Gift of Evangelism

Acts 2:14-41

Peter addresses the crowd
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘“In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

22 ‘Fellow Israelites, 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 deliberate plan 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 rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    you will not 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 ‘Fellow Israelites, 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 to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

‘“The Lord said to my Lord:
    ‘Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.’”

36 ‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’

38 Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ 41 Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.


Like all spiritual gifts, the gift of evangelism isn’t exclusively for those who feel gifted at it. If I don’t have a healing ministry, it doesn’t mean that I can’t see people healed and it doesn’t mean that I should refrain from praying for healing. The same applies to evangelism.

The danger is to think that Christianity is a message, and that evangelism is the communication of it. The problem with this is that it removes God from the process. Evangelism becomes all about us – how extraverted we are, how well we communicate, how convincing we are etc.

Historically Christianity has never been a message – it is an experience of the Risen Jesus (that then becomes a message). If we separate the two, majoring on the message, we lose the very reason for giving it! Re-read the passage focusing on Peter’s method rather than his words – what is he doing? Is he offering an apologetic for ideas or is he explaining what people see? Is he talking about things he believes are true, or things that he’s witnessed?

…no actually re-read it!

Notice Peter doesn’t give a compelling explanation or proof for the resurrection but talks about what he has witnessed (v32). The reason it is effective (remember 3000 is likely just men) is because it places the emphasis back on what Jesus has done rather than on our ability to communicate it. The reason I want to tell people about Jesus, is because my experience of the Risen Jesus changed my life forever. Evangelism is actually all about communicating what Jesus has done and is doing through us. Can you talk about what you have witnessed Jesus do? That is evangelism.

Think of something amazing Jesus has done in your life and pray for the Holy Spirit to show you who to share it with today.
Luke Johnson has two passions in life: evangelism and telling people about Jesus.
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