Witnessing for Christ 1900 years ago involved every where.
Witnessing for Christ 1900 years ago involved every Word.
Several years ago Billy Graham preached in the first London Crusade. The response was so great that all of England was affected in someway. The common man who had almost forgotten the church flocked to hear Billy preach about JESUS.
Many ministers were saved while others repented of having neglected the preaching of the Word. However, some of the more liberal churchmen were very disturbed about the kind of preaching Billy did and the people he reached. They saw it as a cultural set back for the church.
A spokesman for the liberal churchmen was quoted as saying "Billy Graham has set the church back 200 years." When Billy Graham was told about the man's comment, he replied, "If I have set the church back 200 years I am very sorry because it was not my goal or intention to set the church back 200 years. In fact, if I have set the church back 200 years I have failed." You see the goal of the Billy Graham Association is to take the church back 1900 years. If we only take it back 200 years. . .we have failed.
The New Testament age occurred some 1900 years ago. This morning I want
us to take a look at how the early church witnessed. It is my desire for
us to recapture that early commitment and spirit.
The first part of verse four relates in on word "THEY" what I believe could be interpreted today, "and everybody that was scattered abroad went everywhere preaching this word." The "they" referred to in this verse means everybody.
The early church had some Bible scholars, they had many who had an eyewitness account of Jesus' life. But they also had many people who knew no more about Jesus than what they had experienced in their personal salvation experience, but they were witnesses.
Today in our congregations we have some Bible scholars; we have some very good Bible students; and we have some who know no more about Jesus than what they have personally experienced in their salvation. Therefore, we have much in common with those of the early church. Everybody today who claims to be a Christian is a witness for better or worse. . . .and it's recorded in Acts 1:8.
Suppose you look out your front window on Saturday morning and you see two (2) rather well-dressed men approaching your house, and they look like they have the subject of religion on their minds. Do you go to the door and say, "Welcome my good Baptist brothers", or maybe you open wide your door and greet those hard working Baptist brothers, with a holy kiss. The Bible does say "great your brothers with a holy kiss."
I wonder why the Bible never says to greet the sisters with a holy kiss? Now you laugh. . .but these brothers would be Baptist. . .wouldn't they?
I mean, Baptist who are closer to the Bible than any other denomination surely make a literal interpretation of the words "go into all the wold," don't they? Baptist would be the "they"out witnessing wouldn't they?
Probably more Mormons and so-called "Jehovah's" Witnesses have already knocked on your door than Baptist ever will. . .Why is that so? It is because we have lost a love for Jesus that compels us to speak out for Him.
Jesus had some new Christians who needed to be fed. he wanted to commission
Simon Peter to feed them. He only asked Simone Peter one question; but
He asked that question 3 times. Simon, Son of Jonas, lovest thou Me
more than these? You see,. . .love motivates one to share the Gospel.
The "they" is everybody. The "they" today is you and me.
The early Christians believed that they had good news to share. They believed that everybody needed to hear this good news so everywhere they went, they shared what Jesus had done for them.
When they went before Kings and governors they shared Jesus. When they went to a synagogue they shared Jesus. When they went to the marketplace they shared Jesus. If they were in jail. . .they shared Jesus.
Persecution didn't stop them, it only gave them opportunities to share Jesus in a new location. Irregardless of where they moved, or how uprooted they were they shared JESUS.
Today, there is much emphasis on success. Many times success is measured in numbers and many times that is a correct measurement. In churches numbers are important. There is a book in the Bible called Numbers.
Most churches who run numbers down usually don't run them up either. . .an emphasis on numbers is wrong if numbers are your motivation. The motivation that we should have is caused by our love for Jesus, not a love for numbers.
Many churches today place a strong emphasis on bus outreach. The story is told of a church in Virginia sending a bus to Kentucky to pick up some children for Sunday School. This bus had an accident with a church bus from Indiana, and while those two bus drivers were arguing, a church bus from Texas gave all the kids a lollipop and took them to Sunday School.
Jesus talked about the wrong kind of witnessing. This emphasis only on numbers for numbers sake. Let's notice Matt. 23:25. Now in contrast let's notice Luke 10:17. Do you notice the difference in motivation. Some went out to make a convert, while others went out in obedience to the Lord, & their rejoicing was that they were saved.
Let me share a poem with you and you can help by saying on key "He was sitting by the fire."
We are having this Sunday School emphasis and making a special report on absentees contacted. I am amazed at how few of you are contacting your absentees. It only takes a phone call. It only takes a post card. It only takes a half hour to drop by someone's home.
I am also amazed at the number of classes who seem to be defeated before the emphasis is over. They say we just can't reach people like some of the other classes can. With a defeated attitude, I am surprised you have anyone attending.
Years ago Roger Hornsby became the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. They had finished last the year before. During Spring training, the manager said, "Gentlemen, we are going to win the pennant this year." Some of the players laughed. The manager said, "I will be happy to trade any man who does not think this team can win the championship."
As I remember. . .two men were traded, and the Cardinals won the championship, and beat the New York Yankees in the world series. The attitude of the manager made the difference.
Teacher, how is your attitude? Do you see every child as a prospect
for your class? Do you see every adult as a prospect for your class? The
difference in your class can be made by your attitude. If you're a winner
for Jesus. . .then your class will be enthusiastic and excited about reaching
This verse states that this people went everywhere preaching the word. What was the Word? It was the Old Testament, and they related it to Jesus.
When Matthew talked about Isaiah 7:14, he said it refers to Jesus. When Mark tells about the forerunner in Isaiah, he said that forerunner was John the Baptist, and he prepared the way for Jesus. When Luke talks about the talk Jesus had with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he tells us the following:
To proclaim every word of the Bible must center on one word the word "JESUS". And "they" (everybody) went everywhere preaching every word of the Lord.
Back in 1968, I performed the wedding ceremony for my Mother and Stepfather. At the reception I met my new step-sister and step-brother-in-law. We began to talk and the subject got around to the Bible and evolution and miracles. I reasoned with my new step brother-in-law, and was making some headway. I was matching my mind against his. But he didn't come to Christ because of my superior arguments.
The next day, I was talking to my new step-father, and he asked me 'how did you get along with my son-in-law?" I told him of all the mental arguments that I had injected on this young man. My step-dad didn't seem to be impressed with my method.
He said, "Jim I'll tell you what is wrong with my son-in-law. He wants to start learning the A, B, C's beginning with M rather than A." I thought to myself I don't understand what you're talking about. My step-father explained it so any intelligent college student could understand. He said, "you can't understand all about the Christian life and the Bible until you know Jesus. Jesus is the "A" that my son-in-law needs to begin with, and he'll never understand all those other things until he begins by getting right with Jesus."
I just sat there saying "Amen, Amen, Amen" and wondering why I hadn't thought of that since I had, at that time, 15 years of schooling, and my step-dad hadn't finished the 8th grade.
You see my problem was that I had gotten away from the Word. The witnesses 1900 years ago preached the Word with extra emphasis upon the word JESUS.
Today, we are killing the affect of God's word with butter. You see we say that's what the Bible says "But" "er" we have to live in our society.
Yes, I know that's what the Bible teaches "But" "er" I think it would be better to do it such and so.
The early church preached the word of God. Every body preached it, and they preached it every where they went. And they were not ashamed of any word of it. Why don't we return the church to the style of the year 74 A. D.
The story is told of a young fruit picker who went to the orange grove country to help pick the orange crop. He had heard that there was a great need for pickers, and that many oranges were rotting on the trees.
As he approached the orchard he expected to see a great host of busy bickers in the fields but to his surprise there was not one picker to be found in the field. He drove on in to town passing orchard after orchard, but never seeing any fruit picker buys at work.
When he arrived in town he found a great host of fruit pickers gathered in the town hall. They were listening to a man lecture on how to pick oranges. This lecture was the leading orange picker in years past, and these people were thrilled at the testimony of how he picked so many oranges.
The young man tried to awaken the people to the need to get out in the fields and pick the oranges before they perished, but no one heeded his warning. They said. . .we must learn better ways and methods before we go into the fields. The young man told them but all of you have picked oranges before, or have seen others pick. Go out into the fields before all the oranges are rotted.
The similarity in this story and today's church is much to close. Many are the Christians who will study and drive miles to hear how to win souls, or get their life totally surrendered, who never do a blessed thing about it. In the early church every body went everywhere proclaiming every word.
Are you out in the fields, or sitting in the town hall?
"Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold I say unto you, life up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.