Evangelism versus salesmanship or lawyerism.
Spent most this morning breaking fast and fellowshipping around Acts chapter 8 with some good friends. It was that very record that got me out of religion and into actually believing many moons ago: I had wasted four years running around in search of that great, fabled Never-neverland known as "the one true church", blisslessly ignorant that The Church is something you become at the new birth, not something you go to or play. Finally worn out and depressed as well as confused, I "read the instructions" about how to put this "more abundant life" thing together, asked The Author for help and started getting answers. Verses 1- 25 show how a certain disciple named Philip went out and woke up an entire community, including its spiritualist guru. The rest of the chapter details his encounter with the treasurer of Ethiopia and how that prominent leader's hunger for truth and meaning was filled - the part of the chapter that captured my attention!
An evangelist is not a hack with a hick accent that parades around on TV waving a big old Bible around and shouting at everybody they better "git raht wiyith JEE-ZUS!!!". He is simply a Believer of God's Word who has been changed by such a good, healthy dose of Truth he is contageous with it. Read the record and you see a man walking with Power, who set captives free and opened the eyes of the blind in more ways than one. Because of this, he was always in the right place at the right time to make a difference. What a contrast to the (literally) Mass-produced throngs of good, but powerless drones cranked out by religion's factories today! I often think if a dozen or so churchgoers were to believe God that big in our day it would nearly cause a riot with all the dispensational nonsense most have been poisoned, but that is The Way as it's supposed to be: God is just as able and willing to help people today. He's waiting for those who are willing to be the helpers.
I think a great principle of making it happen is embodied in what Goethe said centuries ago: "Before you can do something, you must be something." Philip was a man who built in his mind the image of Jesus Christ the gospels talk about: The Son of God Who healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out devils, and believed to do the same. Philip was not a self-righteous legalist, nor a propaganda-peddler with all kinds of distracting trinkets to sell, but someone who tasted of the goodness of God and shared it with those who wanted some.
The book of Acts shows that of which Believers are capable, and is the standard of what The Church should be.
USS Indianapolis Found
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