New Testament Evangelism

Convince unbelievers through proofs

(Acts 2:22-24 NIV) "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. {23} This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. {24} But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

(Acts 4:1-4 NIV) The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. {2} They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. {3} They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. {4} But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

The ministry of the early Christians was mainly apologetical. They did not just tell people about the salvation message, they spent considerable time trying to convince them with proofs that what they are preaching is indeed true. They argued that Jesus is the Messiah because He could resurrect Himself from the dead.

Appeal to what the people already believed and tied that in to the message

The disciples' message was powerful because it appealed to what the people already believed. The Jews had no difficulty in relating to King David, the king that they honored greatly. And the verse that was mentioned, the people all believed that it was David who penned those words. Now all that is left is to take what the people already believe to translate into saving knowledge.

Here Peter showed that the One referred to by David is not himself but Jesus Christ. And he gave the reasons why that was sold.

(Acts 2:22-31 NIV) "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. {23} This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. {24} But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. {25} David said about him: "'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. {26} Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, {27} because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. {28} You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.' {29} "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. {30} But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. {31} Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.

Later when Paul was speaking to devout Jews, he began by reminding them about the covenant, Abraham, David, and other familiar themes. Later, when speaking to the Greek philosophers in Athens (17:22-32), he would begin by talking about what he had observed in their city. In both cases, Paul used what the people already identified with and used that to build his message about Christ and the Resurrection.

(Acts 17:22-23 NIV) Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. {23} For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

(Acts 17:28 NIV) 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

Perform signs and wonders

(Acts 2:43 NIV) Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.

(Acts 3:1-9 NIV) One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. {2} Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. {3} When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. {4} Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" {5} So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. {6} Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." {7} Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. {8} He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. {9} When all the people saw him walking and praising God…

(Acts 14:3) The apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. The Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.

The ministry of the disciples were filled with signs and wonders. They healed many people in Jesus' name. Naturally people came to believe in Jesus because of that. It is one thing to argue about the authenticity of Jesus and another thing to demonstrate that through healing. People believed because they could experience the power of God and the love of God as their needs are being met.

Christians today should also demonstrate the reality of God through signs and wonders and miraculous healing. These phenomena is not only for the early church. Jesus told us that those who minister in His name would be able to do all these things as well.

(Mark 16:17-18 NIV) And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; {18} they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

Gain favor through kind acts

(Acts 2:44-47 NIV) All the believers were together and had everything in common. {45} Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. {46} Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, {47} praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Even people who are resistant to the gospel will drop their hostility if Christians are kind to them. The early Christians gained favor among the people through kind acts and unselfish sharing.

Speak with the help of the Holy Spirit

(Acts 6:8-10 NIV) Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. {9} Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, {10} but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.

We need to speak not on our own, but with the help of the Holy Spirit. Only He can empower us to speak with such authority that no one is able to refute.

Speak with the boldness of the Holy Spirit

(Acts 4:18-31 NIV) {18} Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. {19} But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God… {29} Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness… {31} After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

The apostles were so effective in spreading the gospel because they were not afraid; they had the boldness of the Holy Spirit. If they had been timid, the gospel would never had carried on after Jesus' death.

Sensitive to the guiding of the Holy Spirit

(Acts 8:26-35 NIV) Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." {27} So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, {28} and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. {29} The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." {30} Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. {31} "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. {32} The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. {33} In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." {34} The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" {35} Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

Philip would never have brought the Eunuch to Christ if he had not been sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Christians should listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling us and be obedient to the call of the Spirit.

Throughout the book of Acts, we see how the apostles were guided by the Spirit. Without the Spirit's guidance, the apostles would have encountered much more dangers and ministered to less people.

(Acts 10:19-22 NIV) While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. {20} So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them." {21} Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?" {22} The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say."

(Acts 16:6-7 NIV) Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. {7} When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

(Acts 22:17-18 NIV) "When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance {18} and saw the Lord speaking. 'Quick!' he said to me. 'Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me.'

Benefit from the preparation of the Holy Spirit

(Acts 8:30-35 NIV) {30} Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. {31} "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. {32} The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. {33} In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." {34} The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" {35} Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

It is so easy for Philip to lead the conversation towards the gospel message because the eunuch was reading the relevant scripture. It is so obvious that the Holy Spirit went before Philip and prepared both the heart of the eunuch as well as the conditions to make it possible for Philip to share the gospel.

We should also ask the Holy Spirit to prepare the hearts of those we want to evangelize to so that our effort will be easy and effective.

Confront demons

(Acts 13:6-12 NIV) They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, {7} who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. {8} But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. {9} Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, {10} "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? {11} Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun." Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. {12} When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

One powerful way to demonstrate the greatness of God is when we use God's power to confront the demons. When unbelievers can see for themselves that God is greater than the gods they believe in, they will then believe.

Another reason why confronting the demons is effective is that the demons are preventing unbelievers from seeing the truth. Notice Paul condemned the demon for being full of all kinds of deceit and perverting the right ways of the Lord. When the influence of the demon is removed, people come to Jesus readily.

Use the power of the Holy Spirit to remove obstacles to the gospel

(Acts 12:6-8 NIV) The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. {7} Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists. {8} Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him.

It seems like victory for the devil when the apostles were put in chains. How can they preach the gospel when they are in prison? But the Holy Spirit would not let the gospel be obstructed. The apostles were set free miraculously.

You may not be put in prison so that you cannot preach the gospel. There may be other means that the devil is obstructing you. Ask God to remove any hindrance and obstacle.

Sharing of testimonies

(Acts 19:18-20 NIV) Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. {19} A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. {20} In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

The believers shared of their previous sinful lives and how God has touched them. That brought in many other new believers. Non believers are touched by the reality of changed lives. We can say all we want about the goodness of Jesus but when they see for themselves people they know who are changed, the impact will be significantly more.

Getting rid of demonic influences

(Acts 19:19-20 NIV) A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. {20} In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

Demonic forces inhabit many of these objects of demonic worship and can prevent people from seeing the truth. When these are gotten rid of, many people can come to know Christ. That is why it is necessary to explain to our friends who do not know Jesus that some practices are occultic and they should rid themselves of demonic objects. In this way they can be free to see the truth.

Identify with the people

(Acts 22:1-3 NIV) "Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense." {2} When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: {3} "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.

Just prior to that, the people were shouting and beating Paul. But when he spoke to them in Aramaic, the people quiet down and listened to him. Aramaic is the language of the people. When Paul spoke to them in Aramaic, he is identifying with them. That made them less hostile. He went on to argue that he is not different from them; he is zealous for God, just like them. Paul was trying to gain rapport with the people by identifying with them.

When we share the gospel with unbelievers, sometimes they are hostile to us because they think we are different and are trying to introduce something foreign to them. When we identify with them, speak their language, we can usually break this hostility.