, try anything. God’s will is for you to be happy within Christ. You must become Christ’s witness. You must save the world with the Gospel and blessings you received. If you hold onto these as the covenant and pray, they will all be connected t evangelism.
1) With this mystery, Paul and Silas went to a “place to pray” and met an important person to evangelize. It was a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future and her presence made Paul and Silas pray for days. They probably prayed for her in full scale. The spirit eventually left her.
2) When people who yearn for evangelism pray holding onto the reason, this kind of works will arise every field they go. The forces of Darkness will crumble in at least five fields and important changes will take place. First, you yourself will change. Like today’s passage, you will become someone who has spiritual power. Second, it is blessing of meetings. Prepared disciples like Lydia will be attached, and people who suffer spiritually like today’s passage will live. Third, evidence will come to your family, fourth, to your works (studies), and fifth, a complete change will take place in one region (Woodbridge where our church is located was once called the tombs of Korean-American churches, but it is changing and it will continue to change).
3) Even if hindrances and persecutions come, it does not matter. They are greater opportunities. In today’s passage, the owners of the slave girl sued Paul and Silas and they ended up in prison. They were accused of dividing Jews and Romans (verse 20), advocating unlawful customs (verse 21), and led a crowd (verse 22).
a. At this time, you must not be scared and run away. Many people run at this time. If the Gospel is correct, you must be thankful and fight through prayer (Christ has solved all problems. You have His life, power, and authority. You are not a con artist who kills others, but you are an evangelist who will save others.).
b. When Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns in the middle of the night (verse 25), all prisoners heard them. At that time, an earthquake struck the prison and opened the prison gates, but Paul and Silas did not run. When the jailer tried to kill himself thinking all the prisoners escaped, they calmed him down and shared the Gospel. It is a famous saying. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” (verse 31) Jailer brought them to his house to listen to the word and the entire household was baptized.
c. Hinderers and persecutors eventually crumble. When? It is when you do not fear before problems, but sing praises and pray. This is the power of prayer and praises. Do you have problems? Restore individual worship from that place. If there is someone who can have the worship with you, it is better (like how Paul and Silas came together as a team). That is why evangelism teams and prayer teams are important. Each region and each department can be an evangelism and prayer team. I am personally thankful to God for letting me really pray and attached people of prayer besides me when my life and ministry were difficult. We must help all believers to enter into this blessing. Look for anyone who is alone and by himself.
It says in Pet.2:9 that we are the “royal priesthood and those who will testify this light.” This is our identity. You must restore self-pride as evangelists and have faith that God will turn everything into a blessing. Paul and Silas later revealed that they were Roman citizens. If someone condemned and beat a Roman citizen without holding a trial, he would be put to death. They accepted hardships on purposed and lived as evangelists. I hope you stand in this blessing.