Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Miraculous in Evangelism

In this posting we continue our series on the topic of how the believers of early church preached the gospel message, noting that they had no one particular ‘method’ or “approach”. In evangelism, “one-size-fits-all” does not fit.

Let’s look at a day in the life of the Apostle Peter as recorded in Acts 9:32-43.

 “As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:32-35 NIV)

Here we see that ALL who lived in Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord because of one miracle of healing; that of a man who had been paralyzed for eight years.

Let’s read on:
 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” (Acts 9:36-38)

The miracle of healing (in verse 34) not only resulted in new believers (disciples), but new believers who had faith in God for the impossible. When Tabitha died, the people did not call for the undertaker; knowing of this miracle of the healing of the paralyzed man, they did not hesitate to call on Peter. Let’s read further:

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon. (Acts 9:39-43)

Let’s look at how Peter approached this situation
1.    He sent everyone out of the room.
2.    Next he got down on his knees (sign of submission to the Lord)
3.    He prayed (presumably for instructions from the Lord)
4.    He acted as he commanded the dead Tabitha to get up.
5.    He presented Tabitha alive to the believers.
and the result was:
1.    Tabitha rose from the dead.
2.    This incident became know all over Joppa (What a brilliant marketing plan! [Lol])
3.    Many people believed in the Lord
The method or approach of evangelism that the Lord had for Peter in approaching the people of Lydda, Sharon, and Joppa on that day was the effecting of miracles and supernatural healing.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given…. and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles" (1 Corinthians 12:4-8)

Until the next posting, "occupy until He comes."