Paul’s evangelizing consisted of preaching a pure gospel; “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (1 Cor. 2:2; Ro. 1:16). Paul’s supreme subject was the Cross along with repentance and faith alone, not philosophy or psychology or some program attempting to be relevant or tolerant to the culture. There was always an air of expectation pervading his preaching. His message stood alone. If people rejected him and his message, he shook the dust off his feet and moved on to find more receptive hearts where God was at work. If we continue to preach the gospel where God is not at work, we degrade it to the level of merely educating people’s intellect.
Another aspect of Paul’s evangelizing was not to preach the gospel to every person in a particular area by himself. Today we send out individuals and teams that try to personally reach as many individuals in an area as possible by sharing the gospel. But by neglecting to use Paul’s strategy of starting churches that are capable of spreading the gospel, we are severely limited in what a single person or team can do. Paul’s goal was to establish reproducing churches that displayed the life of Christ in strategic areas. Such churches exist today, but are we utilizing them in our evangelistic strategies? It was from these churches located in key centers of intellectual and commercial activity that the gospel spread in every direction.
Thessalonica is a prime example. “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere” (1 Thessalonians 1:8). In Acts, it says twice that Paul “preached boldly” (9:27-28), twice that he “preached the gospel” (14:7, 21; 16:10), and once that he was “preaching the word of the Lord” (15:35). This was mostly in strategic cities and in public places such as the synagogue. Eight times Paul “reasoned” (to address or make a speech in a formal setting) so as to meet people of influence where they were. And so churches were planted and the gospel spread through such persons.
This strategy works because God the Spirit was using it in power.
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