Acts: How to Advance a Gospel Movement
How Gospel Movements Lead to Grace Encounters
Gospel movements lead to grace encounters when the church communicates Jesus’ Gospel in life-transforming ways to different people from different backgrounds.
Reach the Religious(11-15)
Every person has a congenital heart condition that causes people to run away from God (Gen. 3:8-9; Jer. 17:9; Ezek. 36:26; Mk. 7:21-22; Rom. 1:21; 3:11-12).
“The Lord opened” Lydia’s “heart” through the supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit (14; Acts 2:39; 11:18; 13:38; 18:27).
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit…”
Baptism is your outward profession of your inner confession of faith in Jesus as you die to your old life to receive Jesus’ resurrection life (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 18:8).
Grace Encounters with the Religious...
1) Initiate Internal Transformation
“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”-Ezekiel 36:26-27
Grace encounters bring a spiritual heart transplant where the cold heart of religion is replaced with a spiritual heart pulsating for God (Ezek. 36:26-27).
2) Require Supernatural Regeneration
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
-Jesus to the Religious Leader Nicodemus in John 3:5-6
Churches who lead gospel movements that lead to grace encounters trust the Holy Spirit to transform lives (Jn. 3:1-21; Eph. 2:1-9).
Free the Enslaved(16-24)
Enticed into a life of dabbling with the occult for the business of “fortune-telling,” this “slave girl” became spiritually enslaved to a “spirit of divination” (16).
“People are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”-2 Peter 2:19
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
-1 John 3:8
The church is called to lead grace movements to bring grace encounters to people in spiritual bondage by freeing them through Jesus’ “name” (Mat. 4:24; 9:32-33; 12:22; Mk. 5:1-20; Lk. 10:17; Acts 16:26-28).
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Grace Encounters with the Enslaved…
1) Give Freedom from Spiritual Bondage
The church of Jesus is in a spiritual battle to bring enslaved people “to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, who has taken them captive to his will” (2 Tim. 2:26).
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”-2 Corinthians 10:3-4
2) Bring Jesus-Centered Deliverance
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”-Galatians 2:20
Grace encounters give Jesus’ life through a new birth (Jn. 3:1-17), replace the old self with a new identity (2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:7-17) and instill a new ability to live free from sin (Jn. 8:31-32, 36; Rom. 6:20-22).
Awaken the Secular(25-34)
The transcendent joy of “praying and singing hymns” was a powerful, Spirit-filled witness through example (25; 5:18-20; 2 Cor. 4:8-11; 1 Pet. 1:6-9).
Due to the Roman law that invoked capital punishment as penalty for an escaped prisoner, Paul and Silas remaining in prison placed the welfare of the jailer above their own welfare (28-29; Lk. 6:27-28).
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”-is the desperate plea for deliverance when all other options have been exhausted (28-30).
All grace encounters lead to a person surrendering to “Jesus” as “Lord” (God) over their life (31; Rom. 10:9).
Grace Encounters with the Secular-
1) Require Witness By Example
“Be tender hearted, and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing”-1 Peter 3:8-9
In a secular society, people must first see how we live before they will listen to what we have to say.
2) Require Different Approaches
The Gospel can be communicated in different ways to reach those who are religiously searching (Lydia), enslaved and oppressed (the slave girl), and the secularist who is not searching (the Philippian jailer).
“I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel…”-1 Corinthians 9:23
Challenge-Am I willing to lay aside my preferences for Kirby Woods to bring grace encounters into unbelievers' lives?