Earning the Audience of People
I love Jesus. I love people. I love sharing Jesus with people! There is no greater joy than seeing a soul transformed right before your eyes. Salvation in Jesus Christ is beautiful. As believers we have been charged with sharing the life giving Gospel with everyone the Lord leads us to.
The eighth chapter of Acts is a wonderful picture of this. Stephen, a powerful man of God, had just delivered a passionate and convicting message to a hard hearted people. Rather than succumb to the truth of his words; the people became angry and in a fit of rage stoned Stephen to death. The death of Stephen drew a dividing line between those who would devote themselves to Jesus as Messiah and those who would not. Saul would lead the charge in a new wave of violent persecution.
The word “destroy” in the text is a word that describes a random, violent, and unorganized ravaging. It is the picture of what wild hogs do to a farmer’s crops. Saul’s angst, fueled by his rage at believers and their blasphemous claims, was his attempt at thwarting the Gospel. It would not be so.
Saul’s rage launched believers into fulfilling Jesus’ prophetic words in Acts 1:8. Jesus told His men that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the world. It was happening! Believers scattered into those exact places and were His witnesses, preaching the Word wherever they went! Hallelujah!
I have always wondered what those conversations were like. Displaced families in new communities were preaching the Word! This is not the picture of preaching sermons in public places, this is a picture of believers sharing the Gospel with those who come across their path in their normal day to day activities. Walking along the road, in the market place, at work , they were sharing the Gospel. They did not have crafty evangelism methods and tools. There was no Evangelism Explosion or Evangicubes. Just Jesus. They shared their story to belief in Jesus as the Messiah and people were saved. This begs the question, “why did people listen to them?”. I believe Philip is a great example of earning the audience of people.
They heard what Philip said and they saw what he did. There was a sincerity in Philip. They could tell in the conviction of his voice that his heart had experienced something very real and tangible. He did not deliver a rehearsed outline or ask baited questions. With passion, he shared his story. He was believable.
Philip also showed them something. For Philip, miraculous deliverance and healing were his ministry to people. People saw the power of God in him. For you and I, we have the opportunity to show the power of God as well. Serving people, speaking kind words, and showing unconditional love are only the tip of the iceberg of the possibilities in showing God’s love and power to people.
God has gifted each of us with spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, resources, and an audience. Let us seek God in how we may earn the audience of people and preach the Word wherever we go.