Good News: Evangelism In Acts

 

Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Rocklyn Clarke


Good News Pages


Purpose

Please make sure you have used this Good News material to personally win someone to Christ before you use it to train others!

Follow this link for information about these key aspects of our discipleship training:


How They Did It: Establishing the Pattern

Preparation:

It's important to take a look at how the early church evangelized. Towards that end, we will through the Book of Acts episode by episode to examine each occasion during which the gospel was presented.

In Acts 2:1-40 we read about the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church and Peter’s subsequent spirit-led sermon. Those who heard him responded: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. - Acts 2:42
Here we can see that following Jesus includes:

  • Bible teaching and study
  •  Fellowship
  • The Lord’s Supper / Communion
  • Prayer

The rest of the chapter (Acts 2:42-47) shows them worshipping together, sharing what they had like family, and experiencing God’s supernatural power.

It has been our experience that there are a lot of people who regularly attend church and who mean well, but who have never been taught how to actually follow Jesus.

At Life Church, our approach to evangelism is based on the episodes in the New Testament when the gospel (i.e. good news) is proclaimed:

Episode 1: Acts 2:36-41 - Peter preaches on Pentecost

  • Key assumptions:
  • Key truths presented:
    • The events of Pentecost fulfill Joel's prophecy about the last days.
    • Jesus' death was part of God's plan to redeem Israel.
    • God has raised Jesus from the dead - confirming his status as Lord and Christ.
    • Repentance and baptism in Jesus' name results in forgiveness of sins for Israel. Forgiveness of sins means Israel is out of the "penalty box" and "back in the game". This will ultimately be understood to include all those gentile (non-Jewish) followers of Jesus who, by faith in Christ, are grafted into Israel.
  • Key actions performed: preaching
  • Audience: Jews gathered for Pentecost
  • Audience response:
    • 3000 believe and are baptized. This figure probably only represents the men who responded.
    • They devote themselves to the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer.

In Jerusalem - Acts 3 - 7

Preparation:

Episode 2: Acts 3:11 - 4:4 - Peter and John preach after healing the crippled beggar.

  • Key assumptions:
  • Key truths presented:
    • You disowned Jesus and handed him over to be put to death.
    • God raised Jesus from the dead.
    • Jesus is the Messiah (Christ).
    • Jesus is the heir to God's covenant promise to Abraham: "through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed."
    • The beggar was healed through faith in Jesus name.
  • Key actions performed: Peter and John heal a crippled beggar.
  • Audience: Jews gathered in the temple courts
  • Audience response:
    • The number of men who believed grew to about 5,000 (i.e. an additional 2,000 men became followers).

Episode 3: Acts 4:5-12 - Peter and John preach to the Sanhedrin

  • Key assumptions:
  • Key truths presented:
    • You crucified Jesus, but God raised him from the dead.
    • The beggar was healed by the name of Jesus.
    • Jesus is the only name by which people can be saved.
  • Key actions performed:
  • Audience: Sanhedrin
  • Audience response:
    • Ordered not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
    • Further threats.

Episode 4: Acts 5:29-32 - The Apostles preach to the Sanhedrin

  • Key assumptions:
  • Key truths presented:
    • The apostles teach the people "all the words of this life".
    • You killed Jesus, but God raised him from the dead as Prince and Savior to bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.
  • Key actions performed: The apostles perform many signs and wonders.
  • Audience: Sanhedrin
  • Audience response:
    • They flog the apostles.

Episode 5: Acts 6:8 - 8:1 - The Apostles preach to the Sanhedrin

  • Key assumptions: Stephen has presumably been consistently proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Stephen recites Israel's history to demonstrate how Israel has repeatedly resisted the Holy Spirit , persecuted the prophets, and betrayed and murdered Jesus.
  • Key actions performed: Stephen had previously performed many signs and wonders.
  • Audience: Sanhedrin
  • Audience response:
    • Stephen is stoned to death.

Beyond Judea - Acts 8

Preparation:

Episode 6: Acts 8:4-25 - Phillip preaches in Samaria

  • Key assumptions: Preaching the Messiah means proclaiming God's Kingdom with Jesus as the Anointed One or King.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Phillip proclaims the Messiah.
  • Key actions performed:
    • Phillip performs signs, exorcisms, and healings.
    • Peter and John pray for the new believers to receive the Holy Spirit.
  • Audience: Samaria
  • Audience response:
    • Many Samaritans believe and are baptized.
    • The Samaritan believers receive the Holy Spirit after Peter and John lay hands on them.

Episode 7: Acts 8:26-40 - Phillip preaches to the Ethiopian official

  • Key assumptions: Philip was previously trained to see the connection between the "suffering servant" of Isaiah and Jesus the Christ.
  • Key truths presented:
    • The eunuch was reading Isaiah 53:7-8 - the passage describing the "suffering servant".
    • Phillip connects this passage to Jesus and explains the good news.
  • Key actions performed:
  • Audience: Ethiopian official
  • Audience response:
    • The official believes and is baptized.

Saul's Story Begins - Acts 9

Preparation:

Episode 8: Acts 9:1-19 - Saul becomes a follower of Jesus

  • Key assumptions: The revelation that Saul's persecution of the church is really persecution of Jesus implies to Saul the Jesus is genuinely the Messiah.
  • Key truths presented:
    • "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
  • Key actions performed: The Lord speaks to Saul personally and audibly.
  • Audience: Saul
  • Audience response:
    • Saul believes, obeys,  and is baptized.

Episode 9: Acts 9:19-31 - Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem

  • Key assumptions: Son of God is an alternative term for the Messiah.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Jesus is the Son of God.
  • Key actions performed:
  • Audience: Jews in Damascus and Jerusalem
  • Audience response:
    • Attempts on his life.

Taking The Gospel To Gentiles (non-Jews) - Acts 10 - 12

Preparation:

Episode 10: Acts 10:1 -11:18 - Peter and Cornelius

  • Key assumptions:
    • Cornelius knows about the message God sent about the good news of peace through Jesus Christ (i.e. King Jesus).
    • Repentance and baptism in Jesus' name results in forgiveness of sins for Israel.
    • Forgiveness of sins means Israel is out of the "penalty box" and "back in the game". This will ultimately be understood to include all those gentile followers of Jesus who, by faith in Christ, are grafted into Israel.
    • Judge of the living and the dead is equivalent to having "all authority in heaven and earth" (Matthew 28:18-20).
  • Key truths presented:
    • Jesus is Lord of all.
    • God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.
    • Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil.
    • God was with Jesus.
    • The Jews crucified him but God raised him from the dead.
    • He was seen by chosen witnesses (including Peter).
    • God has appointed Jesus as judge of the living and the dead.
    • All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
  • Key actions performed:
  • Audience: Cornelius' household (family and friends).
  • Audience response:
    • Cornelius and his gathered family and friends become followers of Jesus as indicated by them being filled with the Holy Spirit.
    • Peter orders that they be baptized.

Episode 11: Acts 11:19-30 - The Church in Antioch

  • Key assumptions: The phrase "good news about the Lord Jesus" is a label for content we've already read previously in Acts.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Scattering Jews proclaim good news about the Lord Jesus.
  • Key actions performed:
  • Audience: Gentiles in Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch.
  • Audience response:
    • Gentiles become followers of Jesus.

Paul's First Missionary Journey - Acts 13 - 15

Preparation:

Episode 12: Acts 13:4-12 - Paul and Barnabus On Cyprus

  • Key assumptions: The word of God (that Barnabas and Saul proclaimed) is shorthand for the good news of the Kingdom of God.
  • Key truths presented:
  • Key actions performed: Saul rebukes Elymas and prophesies his affliction with temporary blindness.
  • Audience: The Proconsul Sergius Paulus who sent for Barnabus and Saul in order to hear their message.
  • Audience response: The proconsul believes.

Episode 13: Acts 13:13-52 - Paul and Barnabus In Pisidian Antioch

  • Key assumptions:
    • Israel's savior is the one who redeems Israel's history and ushers in the promised reign of God (Deuteronomy 30:1-10)
    • Forgiveness of sins means Israel is out of the "penalty box" and "back in the game". This will ultimately be understood to include all those gentile followers of Jesus who, by faith in Christ, are grafted into Israel.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Paul recounts Israel's history from Israel to David. He presents Jesus as a descendant of David and Israel's savior.
    • God raised Jesus from the dead.
    • After his resurrection Jesus was seen by witnesses.
    • Through Jesus, forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to Israel.
  • Key actions performed:
  • Audience: The Jews and converts to judaism from the Pisidian Antioch synagogue.
  • Audience response:
    • Many follow Paul and Barnabas.
    • Paul and Barnabas are persecuted and eventually expelled from the region.

Episode 14: Acts 14:1-7 - Paul and Barnabus In Iconium

  • Key assumptions: Because this passage ends with Paul and Barnabas continuing to preach the gospel (vs. 7) we should assume that their "speaking boldly for the Lord" meant preaching the gospel.
  • Key truths presented:  The Gospel
  • Key actions performed: Paul and Barnabas perform signs and wonders.
  • Audience: The Jews and and Greek attendees of the Iconium synagogue.
  • Audience response:
    • A great number of Jews and Greeks believe.
    • Paul and Barnabas eventually learn about a plot against them and flee to Lystra and Derbe.

Episode 15: Acts 14:8-20 - Paul and Barnabus In Lystra and Derbe

  • Key assumptions: Paul had been speaking prior to healing the lame man. Presumably his subject was the Gospel.
  • Key truths presented:
  • Key actions performed: Paul heals a lame man.
  • Audience: The crown that gathered to hear Paul.
  • Audience response:
    • The people initially identify Paul and Barnabas with the Greek gods Hermes and Zeus.
    • Some Jews from Antioch and Iconium win the crowd over and stone Paul.

Episode 16: Acts 14:25 - Paul and Barnabus In Perga

  • Key assumptions: The word and Paul and Barnabas preached in Perga was the Gospel.
  • Key truths presented: No detail provided.
  • Key actions performed: No detail provided.
  • Audience: The people of Perga.
  • Audience response: No detail provided.

Paul's Second Missionary Journey - Acts 16 - 18

Preparation:

Episode 17: Acts 16:11-15 - Paul and Silas In Philippi With Lydia

  • Key assumptions: When speaking to the gathered women, Paul is presenting the Gospel.
  • Key truths presented: No detail provided.
  • Key actions performed: No detail provided.
  • Audience: Lydia and the other gathered women.
  • Audience response: Lydia responds to Paul's message. Paul and his team stay at her home.

Episode 18: Acts 16:25-34 - Paul and Silas With the Philippian Jailer

  • Key assumptions:
    • The Greek word "σωζω" translated "saved" can mean rescued or healed - depending on the context.
    • When he asks "what must I do to be saved?", the Philippine jailer is not actually asking a theological question about a right relationship with God. He is asking how he can get out of his precarious "professional" situation - the situation he had been prepared to address through suicide.
    • Paul responds to the jailer's practical question with a spiritual answer.
  • Key truths presented: "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved - you and your household".
  • Key actions performed: God supernaturally causes an earthquake that opens the prison doors and causes everyone's chains to come loose.
  • Audience: The jailer and the prisoners.
  • Audience response: The jailer and his household believe (vs. 34) and are baptized (vs. 33).

Episode 19: Acts 17:1-9 - Paul In Thessalonica

  • Key assumptions:
    • Paul is presenting the standard gospel.
    • Because Messiah means "Anointed One", another term for Israel's King, proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah is another way of proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
  • Key truths presented: Jesus is the Messiah who suffered and rose from the dead.
  • Key actions performed: Paul reasons with the Jews in the synagogue from the scriptures.
  • Audience: The Jews in the synagogue.
  • Audience response:
    • Some of the Jews join Paul and Silas along with a large number of God-fearing Greeks and many prominent women.
    • Others oppose Paul's message and start a riot.

Episode 20: Acts 17:10-15 - Paul In Berea

  • Key assumptions: Paul and Silas proclaimed the same message in Berea that they had previously proclaimed in Thessalonica.
  • Key truths presented: Not stated explicitly, but checkable via the scriptures (vs. 11).
  • Key actions performed: Paul and Silas speak in the synagogue.
  • Audience: the Jews in the synagogue.
  • Audience response: Many Jews and Greeks believe.

Episode 21: Acts 17:16-34 - Paul In Athens

  • Key assumptions: Because the Athenians had a non-Jewish background, Paul used quotations from their own poets rather than from the Hebrew scriptures.
  • Key truths presented:
    • God commands everyone to repent of their idolatry.
    • God has appointed a man through whom he will judge the world with justice.
    • He has proved this by raising that man from the dead.
  • Key actions performed: Paul addressed the Areopagus.
  • Audience: the Areopagus.
  • Audience response: Some people became followers of Paul and believed, including Dionysius and Damaris.

Episode 22: Acts 18:1-17 - Paul In Corinth

  • Key assumptions: Because Messiah means "Anointed One", another term for Israel's King, proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah is another way of proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
  • Key truths presented: Jesus is the Messiah
  • Key actions performed:
    • Paul initially reasoned in the synagogue.
    • He ultimately spent 1.5 years in Corinth teaching the Word of God.
  • Audience: Initially the Jews in the synagogue and then the gentiles.
  • Audience response:
    • Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed.
    • Many Corinthians believed and were baptized.

 

Episode 23: Acts 18:18-22 - Paul In Ephesus

  • Key assumptions: Paul is presenting his standard gospel.
  • Key truths presented: No detail provided.
  • Key actions performed: Paul reasoned with the Jews.
  • Audience: The Jews of Ephesus.
  • Audience response: The Jews wanted to hear more from Paul.

Paul's Third Missionary Journey - Acts 18 - 21

Preparation:

Episode 24: Acts 18:24-28 - Apollos in Ephesus and Achaia

  • Key assumptions: Because Messiah means "Anointed One", another term for Israel's King, proclaiming that Jesus is the Messiah is another way of proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
  • Key truths presented: Jesus is the Messiah.
  • Key actions performed: Apollos teaches about Jesus.
  • Audience: The Jews of Achaia.
  • Audience response: The disciples in Achaia were greatly helped by Apollos.

Episode 25: Acts 19:1-7 - Paul With Ephesian Disciples of John

  • Key assumptions: Paul is presenting his standard gospel.
  • Key truths presented: John's baptism pointed the way to Jesus.
  • Key actions performed: Paul teaches some disciples of John the Baptist.
  • Audience: The Ephesian disciples of John the Baptist.
  • Audience response: The disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

Episode 26: Acts 19:8-20 - Paul In Ephesus

  • Key assumptions: The phrase "world of the Lord" means the good news of the Kingdom of God and that Jesus is the King.
  • Key truths presented: The word of the Lord.
  • Key actions performed:
    • Paul had daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus for two years.
    • God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. Handkerchief and aprons that had touched them healed the sick and drove out demons.
  • Audience: Jews in the synagogue and local Greeks.
  • Audience response:
    • All the Jews and Greeks in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
    • Many believed.

Episode 27: Acts 20:13-38 - Paul's Farewell to the Ephesian Elders

  • Key assumptions:
    • Assumptions about the "Whole Will of God":
      • It can be delivered in 3 years - the amount of time Paul spent with the Ephesians.
      • It can't be everything one could possibly know about God.
      • It must be everything the Ephesian elders needed to know in order to faithfully do the work of the Kingdom in their region.
  • Key truths presented: Paul summarizes his history with the Ephesians and confirms that he has shared with the the whole will of God.
  • Key actions performed: Paul gathers the Ephesian Elders at Miletus for a farewell message.
  • Audience: the elders of the Ephesian church.
  • Audience response: They are grieved that Paul said they would never see him again.

Paul in Jerusalem - Acts 22 - 24

Preparation:

Episode 28: Acts 22:1-21 - Paul's Defense to the Jerusalem Rioters

  • Key assumptions: By recounting Jesus' appearance to him, Paul implies that Jesus was raised from the dead.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Paul presents his testimony.
    • Paul's testimony includes the appearance of the resurrected Jesus to him.
  • Key actions performed: Paul speaks to the mob that tried to kill him.
  • Audience: The mob that tried to kill Paul.
  • Audience response: The mob rejects Paul.

Episode 29: Acts 23:1-11 - Paul Before the Sanhedrin

  • Key assumptions: Paul believes that the standard gospel he preaches is fully compatible with the Hebrew scriptures.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Paul shares his testimony.
    • Paul declares his hope in the resurrection.
  • Key actions performed: Paul is on trial before the Sanhedrin.
  • Audience: The Sanhedrin.
  • Audience response: A fierce dispute breaks out in the Sanhedrin.

Episode 30: Acts 24:10-27 - Paul Before Governor Felix

  • Key assumptions:
    • Paul presents his standard gospel with additional context for the gentile Roman governor.
    • The resurrection of the righteous and the wicked is an aspect of God's reign as King.
  • Key truths presented: Paul's hope in a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked.
  • Key actions performed: Paul shares his testimony.
  • Audience: Felix (the governor), Ananias (the high priest), the lawyer Tertullus, and some of the Jewish elders.
  • Audience response:
    • Felix adjourns the meeting and keeps Paul in prison.
    • Subsequent conversations with Paul make Felix afraid.

Paul On The Way To Rome - Acts 26 - 28

Preparation:

Episode 31: Acts 26:1-32 - Paul Before Agrippa

  • Key assumptions:
    • Appeals to Caesar require follow through even if a vindication occurs along the way.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Paul's belief in the resurrection of the dead.
    • Paul's encounter with the resurrected Jesus.
    • Faith in Jesus results in forgiveness of sins and membership among Christ's people.
  • Key actions performed: Paul shares his testimony.
  • Audience: King Agrippa & Bernice, Governor Festus
  • Audience response: Paul is vindicated, but is still bound by his previous appeal to Caesar.

Episode 32: Acts 28:7-10 - Paul On Malta

  • Key assumptions: The Gospel has power to heal.
  • Key truths presented: No details provided.
  • Key actions performed:
    • Paul heals the father of Publius - the local chief official.
    • Paul heals the rest of the sick on Malta.
  • Audience: The Roman centurion, the soldiers, the prisoners, Publius, and the islanders.
  • Audience response: Publius' father is healed and the rest of the sick on the island seek healing from Paul.

Episode 33: Acts 28:17-31 - Paul In Rome

  • Key assumptions: Paul proclaims his traditional gospel.
  • Key truths presented: The Kingdom of God, Jesus.
  • Key actions performed:
    • Paul speaks to the Jews and their leaders.
    • Paul teaches for two years at a rented lecture hall.
  • Audience:
    • Initially: the local Jews and their leaders.
    • Subsequently: a broader audience.
  • Audience response: Some believe and others don't.

Summarizing What We've Learned

In light of what we've learned from reviewing the various occasions when the gospel was proclaimed in the Book of Acts, what can we say about how the early proclamation of the gospel worked?

Evangelizing Jews

  • Key audience:
    • 1st century Jews
    • Modern people who are familiar with the Bible.
  • Key truths presented:
    • Jesus' Life
      • In Jesus, the God of Israel has become the perfect faithful Israelite who fulfills God's covenant promises.
      • God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.
      • Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil.
      • God was with Jesus.
    • Jesus' Death
      • The Jews disowned Jesus and handed him over to the Romans who crucified him.
      • Jesus' death was part of God's plan to redeem Israel and rescue humanity.
    • Jesus' Resurrection
      • God raised him from the dead as Prince and Savior to bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.
      • His resurrection confirms Jesus' status as Lord and Christ. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Son of God.
      • God has appointed Jesus as judge of the living and the dead. Jesus is Lord of all.
      • After his resurrection Jesus was seen by chosen witnesses (including the Apostles).
    • Jesus' Reign
      • Repentance and baptism in Jesus' name is the proper response to Jesus. Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. For Israel, forgiveness of sins means Israel is out of the "penalty box" and "back in the game". This will ultimately be understood to include all those gentile (non-Jewish) followers of Jesus who, by faith in Christ, are grafted into Israel.
      • God continues to act today by performing miracles and healings in Jesus' name.
      • Jesus is the only name by which people can be saved.Apostles are called to teach people “all the words of this life”.

Evangelizing Gentiles (non-Jews)

  • Key audience:
    • 1st century Gentiles
    • Modern people who are not familiar with the Bible.
  • Key truths presented:
    • God
      • God commands everyone to repent of their idolatry.
      • Key truths presented: John’s baptism pointed the way to Jesus.
      • God has appointed a man through whom he will judge the world with justice.
    • Jesus' Life
      • In Jesus, the God of Israel has become the perfect faithful Israelite who fulfills God's covenant promises.
      • God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.
      • Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil.
      • God was with Jesus.
    • Jesus' Death
      • The Jews disowned Jesus and handed him over to the Romans who crucified him.
      • Jesus' death was part of God's plan to redeem Israel and rescue humanity.
    • Jesus' Resurrection
      • Jesus is Lord of all.
      • The Jews crucified him but God raised him from the dead.
      • He was seen by chosen witnesses (including Peter).
      • Jesus' resurrection confirms that God has appointed Jesus as judge of the living and the dead.
    • Jesus' Reign
      • All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
      • Faith in Jesus results in forgiveness of sins and membership among Christ’s people.
      • Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved – you and your household.
      • Apostles testify to their personal encounter with the resurrected Jesus.
      • Scattering Jews proclaim good news about the Lord Jesus.

What's Next?

You should now continue through the rest of our Evangelism material:

Following Jesus: Evangelism

Evangelism Resources


.

Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Rocklyn Clarke

Resource Lists (for your convenience)

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Acknowledgements

Please join me in acknowledging the key people who contributed to this material!

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