Always share the Gospel…Not!
JANUARY 9, 2023
Always share the gospel…Not! Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor who teaches that God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you guys had a great week-end, and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. If you’re joining us for the first time, we’re looking at the book of Acts and we’ve been doing that for several months and we’ll do it a while more. Next week or the week after, I’ve asked Justin Holcomb, Dr. Justin Holcomb, he’s the author of several books, and one of them is a commentary on the book of Acts. And we’re going to sit down and we’re going to do an overview of the Book of Acts, and I think you’re going to find that quite helpful. And then I’ll still have a little bit more in Acts to do. But I’m going to set that aside and I’ve written another book. I know, I know. I’m going to keep doing it till I get it right. But at any rate, I’ve written a book called Laughter and Lament: The Radical Freedom of Joy and Sorrow. And because the powers that be say I need to talk about that book on this broadcast. I’m going to spend a few weeks just going to some of the themes of that book, and then we’ll come back to the book of Acts and we’ll wrap it up. And I have no earthly idea what’s going to happen after that, but that’s a long time off. And it’s okay for me not to know. But at any rate, don’t miss next week when Dr. Holcomb is going to spend some time with me and we’re going to get a really wonderful overview of the Book of Acts. Well, let’s pray and then we’ll study. Father, we come into your presence with great joy. Joy, because it’s just a surprise that we’re here. Everybody told us that if we were religious enough you’d notice and accept us, and we tried and couldn’t pull it off. And then you said, you come anyway. And we came at your invitation and we’re never going to leave. Father, we come to praise you, but we come to worship you also. We’re thankful for Jesus, for His love for us. Love’s so great, he would die in our place on a cross. We’re thankful and we praise you because, you’ve never left us alone, that the comforter has come. We praise you and we thank you that we’re going to get home before the dark. But Father, if you had done none of that, you’re still God, the sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of everything we perceive and experience and touch. And you are worthy of our worship. Father, as we study your word today and this week on Key Life, as always, we pray for the one who teaches, forgive him his sins cause there are many. We would see Jesus and Him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Okay, the question before the house, is it ever appropriate not to share the gospel? And the answer is a resounding yes. And I’m going to take the time this week and maybe in the next week to show you when it is not appropriate to share the gospel. The text is Acts 19: beginning at the 8th verse and going through the 10th verse.
And he entered the synagogue and for three months he spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God. But when some were stubborn and disbelieved, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
In other words, the apostle Paul just walked out. I have a friend and this really happened. If you are a pastor and you’ve ever done a chapel at a college or a university, you know that’s a hard place to be, cause they, especially if that chapel is required in terms of the attendance of the students at the college, they don’t want to be there. They’re busy. They’ve got exams coming up and you’re supposed to speak in a way that they’ll listen and they don’t. Sometimes you look out over a student body and they’ve got books open studying. One professor was reading the newspaper one time when I spoke at a chapel, and then I heard what my friend did and I never did it, but I thought about it. He got up, looked out over the chapel, nobody was paying attention, and he said, let me, listen up, I’m going to tell you something. You don’t want to hear a thing that I’m going to say, and frankly, now that I think about it, I don’t want to say it. He closed his Bible, walked out of the pulpit, and up the aisle, and he was gone. And I wanted to say, you go bro, that was good. I just don’t have the, whatever it takes to do that and never have. But I loved it when my friend did it. What was he doing? He was saying there are times when I don’t need to share with you the truth that I’ve got. And that’s true for a Christian too. There are times when we are not to share the gospel. Matthew 10:14 through 15 says this.
And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words,
and this is in the commission that Jesus gave to his disciples
shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Now Acts 19 is an illustration of Matthew 10. Now, I’ve got to say something and I’m going to say it today and then we’ll get down and study on when it’s appropriate not to share the gospel. I want you to know that you should not let anything I say on this broadcast give you the impression that Christians should not be single minded in their effort to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I, in fact, believe just the opposite. If you have listened to me very long, you know that I don’t believe that you list the gift of evangelism with the gifts that are listed in the New Testament. Those gifts are one thing, the evangelism call is for everybody. I don’t care how we do it, what kind of methodology we do it with. Sometimes it’s in our witness and answering questions. Sometimes it’s in random evangelism, but I’ll tell you something, it’s the responsibility of every Christian to talk to others about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so, as we start looking at when not to share the gospel, don’t misread what I say. That doesn’t take you off the hook, you still have to share with your friends. Now, don’t be obnoxious about it and don’t be a jerk about it, but there are plenty of opportunities for all of us. Back when I was a pastor, I did a lot of appointment evangelism. You say appointment evangelism, what’s that? Well, that was when people in my church felt that somebody was interested in the Christian faith and they didn’t feel they were good enough or that they knew enough to share Christ with them. So, they said to their friend, you’ve got to meet my pastor. He’s got some stuff to tell you that will blow you away. And so, I ended up having an appointment with the people with whom the people in my church would not share the gospel and should have. Listen, don’t do appointment evangelism. Okay? It’s you. It’s you who should bloom where you’re planted, the friends that you have are your friends, the places that you go are your places, your points of involvement are your points of involvement, and God has called you to be faithful to them. I remember the first time I ever shared my faith, it was with a guy who was thinking about suicide and I didn’t know it, and I was sitting in the backseat of his car and my friend said, Steve, tell our new friend about Jesus. And I about died, but I did, and to my surprise, the young man bowed his head, came to Christ, and it changed his life. Listen to me, that’s like eating peanuts. You just can’t stop with one. Once you see that kind of thing happen, you rejoice and you want to do it again. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown continuing to teach us from Acts 19: 8 through 10. Very nuanced message, and we will continue to unpack that message the rest of this week. Sure hope you’ll join us for that. Well, we talked about it last week and continued to do so today, evangelism, what is it exactly? Well, that’s part of what we’re exploring this week, but at the very least, it isn’t what you do, it’s who you are. Well, Steve spoke about this idea in a message called The Death of Evangelism. Provocative title, yes? It’s also a truly classic sermon. In fact, we put the entire thing on a CD and we can send you that CD, for free. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. And if you’d like to mail your request, just go to keylife.org/contact to find our U.S. and Canada mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the CD called The Death of Evangelism. Hey, and one more thing before you go. Would you partner in the ministry of Key Life through your giving? Giving is easy, you can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or join the growing number of folks who give safely and securely through text. How do you do that? It’s easy. Just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.