Spirit Hacks: Tips and Tools for Mastering Your Spiritual Life

Skip Heitzig

We're all on the lookout for helpful tips for everyday tasks. Whether it's a kitchen hack for tear-free onions or a cleaning hack for a mess-free microwave, people are eager to save time and effort. Your walk with Christ can be more consistent, simple, and satisfying with Spirit Hacks: Tips and Tools for Mastering Your Spiritual Life. Let's do this.


 

Table of Contents

# SCRIPTURE: MESSAGE:
1 Acts 2:44-46 Community Is...
2 Acts 2:42 How to Grow Up and Not Give Up
3 Acts 2; Acts 4 Tapping into the Power Source
4 Acts 2; 2 Corinthians 9 The Generous Lives of True Believers
5 Acts 2:47 The Good News IS Really Good

 


 

SERIES: Spirit Hacks: Tips and Tools for Mastering Your Spiritual Life
MESSAGE: Community Is...
SPEAKER: Nate Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:44-46
URL: http://CalvaryABQ.org/4373

MESSAGE SUMMARY
Every day brings with it a list of tasks we must accomplish in order to live life and get through the day—tasks that range from mundane to difficult. Sometimes we find tips or shortcuts—often called life hacks—that save us time and effort. Like everyday life, our walk with Christ can be tough to get through, but we have built-in assistance to help us along the way: an authentic community of people who share our faith. This week's Spirit Hacks from the book of Acts help us give and get the most out of fellowship.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: January 6, 2019
Speaker: Nate Heitzig
Teaching: "Community Is…"
Text: Acts 2:44-46

Path

Every day brings with it a list of tasks we must accomplish in order to live life and get through the day—tasks that range from mundane to difficult. Sometimes we find tips or shortcuts—often called life hacks—that save us time and effort. Like everyday life, our walk with Christ can be tough to get through, but we have built-in assistance to help us along the way: an authentic community of people who share our faith. This week's Spirit Hacks from the book of Acts help us give and get the most out of fellowship.

  1. Life Together (v. 44 "Now all who believed were together")
  2. In the House (v. 45 "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple")
  3. And Your House (vv. 45-46 "and breaking bread from house to house")
Points

Life TogetherIn the HouseAnd Your HousePractice

Connect Up: Within the Trinity there is mutual exchange of love between each Person—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As a divine community of Being (God's triune nature), God expresses Himself through community. In theology, the divine community is called divine economy, the mission each Person has within the community of the Godhead. Here's a simple example: The Father works through creation, the Son works through redemption, and the Holy Spirit works through sanctification. How does Christian community reflect God? What is our mission—our service to God and others?

Connect In: As Pastor Nate pointed out, Acts 2:41-47 is a marvelous framework for Christian community. Using the principles outlined in the text, share how love and community are present in the following:Connect Out: Using your church or Connect Group as an example, what about it would be attractive to non-believers? How do your church and group reflect true Christian community? What can you improve upon this new year to reflect Christian community, helping to reach a hurting world?


1 Lynn Wardle, CNS News, "Disintegration of the Nuclear Family Threatens America's Survival," February 11, 2015, https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/lynn-wardle/disintegration-nuclear-family-threatens-america-s-survival, date accessed 1/7/19.
2 Blue Zones, "Friends Nourish the Body and Soul," April 9, 2015, https://www.bluezones.com/2012/04/friends-nourish-the-body-and-soul/, date accessed 1/7/19.
3 Pamela Cowan, Calgary Herald, "Depression will be the second leading cause of disease by 2020: WHO," date? http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Depression+will+second+leading+cause+disease+2020/3640325/story.html, date accessed 1/7/19.
4 Guy Winch, Psychology Today, "Loneliness Poses Greater Public Threat than Obesity" August 23, 2017, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201708/loneliness-poses-greater-public-health-threat-obesity, date accessed 1/7/19.

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. At times, our Christian walk can be difficult and mundane
    2. Learning to be more intentional and disciplined in our daily walk can help us to grow
      1. Reading the Bible daily
      2. Praying daily
      3. Spending time with other Christians regularly
    3. At its core, the church is simply a community
  2. Life Together (v. 44 "Now all who believed were together")
    1. People today are searching for a place to belong—a place where they can be safe, be loved, and love others; this is what church should be
    2. Greek word koinónia
      1. Means fellowship (communion, partnership) and was used to describe the early church
      2. Koinónia principle: God's people take care of each other
    3. God has a unique plan and place for His church in this world
      1. Ekklésia literally means to call out and to be called to
      2. The church is called out of this sinful, worldly system, and as Christians, we are called to gather together
    4. Our identity as followers of Christ should be rooted in our proximity to one another (see John 13:35)
      1. We can't use the hurt that someone has done to us to relegate the church to our past
      2. If your theology separates you from those like you, you've got some work to do
  3. In the House (v. 46 "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple")
    1. It's not an option for Christians to take or leave community; it's a command to participate, and it allows God to work through His church
    2. Church should be an oasis, reviving and equipping us for the coming week
    3. One of the problems in the church today is the attitude of consumer rather than servant
    4. The purpose of the church is:
      1. To honor God
      2. To teach the Word
      3. To proclaim the gospel
    5. The beauty of the church is its diversity—people from different walks of life, different life stages, different races, etc.; our commonality as the church should be found in the person of Jesus Christ
      1. Uncommon fellowship is the kind of fellowship God wants for His church
      2. Uncommon fellowship makes little of men and much of Jesus (see Galatians 3:26)
  4.  And Your House (v. 46 "and breaking bread from house to house")
    1. Your only interaction with other believers should not be once or twice every week
    2. "The holiest moment of the church service is the moment when God's people—strengthened by preaching and sacrament—go out of the church door into the world to be the church. We don't go to church; we are the church" —Ernest Southcott
    3. We were created for community; we were not meant to be isolated
    4. Our capacity for community started with our creation
  5. Conclusion
    1. Community is about God; our relationships with other Christians should reflect our relationship with the Lord
    2. The church should be the most inviting, refreshing, and compelling representation of community in our world
Figures referenced: Ernest Southcott

Greek words: ekklésia, koinónia

Cross references: John 13:35; Galatians 3:26

Topic: fellowship

Keywords: church, community, fellowship, relationships

 


 

SERIES: Spirit Hacks: Tips and Tools for Mastering Your Spiritual Life
MESSAGE: How to Grow Up and Not Give Up
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:42
URL: http://CalvaryABQ.org/4375

MESSAGE SUMMARY
The term growth rate is usually reserved for the financial world to describe market change over a period of time. It tells you how fast a country’s economy is growing. But let’s think of it as a spiritual and personal term—and use it to describe our own spiritual growth. How’s that going? Let’s look at one aspect of spiritual growth and consider some tips from one verse to accentuate and accelerate it.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: January 13, 2019
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "How to Grow Up and Not Give Up"
Text: Acts 2:42

Path

The term growth rate is usually reserved for the financial world to describe market change over a period of time. It tells you how fast a country's economy is growing. But let's think of it as a spiritual and personal term—and use it to describe our own spiritual growth. How's that going? In this teaching, Pastor Skip looks at one aspect of spiritual growth, and considers some tips from one verse to accentuate and accelerate it:

  1. To Grow, You Must Learn
  2. To Learn, You Must Hear
  3. To Hear, You Must Commit
Points

To Grow, You Must Learn To Learn, You Must HearTo Hear, You Must CommitPractice

Connect Up: As God is truth, so, too, is His Word. Why do you think there is such a close correlation between the Bible and God Himself? The Bible teaches four major aspects to God's truth. Look up these verses and discuss: God the Father (Deuteronomy 32:4), God the Son (John 14:6), God the Spirit (John 16:12-14), and Scripture (Psalm 119:160). How does truth interact among the four aspects? Are there other aspects to God's truth (such as His creation, best understood through science)?

Connect In: As the apostle John notes in 3 John, Christians are to walk in truth. To walk in truth is to be occupied with it, living with it, and obeying it. As an individual and a church, how are we to walk in God's truth? Use this teaching as the basis for your answers. What more can we do to deepen and enrich our experience of study in God's Word? Share your plans to help enliven your textual experience this new year.

Connect Out: Pastor Skip has likened a teaching church to a textual community, a place dedicated to the teaching of a text. Knowing that one of the great needs in the world is for people to belong, how can you make a textual community (a teaching church) an inviting place for all people to learn and experience God? How can a textual community act as an outreach tool for our city?

DETAILED NOTES
"How to Grow Up and Not Give Up"
Acts 2:42

  1. Introduction
    1. The most basic truth: to grow spiritually, you have to be spiritually fed
    2. The Word of God does the work of God by the Spirit of God as He works in the hearts of the people of God
    3. The Bible that once played a central role in our culture has been relegated to the coffee table or the bookshelf
      1. Nine out of ten American homes has a Bible, but a very small percentage actually spend time reading it, and even fewer still apply it
      2. One third of Americans don't know who gave the Sermon on the Mount; a large number thought it was Billy Graham
      3. The most widely known Bible verse is "God helps those who help themselves"—which isn't even a Bible verse; it's a Benjamin Franklin quote
    4. At the Pentecost, 3,000 new believers found themselves in a hostile environment: a Jewish population who did not believe
  2. To Grow, You Must Learn
    1. Doctrine (teaching or instruction): didaché, truth imparted so that we can grow
      1. Doctrine has been minimalized by believers
        1. "I'm not into doctrine—I'm into Jesus"
        2. But we wouldn't know anything about Jesus if it weren't for doctrine
      2. We are given a manual of truth—the Bible—for our lives, but it has been disregarded by many in the church at large
      3. There is an unmistakable absence of truth in the pulpit
        1. Theology has been discarded in favor of me-ology or be-ology
        2. "There is a crisis of biblical knowledge in the American church" —Dr. Michael Vlach
        3. Hosea 4:6
        4. 2 Peter 3:18
        5. Proverbs 19:2
      4. Doctrine is a word you should embrace and never be ashamed of
        1. "One might say that the Holy Spirit opened a school in Jerusalem that day. The schoolteachers were the apostles, whom Jesus had appointed and trained, and there were three thousand pupils in the kindergarten!" —John Stott
        2. Deuteronomy 5:1
        3. Psalm 119:34
    2. This verse is a list of spiritual priorities; the highest priority is doctrine
    3. Are you devoted to doctrine?
    4. As you get to know your Bible, you will get to know your God
      1. J.I. Packer's book Knowing God is systematic theology
      2. 2 Peter 2:2
  3. To Learn, You Must Hear
    1. Listening is the key to learning; Matthew 11:15
    2. The apostles' doctrine—"by the prophet Joel" (see Acts 2:14-21)
      1. Apostolic teaching was expository; it was rooted in the power of the text rather than the personality of the teacher
      2. The apostles taught from the Scriptures and what it meant to their audience
        1. Ephesians 4:12
        2. 1 Corinthians 1:18
        3. Romans 10:14
        4. Romans 10:17
        5. "Rarely do we hear these days that a church is distinguished primarily by its preaching" —Al Mohler
  4. To Hear, You Must Commit
    1. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine"
    2. Matthew 4:4
    3. Continue in truth, continue in the Word, continue hearing and growing so that you can:
      1. Know God better; correct theology through immersion in the Word
      2. Know yourself better; correct anthropology, which is found in the Bible
      3. Live life better
        1. All the big questions are answered in the Bible: Who am I?, What is the purpose of life?, etc.
        2. Psalm 119:105
      4. Pray better
        1. Romans 8:26
        2. As you read the Bible, you start finding out what God wants, and when you find out what God wants, you start praying according to what God wants
        3. There are ample examples in Scripture of how others have prayed in the past; this can lead to scriptural praying
      5. Help others better
        1. You will be better to other people
        2. The Bible wasn't written just so that you could help yourself
      6. Discern better; the Bible will keep you from error
  5. Conclusion: tips to help your spiritual growth
    1. Get a Bible—whichever translation best illuminates Scripture for you—and read it consistently
    2. Make time in your schedule to study Scripture
    3. Get help; there are multitudes of study helps available, such as devotionals, study plans, etc.
    4. Tell someone; sharing what you've learned reinforces it

Figures referenced: Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Al Mohler, J.I. Packer, John Stott, Michael Vlach

Cross references: Deuteronomy 5:1; Psalm 119:34, 105; Proverbs 19:2; Hosea 4:6; Matthew 4:4; 11:15; John 17:17; Acts 2:14-21, 23-25; Romans 8:26; 10:14, 17; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Ephesians 4:12; 2 Peter 2:2; 3:18

Greek words: didaché

Topic: spiritual growth

Keywords: commit, doctrine, hear, grow, learn, study

 


 

SERIES: Spirit Hacks: Tips and Tools for Mastering Your Spiritual Life
MESSAGE: Tapping into the Power Source
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2; Acts 4
URL: http://CalvaryABQ.org/4377

MESSAGE SUMMARY
The earliest Christian believers huddled together in Jerusalem, listened to the apostles, and talked to God in prayer. There were a lot of things missing from that first church. They lacked charters, committees, strategies, and church buildings (things some would consider vital for church health). But one thing they had was power. Why? Because they learned to tap into the source of power through prayer. Let’s examine their prayer life generally and then specifically.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: January 20, 2019
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Tapping into the Power Source"
Text: Acts 2:42; Acts 4:24-31

Path

The earliest Christian believers huddled together in Jerusalem, listened to the apostles, and talked to God in prayer. There were a lot of things missing from that first church. They lacked charters, committees, strategies, and church buildings (things some would consider vital for church health). But one thing they had was power. Why? Because they learned to tap into the source of power through prayer. In this teaching, Pastor Skip examines the prayer life of the early church generally and then specifically.

  1. A Description of Prayer Generally (Acts 2:42)
  2. A Depiction of Prayer Specifically (Acts 4:24-31)
Points
A Description of Prayer, GenerallyA Depiction of Prayer SpecificallyPrayer Hacks/TipsPractice

Connect Up: Because God is a personal God, communication is imperative to maintaining? a personal relationship with a living and loving God. At its core, prayer is us conversing with the Creator, bringing our affairs, our adoration, and alignment to His will into view. What does prayer tell you about our great God? Use these verses to guide your answers: Connect In: Share a story about how prayer was answered in the life of the church or in your personal affairs. Describe the situation leading up to the answered prayer. When did you realize that God had answered your prayer and what was your reaction?

Connect Out: Pray for your Connect Group, friends in need of Christ, and the church. Give specific requests, with balance, making them real and relevant to the needs of your community, knowing that God will answer them according to His will.

OUTLINE


  1. A Description of Prayer Generally (Acts 2:42)

    1. They Prayed Regularly

    2. They Prayed Customarily

    3. They Prayed Instinctively

  2. A Depiction of Prayer Specifically (Acts 4:24-31)

    1. It Was ____________________

    2. It Had ____________________

    3. It Was ____________________

    4. It Was ____________________

    5. It Had ____________________

 


 

SERIES: Spirit Hacks: Tips and Tools for Mastering Your Spiritual Life
MESSAGE: The Generous Lives of True Believers
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2; 2 Corinthians 9
URL: http://CalvaryABQ.org/4379

MESSAGE SUMMARY
The book of Acts tells us about the very first Christian believers. Their daily lives were simple; their spiritual lives were vibrant. Far from being independent isolationists who only met once a week, they lived their lives together. They were generous people who sought to meet one another’s needs and make an impact in the world by giving their time, talent, and treasure to make sure the message about Jesus went far and wide.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: January 27, 2019
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: “The Generous Lives of True Believers”
Text: Acts 2; 2 Corinthians 9

Path


The book of Acts tells us about the first Christian believers. Their daily lives were simple; their spiritual lives were vibrant. Far from being independent isolationists who only met once a week, they lived their lives together. They were generous people who sought to meet one another’s needs and make an impact in the world by giving their time, talent, and treasure to make sure the message about Jesus went far and wide.

  1. They Are Open-Hearted with Their Time (vv. 44, 46)
  2. They Are Open-Minded with Their Talent (vv. 42, 44b, 47)
  3. They Are Open-Handed with Their Treasure (v. 45)
Points

They Are Open-Hearted with Their Time

They Are Open-Minded with Their TalentThey Are Open-Handed with Their TreasurePractice

Connect Up:  Discuss the various ways in which God demonstrates His generosity. Here are a few from Scripture to consider and discuss.What others can you think of?

Connect In: As Pastor Skip noted, Gallup Polls state that born-again adults remain the most generous group of givers in the country. Why is it important for the church to be generous? How would you define generous giving? Also, ask yourself what might be keeping you from living a generous life. Consider these characteristics, which have been listed as aspects of generous living. Do you agree?Connect Out: Pastor Skip quoted psychologist Karl Menninger, who stated, “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.” Though many of the people we reach out to are not mentally ill, what does a statement like this tell us as believers about living a life of generosity? Do you think part of generous living is presenting the gospel to others? Spend some generous time in prayer for those in need.


1Claudine Arndt, Wellness with Claudine, Exploring Generosity, November 18, 2018, https://wellnesswithclaudine.com/2018/11/generosity/, accessed 01/29/2019

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. One of the most compelling traits of the church is generosity
      1. Generosity can be seen in one's personality—a generous person is an encouraging person who is eager to share their time and compassion with others
      2. Generosity reflects the character of God Himself (see John 3:16)
        1. Practicing generosity can make your relationship with Christ more satisfying
        2. As Karl Menninger stated, "Generous people are rarely mentally ill"
    2. The generosity of the early church was evidence that the Holy Spirit had transformed their hearts
      1. Generosity is evidence that someone belongs to Jesus
      2. Born-again adults are the most generous givers in the country, and are acknowledged to be the most generous people on the planet
      3. "Besides the Holy Spirit, there is no greater force in the world than the church.... When the church, fueled by the Holy Spirit, rallies around a cause, nothing can stop her" —Shane Pruitt
    3. Acts 2 is a loud and clear testimony of the palpable joy, love, unity, and generosity present in the early church
    4. The generosity of the early church was displayed in three categories:
      1. They shared who they were
      2. They shared what they had with others
      3. They built one another up
  2. They Are Open-Hearted with Their Time (vv. 44, 46)
    1. They were committed to investing their time (see vv. 42, 46)
      1. Not every gift has to be monetary; not every contribution is a financial one
      2. Time can be an effective contribution
        1. You can devote time to go on a mission trip
        2. You can donate time to distribute toys or food to people in your community
      3. "Giving is not something we do; giving is something we are" —Warren Wiersbe
    2. Being generous with your time requires you to manage your time well
      1. "If you want to get something done, ask a busy person" —Benjamin Franklin
      2. Jesus was always busy, and yet He was very generous with His time
        1. He was able to be generous with His time because He was first generous in His time with His Father (see Mark 1:35-39)
        2. Jesus said no to certain things so that He could say yes to other things; He knew the difference between what was urgent and what was important (see John 17:4)
          1. He did not heal Lazarus, but raised him from the dead (see John 11)
          2. John the Baptist doubted Jesus when Jesus apparently didn't meet his expectations (see Matthew 11:2)
          3. Jesus would have had the opportunity to heal the lame man who was "laid daily at the gate of the temple" (Acts 3:2), but He didn't
      3. You manage your time by devoting your time not to what's urgent, but to what's important—to what God has called you to do at that time
    3. What is crowding our time that's keeping us from what's important?
      1. What can we say no to so that we can say yes to what God is calling us to do?
      2. "Redeeming the time" (Ephesians 5:16)
  3. They Are Open-Minded with Their Talent (vv. 42, 44b, 47)
    1. The early church pooled many different talents to further the gospel—different people using different gifts for the same cause
      1. They taught truth—"the apostles' doctrine" (v. 42)
      2. The apostles performed "wonders and signs" (v. 43)
      3. Early Christians with means sold their possessions and shared them with others
    2. One of the reasons churches malfunction is because certain gifts are set on a pedestal, and the result is gift-envy
      1. The body of Christ is meant to use the various gifts toward the same purpose
      2. 1 Corinthians 12:4, 14-40
      3. The church is like a human body, and each part is necessary
  4. They Are Open-Handed with Their Treasure (v. 45)
    1. Giving is voluntary, not compulsory; they didn't have to do it—they wanted to
      1. This is not communism (taking from others so that I may have), but common-ism (giving to others from what I have)
      2. They freely gave of their finances to meet the needs of others
    2. Money is an important topic in the Bible—it is an outward gauge to monitor one's seriousness about their faith
      1. It is the subject of sixteen of Jesus' twenty-nine parables
      2. It is mentioned in one out of every six verses in Matthew, Mark, and Luke
      3. It is the subject of one out of every seven verses in the New Testament
      4. There are over 2,000 verses concerning money in the Bible
      5. “There are three conversions a person needs to experience: head, heart, and [pocketbook]. And the last is the hardest” —Martin Luther
      6. “With some [Christians] the last part of their nature that ever gets sanctified is their pockets” —C.H. Spurgeon
  5. Conclusion: hacks
    1. Give intentionally (see 2 Corinthians 9:7)
      1. Giving should be planned
      2. Giving is between you and God
    2. Give joyfully (see 2 Corinthians 9:7)
      1. Don't give grudgingly—with grief (see 2 Corinthians 9:5)
      2. Do it because you want to do it, not because you have to do it
      3. Exodus 25:2
      4. The Greek word used here is hilaròn, which is where the English word hilarious comes from 
    3. Give proportionally (see 2 Corinthians 9:6)
      1. The more you have, the more you give
      2. 1 Corinthians 16:2
      3. James Kraft gave 25 percent of his income
      4. R.G. LeTourneau gave 90 percent of his income
    4. Give expectantly (see 2 Corinthians 9:6)
      1. As a farmer—sow in order to reap
      2. Expect spiritual returns and God's provision
        1. Proverbs 3:9; 11:25; 22:9
        2. Matthew 7:2
        3. Luke 6:38

 

Figures referenced: Benjamin Franklin, James Kraft, R.G. LeTourneau, Martin Luther, Karl Menninger, Shane Pruitt, C.H. Spurgeon, Warren Wiersbe

Cross references:
Exodus 25:2; Proverbs 3:9; 11:25; 22:9; Matthew 7:2; 11:2; Mark 1:35-39; Luke 6:38; John 3:16; 11; 17:4; Acts 3:2; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 14-40; 16:2; Ephesians 5:16

Greek words:
hilaròn

Topic: giving

Keywords: expectantly, generosity, intentionally, joyfully, proportionally, time, talents, treasure

 


 

SERIES: Spirit Hacks: Tips and Tools for Mastering Your Spiritual Life
MESSAGE: The Good News IS Really Good
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:47
URL: http://CalvaryABQ.org/4381

MESSAGE SUMMARY
If the gospel is such good news (which is what gospel means), why don’t we hear more of it? Especially in a world filled with such bad news, it seems hearing a good proclamation would be a nice change. Well, there are some preliminaries to know about that will help us enjoy telling others the gospel. It’s time for some of us to get over the embarrassment of sharing our faith. It really is one of the most fulfilling activities we can ever engage in.

STUDY GUIDE

Connect Recap Notes: February 3, 2019
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "The Good News IS Really Good"
Text: Acts 2:47

Path

If the gospel is such good news (which is what gospel means), why don't we hear more of it? Especially in a world filled with such bad news, it seems hearing a good proclamation would be a nice change. Well, there are some preliminaries to know about that will help us enjoy telling others the gospel. It's time for some of us to get over the embarrassment of sharing our faith. It really is one of the most fulfilling activities we can ever engage in.

  1. It's a Divine Work ("the Lord added")
  2. It's a Delegated Work (v. 40 "he testified")
  3. It's a Double Work ("to the church...those...being saved")
  4. It's a Daily Work ("added...daily")
Points

It's a Divine Work ("the Lord added")

It's a Delegated Work (v. 40 "he testified")

It's a Double Work ("to the church...those...being saved")

It's a Daily Work ("added...daily")

Skip's Tips on Evangelism

Practice

Connect Up: Throughout the Bible, God has used men and women to communicate His truth.  Although ultimately God knows the reason, why do we think God partners with humanity to evangelize? How does this cooperation illuminate both God's sovereignty and human free will?

Connect In:  Discuss the last time you shared your faith with another person. How did the person respond? What were some of the difficulties you faced? Use this time as an opportunity for others to provide answers and insight into some of the bumps that you faced. How can apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith) help equip you to be a better witness? To help sharpen your witness, discuss good apologetic books that should be on the shelf of every Christian. Here are some examples:

  • Unshakable Foundations and Big Book of Apologetics, Norman Geisler
  • Harvest House Handbook of Apologetics, edited by Joseph Holden
  • On Guard, William Lane Craig

Connect Out: Take time to pray for specific people with whom you want to share the gospel. Allow your group to partner with you in prayer, giving insight into the hurdles you may face.

DETAILED NOTES

  1. Introduction
    1. The Christian's mission is the Great Commission (see Mark 16:15)
      1. There are two ways in which we can share the gospel: verbally, and through our daily lives
      2. It's not easy to share our faith, but the more often we share, the easier it becomes
      3. Although it's difficult to share, it is one of the most satisfying experiences in life
    2. Acts 2 provides a comprehensive view of the early church: it was a learning church, a caring church, a Christ-centered church, a praying church, a generous church, and, as seen in verse 47, a growing church
      1. Without verse 47, we would not have an accurate impression of the early church
      2. They had a relationship with God and with one another, but they also had a relationship with the outside world—they led not just an interior life, but an exterior life, which they shared with unbelievers
  2. It’s a Divine Work ("the Lord added")
    1. Ultimately, evangelism is God's doing
      1. Psalm 74:12
      2. Evangelism is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said when He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit to His disciples (see John 16:8)
    2. God, who created the idea and the plan for salvation, is the God who alone has the power to save people (see Romans 8:30); He does the work, from beginning to end
      1. The theological term for this is election—God chose you before He made you, then He arranged the circumstances by which you are saved
      2. John 6:44
      3. Paul spoke to Lydia, but "the Lord opened her heart" (Acts 16:14)
  3. It's a Delegated Work (v. 40 "he testified")
    1. We have a part in the process of salvation
      1. The new believers were added by the Lord, but through the Lord's people (see v. 41)
      2. Peter "raised his voice" (see Acts 2:14)
      3. This is the pattern throughout the rest of the book of Acts: God does the work through His people (see 4:33; 5:42; 8:4)
    2. Evangelism is a human cooperation with the divine call—God is the mover and we are the mouthpiece
      1. God is always looking for volunteers
      2. Isaiah 6:8
    3. There are three forms of evangelism in the New Testament:
      1. Mass evangelism
        1. Jesus spoke to crowds of people, as did Peter at Pentecost and Paul in Lystra (see Acts 14) and in Athens (see Acts 17)
        2. Examples of mass evangelism in the modern era include John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham
      2. Personal evangelism
        1. Jesus and the woman at the well (see John 4)
        2. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (see Acts 8)
        3. "It has been estimated that 95 percent of American church members have never led anyone to Christ" —Evangelism Explosion
      3. Local church evangelism
        1. This is the normal, natural outgrowth of the church—evangelism should flow from the church
        2. Every congregation should be a witnessing, as well as a worshiping, community
        3. "I know some churches which haven't had a convert for ten years or more. And if they got one, they wouldn't know what to do with him, her or it, so extraordinary would this phenomenon appear to them!" —John Stott
        4. Altar calls can be controversial; certain schools of thought within Christianity (a hyper form of Calvinism, for example) say that we should never interfere with God's work in drawing people to Himself
          1. God does the work, but He also ordains how the work is done
          2. John 1:12
          3. "It is a matter, not of merely informing people, but of also inviting people" —J.I. Packer
          4. 2 Corinthians 5:11
  4. It's a Double Work ("to the church…those…being saved")
    1. God didn't add them to the church without saving them, and He didn't save them without adding them to the church
      1. In our society, it's fashionable to say, "I'm spiritual, but I don't believe in the church"
      2. But Jesus came to "build [His] church" (Matthew 16:18), so if you don't believe in church, you don't believe in what Jesus came to build
      3. Salvation and church involvement go together
      4. Believers were "added to the Lord" (Acts 5:14), and the Lord added them to the church
    2. The true church is made up of saved people—a fact that should be celebrated, not hidden
      1. The seeker-friendly movement is an attempt to make the church a familiar, comfortable space for unbelievers—but they won't understand their need to convert if there's no difference
      2. We should be more concerned with feeding the sheep than entertaining the goats
      3. Evangelism helps goats become sheep, and as you continue to feed the sheep, those fed sheep, in turn, evangelize goats
      4. The early church was full of saved souls wanting to see more souls saved
  5. It's a Daily Work ("added…daily")
    1. Evangelism wasn't a sporadic event—it was a part of their daily life
      1. In some churches today, the tendency is to seek growth only up to a certain amount, then stop reaching out
      2. The church is never big enough—we want every unbeliever to be saved
    2. The growth in the early church was progressive: twelve disciples grew to 120, then to 3,000 at Pentecost, then to 5,000 (see Acts 4), then eventually to multitudes (see Acts 5:14)
      1. Every saved life was important to the early church; because of the numbers found in Acts, we know someone counted those who were converted
      2. In the parable of the wedding feast, Jesus told His disciples to "go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14:23)
      3. There are never too many coming into the church—there are never too many people going to heaven—and it is our daily opportunity to tell people how to get into that house
      4. "The highest form of selfishness is a man content to go to heaven alone" —J.C. Ryle
  6. Conclusion
    1. Hacks:
      1. Pray—in advance, for opportunity and open doors
      2. Allow others to start the conversation for you—use conversation fillers to give a spiritually focused answer, which could lead to something further
      3. Listen
        1. It isn't a monologue; it's a dialogue
        2. Be kind; if you want to win some, be winsome
      4. Tell your story—share your personal testimony (as Paul did); it's indisputable
      5. Be creative
        1. Buy someone a book that can help answer their questions
        2. Send them a link to a YouTube video that covers the topic
    2. Don't let the best news become your best-kept secret
    3. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is the Great Commission

 

Figures referenced: Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, Billy Graham, D.L. Moody, J.C. Ryle, John Stott, John Wesley, George Whitefield

Cross references: Psalm 74:12; Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 16:18; Mark 16:15; Luke 14:23; John 1:12; 4; 6:44; 16:8; Acts 2:14, 40-41; 4; 5:14, 42; 8; 14; 16:14; 17; Romans 8:30; 2 Corinthians 5:11

Topic: evangelism

Keywords: believers, church, community, evangelism, faith, growing, salvation, share, work


Spirit Hacks: Tips and Tools for Mastering Your Spiritual Life | CalvaryABQ.org/series394
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