Acts 1: 1-9
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
In the church we use words like, “the gospel” or “evangelism” to reference a particular part of what it means to minister in the world and to the world. It is probably true that certain misconceptions about these words and what is required to “do evangelism” or “share the gospel” exist within the minds of many Christians. You might think, like many others, that evangelism or sharing the gospel is reserved for pastors or “super Christians,” but that would be wrong. But maybe you think this because of he way these words are used or talked about. Perhaps you know the word translated gospel, “εὐαγγέλιον,” simply means good news. Of course the way Christians use this word and the New Testament uses this word, it is more specifically the good news of Jesus Christ, his life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and eventual return that is being referenced.
When we talk about evangelism, we aren’t talking about standing on a street corner with a portable sound system, although that could be one mode of evangelism. Instead, we are talking about something much broader. We are talking about the same thing that is being talked about in the passage you read today. We are talking about being a witness. Notice what Luke (the author of Acts) is doing in this book, he is recording the events of the launch of the church of Jesus. More specifically he is writing this for Theophilus who was the recipient of the book of Luke as well (Luke 1-4). In Luke’s opening to the book of Acts he begins by reminding Theophilus of the life and teaching of Jesus recorded in Luke and then proceeds to point out that Jesus had presented many proofs of His resurrection and then he proceeded to give them a declarative statement, “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Notice the words “gospel” or “evangelism” aren’t used in this text; yet, we recognize this text as being evangelistic in nature. Indeed, it is, the disciples, and us by proxy, are being told to be a witness for the good news. Of course, the disciples witnessed these events in a way that we did not. They saw Jesus put on trial, executed, put in the grave, resurrected, and then His ascending firsthand. We have the word of God as a witness and we have God’s saving work in our lives; that is what we proclaim.
Many people use tools like tracs or various other systematized proclamations of the gospel to assist them in being a witness for the gospel. Maybe those things will be helpful for you, but here is the challenge, be a witness.
Pray for five people today that do not know Jesus. Pray for them by name. Now, invite all of them to church, look for opportunities to talk about Jesus and what He has done for you (be a witness), and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your witness. Be bold!!