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What kinds of things come to mind when you hear the word evangelism? Knocking on the doors of strangers to share the good news? Handing out tracts or pamphlets to try convincing people to follow Jesus? A preacher under a big tent compelling people to give their life to Christ?
We know the Scripture tells us to proclaim the good news, but evangelism can be a source of anxiety for many people. If that’s you, I have good news. When you understand the Holy Spirit’s role in evangelism, you can move from fear and anxiety into exciting adventures of sharing Jesus with others.
Let’s pray together: Dear Father, thank You so much for how awesome You are. Give us big hearts to keep pursuing You. In Christ’s name, Amen.
I would like to focus on the topic of power evangelism. Power evangelism means that God uses Spiritual Gifts that deal with signs, wonders, healing, and miracles. These help people come into right relationship with Him. If you have already been walking with Jesus, this will help you get unstuck and keep walking.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive all demons and to cure diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:1-2 (NIV)
I made two of these statements in this verse bold for a reason. First, proclaim the Kingdom of God. Second, heal the sick. The Gospel must have both effects. It is two parts, and if it has just one and not the other, then we’re short of changing the world.
The first proclamation of the truth of the Gospel is the words we speak. This refers to teaching, conversations, and proclaiming the power of God we have seen.
The demonstration of God’s power is where we see signs, wonders, miracles, and deliverance. In our Westernized world of thinking, we often think that knowledge only comes from the five senses. This is not true. Knowledge may come from the five senses but think about the greatest miracle of salvation. When God changes a person’s life, they simply have to profess to Him, in faith, that they want to give their life to Jesus. When this happens, something changes. They are forgiven and transformed. Their lifestyle of righteousness starts instantly. That is a great miracle! If that is the greatest miracle that exists, then lesser signs, wonders and deliverances are a no-brainer.
It may seem complicated, and we may still ask questions, but it doesn’t limit us from asking God to use us.
God Wants a Growing Family.
Let’s frame the discussion around this idea. God has this BIG heart for everybody and wants a growing family. How do you get into God’s family? You invite Christ into your life, and then you are adopted into the family of God. Remember what I quoted in Luke 9, “go out and preach the Kingdom of God and pray for those who are sick”? Let’s see what happens from there.
When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then He took them with Him and they withdrew themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed Him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
Luke 9:10-11 (NIV)
Here we see that the apostles came back and told Jesus what happened. Jesus then did two things: He proclaimed the Kingdom of God and prayed for the sick. I want you to see the dual components that are in the Gospel. This is power evangelism. The power of God confronts people, and they get set free.
It can happen anywhere through anybody who walks with God. You don’t have to be ordained or have attended seminary. You don’t have to be someone who has walked with God for a long time. All of those statements are contrary to the Bible. ANYBODY who is a servant of Jesus, whether it be for one hour or 100 years, can use the power of God to turn people from the darkness to the light.
God Has Given You Gifts.
Every follower of Jesus has been given spiritual gifts. These are not church gifts or gifts that are only used during a service, but these gifts can be used anywhere, anytime.
Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines. 1 Corinthians 12:3-11 (NIV)
This catalog of gifts is referred to as the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. There are nine of them. I don’t want you to mistake them for other kinds of gifts. In Romans 12, we see a list of motivational gifts. In Ephesians, Paul gives a list of ministering gifts. These gifts are referred to as charismatic gifts.
If we look back to Corinthians, from verses 4-11, it says that each of us has at least one of these Gifts. All nine of the Gifts listed are supernatural. You cannot get them from reading a book, going to college or buying them. The Scriptures say that the Holy Spirit gives us Gifts as HE determines. You cannot tell God what Gift you want or be picky about the one He gives you. Remember that the Gifts are used for power through evangelism so people can connect with Christ.
I will put the nine Gifts into three categories to wrap our minds around the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Revelational Gifts: Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Discerning of Spirits. These three gifts reveal and unmask information. The Word of Wisdom gives information about the future. The Word of Knowledge is historical facts and data. The Discerning of Spirits is when we can see the essence of who people are.
Power Gifts: Faith, Gifts of Healing, Works of Miracles. The Gift of Faith speaks of a miracle. Through the Gifts of Healing, healing will take place (physical, mental, etc.). The Works of Miracles are when something miraculous happens. Think of Jesus turning water into wine.
Inspirational Gifts: Prophecy, Different Kinds of Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues. The Gift of Prophecy is when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, and they can speak about the future. The Gift of Different Tongues means speaking in another language, supernaturally. This is NOT their prayer language but instead a divine-inspired speech that must be interpreted. The Interpretation of Tongues is when a person can hear supernatural language and tell people what it means so that others may understand.
You need to understand that these Gifts are for you. God wants a growing family, and He wants to use the Gifts He has given you to grow His family further. You need to remove every excuse from your mind that says God can’t use you. These Gifts are NOT based on Spiritual maturity. These Gifts have been given to you the moment you come to Christ, and you need to use these Gifts everywhere you go.
Gifts Reveal God’s Love.
I want to dive deeper into the Revelational Gifts. If we look into the Book of John, Chapter 4, we can see that Jesus was hungry, tired and thirsty. His disciples went ahead into a nearby village to buy food. While Jesus stayed on the outskirts of the village, He sat down by a well called, Jacob’s Well. While sitting there, a woman came out of the village to get water. It was an odd time of the day for her to come, and it wasn’t normal for her to be alone. In that era, women typically would go to the well together. This tells us that she was an outcast in her village. She was a Samaritan woman, and as she was going to get water, Jesus asked her to draw some for Him. She was taken aback because He was a Jew, and she wasn’t. At that time, Jews and Samaritans didn’t want anything to do with one another. Jesus told her that if she knew who was asking for water, then she would ask Him for living water, and He would give it, and she would never thirst again.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You’re right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.” John 4:13-19 (NIV)
Don’t allow the woman’s statement to distract you. It is true that Jesus was a prophet. He was an evangelist, a pastor and a teacher. But if we look at the woman’s statement, we would think that the Gifts of the Spirit are only for people with ministry gifts, which is not true. Jesus used the Gift of the Word of Knowledge. Remember that the Word of Knowledge is a fraction of the mind of God. He reveals to us something past or present about someone. This Gift was divinely given to Jesus. He wanted this Samaritan woman to be forgiven of her sins and to experience salvation through the power of evangelism. Notice that Jesus didn’t use His Word of Knowledge to shame her. He used His Gift to say, I love you, and I want you to know I see you. He was allowing her to know that He sees beyond her past. When the woman recognized that she needed the living water Jesus was talking about, she became transformed. She left her bucket by the well and went to the village to tell everyone about the Messiah.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
John 4:39 (NIV)
The village got saved! This woman barely knew the Lord, and yet she went out and shared her faith. You don’t need to have a bunch of theological knowledge. All you have to do is share your story. If you learn to tell your story, you can lead others to Jesus. Look at the power of evangelism at work. One Word of Knowledge caused the Samaritan woman to get saved. I pray that God may use you in the supernatural, even when you don’t understand everything about it. It is amazing what God will do and what God can do!
God wants a growing family. He has given you Gifts, and those Gifts reveal God’s love.
Let’s pray: Dear Father, I need you to come into my heart. Lord, wash away my sins. Change me and help me to serve you. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.