Acts: How to Advance a Gospel Movement

Aug 05, 2018 | Thad Key, Senior Pastor

How Gospel Movements Turn Skeptics into Believers

Acts 21:27-22:22

Giving a persuasive defense of Jesus to unbelievers while sharing how Jesus radically transformed your life can lead to a Gospel movement in the lives of others.

Gospel Movements Turn Skeptics into Believers By...

Seeing Opposition as an Opportunity(21:27-22:2) 

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.”-Titus 2:11

Gospel movements reach out to “everyone” (all kinds of people) while going “everywhere” (all kinds of places) (27-28).

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”-1 Peter 4:12

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”-Ephesians 5:16

“Defense” is a persuasive argument made to skeptics who question the authenticity of the Gospel message (1; 25:16; Phil. 1:7).

Opposition is an Opportunity Because...

1)  God is in Control of Your Life

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.”-Philippians 1:12-13

God uses your improbable, bizarre and tragic experiences as an opportunity to advance a Gospel movement into the lives of other people (Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11). 

2)  You Can Defend the Faith

“The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge.  For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed.  He is the judge: God is in the dock...The trial may even end in God’s acquittal.  But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.”-C.S. Lewis in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics

In a skeptical society who see themselves as the judge and jury on God, Christians are called to give a rational “defense” to skeptical unbelievers by sharing how Jesus’ gospel works (17:22-23; 25:16; Phil. 1:7).

Gospel Movements Turn Skeptics into Believers By...

Believing Radical Unbelief is Reversible(22:3-11)

Religion is diametrically opposed to Christianity because religion teaches that you can reach God through religious observance while the Gospel teaches you are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus apart from religious works (3; Eph. 2:8-9). 

Christianity was known as “the Way” because Jesus spoke of himself as the only “way” to God (4; Jn. 14:6).

A Jewish terrorizer of Christians whose life had been dedicated to killing and imprisoning Christians, Paul details his dramatic conversion experience to his skeptical hearers (4-5).

Jesus gives us the “light” to know God in himself (6; Jn. 3:19; 21; 8:12; 12:36; 12:46).

Conversion radically reveals your life to be a lie as your entire life and worldview are confronted with the living reality of the resurrected Jesus (7-11; Rom. 6:4). 

A true conversion encounter with the resurrected Jesus always leads to surrender and the question, “What shall I do, Lord?” (9).

Radical Belief is Possible When…

1)  People are Confronted By Jesus

Conversion does not begin with an initiation on your part but a confrontation with Jesus who intervenes into your life when you want him the least and need him the most (Rom. 3:9-11).

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”-2 Corinthians 4:6 

2) Jesus Gives Resurrection Life 

Christianity is a message about an encounter with the living Jesus as the resurrected Lord (God), which reorients your life around Jesus (Rom. 10:9).

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”-Romans 6:4

Gospel Movements Turn Skeptics into Believers By...

Confronting Doubters with Authenticated Truth(22:12-16) 

In defending the Christian Gospel to the Jews who just tried to kill him, Paul attempts to make inroads by describing Ananias as “a devout man according to the law” (12).

The mission of being “a witness” for Jesus means you testify to everyone what you have “seen and heard” from Jesus in your own life (15). 

Believer’s baptism in water is an outward sign of the inward profession of a casting off of the old life as one has received a new life in Jesus (16; Rom. 6:4)

The drive to be a witness will take you to people and places where many will “not accept your testimony” (18-22).

Confronting Doubters Requires...

1)  Giving a Personal Gospel Defense

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”-1 Peter 3:15

If you are a Christian, you have an obligation to gently and respectfully defend the Christian message of the Gospel to unbelievers around you.

2)  Living a Sent Life

God never calls you out of the world without sending you back out into the world (Gen. 12:1-3; Ex. 3:1-12; Isa. 6:1-8; Mt. 10:16; Mk. 16:15).

“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”-Jesus in John 20:21

Challenge-Am I living to make skeptics believers?



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