Acts 19. Forum Discussion

Getting involved

There is an old expression, “People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” The idea behind that statement is that we need to be involved in one another’s lives to help each other. If we do not know our neighbors, how do we know what they need? How can we serve them?

There was a preacher once that gave a lesson about the importance of getting involved in our communities. The local church he served was in the center of a tough neighborhood with a lot of crime. This preacher chose to live near the church so he could see for himself what was going on in the neighborhood. This was a first for this congregation. Because of the high crime, no other preacher had chosen to live in the area. They all commuted in.

This preacher was active in the community. He ate where they ate and would talk to them as he walked through town. He knew what was going on, who was having struggles, and what those struggles were. As he listened to people, he learned about them, and they would ask him questions.

The preacher talked about how he would evangelize in the neighborhood:

“As I got to know people, they opened up and shared personal stories about their lives. When they would ask for my advice or opinion, I would always quote scripture. My answers always came from the Bible. I did not force it on them, they had to ask me a question, but the answer was always from God’s word.”

That is how he evangelized. By getting involved.

A similar experience is happening with Paul and the people of Ephesus in the beginning of Acts 19.

Paul asks the Ephesians: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

The Ephesians replied: “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

Paul answers in verse 4: “Into what then were you baptized?”

Ephesians: “Into John’s baptism.”

Paul: “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

Luke writes in verses 5-7:

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.  There were in all about twelve men.” – Acts 19:5-7.

Because Paul was involved with the Ephesians, He knew the right question to ask (“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”), and he asked it. The Ephesians showed great faith by listening to Paul and then acting.

Paul’s efforts to spread the good news of Jesus were yielding results. Acts 19:20 says:

“So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.”

Like Paul, we can be successful evangelizing by getting involved in the lives of other people. If Paul did not know the people of Ephesus, he would not have known where they were in their faith and would not have known the right questions to ask. If we take a genuine interest in the people around us, God will bless us with opportunities to love our neighbor. We can pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our words and actions to bring others to Christ and glorify God.

Jesus was once asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”

He responded:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” – Mathew 22:37-40.

This begs the question: “How can I love my neighbor if I do not know my neighbor?”

When Jesus was on the earth, He did not isolate Himself from people. He was out among the multitudes, in people’s homes, and involved in their lives.

In today’s world, it can be easy to isolate ourselves and live in our own little bubble. This presents a great challenge in spreading the Gospel.

If it is true that, “People do not care how much we know, until they know how much we care,” we need to actively seek opportunities to show others that we care. If people are not coming to us, we can go to the people.

To love our neighbors as ourselves, we need to know what is going on in their lives. As we form relationships with people, they will ask questions. Those questions provide a great chance for us to evangelize by responding with God’s word.

Thank you for studying with us today!  Please join us again tomorrow as we look at Acts 20.  Our topic of discussion will be, “Where to evangelize.” May God’s blessings be upon you until then.  Amen

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

Does getting to know people better help us spread the gospel?

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Dan W

When our son and daughter-in-law were missionaries in Cambodia, most missionaries chose to live in American style housing in a different section of Phnom Penh from what the local residents experienced. They determined to live closer to the people, to shop where they shop, to know them.

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Virtual Bible Study

Does getting to know people better help us spread the gospel?

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Michael
Virtual Bible Study

Absolutely! If Paul did not know the right question to ask, their hearts might not have been pierced as they were to become baptized into Christ.

When we know what people are going through and how they think, we can better serve them and better present the gospel.

For example, if someone is suffering greatly, maybe we discuss Revelation and how there will be, "No tears in heaven," as an ice breaker.

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John

Just as Paul helped the Ephesians with their Christian walks, if we are lucky, we have had others help us along the way. It is a blessing to be able to support others as they learn about and follow Christ. We all need help and support.

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