As Christians, we all have the desire to see people come to Jesus. It’s our nature. We want to experience the joy of the Lord when we celebrate another soul entering the Kingdom of Heaven. However, sometimes we get “gun-shy.” How do we pull the trigger on the Gospel? What do we say? How do we get started?
Well, the book of Acts is filled with preaching, teaching, sharing, and witnessing. There are more triggers in Acts than we can discuss in one post, but below we will take a brief look at seven ways that the early church pulled the trigger on the Gospel:
1. Make a Spectacle
In the 1st century, there were no televisions, movie theaters, or ball parks. Religious exhibitions were as much about entertainment as they were about religion. The first two sermons of Peter were preached after the apostles made a religious spectacle to draw a crowd.
- In Acts 2:5-16, the apostles spoke in tongues which drew quite an audience.
- When Peter healed the lame beggar, the people congregated (Acts 3:6-13).
The point is not that we have to be able to speak in tongues or to heal lame beggars (though God could do that). The point is you have to figure out how to draw a crowd. Host an event at your home like a party, or a sporting event, or a family reunion. Once you’ve got the crowd, you’ll have a captive audience to share the gospel.
2. Have a Religious Discussion
Many times the disciples found ways to move a religious discussion into a presentation of the Gospel. If you live in the Bible Belt like I do, you should be able to move from a discussion about “church” to a discussion about the Gospel. If you live in a city, many people are very open to spiritual conversations. Consider these examples:
- In Acts 8:26-39, Philip uses his discussion with the Ethiopian about Isaiah to talk about Jesus.
- Paul shared at an open mic time at the synagogue (Acts 13:15-16).
- When Paul perceived the people were quite spiritual, he took advantage of their openness and began to explain about Jesus (Acts 17:22-23).
3. Meet Recognized Needs
One of the best ways to make a connection with someone is to meet a physical or perceived need. Once you have showed that you care about the person, they will be more willing to listen to your message. The apostles stole this trigger from Jesus himself. Most of his healing dealt with both physical and spiritual problems (for instance Matthew 9:1-8–the forgiving and healing of the paralytic).
- Acts 3:6-13, first Peter healed the man’s lameness, then he shared the Gospel.
- Acts 8:4-8, Philip healed many and cast out demons as a way to validate his message.
Always be looking for people with needs. Look for ways you can show care for their needs as a way to open a door for the Gospel. Genuine love is the goal.
4. Endure Persecution
This is not a fun trigger to pull, but it may be necessary in your life at some point. 2 Timothy 3:12 tells us, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The question is: how will you respond? Will persecution trigger a presentation of the Gospel?
- Peter and John proclaimed Jesus before the council (Acts 4:8-12).
- At their arrest, the Apostles bore witness to Jesus Christ (Acts 5:27-32).
- When Stephen was about to be stoned, he proclaimed the Gospel (Acts 7).
5. Arm Yourself with Readiness
If you don’t have your finger on the trigger, you won’t pull it when the opportunity comes. Readiness is an important part of sharing the Gospel:
- Peter was surprised by Cornelius’ invitation, but he was ready (Acts 10:30-35).
- Paul and his crew were just looking for a place to pray when they stumbled upon Lydia (Acts 16:13-15). Her entire house came to Jesus.
6. Care for Others in Times of Crisis
Crisis moments are times of vulnerability. When there is a trial, a death in the family, depression, or another severe affliction, people are looking for answers. Make sure you are there for them, ready to share the love of Christ.
- When Paul and Barnabas were freed from prison, the guard was about to commit suicide. However, Paul stepped in and led him to Jesus (Acts 16:27-33).
7. Give Your Testimony
Your story is unique. Your experience is your own. When you share what God has done in your life, it gets personal. No longer is the Gospel abstract to your listener, but it has hands and feet. When someone sees and hears how the Gospel has changed your life, it will affect them.
- Paul’s speech before King Agrippa began with his testimony (Acts 26:4-20).